TDC Partners & Friends

Pew’s Voting Information Project (VIP)

Pew’s Voting Information Project (VIP): Delivering Non-Partisan Voting Information in 2016

619-07799305 © Masterfile Royalty-Free Model Release: Yes Property Release: No Students holding buttons at voter registration

What’s the first thing you do when you realize there’s an election coming?  If you’re like most people, you probably open a search engine and search “where’s my polling place?” or “what’s on my ballot?”  To make sure you can find this information and trust what you find, The Pew Charitable Trusts partnered with election officials and Google in 2008 to create the Voting Information Project (VIP) to give voters access to the information they need to cast a ballot on or before Election Day.

VIP has already provided election information for 44 elections, including 29 presidential preference primaries, and helped more than 3.4 million people find their polling place and ballot information via Facebook, presidential campaigns on both sides of the aisle, media websites, third party groups, and more, including our own website!  VIP provides free tools that anyone can use or promote to help their constituents find accurate, official voting information without requiring any personally identifiable information.  In addition, all of VIP’s information is published via the Google Civic Information API, which is open source and free for anyone to use

  • The Voting Information Tool is mobile-friendly, customizable tool that can be placed on your website. It provides official voting information, including polling locations, to anyone using just a residential address and is available in 16 languages.  You can try  the customizer to see how easy it is to use and to design the tool exactly how you want it to look, or the tool itself is open source and can be customized even further.
  • White-label iOS and Android mobile apps that can be customized, branded, and released by state and local governments. The apps are available in Spanish and English, and are both open source (iOS and Android).
  • short messaging service (SMS) tool provides voters with election information via text message in 10 languages. By texting “VOTE” or “VOTO” to GOVOTE (468-683), voters can find their polling place or dropbox location, contact information for a local election official, and a link to check voter registration status.  Although it isn’t customizable, anyone is welcome to promote it.
  • is a joint effort of Pew and the Internet Association.  The site allows voters to enter their addresses and find the location and hours of their polling place and ballot and candidate information.  Anyone can promote or link to this website.

If you or your organization has questions about VIP, please contact and follow VIP on Twitter!

#CLDE16 in Review

Our recent 2016 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) Meeting in Indianapolis, Ind. brought together a collection 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.

Highlights of our time together:

By The Numbers
515 participants, representing 156 colleges and universities as well as 44 other organizations.

  • 66 AASCU/ADP Campuses
  • 43 TDC Campuses
  • 46 NASPA Lead Campuses
  • 113 Students
  • 11 Sponsors/Exhibitors

clde16wordcloudSocial Media Use and #CLDE16
Representatives (Nathan Carpenter & Steve Hunt) from Illinois State University’s Social Media Analytics Command Center (SMACC) analyzed the social conversation for the 2016 CLDE conference using social media tracking software (NUVI). Their analysis revealed the following insights:

  • There were 811 social mentions using the keywords @NASPAtweets, @TDCNational, @ADPaascu, #CLDE16, #CLDE, #FacesoofCLDE , #studentsofclde, #studentsofclde16, #facesofclde16, and #civedtalks between June 1st at 7 am (Central Daylight Time) and June 4th at 6 pm (Central Daylight Time).
  • 200 unique authors contributed to the overall conversation, producing an average of 8 posts per hour for the duration of the conference.
  • The #CLDE16 conversation was viral. Of the 811 mentions using the aforementioned keywords, 200 were from unique authors reaching a potential audience of 136,026. In addition, there were 406 re-shares spreading the mentions to an additional 289,191 people. Taken together, public mentions about #CLDE16 had the potential of being viewed by 425,217 people!
  • The peak of the social conversation occurred on June 4th at 8 am (117 mentions) and included the following keywords: “democracy,” “problems,” “campus,” “students,” and “too many colleges.”
  • Overall, the conversation was very positive about the conference. The top positive keywords in this conversation were “thanks,” “social justice,” “religious freedom,” “very interesting,” “glad,” “innovation,” “join,” and “inspiring.”

Sample Mentions

Most Active
The most active Twitter accounts using the #CLDE16 keywords were @ADPaascu (83 mentions), @JenDomagalG (36 mentions), @melanieps (21 mentions), @drgawilliamsjr (19 mentions), @btholloway (19 mentions), @DFTOME (17 mentions), @TDCNational (14 mentions), @seejenspeak (13 mentions), @skhunt2 (13 mentions), and @PriskilaGarcia (13 mentions).

Most Popular Mention
The most popular mention appeared on June 4th at 8:22 am, posted by @nelson_em96, and as of June 8th at 10:48 am, was retweeted 9 times:

Most Reach
The mention with the most reach (the account with the largest number of followers, 25,702) was posted by @NASPAtweets on June 1st at 8:45 am:

Most Active tweeter.jpg

Most Spread
The mention that generated the most spread ( how many additional social accounts re-tweeted or shared the mention) was posted on June 2nd at 2:30 pm by @AASCU. This account has 5,849 followers and the mention spread to 27,513 additional people:

most spread.jpg

Most Shared Positive Mention
On Thursday (June 2nd) at 2 pm, there was a spike of 50 positive mentions. The most shared positive mention was posted by @MrsOlbrys during this time period:

most shared.jpg

Highest Volume by State

Of the social media accounts that were geotagged or listed a location in their profile description, those originating in Washington, D.C. (160 mentions), Indiana (86 mentions) and Illinois (51 mentions) were the most active.

