There are 61.9 trillion reasons why college students should have a burning interest in the federal budget deficit and national debt, but how do you get them thinking about the subject in a way that's likely to lead to constructive dialogue and citizen activism on behalf of potential solutions? Andrew Yarrow, director of Public Agenda's Washington office, is one of the authors contributing to a series of articles from professors across the country sharing their thoughts and classroom experiences in this challenge.

Yarrow's also an adjunct professor at American University in Washington, D.C., and in that capacity, had the opportunity to introduce his students to our Students Face Up to the Nation's Finances nonpartisan curriculum on the deficit and debt, available without charge as part of the initiative funded by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. His article, and those from professors at five other campuses, are part of America's Future: Protecting the Fiscal Health of Our Democracy, a Public Agenda/Facing Up partnership with the American Democracy Project, which is focused on higher education's role in preparing the next generation of informed, engaged citizens for our democracy.

We think you'll enjoy these articles as a resource for both public engagement and education on this issue:

* "Why Students Need to Be Informed about Our Looming Fiscal Crisis: The America's Future Initiative," by Andrew Yarrow and Cecilia M. Orphan, national manager for the American Democracy Project, provides an overview of the offerings at eight participating college campuses.

* "Blending Elements of Economics and Political Science: Intergenerational Dialogue, Civic Engagement, and Related Student Scholarly Activity," by Rob Catlett, assistant professor of economics at Emporia State University in Kansas, talks about techniques that helped students overcome a reluctance to participate in civic engagement activities.

* "America's Financial Future, Civic Engagement, and the Public University: Editor's Introduction," by Steven Galatas, assistant professor of political science at Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas, talks about the goals of the America's Future Initiative.

* Teaching About America's Fiscal Future in the University's Core Curriculum," by Stephen F. Austin State political science assistant professors Steven Galatas and Cindy Pressley, report on the embedding of civic engagement and civic education about the national debt and budget deficit in an existing university core curriculum course.

* "Practical Theory: Teaching Political and Economic Citizenship," by Professor J. Wesley Martin of New Hampshire's Keene State College, who teaches comparative politics and political theory, discusses translating classic political theory to assist his students in meeting their practical needs post-college during the fiscal crisis.

* "Where the Rubber Meets the Road: The Role of Collegiality and Normative Science in Our Profession," by David J. Plazek, an assistant professor at Lyndon State College in Vermont, discusses his experience from the perspective of political science.

* "America's Financial Future, Civic Engagement," by Jennifer A. Stollman, assistant professor of history and the coordinator of the Gender and Women's Studies Program at Fort Lewis College in the Colorado Rockies, where the diversity of student needs and backgrounds is part of the educational challenge, with Native Americans representing 125 different groups making up 18 percent of the student body.

The articles were published in the journal PS: Political Science & Politics (Volume 43, Issue 2) and are all available in The Teacher Symposium section of this page at Cambridge Journals online.

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