- Roger A. Fairfax, "Teaching The Wire: Integrating Capstone Policy Content into the Criminal Law Curriculum"
- Andrea L. Dennis, "Teaching The Wire: Crime, Evidence and Kids"
- Brian R. Gallini, "HBO's The Wire and Criminal Procedure: A Match Made in Heaven"
- Adam M. Gershowitz, "The Wire as a Gap-Filling Class on Criminal Law and Procedure"
- Kristin Henning, "Teaching Fiction?: The Wire as a Pedagological Tool in the Examination of Punishment Theory"
- Josephine Ross, "Teaching Scholarship Through a Seminar on The Wire"
The Journal of Legal Education hosted a 2014 symposium on teaching "The Wire" in the law school classroom; these articles might also be of interest to anyone looking to bring the tv show into the undergraduate classroom. A link to the articles is here:
Renee Cramer is associate professor and chair of Law, Politics, and Society at Drake University; she is also President of the Consortium of Undergraduate Law and Justice Programs.
Maybe you’ve seen the video circulating social media lately, highlighting “The Line” as an important teaching tool on privilege and social identity? Those of us who teach issues relating to social justice are likely familiar with it, and may have used an exercise similar to it in our classes. I’ve talked about this exercise quite a bit, with friends and colleagues who have done it, or have used it – and while we all have agreed that it is a valuable tool, I’ve been attentive to those voices that say things like:
In other words, the exercise has the valuable impact of teaching privileged students about their privilege – but perhaps at the expense of those students in class who don’t hold much privilege themselves.
A few years ago, I had the chance to participate in a different form of this exercise – one I found nourishing - while also emotionally challenging. I was at a conference hosted by the Association for Contemplative Practice in Higher Education, in a session facilitated by Doreen Maller, a therapist, professor, and social justice activist. The exercise was fundamentally similar to The Line, with a key difference: we didn’t step behind or in front of a line – we all stood on a continuum of experience, and moved freely about the room, finding our space within community, not separate from it.
Since returning from the 2012 conference of the ACHE, I have used this exercise twice in my “Critical Race and Feminist Theory” classrooms – and have found it to be incredibly powerful for students, as well as useful to getting at some of the issues relating to standpoint epistemology, intersectionality, and anti-essentialism that I hope students will understand from their reading.
In my next blog post, I will describe the exercise, and student responses to it!
CFP: APSA Division on Teaching and Learning in Political Science; APSA Division on Political Science Education
The 112th APSA Annual Meeting will be in Philadelphia September 1 – 4, 2016. The theme will be “Great Transformations: Political Science and the Big Questions of Our Time.” The deadline for proposals is January 8, 2016.
Indivual divisions have their own calls for papers; calls from the division of Teaching and Learning in Political Science and Political Science Education (below) may be of particular interest to CULJP blog readers.
All divisions listed at: http://community.apsanet.org/annualmeeting/call/divisions#DIV26
DIVISION 9: TEACHING AND LEARNING IN POLITICAL SCIENCE
Division Chair: Mitchell Brown, Auburn University
The discipline of political science has changed tremendously over time, from the substance of our research, to the methods used to produce it, to the deliver of this to students in the classroom. In addition, the classroom itself has been transformed over time, including the characteristics of both learners and teachers, methods of instruction, and the medium of instruction. Consistent with this year’s conference theme, we encourage paper and panel proposals that address these issues, exploring how the transformations in the discipline have changed education in the discipline. Other issues to consider could include:
COURSE-SPECIFIC STRATEGIES AND PEDAGOGICAL TOOLS. What innovations, simulations, role-play exercises, blended or on-line learning approaches, or class activities have developed that enhance teaching and learning?
INFORMATION LITERACY AND DATA ANALYSIS. How has the wide-spread availability of material, some based in fact and some fabricated, changed the demands on what and how we teach as well as the classroom experience? What techniques best facilitate the information literacy of our students? What skills do our students, both undergraduate and graduate, need to have to be successful after graduation? How are these skills best developed?
ASSESSMENT. How has the transformation of the discipline changed teaching and learning with respect to assessment of our efforts? Which assessment approaches and tools are most useful, and which are only burdensome? What impact has the increased focus on assessment had on our students, courses or departments?
