Political Science in EIU Summer Institute Program
At the 2014 Summer Institute for Higher Learning poster session, an audience gathers to learn about possible impacts of social media (e.g., Facebook and Twitter) on political participation. The poster was done by students in Professor Anderson's American Government and the Constitution class.
One of the highlights of summer school at Eastern Illinois University is the Summer Institute for Higher Learning Program, which is a bridge program for incoming students and is administered through campus offices such as EIU's Office of Undergraduate Admissions and Student Success Center. For the past two summers, Political Science professors have contributed to this program by teaching the introductory American Government and Constitution course (PLS 1153G), with Dr. Melinda Mueller teaching the course in 2013 and Dr. Kevin Anderson in 2014. During the final week of the program, the students in each of the program's three courses (Political Science, Sociology and Geography in Summer 2014) come together as teams to present posters on what they have learned through their research on a special topic. The posters provide an opportunity for the students to apply their knowledge in an active, intellectually engaging way.
This summer (Summer 2014) the research project focused on key dimensions of media, communications and information in the modern world. Professor Anderson's PLS 1153G class presented posters on important questions related to politics, government and public policy such as: Does use of social media have an impact on political participation? What should be the role of government in rating movies on elements such as violence or sexual content? Are there perceived differences between traditional and digital media relative to factors such as timeliness and reliability of news coverage? Should government be involved in regulating or censoring content in popular music? These are examples of questions that are central to citizenship in contemporary American democracy, and Dr. Anderson's students benefited greatly from exploring their dimensions and nuances.