CQ Press Award for Teaching Innovation

2014 CQ Press Award Recipient: Professor Mika LaVaque-Manty, University of Michigan

The 2014 CQ Press Award for Teaching Innovation in Political Science has been awarded to Professor Mika LaVaque-Manty of the University of Michigan. Professor LaVaque-Manty received this award for his innovative and well-documented work which involves gamifying courses in order to promote student engagement, autonomy and problem solving skills-while at the same time enhancing the learning experience for students in the discipline of political science. Professor LaVaque-Manty's submission entitled, "Gamifying Large Courses to Promote Initiative, Problem Solving, Collaboration, and Reflection," details his systematic approach to gamifying his course-using a point system-in order to promote student engagement and autonomy through collaboration. Through gamification, students are given a variety of paths to meet requirements and are encouraged to use a variety of platforms - from videos to blogs - to interact with each other and the material and to take on new learning challenges. At least one of these platforms, a public blog written by mostly first-year students, was named one of the "100 Best Blogs for the Literati" in 2009. Of particular interest is Professor LaVaque-Manty's work to create a space for students to become innovative participants in their own learning and to engage in what he calls "safe failures." His course design-which is informed by political theory, and strategies such as metacognition and self-regulated learning-demonstrates how professors can use robust pedagogical principles to engineer their courses in ways that inspire strong student commitment and creativity. Moreover, the fact that other faculty have modeled their courses on his designs signals his leadership in and impact upon the area of pedagogical innovation.

CQ Press in an imprint of SAGE.

The members of the 2014 award committee:

Victor Asal, University at Albany, SUNY, and chair of program committee for the 2013 APSA Teaching and Learning Conference

Michelle Deardorff, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and chair of the APSA Committee on Teaching and Learning

Renee Van Vechten, University of the Redlands, and chair of the organized section on Political Science Education


The 2014 Application cyle is now closed.

Nominations and self-nominations were accepted. Applicants were asked to send nominations and supporting documentation (i.e. syllabi, samples of assignments, letters of support from students and faculty, etc), (in one packet) to the address listed below, or electronically to [email protected].

All submissions included:

  • Personal statement (written by the nominee) detailing the teaching innovation, its impact, and why this innovation deserves this honor.
  • Letter of nomination from nominating faculty (if relevant), briefly summarizing the teaching innovation and its impact, and explaining why it deserves this honor.
  • Other supporting documents of nominee and/or nominator’s choosing.

The deadline for nominations for the 2014 CQ Press Award for Teaching Innovation was Saturday, January 11, 2014.  


About the Award

The award will be acknowledged at the 2014 APSA Teaching and Learning Conference, in Philadephia, PA, February 7-9th. APSA will also acknowledge the award at the 2014 Annual Meeting in Washington, DC at the reception honoring teaching.

CQ Press Publisher is the sponsor the 2014 CQ Press Award for Teaching Innovation (CQ Press in an imprint of SAGE). The award carries a $500 cash stipend and recognizes a political scientist who has developed an effective new approach to teaching in the discipline. The award seeks to honor a wide range of new directions in teaching. For example, one year, a professor might be chosen because of an innovative course syllabus, and in another year, a professor may be honored for using a new multimedia approach to reaching students. The only limits on what will be recognized are the imagination and creativity of those teaching political science.


Previous Awardees

2013 Recipient: Professor Brian M. Harward, Alegheney University

Professor Brian M. Harward received the award for his careful implementation of a campus partnership, with an external archives and research center for service learning, which focuses on the law, the courts and the judicial process. Professor Brian M. Harward is the director of a campus partnership with the Robert H. Jackson Center. This partnership is based upon a model of service-learning and student research and is embedded into specific courses, the departmental curriculum and the campus mission. His innovative approach demonstrates how political science faculty, their departments, and their campuses can expose students to experiential learning, reinforce curricular priorities and desired proficiencies, and provide essential skill experience, while meeting the needs of external organizations.

2011 Recipient: Professor Marjorie Randon Hershey, Indiana University

Professor Hershey received the award for teaching innovation in the field of graduate education and teacher training for her three module graduate seminar designed to prepare students for the demands of teaching. This three part Preparing Future Faculty module represents an innovation, not only in the form of the pedagogical tools and collegial teaching community that has been made available to young aspiring political science professors, but it also serves to enhance the learning experience of current and future political science students, and ultimately teaching and learning in the discipline of political science.  

2010 Recipient: Professor Jerry Goldman, Northwestern Univeristy 

Professor Goldman Dr. Goldman created Pocket Justice, a free technological tool that allows faculty and students broadened access to Supreme Court cases using the iPhone and eventually other smart phones. Goldman is also the founder and director of the OYEZ project, a multimedia archive focused on the US Supreme Court. These resources provide students and faculty studying civil liberties or constitutional law with searchable access to transcripts of the public arguments, opinions and audio of key Supreme Court decisions. These innovative pedagogical tools invite students to witness and access the Supreme Court decisions which have influenced American politics and public policy.




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