Per the mission of this section and as the questions above suggest, we encourage a wide range of topics for papers and panels, including but not limited to innovations in curriculum and program design, classroom teaching, instructional technology, experiential learning, online courses, graduate training, undergraduate research, advising and mentoring, administration, and assessment. Priority will be placed on proposals that have a systematic evidence base where appropriate. The Teaching and Learning section is strongly committed to honoring the diversity of institutions with which ASPA members are associated, and we welcome submissions from political scientists at community colleges and two-year institutions, as well as from four-year colleges and universities.
DIVISION 10: POLITICAL SCIENCE EDUCATION
Division Chair: Patrick McKinlay, Morningside College
Political Science Education encourages the development and delivery of innovative pedagogies that provide political science students dynamic learning experiences that inspire civic engagement, curiosity regarding political change, and the acquisition of skills and knowledge to understand change and develop strategies to respond to change. The theme for the 2016 Annual Meeting is Great Transformations: Political Science and the Big Questions of Our Time, a focus central to the mission of political science education and to learning itself. Great Transformations include the extraordinary shifts that often capture most political science inquiry: revolutions, regime change, conflict and peace, the emergence of new political actors, the dawning of political ideals. Big Questions are often examined by political scientists to trace more incremental developments that exhibit significant but more long-term changes that transform the political environment including climate change, rising inequalities, or shifts in prevailing social values.
Transformation obviously lies at the heart of political science education in so far as the educational experience is itself potentially transformational. What new questions and patterns are changing the topics we teach, the methods of inquiry we adopt, the media we utilize to engage students in these profound questions? What new pedagogies are being deployed to introduce students, at all levels, to the Big Questions facing them as citizens and future leaders? How is our assessment of student learning attending to changes in our student profile, their preparation for higher education, shifts toward vocational applications, and implications of their education for post-graduate personal and professional success? As the Annual Meeting theme encourages papers focused on Great Transformation and Big Questions, we encourage similar themes for the section that highlight research on transformation in the delivery and practice of political science education. How is the classroom and lecture being transformed by changes in technology that augment student learning? How do new pedagogical practices including simulations, cross-disciplinary and inter-institutional interactions, and others changes in educational practice provide students opportunities for developing skills for effective citizenship and political analysis? How might students be encouraged to develop their own big questions and research designs? What pedagogies provide new avenues for accessibility to political inquiry, including new experiments in internships, externships, and off-campus learning? How is our political science curricula evolving to address the many transformations not only in the political environment, but in higher educational generally through interdisciplinary, inter-institutional, and public-private collaborations? How do the various political science sub-disciplines re-imagine their pedagogy to best engage their students in grasping the transformative forces changing the political realm?
We encourage proposals on a wide array of political science education initiatives and research, including innovative approaches to disseminating using diverse formats. Another transformation encouraged by the theme is for sections to experiment with how to best utilize the Annual Meeting for extraordinary exchange and mutual learning through an openness to diverse formats for proposals. Indeed, political science education has a long history of utilizing a broad range of program formats. While individuals may propose traditional papers and panels, the Association is also interested in other settings including Mini-conferences that are extended time-blocs focused on some theme, Research Cafés, Sequential Paper presentations where scholars can receive feedback from an exclusive discussant, Roundtables, Author(s) Meet Critics sessions, Short Courses (perhaps not limited to Wednesday), and Poster Presentations with Discussants.
Per the mission of this section and as the questions above suggest, we encourage a wide range of topics for papers and (theme) panels, including but not limited to innovations in curriculum and program design, classroom teaching, instructional technology, experiential learning, online courses, graduate training, undergraduate research, advising and mentoring, administration, and assessment.
The Political Science Education section is strongly committed to honoring the diversity of institutions with which ASPA members are associated, and we welcome submissions from political scientists at community colleges and two-year institutions, as well as from four-year colleges and universities.
Of possible interest to anyone teaching these issues at an undergraduate level: A recent symposium in the Journal of Legal Education focuses on how recent discussions about policing, race discrimination, and criminal justice reform can and should affect law teaching about issues including criminal justice and civil rights. Articles include:
Renee Dinsmore is a doctoral student and Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Kansas School of Public Affairs & Administration.
