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The APSA Teaching and Learning Conference is a unique meeting in which APSA strives to promote greater understanding of cutting-edge approaches, techniques, and methodologies for the political science classroom. The conference provides a forum for scholars to share effective and innovative teaching and learning models and to discuss broad themes and values of political science education--especially the scholarship of teaching and learning.
Theme: Innovations and Expectations for Teaching in the Digital Era
The theme for the 12th Annual APSA Teaching and Learning Conference is, "Innovations and Expectations for Teaching in the Digital Era," which focuses on the challenges and opportunities of teaching in the digital age when information literacy is a critical skill and we are all "plugged in." Panels and workshops will present research on pedagogy in the digital age; and, discuss best practices for integrating digital techniques and traditional methods to engage students and train them to think critically, write effectively, and evaluate, consume and generate knowledge of political science successfully.
Submit your paper or workshop proposal by October 20 to be considered for participation. View paper and workshop presentation themes below.
Plan to participate in this conference on teaching to gain new insights, learn cutting-edge approaches, and connect with peers in political science. Questions about the APSA Teaching and Learning Conference? Contact [email protected].
2015 Paper and Workshop Proposal Themes
PAPER PROPOSAL THEMES
This theme will assess and evaluate the active learning techniques that are aimed at enmeshing students into their local and global communities. What is the impact of these techniques upon civic participation, class participation, or political knowledge and student learning? Examples of paper topics include examination of service learning courses, interning and externing programs, and experiential learning requirements.
Conflict and Conflict Resolution
Conflict is an enduring theme in the study of politics. Whether the conflict takes place on the national or international stage, or exists between cultures, nations, interest groups, or individuals, political scientists study and analyze the dynamics, causation and effects of political conflict and the strategies used to resolve that conflict. This track will discuss the theories and approaches faculty have used to successfully address and understand the topic of political conflict, as well as the practices used to engage students in this important theme of political science. Papers will also address the strategies such as the role of cross cultural communication, negotiation and collaboration used to attain conflict resolution. Ultimately, the track is dedicated to a critical examination of teaching conflict studies, innovations for the classroom and the curriculum, and assessment and refinement of these methods for the discipline.
Core Curriculum/General Education
Political science course offerings are often a part of an institution's core curriculum requirements. How does political science contribute to and enhance undergraduate general education curriculum? Papers in this theme will evaluate such topics as: assessing the impact of political science courses in developing reasoning and communication skills, and exploring techniques for teaching non-majors effectively.
Curricular and Program Assessment
The Program Assessment track seeks to enhance our understanding of program assessment and its connection to the curricular design and outcomes objectives of political science programs. Papers should address the following types of questions: What are the challenges to departments creating effective assessment systems? Which methods and practices of outcomes assessment have proven most successful? How can departments and individual faculty members effectively integrate program-level assessment into departmental courses? And ultimately, how can political scientists enhance the use of assessment to refine goals, improve programs, and demonstrate program successes to both internal and external audiences?
Distance Learning: The Virtual Political Science Classroom
Distance learning education involves an instructional process during which the student and faculty member are separated by space, time or both for some portion of the course or program. Distance learning provides important opportunities and also challenges for instructors: such as the challenge of virtual connections a well as the differences created by synchronous and asynchronous teaching strategies. Track proposals should focus on assessing and evaluating different approaches to distant learning and best practices for active learning when teaching political science in a distance learning or hybrid format. Possible proposal topics may include: the impact of distance learning on student learning outcomes; key challenges in distance learning education; an examination of the latest technologies and innovative instructional techniques; an examination of synchronous versus asynchronous course set ups; an evaluation of particular testing approaches; a discussion of the effective use of discussion boards; and software for content delivery. Special Note: This track may be conducted in part or entirely online using web conferencing technology.
Diversity, Inclusiveness, and Equality
This theme will focus on issues of difference, diversity and equality as they relate to pedagogical, classroom, department and institution-wide matters from multiple perspectives. Topics may include, but are not limited to: incorporating diversity topics into a political science curriculum and course content; the ongoing changes in the demographics of students on campus; and challenges faced by faculty in teaching diversity and accessibility in politic science classrooms.
Graduate Education: Teaching and Advising Graduate Students
This theme explores the unique challenges facing faculty guiding the development of graduate students, and building and sustaining excellence in graduate programs. Paper topics can include an analysis of program structures and pedagogical approaches, the effectiveness of comprehensive examinations, teaching preparation, and the function of subfield reading lists in the curriculum. Additionally, papers in this theme may also address professional development topics such as how to best mentor and advise students on post-graduate education, dissertation preparation, and portfolio construction. Proposal submissions and participation from directors of graduate studies and chairs are particularly welcome, but not required for consideration.
Integrating Technology in the Classroom
The use of technology has increasingly permeated the political science classroom. This track will address the challenges and opportunities of incorporating all forms of technology into the political science curriculum and the classroom. These include, but are not limited to, online teaching, clickers, podcasts, blogs, wikis, video casting, and narrated Power Points in all aspects of the political science curriculum.
