Posts Tagged ‘Project for Equity Representation and Governance’
Students in the College of Liberal Arts are blurring the boundary between undergraduate and graduate student, between class room assignment and research that could make a difference in the world around them, and perhaps even strengthening democracy in the process.
Students who are working to blend those elements have enlisted in the Project for Equity, Representation, and Governance (PERG).
PERG is a Texas A&M University research program in which undergraduate and graduate students work alongside faculty members to perform studies related to various public policy concerns, often with a focus on educational inequalities.
“Without an educated population, democracy is just a very fragile institution,” said Kenneth Meier, distinguished professor in the Department of Political Science. “Indeed, major disparities in education are a problem. My philosophy has always been that the purpose of public education is to create effective democratic citizens. Are they economically successful? Do they generate a culture that is inclusive? Do they lower the level of crime? Do they increase the social commitments, the social capital? Those are all hard things to make sure of.”
Beyond the program’s goals to create the best experience possible for its undergraduate students, PERG works toward providing the most reliable research to inform political decision-making.
“We’re interested in the political process, and we’re interested in how decision making in democracy effects policy, which effects people,” said Meier. “We know a lot about how to improve the quality of education, how to manage schools, how to deal with health care issues, and we generate publications on that and other things to try to inform policy makers when they are making decisions.”
One of the major topics around which much of the program’s research is focused is education, how it is organized and how differences in quality affect different groups of people.