TDC Member Campus News



Piedmont Virginia Community College: A Model for Electoral Engagement

PVCC 2016 Voter Registration Efforts

This past October, Piedmont Virginia Community College (PVCC) was presented with the “Best Action Plan” Champion Award along with a Silver Seal for campuses with 60-69% voter participation rates by the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge. The award were presented by TDC’s own Verdis Robinson at the awards ceremony which took place at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. PVCC’s electoral engagement action plans for both 2016 and 2017 also showcases their truly remarkable efforts of furthering voter engagement on campus through detailed research, study, and strong partnerships.

PVCC’s 2016 voter registration efforts resulted in 322 students registered through their partnership with TurboVote, an application that helps with everything from absentee ballot requests to keeping up with elections. Along with Virginia 21, an advocacy organization dedicated to young voters, and various other organizations, PVCC students from every discipline and clubs collaborated on projects to register and educate voters. With one such project called the “Non-Partisan Voter Guide,” journalism and government students worked together to come up with strategies to engage other students on why and how to vote.

PVCC’s efforts also featured a variety of campaigns to aid in voter awareness and education. These campaigns included a Constitution Day celebration on September 19th designed for providing students with entertaining constitutional education, and a “Free Speech Week” in October which featured a mock presidential debate planned by PVCC political science students. Virginia 21 and the PVCC Math Club also teamed up to host “Electoral College 101,” an interactive series of exercises centered around the primary function of and debated about the Electoral College.

PVCC’s student team at the 5th District Congressional Debate.

In PVCC’s 2016 report, they remarked on one of their largest barriers before the 2016 election was “..fully engaging the faculty and staff.”  However, after the 2016, it began to change.  Even with this lack of broad support initially, the electoral engagement efforts on campus were a resounding success.  PVCC had renewed its voter engagement plans for 2017 hoping to match the success of the previous year.

Connie Jorgensen PTK “Faculty of the Month” for September 2017

Lead by Dr. Connie Jorgensen, Assistant Professor of Political Science at PVCC, the voter engagement plan continued to encourage students to be politically engaged. Dr. Jorgensen is the TDC Campus Coordinator for PVCC also serving on TDC’s inaugural Campus Coordinator Advisory Council, and because of her leadership, she was named PVCC’s “Faculty of the Month” for September 2017.

Efforts this past month focused on the elections of the entire House of Delegates, a new Governor, and a new Attorney General, along with various other Virginia elections.  However, their efforts were informed by results from The Democracy Commitment’s  Civic Outcomes Study Survey along with the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSVLE) report. PVCC represents everything we here at TDC hope to enable in community colleges across the country for years to come.

PVCC’s Mock Presidential Debate “Free Speech Week”
Call for Applications: CLDE18 Meeting Student Intern Opportunity 

Call for Applications: CLDE18 Meeting Student Intern Opportunity 

2018 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Meeting- Student Intern Opportunity

June 6-9, 2018 | Anaheim, California

In order to encourage student participation in the 2018 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE18) Meeting, AASCU’s the American Democracy Project, The Democracy Commitment, and NASPA’s Lead Initiative are proud to offer the opportunity for three students to have a voice on the planning committee.  This position will enable these students to do the following:

  • Organize the student symposium on Wednesday, June 6, 2018;
  • Have an active presence on social media and blog postings for ADP, TDC, and the NASPA Lead Initiative;
  • Coordinate student gatherings and programming while in Anaheim;
  • Volunteer on site at the CLDE18 Meeting in Anaheim;
  • Be on the planning committee conference calls leading up to the meeting;
  • Assist in reviewing program submissions late January and early February; and
  • Additional opportunities that may become available.

Each of the student interns will receive a complimentary registration to the CLDE18 meeting as well as transferable work experience.  To apply for this intern position, fill out the application by Friday, September 15, 2017.  The application can be found here.  The duration of this commitment will be remote from October 1, 2017- to June 31, 2018.  Expected workload will be about five hours per week and on-site from June 5-9, 2018, in Anaheim, California.   

All applicants will be notified about their application in late September 2017.  

