(Hagerstown, MD)— Hagerstown Community College political science instructor Eric Schwartz recently had a scholarly article published on the website, PoliticalScienceNow.com, a site maintained by the American Political Science Association, to cover people, research, and news in political science. The article, entitled “Navigating Partisan Differences in Class Discussions: Engaging Students’ Policy Recommendations,” was written in response to a call for submissions related to educational reflections on the 2018 election.
Schwartz described a classroom exercise he held prior to the recent midterm elections. He asked students to anonymously list six opinions or recommendations concerning public policy. He specified that the first three were to be those with which they thought others would agree and the remaining three were to be ones they felt would be controversial. He gathered the data and later gave students the opportunity to work together to establish concrete policies addressing the identified problems.
“With this exercise, I was pleased to discover that in these times of hyper-partisanship, my students were able to work together to find solutions on common problems,” Schwartz writes in the article. “I hope that the experience of working together on these subjects made some impact on my students’ perceptions and opinions. More important than the classroom learning is the behavior outside of the classroom. I hope to prepare students to participate fruitfully in a society that desperately needs individuals to reach across partisan, ethnic and racial divides.”
Schwartz has been teaching political science at HCC since 2012. Previously, he taught at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C. He earned master’s and doctoral degrees from Binghamton University, a master’s degree from Syracuse University, and a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University.