#CLDE17

Hope and Strategy for a Thriving Democracy

Hope and Strategy for a Thriving Democracy

By David Hoffman, Jennifer Domagal-Goldman, Stephanie King, and Verdis Robinson

Let America be the dream that dreamers dreamed–
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above. …

O, let America be America again–
The land that never has been yet–
And yet must be–the land where every man is free.

–from Langston Hughes, “Let America Be America Again” (written in 1935)

It has been a challenging couple of years for people in higher education working to fulfill the promise of American democracy.

CLDE_06102017_27.JPG Participants at the 2017 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Meeting grapple with

Participants in the 2017 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Meeting grapple with higher education’s role in contributing to a thriving democracy. [Image credit: Greg Dohler]

Most of us have chosen our careers and commitments in part because of our profound optimism about the American experiment in self-governance. Our work with students in communities on campus and beyond reflects our belief that We, the People, appropriately oriented to our collective power, can work together across differences in background, experience, and perspective to promote the general welfare wisely and justly.Yet today our democracy is in crisis. New hostilities and old prejudices seem to be consuming the body politic. Confidence in our collective institutions and the nation’s overall direction has fallen precipitously. Higher education is under pressure to do more with less, and to focus student learning on workforce development and career preparation, potentially at the expense of civic learning and democratic engagement.

In the face of these pressures, it is tempting to yearn for simpler times, and to direct our work toward restoring what we sense has been lost. For decades, much civic learning and democratic engagement work in higher education, even the most innovative, has embedded a subtle retrospectivity: a longing for aspects of a partly mythic collective past. Higher education’s service-learning and nonpartisan political engagement initiatives have harkened back to a time when people spent more of their lives engaged in common activities rather than consuming content, and seemingly each other, through electronic screens. They have grasped for an elusive yesteryear of communal investments in projects and people, for the public good. With considerable success, educators supporting civic learning and democratic engagement have endeavored to regenerate the sense of empathy, shared responsibility, initiative, and courage celebrated in some Norman Rockwell paintings and in tales from the freedom movements of bygone days.

The four of us also feel that tug of nostalgia. Furthermore, we know that stories of democracy and civic agency from our collective past are vital cultural resources for anyone hoping to foster civic learning and democratic engagement today. Yet like one of the narrators of Langston Hughes’ Let America Be America Again, we recognize that even in better times, the promise of American democracy has never been completely fulfilled. Too many Americans have been kept at the margins. Even people not excluded from formal civic power by discriminatory laws and practices have been reduced to consumers and spectators of democracy by cultural conventions that have defined citizens simply as voters and volunteers, but only rarely as potential community-builders, civic professionals, innovators, and problem-solvers.

We believe higher education and its partners in communities across America need a vision of civic learning and democratic engagement for our time: oriented to the thriving democracy we have not yet achieved, but can build together. The influential 2012 report A Crucible Moment expressed such a vision in its call for weaving civic learning and democratic engagement into all of higher education’s work involving students. That call conceptualizes democratic engagement as a central practice in everyday life and relationships, not a particular set of activities undertaken on special occasions. It evokes John Dewey’s (1937) framing of democracy as a way of life that must be “enacted anew in every generation, in every year and day, in the living relations of person to person in all social forms and institutions.” In a similar vein, David Hoffman’s 2015 blog post Describing Transformative Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Practices proposed that in order to transcend the paradigm of marginal, episodic, celebratory, and scripted civic engagement programs, higher education’s civic work must become more integral, relational, organic, and generative.

At the 2016 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) Meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, participants built on these insights as they imagined how people experiencing a thriving democracy in the year 2046 might look back at the intervening 30 years of progress. More recently, at the 2017 CLDE Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, participants worked together to begin developing shared answers to four central questions facing higher education’s civic learning and democratic engagement movement:

  1. The Vision Question: What are the key features of the thriving democracy we aspire to enact and support through our work?
  2. The Learning Outcomes Question: What knowledge, skills, and dispositions do people need in order to help create and contribute to a thriving democracy?
  3. The Pedagogy Question: How can we best foster the acquisition and development of the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary for a thriving democracy?
  4. The Strategy Question: How can we build the institutional culture, infrastructure, and relationships needed to support learning that enables a thriving democracy?

CLDE_06102017_20.JPG

Answering the four central questions facing higher education’s civic learning and democratic engagement movement. [Image credit: Greg Dohler]

Those energetic conversations, and the ideas they generated, are a very promising early step in an inclusive process of reimagining our collective work to meet democracy’s needs. In the coming months, we will share thinking emerging from within our networks and invite broad participation in refining tentative answers to the four key questions. At the 2018 CLDE meeting in Anaheim, California from June 6-9, participants will continue to shape and begin to apply our shared answers.Langston Hughes concluded “Let America Be America Again” with this injunction:

We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain —
All, all the stretch of these great green states —
And make America again!

We believe higher education is well-positioned to contribute to the fulfillment of this charge by extending and deepening our support for students as co-creators of a thriving democracy.

What are your thoughts and hopes for this emerging work? What issues should our networks be sure to consider as this planning process unfolds? Please share your comments.

References:

Dewey, J. (1937). Education and social change.” Bulletin of the American Association of University Professors 23, 6, 472–4.

Hoffman, D. (2015, July 1). “Describing transformative civic learning and democratic engagement practices.” American Democracy Project (blog).

Hughes, L. (1994). “Let America be America again.” In A. Rampersad (Ed.), The collected poems of Langston Hughes (pp. 189-191). New York: Vintage. (Original work published in 1936).

National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (2012). A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy’s Future. Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges and Universities.


Authors:

David Hoffman is Assistant Director of Student Life for Civic Agency at the University of Maryland (MD) and an architect of UMBC’s BreakingGround initiative. His work is directed at fostering civic agency and democratic engagement through courses, co-curricular experiences and cultural practices on campus. His research explores students’ development as civic agents, highlighting the crucial role of experiences, environments, and relationships students perceive as “real” rather than synthetic or scripted. David is a member of Steering Committee for the American Democracy Project and the National Advisory Board for Imagining America. He is an alum of UCLA (BA), Harvard (JD, MPP) and UMBC (PhD).

Jennifer Domagal-Goldman is the national manager of AASCU’s American Democracy Project (ADP). She earned her doctorate in higher education from the Pennsylvania State University. She received her master’s degree in higher education and student affairs administration from the University of Vermont and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Rochester. Jennifer’s dissertation focused on how faculties learn to incorporate civic learning and engagement in their undergraduate teaching within their academic discipline. Jennifer holds an ex-officio position on the eJournal of Public Affairs’ editorial board.

Stephanie King is the Assistant Director for Knowledge Communities and Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) Initiatives at NASPA where she directs the NASPA Lead Initiative.  She has worked in higher education since 2009 in the areas of student activities, orientation, residence life, and civic learning and democratic engagement. Stephanie earned her Master of Arts in Psychology at Chatham University and her B.S. in Biology from Walsh University. She has served as the Coordinator for Commuter, Evening and Weekend Programs at Walsh University, Administrative Assistant to the VP and Dean of Students for the Office of Student Affairs, the Coordinator of Student Affairs, and the Assistant Director of Residence Life and Student Affairs at Chatham University.

Verdis L. Robinson is the National Director of The Democracy Commitment after serving as a tenured Assistant Professor of History and African-American Studies at Monroe Community College (NY). Professionally, Verdis is a fellow of the Aspen Institute’s Faculty Seminar on Citizenship and the American and Global Polity, and the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Faculty Seminar on Rethinking Black Freedom Studies: The Jim Crow North and West.  Additionally, Verdis is the founder of the Rochester Neighborhood Oral History Project that with his service-learning students created a walking tour of the community most impacted by the 1964 Race Riots, which has engaged over 400 members of Rochester community in dialogue and learning.  He holds a B.M. in Voice Performance from Boston University, a B.S. and an M.A. in History from SUNY College at Brockport, and an M.A. in African-American Studies from SUNY University at Buffalo.

#CLDE17 BALTIMORE IN REVIEW

#CLDE17 BALTIMORE IN REVIEW

#CLDE17 Baltimore in Review

Our recent 2017 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) Meeting in Baltimore, Md., brought together a great group of faculty, students, administrators, community partners and representatives from our national sponsor and partner organizations committed to advancing civic learning and democratic engagement through higher education.

Read on for highlights of our time together.

By The Numbers

608 participants (100 more than in 2016!) representing 181 colleges and universities as well as 52 other organizations.

  • 161 Four-year Colleges and Universities (103 public; 38 private)
  • 39 Community Colleges
  • 1 international university
  • 113 Students
  • 19 Sponsors/Exhibitors

Program Overview

The full program is available for download here (pdf).

Pre-Conference highlights:

  • The 2017 CLDE Meeting opened with nine pre-conference sessions that engaged participants in a variety of important civic learning and democratic engagement topics. Participants were invited to take part in one or both of a pair of popular Educational Testing Service (ETS)- sponsored Civic Engagement Assessment Pre-Conference Workshops focused on planning for institution-wide data collection and measuring civic outcomes during college, respectively.
  • Other pre-conference workshops included a full-day Charting a Course on the Pathway to Civic Engagement: An Inventory and Action Plan for Engaged Campuses workshop for campus teams as well as a set of half-day workshops including: Measures That Matter: Regarding Engaged Scholarship In Tenure and Promotion; Dialogue and Democratic Deliberation: Moderator Training; Educating for the Democracy We Want, Not the One We Have; and Integrating Civic Responsibility into the Curriculum.
  • The Student Pre-Conference Workshop was organized for students, by students. Led by the 2017 CLDE Student Intern Team (Amber Austin, sophomore, Tarrant County College (Texas.); Christina Melecio, sophomore, Winona State University (Minn.); and Tyler Ferrari, sophomore, Chapman University (Calif.)), the session introduced students to #CLDEStuds17 and provided a space to discuss issues focused on being an active participant in local and national communities, and introduced students tools to be effective activists in their communities.
  • In being mindful of the city that CLDE17 took place, there were three opportunities to engage with the Baltimore community. Two walking tours (Westside of Downtown Baltimore and Baltimore “Untour”) led by University of Maryland Baltimore County faculty members Nicole King, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of American Studies and Joby Taylor, director, Peaceworker Program at The Shriver Center. Towson University supported an exploratory session by Bus (Right to the City – Curtis Bay: Community Engagement through a Mobile App) led by Nicole Fabricant, associate professor; and Matthew Durington and Samuel Collins, professors, department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice.

Some of the more than 130 students that participated in #CLDE17

Opening Plenary & First Day highlights:

Visual Journalist Ellen Lovelidge’s depiction of the themes from Thursday’s Plenary

Participants had the opportunity to participate in two sponsored lunch sessions. The first, a 2017 Voter Engagement Symposium organized by our friends at TurboVote, provided an interactive symposium on what it takes to engaged student voters in not one, but all of their elections. The second lunch, sponsored by our friends at Roadtrip Nation, included a screening of their documentary film Beyond the Dream and included a panel discussion about undocumented immigrants and their higher education journeys.

  • UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski, III welcomed participants to Baltimore and reminded us that the most important office in our democracy is that of citizen. Three CivEd talks then kicked off Thursday afternoon’s opening plenary session. These three, short, dynamic and fast-paced presentations by members of the civic learning and democratic engagement community  inspired and challenged our collective imagination and thinking. The talks were given by: Jane Coaston, political reporter, MTV News, Martín Carcasson, founder and director, Center for Public Deliberation, Colorado State University, and Eric Liu, CEO, Citizen University. Attendees also participated in a Sworn Again citizen ceremony lead by Eric Liu.
  • Participants were each given a copy of Eric Liu’s new 2017 book You’re More Powerful Than You Think: A Citizen’s Guide to Making Change Happen and had the opportunity to have Eric sign their books during our networking reception. They were also able to learn from poster presenters and the campus showcase tables.

Friday highlights:

More than 50 participants volunteered as table moderators during Friday’s plenary

  • Friday morning participants started their day with a Dialogue and Deliberation Forum: Safety and Justice: How Should Communities Reduce Violence? This session — offered in conjunction with our friends at the National Issues Forums Institute — explored the increasing violence in U.S. communities, law enforcement, and race and how this violence undermines national ideals of safety and justice for all citizens. Attendees used briefing materials prepared by the Kettering Foundation to participate in deliberations promoted by the National Issues Forums Institute and spent time considering the difficult choices the nation must face in order to make progress.  Over 50 CLDE attendees graciously volunteered to serve as table moderators to over 400 participants.  The forum concluded with a panel discussing the applications of these forums in classrooms, campuses, and communities, and discussed why this civic skill is so critical now more than ever before.  Panelists included:  Adam Thompson, junior, Winona State University (Minn.); John Dedrick, Vice-President, Kettering Foundation; Emily Bowling, Assistant Director of Student Leadership & Involvement for Civic Engagement and Sustainability, Oregon State University; and John J. Theis, Executive Director, Center for Civic Engagement, Lone Star College (Texas). Participants left the forum with a hands-on, interactive experience in deliberative democracy that can be applied across higher education.

Saturday highlights:

Our final plenary session on Saturday, June 10th, The Theory of Our Work – Today and Tomorrow: What’s Next?, focused on our emergent theory of change. Participants engaged in conversations about the emerging theory of change for our conference and work, based on elements from A Crucible Moment and on our four guiding questions. The guiding questions are:

  1. Vision question: What are the key features of a thriving democracy we aspire to enact and support through our work?
  2. Learning Outcomes question: What knowledge, skills, and dispositions do people need in order to help create and contribute to a thriving democracy?
  3. Pedagogy question: How can we best foster the acquisition and development of the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary for a thriving democracy?
  4. Strategy question: How can we build the institutional culture, infrastructure, and relationships needed to support learning that enables a thriving democracy?

Responses to each were given by: Manisha Vepa, undergraduate student, and David Hoffman, assistant director, student life, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC); Sandy Rodriguez, director, ASUN Center for Student Engagement, University of Nevada, Reno; and Helen-Margaret Nasser, associate director, honors program, CUNY Kingsborough Community College (NY).

We considered what a thriving democracy looks like and higher education’s role in cultivating this democracy. View the full theory of change here.

CLDE Theory of Change | 4 Questions | Front of Placemat

CLDE Theory of Change | Back of Placemat

THANK YOU TO ALL OUR SPONSORS

The 2017 CLDE Meeting in Baltimore, MD. could not have been a success without the continued support from our sponsors. They have shown an unwavering commitment to securing an effective method of fostering democracy. Our sponsors’ contributions were  instrumental in creating meaningful dialogue that helped set the agenda for future goals, initiatives and partnerships. We would like to thank the following:

ADP, TDC, and NASPA have deep admiration and gratitude for each organization and the support they provided to the 2017 CLDE Meeting. We look forward to future collaborations.

CLDE 2018

We hope to see you in Anaheim, California, from June 6-9, 2018, for the next CLDE Meeting where we will continue our important work of preparing informed, engaged citizens for our democracy.

PowerPoints and other handouts from the meeting are available through the meeting’s mobile app. Please email sreynolds@naspa.org with any additional materials you’d like uploaded into the app.

Finally, to see more pictures from the meeting, visit the ADP Facebook Page (CLDE17 album); please send any photos you took to adp@aascu.org so that we can upload them to Facebook/Twitter/Instagram.

RIGHT TO THE CITY – CURTIS BAY: COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT THROUGH A MOBILE APP EXPLORATORY SESSION BY BUS

RIGHT TO THE CITY – CURTIS BAY: COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT THROUGH A MOBILE APP EXPLORATORY SESSION BY BUS

 

Right to the City – Curtis Bay: Community Engagement through a Mobile App Exploratory Session by Bus | Sponsored by Towson University

Anthropology students and faculty at Towson University along with the United Workers-Free Your Voice have been working on a participatory action research project with high-school students in environmental science classes to qualitatively study the environmental hazards in South Baltimore. Curtis Bay, Maryland is located in the southern portion of the City of Baltimore, Maryland. The neighborhood is located in a highly industrialized waterfront area in the southern part of the city and receives its name from the body (cove) of water to the east in which it sits. The area has had a toxic history.

Historic Sediments of Global Trade

During the 19th century, guano fertilizer from Peru was a prized commodity, particularly around the Chesapeake bay where both cotton and tobacco had drained the soil of its nutrients. Guano imports which migrated through and often remained in Curtis Bay initiated a long period of uneven disposal of hazardous and/or toxic materials in the soils, air, and bodies of residents.

Global Oil 

Prudential Oil Corporations in 1914 established a refinery in the middle of the Peninsula. Texas Oil Company of Delaware was established before the end of WWI. By the end of 1918, the Fairfield Peninsula was home to at least three petroleum product refineries and several fertilizer plants. Oil refining exposes the surrounding community to the risk of intense explosions while coal dust exacerbates lung and cardiovascular diseases.