Top Hashtags
In addition to the official #clde16 conference hashtag, the next most frequently used hashtags were “#cldeindy” (81 mentions), “#facesofclde” (41 mentions), “#civedtalk” (17 mentions), “#sagrad” (14 mentions), “#education” (12 mentions), “#stocktonserves” (12 mentions), “#nslve” (11 mentions), “#civiclearning” (10 mentions), and “#ileadnevada” (10 mentions).

Top Keywords
The keywords that were most frequently used during the conference included “democracy” (51 mentions), “students” (38 mentions), “civic engagement” (24 mentions), “campus” (22 mentions), “religious freedom” (19 mentions), “political engagement” (18 mentions), “future” (18 mentions), “panel” (17 mentions), and “problems” (17 mentions).

Social Network Analysis
The following maps present a visual representation of the #CLDE16 Twitter conversation in terms of clusters (explores the degree to which nodes in a network group together) and degree centrality (the in-degree map represents the number of incoming links a node receives; the out-degree map represents the number of outgoing links a node sends). For an overview of social media analytics and social network analysis see Khan (2015).




This report was prepared by the SMACC housed in the School of Communication at Illinois State University. For more information about the SMACC contact Nathan Carpenter, Assistant Director for Convergent Media ( or Dr. Steve Hunt, Executive Director (

Kahn, G. F. (2015). Seven layers of social media analytics: Mining business insights from social media text, actions, networks, hyperlinks, apps, search engine, and location data. Retrieved from

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

Pre-Conference highlights:

  • The 2016 CLDE Meeting opened with six pre-conference sessions that introduced different– and equally important– elements of civic engagement and encouraged participants to begin the discussion and deliberation process. Participants were invited to take part in the Educational Testing Service (ETS)- sponsored CLDE Assessment Institute: Building Institutional Capacity for CLDE Assessment on Your Campus, aimed at helping campuses create a systematic approach to assessing student-campus-community relationships and fulfilling their civic mission. Participants could also attend the Electoral & Political Engagement Institute sponsored by icitizen, focused on introducing campuses to emerging research, tools, technology and practices for promoting nonpartisan student political engagement in this year’s presidential election and beyond.
  • Other pre-conferences included the ADP/TDC Economic Inequality Fellows Working Meeting; the Democratic Dialogue & Deliberation Institute: Introduction to Deliberative Democracy Theory & Practice; the ADP/TDC Economic Inequality Initiative Workshop; and the Student Pre-Conference Institute.
  • The Student Pre-Conference Institute was organized for students, by students. Led by the 2016 CLDE Meeting Intern Team (Monica Bustinza, junior, University of Miami (Fla.); Angelo Kapp, sophomore and vice president of Citizens In Action, Delta College (Mich.); Maryam Sarhan, junior and student trustee, Stockton University (N.J.); and Manisha Vepa, sophomore and Sondheim Public Affairs Scholar, University of Maryland Baltimore County), the session examined the vital role students play in shaping the landscape of higher education, and provided them with a space to harness their skills and passions about issues that matter most to them. In addition to introducing students to #CLDE16 and setting the conference agenda, the session included discussions about how to mobilize individuals on campus, create diverse partnerships, gain the support of faculty and administrators, and build support networks.

clde16 student precon.jpg

Opening Plenary & First Day highlights:

cived talk speakers.jpg
CivEd Talk speakers (left to right): David Hoffman, Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, and Austin Belali [Image by Amy Rankin, Rack Focused Productions]
  • The inaugural CivEd talks 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: Austin Belali, director, Youth Engagement Fund, Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, director of CIRCLE, Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts University (Mass.), and David Hoffman, assistant director of student life for civic agency, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (Md.).
  • After our three speakers shared their powerful message we moved on to a networking reception. Guests had the opportunity to mingle with other civic-minded leaders while enjoying several campus and community projects at our poster session,  campus and friends showcase, and mentorship meetup.
  • Participants had the opportunity to watch a screening of Roadtrip Nation’s film “Ready to Rise” ( “Ready to Rise” follows the respective journeys of Michael, Ryan, and Summer—three young people who are among the 5.6 million youth in America currently out of work, out of school, and struggling with challenges as extreme as homelessness. As they travel the country in Roadtrip Nation’s green RV, they meet people who have been in their shoes and show them it is not only possible to rise above adversity, but also to harness it for success.

