First-Year Experience

About Public Sphere Pedagogy

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"I appeal to remember that they above all others are the consecrated servants of the democratic ideas in which alone this country is truly a distinctive nation—ideas of friendly and helpful intercourse between all and the equipment of every individual to serve the community by his own best powers in his own best way."
-John Dewey

Public Sphere Pedagogy (PSP) embeds a "public sphere" in first-year courses, moving students from a typical classroom setting to a dialogue-rich environment. It focuses students' course reading, class discussion, and research efforts on contemporary public issues and places students in dialogue with diverse campus and community members. These public events provide students with opportunities to behave as adult participants in processes of dialogue and debate vital to the health of a democracy. PSP aims to increase students' sense of civic efficacy and personal responsibility. PSP students are more likely to persist to graduation than non-PSP students.

First-Year Experience collaborates with others in the development of civic engagement education. We work to contribute to students’ development and address the needs of our campus and community by taking John Dewey’s vision of public education to heart. This is accomplished through the use of Public Sphere Pedagogy and public events in first-year courses.