The Periclean Voting Modules are a set of curricular resources for educators, across all disciplines, who are interested in incorporating nonpartisan voter education into the curriculum. These modules were developed in collaboration with faculty members in the Project Pericles and Students Learn Students Vote (SLSV) Coalition networks. They represent a wide range of geographic regions and disciplines.
Content Areas and Use
The modules are designed to cover three different areas:
Discipline Specific Discussion Sections
The sections on deliberative dialogue can be customized for courses in the fine arts, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences. The goal of the discussion is to empower students to see the connections between the issues that affect them, their elected officials, and the impact of their vote.
Flexibility and Scalability
The modules are a menu of options that faculty can pick from and further adapt to fit the needs of their class. Ten minutes of one module can be incorporated into an existing class or they can be used altogether to create an independent class unit. We provide the content in two different formats (word documents and PowerPoint presentations). There are also options for different class sizes and time constraints.
We intend to continue our collaboration with faculty partners and to collect their feedback as we refine the content. Project Pericles appreciates the support of the SLSV Coalition, Young Invincibles, and the Eugene M. Lang Foundation. Special thanks to our collaborators on this project: Periclean Faculty Leaders, Project Pericles Program Directors, and the SLSV Coalition!
As we make electoral engagement a movement in higher education, we recognize that faculty members face time, resource, and other constraints that can affect classroom issue discussions and voter information dissemination. These modules offer a menu of curricular resources to provide the ideas and tools necessary to incorporate civil dialogue that demonstrates the importance of voting into the classroom.
Deliberative Dialogue Discussion Module
This is a critical time for our democracy and it is particularly vital that our students understand their role in making a difference in society, which begins with voting. In the recently released Election Imperatives report, the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education offers ten recommendations to “increase student voting and to improve campus conditions for political learning, discourse, and agency during the election season and beyond.” Two recommendations are to “involve faculty across disciplines in elections” and “increase and improve classroom issue discussions across disciplines.” We are pleased that these modules directly respond to the recommendations.
The curricular modules offer deliberative dialogue discussion sections that can be customized for courses across various disciplines. In an essay by Scott London (Kettering Foundation) titled Deliberative Dialogue, The Power of Thinking Together, he explains: “the purpose [of deliberative dialogue discussion] is not so much to solve a problem or resolve an issue as to explore the most promising avenues for action. Deliberative dialogue differs from other forms of public discourse — such as debate, negotiation, brainstorming, consensus-building — because the objective is not so much to talk together as to think together.”
This section offers a framework for bridging discipline specific content and a voting discussion within the class. In small groups, students will explore their stance on a relevant issue.
This work builds on the successes of the Turn Up Turnout Workshops at the University of Michigan with Democracy Works. Analysis of the workshop’s evaluations showed evidence that these discussions provide a great benefit students. It empowered them to see the connections between the issues that affect them, their elected officials, and the importance of voting.
How to Facilitate a Discussion:
Deliberative Dialogue Discussion-Faculty Overview: Provides an overview of facilitating a deliberative dialogue discussion and a template for choosing a topic. The facilitator should allow at least 15 minutes for the discussion section. This activity can be used independently and ideally in conjunction with topics on the syllabus.
Choosing a Topic for Discussion:
Multi-Disciplinary Discussion Topics and Prompts: Provides a list of discipline specific discussion topics/issue suggestions based on input from faculty. The list is alphabetical by topic. In order to search the document, please press CTRL+F and type the keyword.
Sample PowerPoint Presentation: Sugary Beverage Tax
Discussion Facilitator Resources:
Why Voting Matters Module
“An election is about more than determining which candidates win. Just showing up matters. When you vote, your identity gets tallied, not merely your ballot….Voting is a demonstration of hope and faith that a better collective future is possible.” – Forbes Article by Dr. David B. Hoffman and Collin Sullivan, Civic Nation
For faculty who want to demonstrate the importance of voting, this section offers activities that help combat student skepticism about the power of voting. This module encourages students to explore and articulate their personal connection to voting, the concept of the “whole vote,” and the role of voting in democracy.
Why should students care?
Why Voting Matters: An outline of activities (each take 10-15 minutes) that can be used independently or in conjunction with each other and existing classes. Curricular options include a reflective discussion for small groups, a game that demonstrates voting power, and a brief review of U.S. voting rights.
Sample PowerPoint Presentation: Why Voting Matters
How to Vote Module
Behavioral studies show that a major psychological barrier students face is the assumption that registering and voting is a difficult, burdensome, and intimidating process (like the FAFSA). This section addresses this barrier by briefly showing students how to register, how to vote (absentee vs. mail vs. in person), and shows what a ballot looks like.