For questions or concerns please contact:

Stephanie Reynolds
Assistant Director for Knowledge Communities and CLDE Initiatives, NASPA | (2012) 719-1193

Jen Domagal-Goldman
National Manager, American Democracy Project, AASCU | (202) 478-7833

Verdis L. Robinson
National Director, The Democracy Commitment, AASCU | (202) 478-4656

Interns: Thomas and Nem

Interns: Thomas and Nem

Hello I am Thomas Armooh. I am from Gaithersburg, Maryland and I currently attend Elon University. My major is political science with a minor in American studies. Along with Livinus, I am a The Democracy Commitment intern for the summer of 2017. At Elon, I am an Andrew Goodman Ambassador; the organizations focus is to organize young voters on college campuses and increase the performance of civic engagement, specifically voting among students. This mission aligns well with the goals of The Democracy Commitment and its commitment as an organization to raise civic engagement on community college campuses. With that being said, I would like to work with Livinus (nem) on a voter engagement project that can help educate students about the effects of who they vote for and the impact that the candidate can have on current and future polices. I hope to have Verdis’ guidance and mentor-ship throughout the project to make it a success.

We worked on a campus engagement campaign and it required us to create a list of contact information of prospective colleges that may be interested in partnering with The Democracy Commitment. We went through many institutions and learned more about about how certain schools have specific programs that cater to its community and citizens. This helped us to gage which schools would be more likely to partner and benefit from TDC. We have also been working on revamping the social media like twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to reach out to more people who may not interact with TDC enough and need to get more information. My goal is to learn more about civic engagement as a whole and enhance my skills in communication through written projects and speaking engagements. I believe that this can serve me well in my pursuit to become a lawyer. I plan to attend law school upon graduation in 2019 and focus on criminal or constitutional law. I hope that I can add very real and impactful value to The Democracy Commitment during my time here and improve in areas that can help in my professional development.


My name is Livinus “Nem” Isioma. I am a Nigerian-American and a resident of Frankfort, Illinois. I was born and raised in Nigeria. I came to the United States in 2012 and started my high school education. By 2015, I gained American citizenship. I am a currently a junior at Indiana State University majoring in Political Science and minoring in Civic Leadership. I am also currently an intern at The Democracy Commitment in Washington, D.C. I intend to go to law school and practice contract law afterwards.


So far, interning with The Democracy Commitment has being a great experience. In a month, I have successfully gotten so many contacts of administrators and staff from different state colleges all over the nation. I have also created and manage a LinkedIn and SnapChat (therealtdc) account for The Democracy Commitment. I have had a great time taking care of those tasks, but have some aspiration to achieve while my internship still takes place at The Democracy Commitment. These include; helping in the completion of a membership campaign, writing blogs, learning more about leadership, management, and administration, and learning to be a good professional.





#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


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 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 so that we can upload them to Facebook/Twitter/Instagram.

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!

2017 Street Law Community College  Faculty Development Seminar

2017 Street Law Community College Faculty Development Seminar


Street Law, Inc.—in collaboration with the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, the ABA Division for Public Education, and The Democracy Commitment—is offering a faculty development seminar for community college professors who are interested in developing a law-based civics program at their colleges. The program involves innovative classroom instruction and community-based learning.

Are you a community college faculty member or administrator? Are you (or would you like to be!) implementing a law and democracy course at your college?

Join us Sept. 22 to learn about the elements of Street Law’s Community College Program, the course curriculum, best practices in civic education instruction, and the positive impact the course can have on college students.

The seminar will be facilitated by Lee Arbetman, executive director of Street Law, Inc. and author of Street Law’s community college textbook, Street Law: Understanding Law and Legal Issues (McGraw-Hill Education, 2012).


8:30-9: Breakfast and check-in; 

9-3: Seminar (lunch will be served)


$40 registration fee* to cover materials and meals

Register by clicking HERE.

For additional information about this Seminar, please contact Christine Lucianek at or 312-988-5737.

* Thanks to the generosity of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, this registration fee is waived for professors from Chicagoland community colleges. A modest transportation stipend is also available for these professors.

Top 10 Things to Make the Most Out of CLDE 2017

Top 10 Things to Make the Most Out of CLDE 2017

Be sure to join us for the 2017 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Meeting (#CLDE17) in Baltimore, Md. from June 7-10th. Early-bird rates end on Monday, May 1 and our group rate at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront is good through Tuesday, May 16.