Internationalizing the Curriculum
With increasing globalization, this track will focus on fostering students' capacities to understand, engage, and learn from cultures, ideologies, religions and political systems from around the world. Papers can also focus on efforts by departments and faculty to internationalize curricula and programs. Examples of possible topics include the role of international affairs in the political science curriculum, rethinking the introductory course in American politics, and the role of study abroad programs.
Simulations and Role Play
Simulations and role play exercises help political scientists and students model the decision making processes of real-world political actors. Examples of these teaching techniques and strategies include Model United Nations, Model European Union, in-class self designed simulations, and on-line role playing exercises. Papers in this track will address such topics as: in what way can simulations and role-play expand student learning opportunities in political science? Which formats are most effective? and How do we measure the effectiveness of simulations?
Teaching and Learning at Community Colleges
Community College faculty often face unique challenges including keeping frequently taught introductory courses interesting, incorporating lessons on college reading and writing into the political science curriculum, and working with students who often have limited time to devote to academics. These workshops will focus on innovative pedagogical strategies to address these and other challenges in the political science classroom. Although these workshops are intended to focus on issues facing community college faculty, the approaches and techniques can be applied to teaching introductory courses and/or facing the challenge of teaching underprepared students in the college environment.
Teaching Research Methods
Political science research methods courses are an increasingly common component of the political science curriculum, not only in graduate programs, but also undergraduate programs. This track will address how political science faculty encourage the learning of research methods. Examples of proposals can include problem based techniques, project based research, team teaching research methods, data analysis and interpretation, etc.
Teaching Political Theory and Theories
Political Science is unique among the social sciences in maintaining the interdependence of the study of political theory/philosophy and the empirical/historical study of political life. Yet, oftentimes theories of all types are treated separately in the political science curriculum, suggesting that teaching political philosophy and theories of political science pose different challenges for both teachers and students in the discipline. This track invites submissions concerning teaching theory (including political philosophy and other theoretical approaches) to students, including the following themes: Does teaching political theory present special challenges? If so, what are they, and how can these challenges be overcome? What are best practices for incorporating theory into empirically-focused curricula? and What are best practices for incorporating empirical data into theoretically-focused curricula?
Civic Education and Engagement
This theme will explore active learning techniques available to engage students with their local, state and/or national communities. Workshops will feature evidence of the effectiveness (and positive impact upon student learning and engagement) of civic education and engagement exercises in political science courses.
Classroom and Program Assessment
How do we assess our effectiveness as teachers as well as the effectiveness of our students as learners? These workshops will look at different innovative methods and strategies for assessing programs, lesson-plans, pedagogical exercises, student performance, class materials or faculty effectiveness in political science classrooms.
Distance Learning: The Virtual Political Science Classroom
Distance learning education involves an instructional process during which the student and faculty member are separated by space, time or both for some portion of the course or program. This workshop will provide participants the opportunity to interactively discuss distance learning pedagogy, by assessing and evaluating different approaches to distant learning. Workshop proposals should be based upon original research and should aim to identify best practices for active learning when teaching political science in a distance learning or hybrid format. Possible workshop proposal topics may include: the impact of distance learning on student learning outcomes; key challenges in distance learning education; an examination of the latest technologies and innovative instructional techniques; an examination of synchronous versus asynchronous course set ups; an evaluation of particular testing approaches; a discussion of the effective use of discussion boards; and software for content delivery.
Integrating Technology in the Classroom
As all forms of technology have become increasingly intertwined in our everyday lives, the same holds true for the political science classroom. Technological innovations have occurred in all areas of teaching and learning. Workshops will focus on demonstrating methods (through interactive exercises) that faculty can use to more effectively integrate technology into the classroom in the areas of course management and innovative pedagogical techniques and exercises.
This theme will explore the pedagogical approaches and techniques that can be used to effectively encourage the professional development of graduate students and junior faculty. Workshops presenters may address teaching portfolio preparation, promotion and tenure issues, mentoring and advising both undergraduate and graduate students on post-graduate education, dissertation preparation, best practices in teaching and research agendas, new faculty development and career preparation.
Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)
How well do new pedagogical approaches aimed at improving teaching and learning in the political science classroom work? These workshops will highlight best practices and innovative approaches to our understanding of teaching and learning. Proposals should address how the workshop will discuss and (interactively) demonstrate innovative pedagogical techniques that are aimed at improving learning and teaching or tips for publishing SOTL articles.
If your workshop proposal doesn't fit into one of the above workshop themes, please submit your proposal under the open call category. Open call proposals, must still be relevant to the goals of the APSA Teaching and Learning Conference, which is to promote greater understanding of cutting-edge approaches, techniques, and methodologies for the political science classroom. Workshops are interactive and should present the participants with an opportunity to acquire a new pedagogical outlook or knowledge on a particular topic within teaching and learning.