Sample PowerPoint Presentation: How to Vote
The PowerPoint provides “fill in the blank” sections for state specific information and provides links to resources that have this information.
Turn Up Turnout (University of Michigan) has sample PowerPoint presentations and facilitator guides that include deliberative dialogue discussions and an overview of the voting/registration process in Michigan. They are available on their website.
Additional Information about Voting Modules
Class time is time for teaching content. What are ways to incorporate this module with time constraints?
How do I facilitate a potentially controversial discussion in class?
See “Deliberative Dialogue Facilitator Resources” above for resource list.
Can these modules be incorporated as a co-curricular or extracurricular activity?
Yes! While the modules were developed for and by faculty, they can be used as workshops, student club activities, etc. facilitated by students, community members, etc.
What may entice my colleagues to incorporate the modules, or civic dialogue more generally, into their classrooms?
This is a critical time for our democracy and it is particularly vital that our students understand their role in making a difference in society, which begins with voting. In the recently released Election Imperatives document by the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education, two recommendations are to “involve faculty across disciplines in elections” and “increase and improve classroom issue discussions across disciplines.” Allocating just 15 minutes to civil dialogue in class can make a huge difference.
Project Pericles has published a white paper addressing this topic: “Civic Engagement in the Classroom: Strategies for Incorporating Education for Civic and Social Responsibility in the Undergraduate Classroom” by Ariane Liazos and Jan R. Liss,
This CEC White Paper shares the learnings from the Civic Engagement Course (CEC) program™ and serves as a guide for incorporating civic engagement into higher education curricula. It focuses on specific pedagogical strategies employed by the faculty to integrate education for civic and social responsibility into their courses, as well as the unique challenges of civic education. The White Paper includes a description of the methodology used; knowledge gained from the CEC program and guidance on transferability to other institutions and disciplines; Best practices that can be applied on a wide range of campuses; and an extensive bibliography.
Project Pericles offers over a hundred syllabi from courses that incorporate civic engagement and were developed as part of the Civic Engagement Course (CEC) Program™ and the Periclean Faculty Leadership Program (PFL)™.
Teaching Civic Engagement Across The Disciplines (2017), edited by Elizabeth C. Matto, Alison Rios Milltett McCartney, Elizabeth A. Bennion, and Dick Simpson, explains how campuses, across disciplines, can promote high quality education for civic engagement, providing a wealth of examples of successful practices, techniques, and assessment strategies.
All In to Vote: an all-in-one, nonpartisan, online resource that educates students on how to register, how to be prepared, and how to vote. Students take a pledge to vote and then follow the step-by-step guide to following through on their intention to cast a ballot.
Ballotpedia: digital encyclopedia of American politics and elections. Includes neutral, accurate, and verifiable information on government officials and the offices they hold, political issues and public policy, elections, candidates, and the influencers of politics. Resources include sample ballot look up tool.
BallotReady: aggregates information from candidates’ websites, social media, press, endorsers and board of elections data for the latest, most accurate details about the candidates and referendums on your ballot.
Campus Election Engagement Project: a national nonpartisan project that helps administrators, faculty, staff, and student leaders at America’s colleges and universities engage students in federal, state, and local elections. CEEP works with 439 partner campuses to help students actively participate in the electoral process. Resources include Candidate & Issue Guides and the Close Elections video.
Campus Vote Project: state-specific guides to help students understand how to register and cast a ballot in their school or home community.
Election Protection: provides comprehensive information and assistance at all stages of voting – from registration, to absentee and early voting, to casting a vote at the polls, to overcoming obstacles to participation.
League of Women Voters: Local chapters offer nonpartisan information and a hotline that will guide people through the voting process and answer any questions.
Rock the Vote: Resources geared toward young people including voter registration, voting rights, and election information. They have Voting Rights Resources like graphics to incorporate into presentations.
TurboVote: Register to vote, update your registration, and request an absentee ballot and sign up for reminders about important voting dates and deadlines! Some colleges have partnerships with TurboVote.
Vote Riders: provides practical assistance and information to ensure voters have the right kind of ID to vote in their state and a printable wallet-sized voter ID information card.
Resources on Voting Statistics:
NSLVE (National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement): offers colleges and universities an opportunity to learn their student registration and voting rates and, for interested campuses, a closer examination of their campus climate for political learning and engagement and correlations between specific student learning experiences and voting.
CIRCLE: The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement: Provides post election information on youth participation categorized by race, gender, educational attainment, and political affiliation.er Resources
This project was developed with support from the Students Learn Students Vote (SLSV) Coalition, Young Invincibles,
and the Eugene M. Lang Foundation.
A special thanks to our other collaborators on this project: Periclean Faculty Leaders and Project Pericles Program Directors.
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