Plotting the liberal arts

When I was department chair, I regularly asked the Registrar during course registration for the number of students requesting seats in our courses during the various “rounds” of registration.  Round 1 is when students upload their first-choices for classes.  Round 2 gives students the chance to fill out their schedule by requesting space in courses […]

Trump approval

I’ve been playing around with some presidential approval data, inspired by Sides and Vavreck’s analysis in The Gamble.  They predicted Obama’s approval ratings over the course of his two terms, using data from Truman to Bush II.  The underlying question they ask is whether Obama’s actual approval at various points was higher or lower than […]

Approval of advisor and studying

File this as a head-scratcher.  In our 2018 poll of Bowdoin students, we asked them their opinion of their major or pre-major advisor (on a scale from 0 to 100).  We also asked them to indicate how many hours per week they spent studying and writing papers (in addition to class time) in their favorite […]

“Polar Poll” 2018 Results

Each time I offer Gov 2080 (“Quantitative Analysis in Political Science”), I work with students in the class to design and field a poll of Bowdoin students.  We pay careful attention to question wording and order, and we use the data to analyze the relationships between variables. This year’s results are here. We can have […]

Time for a New “Polar Poll”

Every year that I teach “Quantitative Analysis in Political Science,” I work with the students to design and field a poll of Bowdoin students.  The exercise is meant to give students exposure to the challenges of question wording and survey analysis.  We usually ask standard “feeling thermometer” questions of certain Bowdoin administrators or institutions, like […]

Teaching and Protests in 2003

I reflected recently on my first solo teaching gig: a mid-level course (with 170+ students) I offered as a grad student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2003, now 15 years ago.  The course was called “American Politics and Government,” and it was basically an Intro to American Government class for upperclassmen, mostly non-majors.  The […]