Answering the call: Offering and analyzing civil discourse opportunities in undergraduate public affairs education
Morris, Michael P.
Pierce, Andrea L.
Shaffer, Timothy J.
Journal of Public Affairs Education
The widening cracks in the foundations of American democracy are leading to appeals for higher educational institutions generally, and public affairs programs specifically, to offer more courses on civil discourse. In this paper, we conduct a curriculum scan to evaluate the extent to which public affairs programs have answered these calls at the undergraduate level. The findings indicate that civil discourse-themed courses are essentially absent in the largest undergraduate public affairs programs, leaving the calls woefully unanswered. Then, analyzing students’ pre-post survey responses from a new course that offered content on the intersection of civil discourse and public policy making, we find that a civil discourse-themed course can simultaneously answer the calls and ensure that students meet the objectives of baccalaureate public affairs education recommended by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration. The results are encouraging for public affairs education and democratic governance alike.
This article was originally published in Journal of Public Affairs Education. The version of record is available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/15236803.2022.2148604
citizenship , civil discourse , democracy , public affairs , undergraduate education
Philip Barnes, Michael P. Morris, Andrea L. Pierce & Timothy J. Shaffer (2022) Answering the call: Offering and analyzing civil discourse opportunities in undergraduate public affairs education, Journal of Public Affairs Education, DOI: 10.1080/15236803.2022.2148604