Shipbuilding, Ship Breakdown in a Postindustrial wasteland

The Wartime efforts in the 1940s to manufacture materials needed to fortify American troops affected Curtis Bay. During this period, thousands of workers from WVA and elsewhere in Appalachia and African Americans migrated to Fairfield Peninsula for jobs in the shipbuilding and other emergent wartime industries. White workers received decent government subsidized housing while Blacks continued to be exiled to Old Fairfield only having access to substandard housing. The memories of expansive capitalism, exploitative laboring relations, race/class based discrimination, and toxicity do not simply linger as a historic artifact but rather continue to define how this landscape is viewed in Baltimore.

The Next Step in Curtis Bay’s Steady Decline into Toxicity

In 2009, Energy Answers announced it would build the nation’s largest trash-to-energy incinerator in Fairfield and presented the project as a solution to two crises: the waste crisis and the energy crisis. Energy Answers International promoted the project as a power plant providing schools and other facilities with “green energy.” The incinerator was originally slated to be sited less than a mile from Benjamin Franklin High School and Curtis Bay Elementary, which state environmental regulations wouldn’t have typically allowed (no incinerator can be built that close to a school). However, when the Public Service Commission approved the incinerator as an energy plant.*

Seize this opportunity to explore the Curtis Bay Area and the social justice work with Nicole Fabricant, Matthew Durington, and Samuel Collins, Ph.D.s, Associate Professors, Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice at Towson University along with the students and community agencies.

*For more on the Campaign to bring to an end the Trash to Energy Incinerator, See https://stoptheincinerator.wordpress.com/

#CLDE17 Quick Links

·         Meeting Info

·         Register Now

·         Book Your Hotel

Hotel Deadline is Today 5/16 for #CLDE17

Hotel Deadline is Today 5/16 for #CLDE17

2017 Civic Leadership and Democratic Engagement Meeting | June 7-10 | Baltimore, MD

The deadline to book hotel rooms for the 2017 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE17) meeting is Tuesday, May 16. Book now to guarantee our low rates!

If you have already booked rooms at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel, thank you for supporting #CLDE17 with your accommodations. By filling the hotel block, we can provide meeting space and conference amenities without needing to increase the meeting rate, and fulfilling that obligation helps us offset some of the costs of organizing and holding this annual meeting. Furthermore, filling our room block consistently helps us secure favorable contracts for future meetings.

Click HERE to book your room(s). 

#CLDE17 Quick Links

Meeting Info
Register Now
Book Your Hotel

#CLDE17: RSVP Now for TurboVote’s Voter Engagement Symposium & Lunch

#CLDE17: RSVP Now for TurboVote’s Voter Engagement Symposium & Lunch

Thursday, June 8th
11:45 a.m. – 1:45 p.m.

2017 Voter Engagement Symposium: Engaging Locally & Strategizing Digitally

Lunch provided; RSVP now via registration as event is capped at 70 participants

Please join TurboVote, our partner colleges and universities, and other nonprofit organizations for an interactive symposium on what it takes to engage student voters in not one, but all of their elections. Together, we will learn about specific nonpartisan tactics for institutionalizing voter registration on campus and making voting a default student experience. While a presidential election year provides additional resources for and an increased focus on voting, we’ll discuss action items that can be implemented in a non-presidential year to create a more democratically engaged campus and community. All interested parties are welcome to attend. Lunch will be provided, as saving democracy tends to work up quite the appetite!

Lunch will be provided, as saving democracy tends to work up quite the appetite! RSVP today as event is capped at 70 participants. Space is filling fast!

Already registered for the 2017 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Meeting? Email durhamf@aascu.org to add this free lunch session! Not registered yet? Be sure to select the option when you register! Register HERE.

Q & A with the #CLDE17 Student Interns

Q & A with the #CLDE17 Student Interns

By Amber Austin, Christina Melecio and Tyler Ferrari, #CLDE17 Student Interns

Hello readers! We are the 2017 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Meeting student interns, and we are happy to be working with the planning committee this year to create the wonderful #CLDE17 conference. In addition to helping with the ideas for the conference as a whole, we are also tasked with planning a student symposium where we will be discussing important and relevant topics with the student attendees. Before this happens, however, we would like all attendees to get to know us better, so we created a Q&A between the three of us where you get to learn more about our views on civic and community engagement. We hope you enjoy it!

Amber Austin, Sophomore, Tarrant County College (Texas)
Christina Melecio, Sophomore, Winona State University (Minn.)
Tyler Ferrari, Sophomore, Chapman University (Calif.)


2017.04.28 CLDE Student Intern Blog Photo 2

Amber Austin

What do you do for campus involvement?

Amber: For campus involvement, I am a member of eight clubs, for which I am the president of two and an officer in several others.

Tyler: I plan and moderate deliberative dialogues on important issues ranging from homelessness to gun control.

Christina: I am fairly involved with my campus. I hold a position in Student Senate where I sit on several committees that make decisions that affect the university. I am also the president of Political Science Association, and the treasurer of College Democrats.

How did you get involved in TDC/ADP/NASPA?

Amber: I became involved in The Democracy Commitment because of two of my professors during my freshman year. My professors asked me to help them with a “Know Your Candidate” project and it blossomed from there.

Tyler: My supervisor had me apply for this position, and many of our programs are modeled after NASPA programs!

Christina: One of my friends was the intern for ADP on my campus and often needed volunteers at events he organized. I was able to volunteer and then got to know the professor who runs ADP on my campus.

What are you looking forward to most at this year’s conference?

