Working Papers

The following works that are currently in various stages of completion (if the pronoun is singular, it is a single author; if the pronoun is plural, there are co-authors on the project).  If you have any comments, please email me.

Presidential Mandate or Congressional Priming: An Empirical Analysis of Presidential Success in Congress

 

While the predominant perception of the relationship between the Congress and the presidency this past century has been one of the president leading, current research is beginning to put that assumption to the empirical test. In this study, I refute the old idea that Congress is a secondary player in the separated system by introducing a new variable: congressional history on legislation. When we open up the analysis to include the Congress’ own percolating agenda we find that the legislative branch is more of a player than previously acknowledged.

Facebook: Fostering Civic Engagement
Young people in the 18-29 age group use Facebook extensively for their communication. 95% of this age group are on Facebook at least three times a day. As a result, they are fluent in the use of Facebook for their conversation. In 2012, research showed that using Facebook to mobilize people to vote resulted in millions more young people voting. We thus know that Facebook can be used as a tool to engage people in the political process. Given this, I examine how Facebook can be used to foster civic engagement. By taking politics into the realm of communication students are used to, I demonstrate that our students can become more fluent in the language of civic engagement using the tool of Facebook. I also demonstrate that this is more effective than discussion board posts in an online setting.
Tweet Up: Use of Twitter to Engage Young People
While not as pervasive as Facebook, many young people are on Twitter using it as an information sharing site. Twitter's requirement of 140 characters per post is a micro-blogging technique to which young people are accustomed. This year, a number of universities created a hashtag around the State of the Union Address and students across the nation sat down to watch it "together." The conversation on Twitter generated 750 posts. We examine the political references of these posts and determine whether they demonstrate levels of civic engagement.
Community Engaged Learning Online: the Pedagogy of Community Engagement in an Online Community
More and more of university students around the world are taking classes in an online environment, for a host of reasons. For some universities, all students have to take courses in an online environment while at other universities, students take these courses to facilitate their busy schedule. Given this movement into the online arena, it is imperative that the pedagogy of community engaged learning move there too. Often people claim you cannot do this work in an online setting. I make the argument that you can, comparing online courses to face to face courses with a community engaged learning component.
Do We Encourage Citizenship: Social Studies Curricula in the Various States
In 1787, the Northwest Ordinance dictated that in order encourage good character in its citizens, territories would have to have a school. Thus public education in this country has been in the business of training citizens since its inception. We look at the social studies curricula of the various states in this nation to see whether good citizenship is being encouraged. As there is no end of level test in this area and as common core provides no guidelines in this area, we can look to see what happens with regard to citizenship in states with different types of encouragement.

Weber State UniversityOgden, Utah 84408

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