Dr. Peter Longo
professor and chair of political science, 308.865.8039

Last spring, the University of Nebraska at Kearney Department of Political Science won the top teaching award in the university system, the Universitywide Departmental Teaching Award (UDTA), which carries with it a $25,000 grant to the department.

This week, Dr. Peter Longo, political science department chair, announced the department’s commitment to spend the $25,000 to launch a new student citizenship program.

“The newly-founded Community for Active Citizenship is recruiting students from all academic disciplines to be the first class of Active Citizenship Fellows, beginning in the fall of 2004,” Dr. Longo announced today.

On one floor of a residence hall, the Community for Active Citizenship will house students interested in developing their own agendas for civic engagement, he said. Each Fellow will propose and carry out an action inquiry project. Department faculty will supervise student projects, which may include community service, public interest research, political or policy advocacy, or any other program that fits under the general heading of active citizenship.

The prize money will support student projects and fund a series of seminars on civic engagement, led by activists from across the state, region and nation, according to Dr. Diane Duffin, associate professor of political science.

When the department received the award last spring, the announcement noted: “The department engages its students in innovative, student-centered teaching that requires students to take ownership of learning. The department’s accomplishments in the classroom, out of the classroom, and in the arena of innovative programs and efforts make them stand out.”

In recent years, the department has grown extensively in the areas of student internships, majors, minors and degrees awarded as well as in student research and collaborative student-faculty research within the department.

“Students interested in applying for placement in the Community for Active Citizenship should attend an informational meeting at 8 p.m. Sunday, April 4, in Room 310 of the Nebraskan Student Union,” Dr. Duffin said. Those unable to attend may acquire additional information and application materials by inquiring at the UNK Department of Political Science, 2200 Founders Hall. The deadline for filing applications is April 23.