Amber: At this year’s CLDE conference, I am looking forward to our student symposium the most. That is our chance, as student interns, to hear the other students’ voices on universal issues, as well as to get to know the students that are attending the conference.

Tyler: Meeting other students and gaining their knowledge on civic engagement along with their experience.

Christina: I am so excited to get a diverse perspective from students that attend the conference. I am also excited for the moderating that will take place.

2017.04.28 CLDE Student Intern Blog Photo 4

Christina Melecio

What has been your most enjoyable moment in the planning process for the 2017 CLDE conference?

Amber: The most enjoyable moments I have had during the planning process of this year’s conference are the conference calls with the other two interns. Being an intern for this event is very enjoyable especially since I can share it with two other people.

Tyler: Working with the rest of the committee, especially my fellow interns! They have been great and easy to work with.

Christina: Meeting other people who have a passion who being involved, and getting others involved. I have especially enjoyed the time with the other two interns, and the topics we have been able to discuss.

In your opinion, what is the most important aspect of civic engagement involvement? What is your experience in this type of engagement?

Amber: I believe the most important aspect of civic engagement involvement is the impact working in the community makes. Working to make a difference in civic life is important in itself, but the impact is what counts. My experience includes, know your candidate campaigns, student voter registration programs, and campus/community trash clean-ups.

Tyler: Getting people interested in local issues is the most important. I’ve worked on campaigns before and I really enjoyed telling people about the issues our campaign focuses on. It was always rewarding to have people involved in the community.

Christina: I think that the most important aspect of civic engagement has to deal with education. Educating people on the issues, so they do not blindly support one way or the other without much thought or background knowledge.

What is your favorite thing about engaging in your community politically, socially, etc?

Amber: My favorite thing about engaging in my community is meeting and communicating with new people to understand their situations, as well as, their thought process regarding social and political issues.

Tyler: Meeting the different people and talking about their experiences. Especially in a state like California, there are so many diverse viewpoints and learning about as many as I can is very rewarding and helps me shape my view of the world.

Christina: My favorite part of becoming engaged in my community, whichever way, is the people who I connect with. Each person has a different perspective, or background, and being able to hear and understand them is what makes me excited.

What is one thing you wish you could change about our political climate?

Amber: Due to the previous presidential election, our political climate is scattered. Many are angry and many have given up. If I could change anything with the political climate, I would bring the divided back together, so we can make a change as a unit.

Tyler: Discourse must me more civil, without the civility that politics normally provides, nothing useful and good for society will get accomplished. Politics has centered too much around tribalism and I think breaking that mindset is something that is important to do.

Christina: I think currently the political climate could use a few adjustments, mostly having to deal with the divided nature of society.

2017.04.28 CLDE Student Intern Blog Photo 5

Tyler Ferrari

Tell us about an experience of when you tried to engage students?

Amber: I tried to engage students in the biggest way during our last presidential election. My main focus was getting students to care about their community and realize that their vote does matter.

Tyler: Registering people to vote before the election. We worked at our school’s freshman orientation and we were able to register so many new voters!

Christina: I have done different democratic deliberations, and it is a challenge in order to get students engaged in the conversation. There are many students who don’t want to participate in the conversation, and it is a struggle to have them bring their opinions to the deliberation. More often than not, putting effort into someone they will return it.

How did you become an engaged student?

Amber: I became an engaged student because of The Democracy Commitment. Before I joined TDC, I would go to class and go straight home. They helped me realize how much of a difference one person can make in a community.

Tyler: My mom was always politically engaged and really got me involved in local politics.

Christina: I have always naturally been someone who enjoys being active in clubs, and the next step was to become engaged in other activities. Ranging from student government, or local politics, I have always wanted to participate in the life that is happening around me.

What do you think the number one issue is facing the society today?

Amber: I think the number one issue facing society today is inequality.

Tyler: The loss of social capital. People are simply not involved in their communities anymore and I think that is harming society as a whole.

Christina: I would have to say that the biggest issue facing society today is racial tensions. Most problems today seem to concentrate around this particular issue.


Thank you for reading our Q&A! We appreciate you getting to know us and we hope to see you around the conference and at our student symposium. The student symposium is a free event where students will be able to discuss many relevant political and community issues. To register for this session, click HERE, and bring an open mind and a willingness to have a dialogue with other students. The symposium is a great opportunity to relax and get to the other students at the conference, and to learn valuable insights and skills from students across the country. This is an opportunity that should not be passed up!

#CLDE17 FRIDAY PLENARY | Dialogue and Deliberation Forum- Safety and Justice: How Should Communities Reduce Violence?

Announcing the CLDE17 FRIDAY PLENARY | Dialogue and Deliberation Forum- Safety and Justice: How Should Communities Reduce Violence?

The 2017 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Meeting, organized by the American Democracy Project (ADP), The Democracy Commitment (TDC) and NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, will bring together faculty, student affairs professionals, senior campus administrators, students, and community partners to work to ensure that students graduate from our institutions prepared to be the informed, engaged citizens that our democracy needs.

Democratic dialogue and deliberation build civic capacities and consciences to tackle the highly salient and most complex wicked problems facing communities today.  It rejects the expert model of technical expertise and specialization towards a truly democratic framework of accessibility and empowerment. The practice of dialogue and deliberation cultivates student abilities necessary to explore enduring and multidisciplinary questions and solve persistent public problems. Thus, the capacities necessary for productive and meaningful dialogue and deliberation—critical thinking, emphatic listening, creative problem solving, ethical leadership, collaboration, issue framing—are not only essential for sustaining a vibrant democracy, they are the best preparation for our students/citizens/graduates to be successful in the 21st century.

Join us for the Friday plenary session and participate in a dialogue and deliberation forum with a conversation on applications and best practices.  

