Class Gets Hands-On Lesson in Election Year

NMU students received some hands-on experience in connection with this year’s political campaigns and the election process. They are taking a special topics interdisciplinary course offered by the political science and communication and performance studies departments.

“Our goal was to examine the type and quality of information voters have available to them for their decision making,” said Chuck Ganzert (CAPS). “We looked at what the candidates and the parties were saying, how the other side answered, and what the media reported.”

Ganzert and Steve Nelson (Political Science) both teach the class, which is offered every four years during the election season. This year students were assigned to record a series of segments about the election to be aired on WNMU TV 13 and Public Radio 90.

“These were non-partisan, two-minute spots that contained information about the election process, issues of concern in the presidential election and interesting facts about the U.S. government,” said Shannon Cole, an NMU senior majoring in media studies.

The class also examined what scholars had to say about the election and the usefulness of information available in the media, Ganzert said.

Another of the students’ assignments was to follow a candidate of their choice through his or her campaign, according to senior criminal justice major Nicole Leach. “I followed Michigan Congressman Bart Stupak’s campaign.”

The class members say they’ve come to believe that voting, whether for the president or for local government officials, is very important in today’s America.

“I feel that it’s so important because of how unique America is,” said senior Melanee Ferrier. “Here, we, as just common people, get to decide who will lead our country, our state and our community.”

Cole and her fellow classmates said they hope that the work the class produced encouraged the NMU campus and local community to participate more actively in the election and voting process.

“For me, this class is a way of staying in the know and reinforcing my belief that being informed is important, civically and socially,” Cole said.



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Updated: November 8, 2004