Faculty notice post-election shift in political conversations among students

Faculty are noticing a shift in the political conversations among their students in this post-election semester.


According to some undergraduates, attending any POL-designated course last semester was a rough experience. Domestically, the political climate was volatile. Personally, the feeling of being put on the defense was constant.


Erin Glynn, a freshman Political Science student, saw that her classmates adapted to the uneasy climate in differing ways; some chose to lash out when confronted with provocation, some withdrew into a bubble of like-minded peers.


This behavior did not fall on oblivious minds — professors in the Political Science Department at Miami University had taken notice.


“Everyone was very emotional, but also emotional in the wrong way,” said Dr. Michael Marshall, a professor of modern world governments.


The chair of the Political Science Dept., Dr. Patrick Haney, said that he is “accustomed to seeing student involvement in politics rise during election season and fall in the interim,” but that this election was intense in a way he had not experienced before at Miami.


The tendency for outspoken, often partisan voices, to dominate classroom discussion complicated the efforts of many professors who sought substantive discourse among their students, according to some professors in the Political Science Dept..


“Rather than people really diving in and learning, they were almost fearful of some type of backlash,” Dr. Marshall stated.


Dr. Nicole Pankiewicz, also a professor in the Political Science Dept., concurs.


“Last semester there was so much tension, and anger, and resentment. It was not fun teaching last semester. It was a big challenge,” said Dr. Pankiewicz.  


Kirsten Fowler, a senior Diplomacy and Global Politics major, agrees that “it was difficult to have substantive arguments” with classmates last semester.


But that was last semester.


Professors have noticed that the the…

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