Political Science and Criminal Justice

Town Hall Anniversary


Town Hall Meeting: Celebrating 10 Years of Civic Engagement

By Jessica Candela  

A civic engagement and public sphere pedagogy event, Town Hall Meeting (THM), is celebrating its 10th year at Chico State. THM began in the Department of English at Chico State, and landed in its permanent homes in the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice and First Year Experience Program in 2009.

THM is embedded in Political Science 155: American Government. Students choose a current policy issue and complete extensive research over the course of the semester. Past policy issues have included: climate change, immigration and voting rights. Students research interest groups, law, policy solutions and public officials. At THM, students are able to discuss their research in a public arena with fellow students, faculty, administrators, and community members. On average, over 1200 students and community members participate in the culminating event which takes place each semester.

THM has gained national recognitions for its groundbreaking civic engagement work. Representatives from campuses such as Tarleton State University (TX), Shenandoah University (VA), and Yavapai College (AZ), have visited Chico state to observe a Town Hall Meeting. The THM approach has also been adopted by several campuses in the CSU system and beyond.

Additionally, numerous pedagogical papers have been published on or referencing Chico State’s Town Hall Meeting. These appear in Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, communication Teacher, Liberal Education, and The Western: Newsletter of the Western Political Science Association. Most recently, Professors Allen, Morris and Ertle presented at their research on the THM,  “Teaching American Government in Communities of Practice: A Anon-Traditional Approach at CSU, Chico” at the American Political Science Association’s 2017 Teaching and Learning Conference. 

This research demonstrates that participating in the Town Hall Meeting is beneficial to students. THM improves students’ confidence as scholars and boosts retention in college. For most years since the inception of THM, there is a 5-7% increase in retention at the University among students who experience THM.

The ten year anniversary marks ten years of civic engagement that has provided the opportunity for thousands of students to engage in research and public discourse. We are proud to host THM and value the benefits it provides for our students and community. 

town hall spring 2017

Town Hall Spring 2017

town hall spring 2017

Town Hall Spring 2017

Political Statements is the official newsletter of the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice at California State University, Chico.

With over 1,000 total majors, the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice is one of the largest departments at Chico State. Students choose courses from a rich curriculum, providing close student-faculty contact in each of the following majors of study: U.S. politics, legal studies, criminal justice, international relations, and public administration. The department also offers a Master of Public Administration and a Master of Arts in Political Science.

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