Theme Panel: Meeting Gen Z Where They Are: Online, on Campus, and in the Community

Meeting Gen Z Where They Are: Online, on Campus, and in the Community


(Chair) Brigid Callahan Harrison, Montclair State University; (Presenter) Michelle D. Deardorff, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga; (Presenter) Jean Wahl Harris, University of Scranton

Session Description:
In a post-pandemic Political Science classroom, educators are facing unprecedented challenges as they meet a new generation of students, whose attitudes, priorities, behaviors, and circumstances differ from previous generations. This panel will explore the differences between today’s Gen Z student and previous generations, including Gen Z’s reliance on technology and social media as the mechanisms of political socialization and information acquisition; the salience of specific issue priorities, including racial equity, LGBTQ+ rights, and climate change; and the means by which these digital natives participate in the civic lives of their campuses, communities, and nation. The panel will also explore the impact of the political moments we are having on Gen Z, examining Black Lives Matter, national political polarization, how Gen Z has experienced the COVID-19 pandemic (including their impact on their education and mental health). The panel (consisting of department chairs) will also explore some best practices in creating a post-pandemic Political Science classroom that meets Gen Z students where they are and helps them make sense of the seemingly nonsensical political context that we are all navigating.