Margaret Purcell, “Political Science Education.” Journal Article

Teaching PSC to Gen Z

Margaret Purcell (University of Alabama)

Political Science Education (Date: 2019)


This is a report of a case study of a course taught to upper-level, undergraduate students in a moderate sized, southern, public university. This review applies key tenets of established literature on the learning styles of Generation Z. An outline of the techniques suggested in the emerging published research on this cohort is paired with the techniques used and the results of the course design. The course is designed to introduce students in the political science discipline to the policymaking process and the issues relevant to contemporary public policymaking. Students examine the historical context and contemporary status of a current policy issue and must craft a position for the constituents of an assigned state. Students must understand that public choices impact private lives. Using techniques shown to be effective with Generation Z students, this course design requires students to apply theories to real-world issues. The course is designed to seize interest and to facilitate understanding. It was assumed that using a Generation Z–focused method would enhance opportunities for learning.

Bibliographic Information

Dr. Purcell has a doctoral degree in political science with a specialization in public policy and administration. She has over 30 years of administrative experience in the higher education, nonprofit, and corporate sectors. She has extensive experience with managerial oversight of various organizational functions including strategic planning and assessment, policy development, fundraising, budget oversight, and personnel management and development. Her work has been published in journals such as Political Science Education, The Review of Public Policy and Administration, The International Journal of Public Administration, and The Journal of Continuing Higher Education. She is particularly interested in the impact of supportive communities on group culture and individual outlook and resilience.