Political Science Professor Gary Bugh’s theoretical work receives positive reviews


Texas A&M University-Texarkana Political Science Professor Gary Bugh’s recent publication has received positive reviews from other scholars.

Dr. Bugh’s peer-reviewed chapter “Models of Civic Education in America” recently came out in the national book, Civic Education in the Twenty-First Century: A Multidimensional Inquiry, edited by Professor Michael Rogers of Arkansas Tech University and Professor Donald Gooch of Stephen F. Austin State University, and published by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Professor T. Clay Arnold of the University of Central Arkansas wrote an independent review of the book, giving it high praise. Published in the well-respected Journal of Political Science Education, the review concludes that the book “is as comprehensive as it is timely” and that it “sets the agenda for future civic-education scholarship.”

Dr. Arnold focuses attention on Professor Bugh’s chapter in his review, writing that “Bugh compares and contrasts four different models of civic education … Each one differs in its ability to overcome what Bugh lists as the two most important theoretical obstacles to more effective civic learning: America’s longstanding preference for ‘a separation between morality and government,’ which formal civic-education schemes risk violating, and a complacency rooted in what he calls the ‘Irony of Rights’ or the paradox that ‘once people see themselves as possessing rights, some may conclude that it is unnecessary to learn anything more about civics.’”

Professor Bugh engages the reader right from the beginning of his chapter writing, “How teachers convey basic lessons about living in our representative democracy may help overcome theoretical obstacles to civic education. Fortunately, there are distinct models of civic education that serve as guideposts to teachers navigating civic education through a sea of resistance and irony.”

Professor Bugh’s essay reviews four ways of teaching students civic lessons — “formal pedagogy,” “minority dissent,” “civic engagement,” and “political participation.” He evaluates the use and possible effectiveness of these different teaching approaches, concluding that the more engaging ones increase students’ understanding and political efficacy. “A person is just going to learn more about real-world politics by doing it instead of just hearing about it,” Dr. Bugh explains.

However, Dr. Bugh notes that effective civics teaching does not necessarily have to involve internships or peaceful protests.

“By telling stories of actual political participation instead of repeating textbook definitions, a teacher can convey concepts, enliven in-class lectures, and spark students’ interest in helping their community,” he said.

Both Rogers and Gooch use Bugh’s theoretical work in their own chapters on civic education. Professor Gooch refers to Professor Bugh’s theory as “Bugh’s civic education typology” and “the Bugh theoretical framework.”

Professor Bugh’s teaching and research focuses on U.S. political theory and constitutional law. A&M-Texarkana recently recognized Professor Bugh for his active scholarship production at the annual Tribute to Scholarly Accomplishments. Dr. Bugh also coordinates the Political Science and Pre-law programs, where he oversees internships through which students earn credit and experience by working in government.

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