Working as an undergraduate research assistant changed my life. Growing up, I did not know many people who went to college and do not recall that I met a person with a PhD before I entered college. When I left for college, I was the first person in my generation to go, and I was the first person in my immediate family to attend via the traditional track. Earning a PhD never crossed my mind. I did not think that I was capable of earning an advanced degree – that was reserved for really smart people who pontificate in their stereotypical ivory towers. Even as I interacted with my college professors, I did not identify with most of them, because they did not talk, think, or look like me.
I approached the professor in charge of undergraduate research course credit with a great deal of cautious curiosity. Am I qualified? Am I smart enough? How will I prove myself? She quickly and kindly invited me onto her team. It turns out cautious curiosity is a good trait for research. I have known for many years that I like social science; research has helped me understand why. I value the rigorous academic process. Researching as an undergraduate student was distinctly different from researching for classes. While I found the process more challenging, I also found it more interesting, meaningful, and fun. As a research assistant, I learned how to strategically read and critically scrutinize journal articles, how to work on a collaborative team, how to organize and analyze data, and how to turn findings into a story.
The research process helped me set goals, meet them, set higher expectations, reach for them, and so on. My mentor used scaffolding skills to gradually build me up. I started as a summer coder for class credit. I continued as a volunteer while I wrote a proposal for an undergraduate research award. When I received my award, I spent a semester analyzing and interpreting data that I presented at an undergraduate research symposium on campus. When an opportunity came to share my findings at a national conference, Law & Society, I jumped at the chance. In roughly a year, I grew from certain that I was incapable of research to passionate that I found my calling to be a scholar. The process, my mentorship, and our team’s enthusiasm built my confidence in my abilities. The more I worked on research, the more I felt seen, heard, and understood – a feeling that sincerely changed me for the better. Because of what I learned doing undergraduate research, I began my PhD program this fall.
*Mary Nell Trautner is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University at Buffalo, SUNY, and a CULJP board member.
This past spring, I taught a Social Problems course for the first time (this is a 200-level Sociology course). Well, actually, I taught half of the course--my colleague Robert Adelman taught the other half, and we each taught our halves in Buffalo and on our campus in Singapore, switching locales halfway through the semester (our university runs a bachelor’s degree program in Singapore, so we regularly send faculty over to teach). It was a fun course to share--we each were able to teach topics and problems that we knew something about and found interesting.
One of the social problems I chose to cover in my half of the course was mass incarceration. Students already knew a lot about imprisonment and were fairly unimpressed with my slides full of statistics and graphs. So, I tried to spend a good amount of time talking about effects of incarceration, not just on the person in--or formerly in--prison (for example, employment, college admissions, and voting), but also on neighborhoods, and especially, the effects of incarceration on loved ones.
We didn’t have time to read the excellent new book Children of the Prison Boom: Mass Incarceration and the Future of American Inequality by Sara Wakefield and Christopher Wildeman, but we did have time to consider the effects of parental incarceration on children by watching a segment of Sesame Street*. Meet Alex, one of the newest muppet characters:
Students in both Singapore and the U.S. had very strong reactions to Sesame Street’s incorporation of a character with incarcerated parents. Everyone recognized that Sesame Street was trying to normalize the experience (shared by over 2.7 million children in the U.S.), but students were divided as to whether that normalization was a Very Good or Very Bad Idea. Some students felt that there was value in kids feeling shameful and ostracized because they had a parent in prison -- these students argued that those negative feelings would have a powerful deterrent effect later in life. Others, however, argued that kids should be held blameless for their parents’ actions and should be able to feel “normal” and comfortable, that they shouldn’t have to hide anything or feel ashamed. In both classrooms, we moved on to have a great discussion about the ripple effects of incarceration and the purpose of punishment. This discussion seemed particularly poignant in Singapore, where students don’t typically question government or police practices, including capital punishment and other forms of retributive justice.
In all, a video clip less than 3 minutes long spurred a great deal of discussion (even in Singapore, where students are notoriously quiet) where we covered a lot of terrain. If you’re looking for a new angle on mass incarceration, I highly recommend!
* I learned about Alex through Chris Uggen’s excellent Public Criminology blog.
In the Classroom: