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Learning through Research

Our goal is to make CCCE a fully integrated learning and research center. This means that students and faculty take questions and ideas from the classroom into the research environment. And when these projects come to fruition, the newly created knowledge is returned to the classroom, and to the larger scholarly community through this web site and in publications.

This process is based on working teams of undergraduates, graduate students and faculty. Students are full participants in research projects that generate multi-media information archives which then become resources for existing classes and for new course development in the social sciences.

Some students receive academic credit for their work. In addition, they may be employed as research assistants on funded projects. Others receive prestigious university support such as Mary Gates Undergraduate Fellowships. And, most importantly, they are involved in every step of the process of creating new knowledge, from asking original questions in the classroom, to joining an appropriate project at CCCE, to gathering and analyzing data, participating in team discussions and conferences, and seeing their own work posted and published in high quality formats.

Students in large lecture classes are motivated by seeing what their peers have produced. Indeed, introducing these resources in regular classes inevitably produces another wave of students interested in joining a team through one of our research internships.

An important result of this learning cycle is the development of new courses that are partially designed and driven by this student input. One example is a joint Political Science and Communication undergraduate seminar on new media and political information flows. Another is a course on global issue networks. There is great demand for these kinds of courses, but they cannot be developed as hands-on learning experiences without the kinds of products that our teams at CCCE are currently creating.

One team that has been up and running for more than two years is a group of students and faculty who are working on different aspects of Global Citizenship. Different projects within this group include: the expansion of citizenship claims beyond the nation state; the creation of new political accountability relations between publics, corporations, trade and development organizations; the rise of new Internet information channels for issues and causes, and the transformation of political communication via global electronic media. These students meet regularly in their various research groups, and then gather twice a month for a team meeting. The products that have been created by this team include: a series of wonderful interviews (organized and conducted by the students) with leaders of citizen groups and NGOs; think pieces on how democracy might work outside of national institutions; working papers on new citizen politics in the global arena, and data bases on the new media and global organizations that are transforming contemporary politics.
Other teams are emerging in the areas of citizenship and interactive digital media, and information systems for local and virtual communities.

Products from student learning at CCCE are displayed throughout the websites of the Center for Communication and Civic Engagement and in the Global Citizen Project companion site that we have launched based on the work of the global citizen team (www.globalcitizenproject.org).

Some of the student projects are showcased in the pages that follow in this section of the site.

For more information about joining one of our teams, or contributing to the administrative and student support of this project, please contact Lance Bennett, Director of CCCE at: lbennett@u.washington.edu.

2006 - Learning Communities at CCCE

As the student learning focus at CCCE has expanded, individual projects have evolved into team and community efforts. These rewarding projects often extend research and classroom ideas into hands-on activities involving students, faculty, staff and various community organizations.

Recent examples include:

Becoming Citizens is an internship program involving faculty-student designed seminars on citizenship and civic engagement, led by graduate student mentors who facilitate undergraduate internships in schools and community organizations to promote youth participation in public life. With help from the Carlson Center, the Provost, the College of Arts & Sciences, and the departments of communication and political science, this program extends internship and service learning models in ways that bridge the classroom and the research center.

What's the Economy For? is a learning community that emerged from a lively discussion at the CCCE Citizen Roundtable and soon spread to students and faculty in various departments. With help from the Provost, various departments, and community experts, UW undergraduates were able to participate in intensive research and thinking about how different societies organize their economies for the benefit of different citizens. The result is a rich set of resources available to local, national, and international learning communities.

2004-2005 Undergraduate Research Projects

Jeannie Frantz - Political Science Major in the College and Political Science Honors Programs
CCCE Undergraduate Research Fellow
Staff Coordinator Seattle Student Voices.

Jeannie has participated in a number of projects at CCCE, including studies of youth civic engagement, the Student Voices civic education project and the CCCE 2005-2006 lecture series. One of her projects has been to provide teachers and policy makers concerned about civic education with reports on local civic resources and national centers of civic education activity.

Andrew Waits - B.A. in Communication and Political Science, 2005
Mary Gates Undergraduate Fellow at CCCE in 2004-5

Andrew writes:

I first became interested in the potential of the Internet as a means of political transformation and social interaction while taking Professor Kirsten Foot’s Political Science 407 course during my junior year at the University of Washington. I was primarily interested in the power of the Internet to create a forum where individuals could become exposed to differing opinions and ideologies as well as a means of mobilization and organization... (read more)

Read Andrew's undergraduate thesis on computer mediated deliberation...

2003-2004 Undergraduate Research Projects

David Iozzi - B.A., Political Science and Communication, 2004
CCCE Undergraduate Research Fellow
Mary Gates Undergraduate Research Fellow

David's senior honors thesis investigates Internet use by the 2004 presidential candidates and uses their online campaigning activity to shed light on the question of how political candidates can use the Web most effectively. In particular, he focuses on the emergence of the social networking technologies most notably seen in the Howard Dean organization.

Christine Lee – B.A. Political Science and Communication, 2004

Christine’s research focuses on the state of youth political engagement, identifying key problem areas, exploring the potential emergence of college students as pivotal actors in the upcoming presidential election, and documenting the most promising avenues for greater youth engagement in civic and political life through politically oriented youth portals on the Web. Her honors thesis examines traditional political websites and youth-oriented political websites and discusses the Internet’s potential role in influencing youth political engagement. Christine has also assembled a collection of literature and findings related to her research on her own website, Frequency 2004.

(Archived Version of the Frequency 2004 Site)

2002-2003 Undergraduate Research Projects

Heather Gorgura - B.A. in Political Science and Comparative Literature, 2003

Heather’s work focuses on evolving communication technologies as activist resources. Her recent paper “The Net Repertoire: Global Activist Networks and Open Publishing” explores Internet technology, activism, and the democratization of the news media.

Rachel Wilhelm -- B.A. Political Science, 2003.

Rachel became interested in political consumerism through her coursework, and combined this with a theoretical interest in political consumerism in the political science honors program. Her honors thesis is on political consumerism, global citizenship and the world environmental movement.

2001-02 Undergraduate Research Projects

David Iozzi - Junior, Political Science and Communication

David is interested in understanding transnational advocacy groups. His current project is a study of the sustainable coffee network. For this project, David has thus far produced a map as well as an analysis detailing the links between various organizations interested in supporting responsibly grown and fairly traded coffee. He has also transcribed lectures and secured interviews with important leaders in the sustainable coffee movement. He has also written a paper entitled the Moralization of Coffee that discusses the strategies of the networks. Recently he created a Catalog of Sustainable Coffee Network Actors. His interview of Melissa Schweisguth can be found here. His most recent work is an essay titled, The Sustainable Coffee Movements in the United States and Denmark: A Comparative Analysis.

Wendi Pickerel - B.A. Latin American Studies 2002

Wendi has conducted numerous interviews with activists concerned about consumption and politics. She has conducted interviews with Kalle Lasn of Adbusters, Alistair Jackson of the Transparency Center, and Mark Hosler of Negativland.

Carl Schroeder - Senior, Political Science

Carl is currently developing a project that compares standards regimes in the apparel industry and in the organic foods industry.