This plenary session will take place at 9:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. on Friday, June 9, 2017.

Dialogue and Deliberation Forum: Safety and Justice: How Should Communities Reduce Violence?

After falling steadily for decades, the rate of violent crime in the US rose in 2015 and 2016. Interactions between citizens and police too often end in violence. People are increasingly worried about safety in their communities. Many Americans are concerned something is going on with violence in communities, law enforcement, and race that is undermining the national ideals of safety and justice for all. Citizens and police need goodwill and cooperation in order to ensure safety and justice. Any possible option will require that we give up something we hold dear.  Each year the nonpartisan National Issues Forums Institute promotes public deliberations over some of the toughest issues that our communities and the nation face. Using briefing materials prepared by the  Kettering Foundation, this plenary will provide opportunities for people to consider the options and difficult choices that our communities and the nation must make if we are going to make progress together, and how to carry out this form of democratic practice in classrooms, campuses, and communities. This plenary session will provide attendees with hands-on, interactive experience in deliberative democracy that can be applied across higher education.  

Organizers: Kara Lindaman, Professor of Political Science, Winona State University (Minn.); John Dedrick, Vice-President, Kettering Foundation; William Muse, President Emeritus, National Issues Forum Institute; and John J. Theis, Executive Director, Center for Civic Engagement, Lone Star College (Texas).

Trained moderators are needed to assist in small group discussions; email: adp@aascu.org if you are able to serve as a table moderator.  There are also opportunities to be trained as a deliberative dialogue moderator:

  • April 29, 2017– 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at the AASCU offices in Washington, DC.  Click HERE for more information.  Deadline for registration has been extended to April 19, 2017.  
  • June 7, 2017– 9:00 am to 12:00 pm at the CLDE pre-conference workshop.  Click HERE for more information.

Also, there will be plenty of additional engagement opportunities during this year’s meeting such as:

  • CLDE Orientation on Thursday, June 8th prior to the start of the Opening Plenary.  
    • CivEd Talks on Thursday, June 8th during the Opening Plenary.
    • Campus & Friends Showcase at CLDE17 on Thursday, June 8th! Learn more here. Sign up here.
    • Exploratory Session by Bus | Right to the City – Curtis Bay: Community Engagement through a Mobile App Sponsored by Towson University.
    • Walking Tour 1 | Baltimore West Side Sponsored by University of Maryland Baltimore County.
    • Walking Tour 2 | Baltimore “Untour” Sponsored by University of Maryland Baltimore County.

To learn more about the 2017 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Meeting and to register by the May 1, 2017 early-bird deadline, visit the conference website.

There is also a discounted hotel rate for meeting participants available at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront (700 Aliceanna St., Baltimore, Md., 21202). To obtain this rate, participants must book their room by Tuesday May 16, 2017. RESERVE ONLINE HERE

#CLDE17: Pre-Conference Workshops Announced and Registration Now Open! Register Today!

We’re pleased to announce the introduction of pre-conference workshops to be held on Wednesday, June 7, 2017 as part of our annual Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (#CLDE17) Meeting. Institute topics were identified by the CLDE Planning Committee and based on feedback received after the 2016 CLDE Meeting.

Workshops are listed below and you can register now for the #CLDE17 meeting and the workshop(s) of your choice!

Full-day Pre-conference Workshops

Charting a Course on the Pathway to Civic Engagement: An Inventory and Action Plan for Engaged Campuses
Organizer: Marshall Welch, Independent Scholar and author of Engaging Higher Education: Purpose, Platforms, and Programs for Community Engagement (2016)

This full day pre-conference institute is designed for teams from colleges and universities interested in strategic planning of their civic learning and democratic engagement efforts. This institute will provide not only the results of a comprehensive inventory of current practice and infrastructure to advance community engagement, but the “gift of time” for administrators to meet and work with their directors of campus centers for engagement to begin strategic planning for continued development of community engagement. This institute is designed for TWO individuals from each institution: the director of the campus center for community engagement and their immediate supervising administrator.

 
Civic Engagement Assessment Pre-Conference Workshops with Networking Lunch – sponsored by ETS
Organizers: H. Anne Weiss, Director of Assessment, Indiana Campus Compact and Assessment Specialist in Community Engagement, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis; and Ross Markle, Senior Research & Assessment Director, Global Higher Education Division, ETS

Attend both half-day assessment pre-conference workshops for a reduced price and participate in our assessment networking lunch from Noon – 1 p.m.

  • Planning for Institution-Wide Data Collection on Civic and Community Engagement (see below)
  • Measuring Civic Outcomes During College (see below)
Half-day Morning Pre-conference Workshops

Planning for Institution-Wide Data Collection on Civic and Community Engagement
Organizers: H. Anne Weiss, Director of Assessment, Indiana Campus Compact and Assessment Specialist in Community Engagement, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis; and Ross Markle, Senior Research & Assessment Director, Global Higher Education Division, ETS

Most campuses are eager to answer the question “How are the students, faculty, and staff on campus working to address civic issues and public problems?” We will explore this question in this workshop by reviewing a range of strategies to assess community-engaged activities (i.e., curricular, co-curricular, or project-based activities that are done in partnership with the community). In addition to these many strategies, institutions also often approach assessment with a variety of lenses including assessment and evaluation of community outcomes, student outcomes, partnership assessment and faculty/staff engagement among others. In practice, campuses confront an array of challenges to align these approaches into a comprehensive data collection framework and infrastructure. This session will give participants tools, strategies, and information to design, initiate and/or enhance systematic mechanisms for monitoring and auditing community-engaged activities across your institution.

