Political Science: Global Summit on Sustainability

Title: Global Summit on Sustainability
Discipline(s) or Field(s): Political Science, Environmental Studies
Authors: Katia Levintova, Kevin Vonck, Terri Johnson, Denise Scheberle, University of Wisconsin – Green Bay
Submission Date: March 2, 2009

Executive Summary: The goals of introductory political science courses are not only to equip students with the fundamental knowledge about our discipline (that is about political processes at home and on the international level), but to give students a set of important skills, including political engagement, meaningful political citizenship (efficacy and agency), critical thinking, cultural empathy and respect for diversity (both domestic and global). To this end, four faculty members in Public and Environmental Affairs (Terri Johnson, Denise Scheberle, Kevin Vonck, and Katia Levintova) devised, piloted and refashioned a Global Summit on Sustainability. The summit pilot (Spring 2008) involved two sections of American Government (approximately 200 students) and one section of Global Politics (120 students).

The lesson study involved 29 student teams role-playing countries in a summit designed to adopt a global resolution on sustainability. Prior to the Global Summit session, a pre-Summit session was held. During pre-Summit students selected their roles, received instructions, and agreed upon the schedule for assignment completion. During the Global Summit, the global resolution was adopted as a result of compromises and negotiations among country delegations. Prior to the Global Summit, students researched their assigned country’s environmental, social, economic, and political problems that pertained to sustainable development. They also learned about the role their country played in international sustainable development efforts and international affairs in general. Each country delegation had to come up with a UN-like resolution on sustainable development which both addressed national needs and priorities and had a reasonable chance of being a framework for the global policy on sustainability. Preliminary negotiations started as soon as a resolution was approved by the delegation and posted on a D2L website created specially for the Summit. Students had one or two summit work days in class, but their work also took place outside the class as they worked in teams, and also on-line. The learning objective was for students to come away from the Summit empowered as citizens, with an increased understanding of and appreciation for global citizenship, domestic and global negotiations and policy-making, knowledgeable about their own country and the complexities of the world.

The Global Summit pilot (Spring 2008) and the slightly revised Global Summit (Fall 2008) increased students’ appreciation for global citizenship. Students perceived improved skills supportive of effective citizenship (negotiation and empathy). The change was measured through a survey instrument developed specifically for the Summit as well as observations of face-to-face and virtual (D2L) behavior and dialogues before and during the Summit and content analysis of quick reaction papers and longer (required) reflection papers. Most significantly, we detected the difference in means between the pre-Summit and post-Summit surveys, with the questions’ means increasing or decreasing in response to participation in the Summit. Qualitative content analysis of student written assignments also revealed increased sophistication in global thinking and negotiations skills.

Below are links to some additional material:

This section contains every handout or prompt mentioned in the description of the lesson.  It provides useful instructional materials to use with the lesson.

This presentation is shown during the Pre-Summit.  It provides brief overview of the project and is designed to introduce students to the global thinking.

This presentation helps keep the summit on track.

In this video students discuss their assignment.

Excerpts from the Global Summit on Sustainability Fall 2008.

Physical Therapy: Assessing Communication Skills via Interactive Lab

Title: Assessment of communication skills and the change in knowledge and valuing of Physical Therapist and Physical Therapist Assistant students through completion of one interactive lab
Discipline(s) or Field(s): Physical Therapy
Authors: Erin Hussey, Paul Reuteman, Gwyn Straker, Michele Thorman (University of Wisconsin-La Crosse), Jeff Komay (Western Technical College – La Crosse), Carrie Rowan (student member from UW-La Crosse)
Date: May 22, 2008

Executive Summary

Purpose: The PT-PTA lesson study team designed a project to develop awareness and appreciation for professional and technically trained colleagues within the first year of each academic program. Both programs are housed in the Health Science Center. In the past, an interactive activity had occurred only within the final academic semester of each program so this project was designed to integrate these students earlier during their educational experience. As health care providers, PT assistants provide technically skilled assistance to the PT in providing services to consumers. Therefore, the learning activity was designed to improve student awareness of each others’ background training, clinical skills, and expected roles & responsibilities in work settings.

Learning Goals: The team developed five learning goals for the session that addressed how well students value the preferred PT-PTA relationship, recognize the educational rigor expected of each program, and experience an opportunity to and collaborate and learn from each other related to patient care activities.

Instructional Design: Within each program, students were introduced to the guiding principles for PT-PTA relationships on the basis of state statutes, the Wisconsin PT practice act, national professional policies, ethical guidelines, and consensus documents. Within the interactive lab, students managed one or more clinical cases (one case using role play in 2007 adjusted to 14 mini-cases using discussion in 2008) during which they had the opportunity to interact on educational background, clinical training, and to develop a mutual understanding of roles and responsibilities.

Major Findings: The Lesson Study team concluded that this activity was worthwhile. The data and feedback indicate that students benefit from and value an opportunity to focus on PT and PTA backgrounds, clinical training, roles and responsibilities in an interactive manner. In addition, there were indicators that the format of the lesson plan for 2008 was more effective in achieving the learning goals when compared to data and feedback from 2007. Primary course instructors were encouraged to continue the lesson study process with further integration of content across the program in addition to continuing to hold one interactive lab at the end of the first academic year. A second lab session held later in the academic programs is recommended as follow-up with a focus on promoting a more advanced awareness of clinical roles relative to more complex clinical considerations.