1. Network with civic learning experts and specialists in the field.

Throughout the conference, but especially during the opening reception on Thursday, June 8th. Be sure to check out the Campus and Friends Showcase tables as well as the research and program-centered poster session!

2. Share resources and ideas at the two full-day pre-conference sessions.

Participate in either of the full day workshops on Wednesday, June 7:

  • Workshop 1: Engaged Campus Inventory focused on Charting a Course on the Pathway to Civic Engagement: An Inventory and Action Plan for Engaged Campuses (or)
  • Workshop 2: Assessment I & II on Civic Engagement Assessment Pre-Conference Workshops with Networking Lunch – sponsored by ETS

3. Connect with both peers and professionals engaged in higher education at five pre-conference sessions.

Participate in one or more of the half-day workshops on Wednesday, June 7:

  • Planning for Institution-Wide Data Collection on Civic and Community Engagement
  • Measures That Matter: Regarding Engaged Scholarship In Tenure and Promotion  
  • Dialogue and Democratic Deliberation: Moderator Training
  • Measuring Civic Outcomes During College, Educating for the Democracy We Want, Not the One We Have, and
  • Integrating Civic Responsibility into the Curriculum

4. Student leaders from campuses are encouraged to participate in space dedicated for students’ voice.

Our CLDE student interns from ADP, TDC and NASPA campuses have planned and prepared the Student Pre-Conference Workshop on Wednesday, June 7th in the afternoon​ starting at 1pm. It’s free for all student registrants to attend!

5. Attend all the collective Plenary Sessions – these are the most rewarding sessions for you to participate in while attending CLDE.

Thursday, June 8th    2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

OPENING PLENARY | CivEd Talks and Our CLDE Theory of Change

Friday, June 9th     9:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.

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

Saturday, June 10th   9:15 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

PLENARY SESSION | The Theory of Our Work – Today and Tomorrow: What’s Next?

6. Experience both personal and professional growth.

Discover ways to get involved in planning for CLDE 2018. Contact Jen, Verdis or Stephanie for more information.

7. Coordinate with colleagues from across the country via NASPA, ADP, and TDC.

Break ???? with your colleagues on Thursday, June 8th at either the ADP, TDC or NASPA Lead Breakfast & Workshop sessions. Part of a balanced breakfast from 8:30 am-11:30 am.

8. Is your campus a Voter Friendly Campus? Join the Voter Friendly Campus Meeting on Saturday afternoon to learn how to best prepare your campus for upcoming midterm elections.

All campus participants who received the Voter Friendly Campus (VFC) designation are encouraged to attend; includes those interested in applying for 2019-2020.

9. Explore Baltimore and the DC area.

Participate in walking and bus tours on Wednesday, June 7th throughout Baltimore with experts from University of Maryland Baltimore County and Towson University or jump on the Metro into our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C.

10. Aspire to become an agent of change in your community.

Choose from a plethora of our concurrent sessions and mini-institutes to learn from our colleagues and sponsors interested in making a difference in our professional field. Take back new skills and tools for your campuses.

#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: 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

CLDE 2017: Two Full-Day Pre-conference Workshop Offerings

Did you know that there are two fantastic, full-day pre-conference workshops being held at the 2017 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) Meeting on Wednesday, June 7th? The first is perfect for campuses interested in advancing their strategic planning around civic and community engagement and/or applying for the next round of the Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement and the second is a set of two civic assessment workshops.

Check out the session descriptions below and be sure to register by May 1st for our early-bird rates.

Workshop 1: Engaged Campus Inventory
Wednesday, June 7 | 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Full-day Pre-conference Workshop
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 (or staff responsible for CLDE work) and their immediate supervising administrator. The workshop is limited to 10 teams or 20 participants.

Participants will complete an online inventory in advance of the institute and receive their profile results onsite. The inventory can be accessed online and must be completed by May 1, 2017 in order to have the results ready for the workshop. The inventory takes about 30 minutes to complete.

Institutions that have received the Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement can access the inventory from this URL link:

Institutes that do NOT have the Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement can access the inventory from this URL link:

The morning half of the institute will provide an overview of the inventory and provide an overview of the instrument and the history of its development based on a 2013 research project conducted with the New England Resource Center for Higher Education (NERCHE). The morning portion will continue with a presentation and review of the results from the inventory completed in advance. In this way workshop participants can compare the profile of their current operations with comparable institutions that have received the Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement.

