TURNING TO EDUCATION COVERAGE TONIGHT.. JEN AT 2X2: POLITICAL SCIENCE IS A POPULAR SUBJECT AT UNIVERSITIES… AND NOW… WITH MANY POLITICAL TOPICS HOTLY DEBATED IN THE PAST FEW YEARS… PROFESSORS ARE SEEING MORE STUDENTS PASSIONATE ABOUT CERTAIN ISSUES. DAVID KOLR10’S FRANCES LIN VISITED O-T-C… DRURY UNIVERSITY… AND M-S-U TODAY… TO SPEAK TO PROFESSORS ABOUT THE STRATEGIES THEY USE… TO KEEP THEIR CLASSROOM FAIR AND EDUCATIONAL. (Frances Lin / Reporting): (Fran): “With the current political climate, poly-sci professors say it is hard for students to remain non-partisan. However, they try to get the students focused on the facts, and engaged in respectful and meaningful discussions.” (Dr. Kevin Pybas / Assistant Professor of Political Science, MSU): “Gay marriage for example. Abortion, free speech, freedom of religion, they’re all very contentious issues out in the political sphere” I SPOKE TO THREE POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSORS TODAY. THEY TOLD ME WITH THIS CURRENT POLITICAL CLIMATE… STUDENTS ARE FIRED UP ABOUT THE ISSUES. (Pybas): “Our politics has taken a turn to where disagreement is evidence that you’re a bad person. If you disagree with me, that means you have a dark heart.” (Justin Leinaweaver / Political Science Professor, Drury University): “I’m a republican, I’m a democrat, I’m green, I’m a libertarian, this is my identity and I want to talk about it.” PROFESSORS SAY SOME STUDENTS ARE EAGER TO TALK IN CLASS… BUT OTHERS ARE SCARED OF GIVING OR RECEIVING OFFENSE… (Pybas): “Conservative students feel beleaguered because at least in popular culture there’s perception of them being demonized.” (Pybas): “I’ve heard of counts on campus, hasn’t happened in my classroom, where hurtful things or inappropriate things said about immigrants.” BUT ALL THREE PROFESSORS… HAVE CREATIVE WAYS OF MAKING SURE STUDENTS ARE ABLE TO SAFELY EXPRESS THEIR OPINIONS. (Leinaweaver): “I redirect that energy into the questions that we can answer scientifically.” (Andrew Crocker / Political Science Professor, OTC): “When you give them an opportunity to break down the facts of the situation.” (Pybas): “However much we know it’s always exceeded by what we don’t know. So we have things that we can learn from each other.” (Crocker): “That’s really how you combat having bias in the classroom. You just bring the students to the facts, from there, they can generate very strong opinions sometimes, and in those opinion generation, they can share with each other and understand each other better.” AND AN O-T-C STUDENT TOLD ME… THOSE TECHNIQUES WORK. (Sarah Rife / Student, OTC): “In our political science class, Andrew Cocker really promoted the idea of sharing our opinions but being civil at the same time.” (Rife): “He allowed us to explore new ideas without having the fear of being judged or having the fear of having our personal parties being criticized or called out.” FRANCES LIN… OZARKS FIRST.