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Faculty Research-Driven vs. Community-Driven Experiential Learning in the Quantitative Public Administration Curriculum

Eva M. Witesman
Journal of Public Affairs Education
Vol. 18, No. 4 (FALL 2012), pp. 775-796
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23272643
Page Count: 22
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Faculty Research-Driven vs. Community-Driven Experiential Learning in the Quantitative Public Administration Curriculum
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Abstract

This paper contributes to the literature on public administration experiential learning pedagogy in three ways. First, it outlines two alternative approaches to experiential learning in the quantitative classroom (a community-driven approach and a research-driven approach). Second, the paper evaluates the comparative benefits and trade-offs of these two approaches through analysis of data resulting from a semester in which students were randomly assigned to each of the two described conditions in a master's-level public management statistics course. Third, the paper provides some general principles for incorporating faculty research endeavors into the public administration experiential learning classroom. While the empirical analysis found no demonstrable difference in learning outcomes, the project format did appear to significantly affect the nature of the student experience. Students in the community-driven condition felt that this interaction would help them professionally, felt a greater sense of ownership of the final project, and ultimately believed that their work was a more valuable contribution to the world than did their faculty-based research counterparts. However, the faculty research-driven model also has benefits. In addition to the economizing benefits of using students to help power faculty research, bringing research into the classroom may help students to perceive instructors as innovators and knowledge creators and may improve students' overall impressions of the professor.

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