Political Science Now

Bridge Over the River Qua: Using Simulations to Span the Divide Between Prelaw and Political Science Students

Bridge Over the River Qua: Using Simulations to Span the Divide Between Prelaw and Political Science Students

By Matthew Woessner, Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg, Kathleen H. Winters, University of St. Thomas, and Kyle C. Kopko, Elizabethtown College

Undergraduate public law courses often attract students with competing expectations. Some students enroll in these courses to prepare for law school, while others enroll in the courses to gain a broader understanding of courts in the American system of government. These differing student constituencies can create a dilemma for instructors. A course designed to cater to students with a general interest in the judiciary may not afford prelaw students with an appreciation for the demands of the legal profession. Conversely, a course narrowly tailored toward prelaw students risks alienating the majority of students for whom this class may be their only look at the judiciary. As a means to promote pedagogical balance and to appeal to varied student constituencies, we profile five public law simulations in this article that engage students in active learning and promote a greater understanding of law and courts.

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Journal of Political Science Education | Pages 225-238 | Volume 13, 2017 – Issue 1, Published online: 3 March 2017