The CQ Press Award for Teaching Innovation honors a wide range of new directions in teaching by recognizing a political scientist who has developed an effective new approach to teaching in the discipline.
Megan Becker is an Assistant (Teaching) Professor in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Southern California. She is also a co-PI of the Security and Political Economy (SPEC) Lab and PI of the NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program “Data Science and the Political Economy of Security.” Dr. Becker was the recipient of the 2017 Craig L. Brians Undergraduate Research and Mentorship Award from the Political Science Education Section of the APSA and a 2019-20 faculty fellow with the Project on Teaching Integrity in Empirical Research (Project TIER). Her pedagogy research is focused on undergraduate research, mentorship, and research methods education and has been published in PS: Political Science and Politics and the Journal of Political Science Education. She earned her Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of California, San Diego.
Citation from the Award Committee:
The committee is pleased to announce that Dr. Megan Becker is the recipient of the 2021 CQ Press Award for Teaching Award Innovation. Dr. Becker stood out among a strong field of nominees due to her novel approach combining research and teaching. Her work has clearly inspired students and given them important research opportunities.
Dr. Becker’s main innovation is the introduction of replication in her upper-division courses. She has integrated a replication of Michael Ross’ 2004 article, “How do natural resources influence civil war? Evidence from thirteen cases.” Students must take two of the cases from that article and attempt to replicate Ross’ coding and analysis. In addition to providing an invaluable replication, then, the students must also learn about the qualitative methodology and how to apply it to a particular hypothesis. Dr. Becker’s approach has been enormously successful and has already resulted in multiple papers, follow-up projects, and an expansion to multiple courses and universities.
APSA thanks CQ Press for its support of the award and the committee members for their service: Dr. Vanessa Bouche (Chair), Texas Christian University; Mary A. McHugh, Merrimack College; and Nathaniel Swigger, Ohio State University.