Welch book coverPlease note: The fee for this institute includes lunch on Wednesday and is for a team of two people; it also includes one copy per team of the book Engaging Higher Education: Purpose, Platforms, and Programs for Community Engagement (Stylus, 2016). Whoever registers the team will be asked later to provide the name of the other team participant. A team of two people from the same institution must participate and include the lead campus civic engagement individual and their supervisor.

Price 240.00/team of two
Note: limited to 10 teams; first-come, first-served

Workshop 2: Assessment I & II
Wednesday, June 7 | 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Full-day Pre-conference Workshop: 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)

Price for both: $120/person

9 a.m. – Noon | Half-day Morning Pre-conference Workshop
Planning for Institution-Wide Data Collection on Civic and Community Engagement
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.
Price for just the morning workshop: $65/person

Noon – 1 p.m.  Networking Lunch

1 p.m. – 4 p.m. | Half-day Afternoon Pre-conference Workshop
Measuring Civic Outcomes During College
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. Transdisciplinary assessment means that faculty and staff from different disciplines or units on campus work jointly to develop new or innovative measurement practices from which informed decisions can be made to improve practices surrounding students’ civic learning and democratic engagement during college. 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. Price for just the afternoon workshop: $65/person

Be sure to register by May 1st for our best rates and book your hotel room by May 16 at our special group rate!

Call for Nominations: 2017 Bernie Ronan Award

About the Award

At the 2013 national meeting, The Democracy Commitment (TDC) announced that, starting in 2014, we would select for special recognition a student-initiated or -directed project or program that exemplifies the democratic skills and capacities we desire of our students.  Bernie Ronan was heralded as a champion of democratic education and for his tireless work as an organizer, advocate, leader and eloquent spokesman for community college students. As a profound theorist of democratic culture, he wrote about the significance of democratic engagement in the life of student. To this end, he co-founded The Democracy Commitment, a platform for the development and expansion of community college programs, projects and curricula aiming at engaging students in civic learning and democratic practice across the country. In 2016 we lost Bernie to his long battle with cancer, and to pay homage to his commitment to TDC and the development of community college students, TDC student scholarship award is now called the “Bernie Ronan Award,” as it will stand as a living testimony to this good and loyal friend.

The Award

The Bernie Ronan Award is presented annually to a student or a team of students from a TDC member institution for a student-initiated or student-directed project or program that exemplifies the democratic skills and capacities we desire of our students.  The award recipient(s)’ campus will receive a commemorative plaque to acknowledge the national recognition, and the award recipient will receive an award certificate and a check for $1,000.00 to be divided equally among the students identified by the campus coordinator as the effective participants in the project or program (If ten students were included in the nomination, each gets $100; if it is two students, each gets $500, etc.)  The award recipient(s) will be announced each year at The Democracy Commitment organizing session at the national meeting in June.

Criteria and Submission Process

Each TDC campus coordinator is invited to submit for consideration a student project or program from his or her institution that was aimed at addressing a significant political and/or social issue.  The project or program must demonstrate the democratic organizing skills of students and their leadership whereas the faculty/staff served mainly in an advisory or supporting role.

The nomination form must be filled out and submitted with all supporting materials and will include the following information:

  • Students’ names and contact information (email addresses and phone numbers).
  • Name of the project or program they were/are involved in.
  • A paragraph explaining the reason for the nomination, how the students’ project or program meets the required criteria, and why they should be selected.
  • You may attach up to four supporting documents, such as photos, news articles, video, etc. At least one supporting piece of documentation should be included for consideration.
Click HERE for a link to the Submission Form.

The nomination form should be sent electronically as a PDF along with all other nomination materials to Verdis Robinson, TDC National Director,, no later than Friday, April 28, 2017.  It is our desire to announce the winners of the award no later than May 1, 2017.  For questions, please contact TDC National Office at (202) 478-4656.  Click HERE to visit the webpage.

Please note: At least one student from the selected team should plan to attend the 2017 CLDE meeting; one student from the selected team will have the registration fees for the meeting waived as part of the award.