Political Science Now

New APSA Book, “Teaching Civic Engagement Across the Disciplines,” Now Available Online


New APSA Book Calls for Increased Civic Engagement Education: Teaching Civic Engagement Across the Disciplines

September 19, 2017

WASHINGTON, DC — Responding to ever shriller civil discourse and limited civic engagementamong the US public, APSA has published the new book Teaching Civic Engagement Across the Disciplines. The book in itself is a call for compromise, as editors Elizabeth C. Matto, Alison Rios Millett McCartney, Elizabeth A. Bennion, and Dick Simpson have gathered a diverse group of 38 contributors who approach civic engagement education from multiple disciplines and perspectives. The book defines the terminology of civic engagement education and explores practices, techniques, principles and assessment, creating a resource that will be practical for all educators.

Although political science should play a central role in university civic education and engagement initiatives, teaching civic engagement should not be restricted to political science classrooms. Advancing the scholarship of teaching civic engagement requires educators of all disciplines to embrace the value of civic learning and demonstrate how such pedagogy can be included in a breadth of classrooms.” – Elizabeth Matto, Lead Editor

The book is comprised of three sections. The first section lays a foundation for successful civic engagement education, discussing the optimum classroom and campus environment, the government’s role in civic education and the history of civic education, particularly in political science. The next section explores the purpose and practice of civic and provides examples of how to promote civic learning across the disciplines, including the arts, engineering and general education. Finally, the last section of the book explains additional ways to expand civic engagement across disciplines and throughout campus life. The chapters argue that civics (and politics) affect every person and profession in some way; therefore, educating students of all disciplines will prepare them to engage in their communities throughout their lives and careers.

In 2013, the American Political Science Association (APSA) was proud to support the publication of Teaching Civic Engagement: From Student to Active Citizen as a key element of our renewed and expanding commitment to both civic engagement education and political science education more broadly. Education for civic engagement and responsive governance were founding objectives of the organization. These goals remain essential for the twenty-first century, as citizens continue to seek productive ways to engage in their communities and the political process.” – Steven Rathgeb Smith, APSA Executive Director

As democracies and societies become increasingly complex, education for civic engagement becomes ever more critical. Civic education should not be confined to government or civics classes, but should be available to students in all areas of study. Civic engagement education can provide students with the knowledge, skills, values and experience they need to be active, engaged citizens who make a meaningful difference in their communities.

Along with the book, APSA and the editors have built a companion website that includes supplementary materials from the book. The site will be continuously updated and will serve as a free, ongoing resource for educators dedicated to civic engagement education. It can be found at www.apsanet.org/tce2, where users can also obtain a free eBook download. The paperback edition is available for sale on Amazon as of September 1, 2017. The editors are available for interview upon request.


“Any college faculty member or administrator who cares about the future of our country should read this splendid book. In more than two thoughtful dozen essays, the volume focuses not just on learning about how governments work, but, more important, on how students can gain the knowledge, skills and attributes necessary to be actively engaged in public-policy and politics. These capacities are essential if our democracy is to function as it should. Faculty and administrators in fields across the curriculum and co-curriculum will find practical wisdom about teaching democratic practices.” – Thomas Ehrlich, President Emeritus, Indiana University

“Editors Matto, McCartney, Bennion and Simpson-along with the authors of the chapters in this volume-make substantial contributions to our understanding of the dynamics of civic engagement across disciplines. Their research is grounded in theoretical innovation and empirical investigation, advancing knowledge about teaching civic engagement well beyond the discipline of political science by providing examples of civic education that reach across departments and programs. It is “must reading” for anyone interested in civic education.”  – Jane Junn, Professor of Political Science, University of Southern California

“Teaching Civic Engagement Across the Disciplines, offers a unique approach that is both cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary evidence for training tomorrow’s citizenry. By providing the theory, practice and tools to faculty who want to involve students in their communities and beyond, this edited volume recommends techniques, such as institutional programming, faculty development and interdisciplinary opportunities for involving students in their social and political world. As a genuine contribution to the field of civic engagement, Teaching Civic Engagement Across the Disciplines should be in every institution of higher education’s library.” – Bobbi Gentry, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Bridgewater College

About the American Political Science Association
Founded in 1903, the American Political Science Association is the leading professional organization for the study of political science and serves more than 13,000 members in more than 80 countries. With a range of programs and services for individuals, departments, and institutions, APSA brings together political scientists from all fields of inquiry, regions, and occupational endeavors within and outside academe to deepen our understanding of politics, democracy, and citizenship throughout the world.

Media Contact: For questions or press credentials, contact Dan Gibson, American Political Science Association, Senior Director of Communications and Marketing, at dgibson@apsanet.org or 202-483-2513. For the latest in political science research in the news, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.