 
Integrating Civic Responsibility into the Curriculum
Organizers: Gail Robinson, Education Consultant; Duane Oakes, Faculty Director, Center for Community & Civic Engagement, Mesa Community College (Ariz.); Emily Morrison, Assistant Professor, Sociology, and Director, Human Services and Social Justice Program, George Washington University (DC.); and Cathy Doyle, Director, Sarbanes Center for Public and Community Service, Anne Arundel Community College (Md.)

Community engagement and academic learning are central to higher education’s mission. Explore ways to help faculty, staff, and administrators prepare students for effective involvement in a diverse democratic society, and examine the role and obligation of higher education to produce good citizens. This interactive workshop features hands-on activities that include looking at service learning from charity and social justice perspectives; identifying appropriate reflection activities; analyzing course syllabi for elements of civic responsibility and civic engagement; reviewing syllabi from the perspectives of students, faculty, staff, administrators, and community partners; and integrating purposeful civic learning strategies into college courses.

 
Dialogue and Democratic Deliberation: Moderator Training
Organizers: Kara Lindaman, Professor of Political Science, Winona State University (Minn.); John Dedrick, Vice-President, Kettering Foundation; William Muse, President Emeritus, National Issues Forum Institute; and John J. Theis, Executive Director, Center for Civic Engagement, Lone Star College (Texas)

In preparation for the Friday plenary session, Democratic Deliberation on Safety and Justice, we invite conference participants to this pre-conference institute for an introduction to democratic deliberation and moderator skills. During this session, participants examine democratic dialogue and deliberation while learning the skills and roles of active and engaged moderation.

Half-day Afternoon Pre-conference Workshops

Measuring Civic Outcomes During College
Organizers: H. Anne Weiss, Director of Assessment, Indiana Campus Compact and Assessment Specialist in Community Engagement, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis; and Ross Markle, Senior Research & Assessment Director, Global Higher Education Division, ETS

As institutions implement high impact practices across their campuses, learning outcomes, curricular and co-curricular activities, and assessment tools can often become disjointed. This workshop will guide attendees through a concentrated, cooperative process of unpacking and measuring civic outcomes such as civic identity, working with others to solve wicked problems, civic mindedness, and being an agent for social change. Ultimately, participants will articulate the alignment (and in some cases, mismatch) between outcomes, interventions, and assessment methods. Attendees should come with a specific program or course in mind and consider bringing a colleague with whom you can brainstorm transdisciplinary assessment practices. Attendees will be introduced to the plethora of measurement tools that purport to assess students’ civic learning and development, such as: AAC&U VALUE Rubrics, Civic Minded Graduate Rubric 2.0, campus-wide survey instruments (ETS Civic Competency and Engagement, NSSE, CIRP Surveys, PRSI, etc.), and a host of other pre to post and retrospective pre to post scales such as social dominance orientation, belief in a just world, or the Interpersonal Reactivity Index. After this facilitated discussion, participants will have a chance to apply certain tools to student artifacts such as essays, digital stories, and eportfolios. Applying the tools to artifacts will allow for participants to evaluate and synthesize their plans for assessing student civic learning and development as it relates to participating in high impact practices during college.

 
Educating for the Democracy We Want, Not the One We Have
Organizers: Nancy Thomas, Director, and Ishara Casellas Connors, Associate Director, Institute for Democracy & Higher Education (IDHE), Jonathan M. Tisch College for Civic Life at Tufts University (Mass.)

The presidential election of 2016 has been described as vitriolic, divisive, and alienating. And at the same time, colleges and universities have long been tasked with the responsibility for cultivating a citizenry that is informed, vigilant, and capable of managing the most pressing matters of public affairs. Does the 2016 election reflect some any kind of “failure” in political learning, systems, and citizen participation? If so, what is higher education’s responsibility to address those failures? The best time to take stock of deficits in democratic learning and engagement is not in the heat of an election, but in between elections. Over the past two years, the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education at Tufts University has been studying the campus climates – the norms, structures, programs, and attributes – of colleges and universities that are highly political and electorally engaged. From that research, clarity on the kinds of things campuses can do to educate for democracy is emerging. In this workshop, participants will have an opportunity to study and envision institutional norms, programs, structures, and processes that foster the conditions for democratic learning. It will include a candid look at the state of free speech and inclusive learning conditions on campuses with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight from the 2016 election. Participants will come away with new skills, as well as concrete action strategies to take back to their campuses in implement immediately. The workshop will provide a long view to change campus climate – not just envision more one-time programs or events.

 
Measures That Matter: Regarding Engaged Scholarship In Tenure and Promotion
Organizer: KerryAnn O’Meara, Professor of Higher Education, Director of UMD ADVANCE, University of Maryland, College Park

Many higher education institutions have faculty involved in community engaged scholarship but lack strategies for assessing the quality of this work for promotion and tenure or contract renewal. Engaged scholars do not know how to make the case that their work is scholarship and personnel committees do not know how to evaluate non-traditional, engaged scholarship. A knowledge gap exists related to criteria that might be held up against engaged scholarship projects to assess quality and impact. The purpose of this pre-conference workshop is to share specific reforms that can be put in place to define, assess, document, and reward community engaged scholarship. The presenter will share promotion and tenure language that has already been put in place at other institutions and then suggest four criteria that could be used to assess engaged scholarship portfolios.

 
Student Pre-Conference Workshop

For undergraduate students only
Organized by the 2017 CLDE Student Interns: Amber Austin, student, Tarrant County College (Texas); Tyler Ferrari, student, Chapman University (Calif.); and Christina Melecio, student, Winona State University (Minn.)

