What are we in higher education to make of the recent calls for citizenship education to play a larger role in the academy? As Matt Hartley’s paper in this issue of Learning and Teaching suggests, colleges and universities in the United States have been paying increased attention to educating for citizenship in recent decades; Bob Simpson’s concluding commentary makes similar arguments about increased expectations for citizenship education in Europe. As our institutions of higher learning confront economic pressures, increased competition (including from for-profit entities) and calls for accountability through meaningful assessments of student learning, they will also face increased pressure to graduate not just educated individuals, but also individuals who are connected, as citizens, to the local, national and transnational world in which they live.
Jeffrey L. Bernstein
Hailey L. Huckestein, Steven M. Mikulic and Jeffrey L. Bernstein
When studying the political development of young people, level of education matters. However, instead of concentrating on the amount of education and how it affects one’s political attributes (vertical effects of education), we consider the effects of characteristics of one’s education, specifically one’s college major, among people with similar levels of education (horizontal effects). Our study demonstrates that the discipline in which one majors affects one’s political development, over and above the expected self-selection effects. While our results are modest, they suggest that there is much to be gained from exploring horizontal variations in education and its effects on political attributes.