Caring Interdisciplinarians: Teaching Civic Engagement in Public Policy

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractAcademic


How we teach public policy as a discipline and craft shapes how graduates contribute to debates about public institutions and the provision of services to society. Training in MPPs and MPAs seeks to encourage and embrace civic engagement in all parts of society in a way that inoculates against divisive populist messages.

This paper proposes a didactic approach that leverages the interdisciplinarity of public policy as a mechanism to engender interaction and mutual respect among a diverse student population. The approach was developed for an MPP program at the United Nations University that needed to establish a constructive dialog among students from several dozen nations while simultaneously overcoming a generally mono-disciplinary background in their prior education and experience.

The value of interacting with others across boundaries of nationality, race or class is taught implicitly by helping all students experience both providing valuable contributions to the group and being dependent on the advice and support of others to succeed. Admissions policies, curriculum design, small-scale teaching practices such as problem-based learning, and extra-curricular activities are combined to create an environment where the largest number of students can find a niche wherein they can make their own contribution in a way that is noticeably appreciated and acknowledged by others.

The didactic approach is evaluated through post-graduation surveys and an analysis of career trajectories.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019
EventAPSA Teaching and Learning Conference 2019: Political Science Education in the Time of Resurgent Populism and Privilege - Washington, United States
Duration: 31 Aug 201931 Aug 2019


ConferenceAPSA Teaching and Learning Conference 2019
Abbreviated titleAPSA TLC 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


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