This workshop will introduce students to #CLDEStuds17 that will provide a space to discuss issues that focus on being an active participant in the local and national communities, and will give students the tools to be effective activists in their communities. These open discussions will be held in large and small groups to effectively dissect the topics being discussed. To thoroughly accomplish our goals at the conference we hope that our peers come with open minds, and thoughtful ideas to contribute to discussions not only at this conference, but at home with their peers. There will be additional information closer to the conference for those who register. We hope to engage our attendees with new, and exciting, information that can further reach students across the nation, and actively enhance the Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement initiatives.

Click Here to Register!

Proposals Due January 30th for CLDE17 Conference in Baltimore in June

Submit your proposal here by January 30, 2017.

The American Democracy Project (ADP), The Democracy Commitment (TDC), and NASPA Lead Initiative are committed to advancing the civic engagement movement in higher education. During this year’s Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (#CLDE17) Meeting in Baltimore, Md. from June 7-10, 2017, our goal is to bring together our collective networks of faculty, student affairs professionals, senior campus administrators, students, and community partners to advance our work to ensure that students graduate from our colleges and universities–both public and private–prepared to be the informed, engaged citizens that our communities and our democracy need.

This year’s conference is seeking to enhance our emergent theory of change adapted from threads of the 2012 Crucible Moment report. Thus, we are seeking conference proposals that consider how best to cultivate the following elements within their civic engagement work:

  • Civic Ethos governing campus life: The infusion of democratic values into the customs and habits of everyday practices, structures, and interactions; the defining character of the institution and those in it that emphasizes open-mindedness, civility, the worth of each person, ethical behaviors, and concern for the well-being of others; a spirit of public-mindedness that influences the goals of the institution and its engagement with local and global communities.
  • Civic Literacy & Skill Building as a goal for every student: The cultivation of foundational knowledge about fundamental principles and debates about democracy expressed over time, both within the United States and in other countries; familiarity with several key historical struggles, campaigns, and social movements undertaken to achieve the full promise of democracy; the ability to think critically about complex issues and to seek and evaluate information about issues that have public consequences.
  • Civic Inquiry integrated within the majors and general education: The practice of inquiring about the civic dimensions and public consequences of a subject of study; the exploration of the impact of choices on different constituencies and entities, including the planet; the deliberate consideration of differing points of views; the ability to describe and analyze civic intellectual debates within one’s major or areas of study.
  • Civic Action as lifelong practice: The capacity and commitment both to participate constructively with diverse others and to work collectively to address common problems; the practice of working in a pluralistic society and world to improve the quality of people’s lives and the sustainability of the planet; the ability to analyze systems in order to plan and engage in public action; the moral and political courage to take risks to achieve a greater public good.
  • Civic Agency involves the capacities of citizens to work collaboratively across differences like partisan ideology, faith traditions, income, geography, race, and ethnicity to address common challenges, solve problems and create common ground; requires a set of individual skills, knowledge, and predispositions; also involves questions of institutional design, particularly how to constitute groups and institutions for sustainable collective action.

Members of the CLDE community are invited to join in dialogue prior to the conference on social media using #FacesofCLDE and #CLDE17. Our hope is that colleagues will come together to share why they are a proponent of Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement work in higher education and, in turn, spread the great work that happens at each of your campuses and organizations.

Submit your Program Proposal by Jan. 30, 2017 here: 2017 Civic Learning & Democratic Engagement (CLDE) Meeting and learn more about the #CLDE17 Meeting at the official meeting website.

Interested in being a program proposal reviewer? Complete this form and then follow the instructions on the confirmation page to complete the reviewer sign-up process.

Meet the 2017 CLDE Interns!

We are thrilled to introduce you to our three student interns for the 2017 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) Meeting (#CLDE17). Amber, Christina, and Tyler introduce themselves below and together represent a vested interest in civic engagement among students in our network to engage meaningfully on our campuses, in our classrooms, and in our broader communities and our democracy. In the coming weeks they will work with the meeting planning committee on the program, arranging a student symposium and specifically on creating networking, learning, and organizing opportunities for the students that attend the conference in Baltimore from June 7-10th. Please join us in welcoming Amber, Christina, and Tyler!

Jen, Stephanie, & Verdis


My name is Amber Austin, and I am a sophomore marketing major at Tarrant County College (Texas) where I am pursuing a career in event planning. I am a current member of The Democracy Commitment, Phi Theta Kappa, DECA, the psychology club, and the president and founder of the club Imagine. The club Imagine was created to help students on our campus build networking and leadership skills.


My name is Christina Melecio, and I am a sophomore attending Winona State University (Minn.). I am triple majoring in political science, public administration, and Spanish. I am exploring more options to better help my community and continue to grow into a better person. I am currently a student senator at Winona State University, the treasurer of College Democrats, and the president of our Political Science Association club.


My name is Tyler Ferrari, and I am a sophomore political science major and economics minor studying at Chapman University (Calif.). I am pursuing a career in public policy where I hope to specialize in debt reduction and foreign affairs. I am also a Civic Engagement Assistant, which is a position dedicated to getting the student body involved in the local and global community through political engagement and community service. I am currently the president and founding member of the Chapman University Young Americans for Liberty, a group aimed at promoting economic and personal liberty and training activists to fight for these causes.


We are all incredibly excited, and humbled, to represent students on the 2017 CLDE Planning Committee. We hope to use our positions to help students stay engaged in the political process in the post 2016 election environment, so that effective and positive change can be made in our local college communities and across the nation. With the 2016 election ending, students begin to feel apathetic, as they no longer see tangible ways to be involved in politics. We hope to engage students, and show them ways that they can continue to be active and involved with their community, as well as engage them in their civic duties. After this event, we hope to use the skills we learned planning and executing this event and use them back on our campuses and communities to build civic relationships with schools not in this network.