Elizabeth Bennion Indiana University South Bend Professor of Political Science Elizabeth Bennion has become the first person to twice receive the Barbara Burch Award for Faculty Leadership in Civic Engagement. The award goes to a tenured or contingent faculty member with more than five years of teaching experience who has demonstrated leadership in advancing the civic learning and engagement of undergraduates. Dr. Bennion was selected from faculty at 420 public colleges and universities nationwide. She also won the award in 2016.
Bennion teaches American politics, with an emphasis on political behavior. She is the founding director of IU South Bend’s American Democracy Project, Director of Voter Services and Education for the League of Women Voters of the South Bend Area, and host of WNIT’s (PBS) live weekly television program Politically Speaking. A nationally recognized expert on civic education and political engagement, she has won numerous awards for her teaching, research, and service, and has published widely in academic books, journals and newsletters. She involves students in this work as interns, volunteers, fieldworkers, co-authors, and research assistants.
Bennion’s work includes hosting dozens of candidate forums, debate watch parties, voter registration drives, civic leadership workshops, and public issues forums each year, in addition to giving public talks and granting frequent interviews to local, state, national, and international media outlets. She also shares evidence-based best practices for college teachers through her regular column in The Political Science Educator and as co-editor of two books on teaching civic engagement: Teaching Civic Engagement: From Student to Active Citizen (2013) and Teaching Civic Engagement Across the Disciplines (2017).
The Burch Award was established in 2014 by the American Association of State College and Universities (AASCU) American Democracy Project in honor of Barbara Burch, Provost Emerita at Western Kentucky University, who provided extraordinary national leadership in the design, creation, and ongoing development of the American Democracy Project.