Friday highlights:

Friday Plenary photo.jpg

  • Friday morning participants started their day with a presentation of the live television weekly TV program at WNIT-TV (South Bend): Politically Speaking, Indianapolis Edition: Religious Freedom vs. LGBT Rights in Indiana.  This session highlighted diverse perspectives on the issue of LGBT rights and religious freedom in Indiana. Attendees walked away with a better understanding of the debate, the host city, and ways to moderate difficult dialogues on controversial political issues. Host: Elizabeth A. Bennion, professor and acting chair, department of political science, Indiana University South Bend (Ind.) and host, Politically Speaking, WNIT Television Panelists: Jane Henegar, Executive Director, American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana; Chris Paulsen, Campaign Manager, Freedom Indiana; Peter Rusthoven, Partner, Barnes & Thornburg, LLP; and Timothy Wesco, Indiana House of Representative, District 21.
Democracy Plaza at IUPUI [Image by Amy Rankin, Rack Focused Productions]
  • Friday evening participants were invited to take part in  a walking tour of Democracy Plaza (DP) at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). Established in 2004 by students and staff, Democracy Plaza at IUPUI serves as a place in the community to write, listen, watch or deliberate with peers on political ideas or issues. Many other campuses have adopted democracy walls as similar places for such dialogues. During this event, attendees interacted with the questions posed on the DP chalkboards. This tour included a history of the project, examples of current issues, and an overview of how IUPUI uses the space for events.

Saturday highlights:

  • In our closing plenary session on Saturday, participants listened to the campus stories of University of Houston-Downtown, Rollins College, University of South Carolina-Upstate, and Sinclair Community College and how they engage their campus communities in democracy.  This conversation was fueled by the data uncovered from one of the signature initiatives of the Institute for Democracy and Higher Education (IDHE) at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University (Mass.), the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE).

Saturday NSLVE plenary panelists.jpgThe Closing Plenary session featured campus stories from data collected by  NSLVE, one of the signature Initiatives of the Institute of Democracy for Higher Education at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University (Mass.).  Presenters included (back row, left to right)  Abe Goldberg, associate professor and co-director, office of service learning and community engagement, University of South Carolina Upstate; David Bodary, professor, communication, Sinclair Community College (Ohio); John Locke, student, University of Houston-Downtown (Tex.); Nancy L. Thomas, director, institute for democracy and higher education, Tufts University (Mass.); (front row, left to right) Micki Meyer, Lord Family Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, Rollins College (Fla.); and Ishara Casellas Connors, associate director, institute for democracy and higher education, Tufts University (Mass.).  [Image by Amy Rankin, Rack Focused Productions]

The 2016 CLDE Meeting in Indianapolis, Ind. 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/NASPA have deep admiration and gratitude for each organization and the support they provided to the 2016 CLDE Meeting. We look forward to future collaborations.

clde16 sponsors image

CLDE 2017

We hope to see you in Baltimore, Maryland from June 7-10, 2017, 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.

Finally, to see more pictures from the meeting, visit the AD

RSVP Now for Summer TDC/ADP Engage the Election 2016 Webinars

We’re excited to announce our 5th and 6th ADP/TDC Engage the Election 2016 webinars powered by icitizen. These webinars are open to faculty, staff, students and friends.



Walk2Vote Logo

Webinar 5:  Student Empowerment through Civic Engagement

Thursday, July 28, 2016 | 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. Eastern

Please join us for a webinar on Student Empowerment through Civic Engagement on Thursday, July 28th, at 2 pm Eastern. During the program, John Locke, a former student body president at the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) will introduce Walk 2 Vote, a student led, student executed, non-partisan political engagement program created by UHD students.  It has grown from a local/campus-based initiative to what is now a national movement. Learn how to host a #Walk2Vote campaign on your campus. Walk 2 Vote co-founder Locke will share the key components and philosophies that are important to successfully empower students to become politically engaged. He will also lead a discussion and share details of the Walk 2 Vote model including resource packets, contests, funding leads and marketing resources, opportunities to highlight your campus achievements and connections to organizations that will support your efforts.


John Locke, former Student Body President of the University of Houston-Downtown (Texas) and Co-Founder of Walk 2 Vote




turbovote-logo1Webinar 6: Voter Registration & Campus Technology: Engaging Student Voters by the Thousands
Wednesday, August 24, 2016 | 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. EST

Offered in partnership with TurboVote, this webinar will explore the research and subsequent implementation of an innovative (yet, easy!) voter engagement strategy: integrating voter registration and resources into campus IT infrastructure. The TurboVote team and their campus partners will share success stories and their personal experiences with engaging the necessary stakeholders and turning web-based student portals and pass-throughs into “online voter registration tables.” Just in time for this fall’s election, we invite you to join us in raising the voter engagement bar and institutionalizing your registration efforts so voting can fit the way students live.


Matt Tharp and Emily Giffin, TurboVote Partner Support Leads will be joined by TurboVote Campus Partners



#CLDE16: Politically Speaking, Indy Edition Plenary

Politically Speaking, Indianapolis Edition: Religious Freedom vs. LGBT Rights in Indiana
Friday, June 3, 2016 | 9:15 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
In February 2016, the Indiana state senate gave up on an attempt to pass compromise legislation expanding protections for LGBT persons in state law. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Travis Holdman, said that there simply was not enough support for it to pass. Sen. David Long, leader of the majority Republicans, indicated that efforts to find a balance between the civil rights for the LGBT community and religious liberty had satisfied no one. “We took a beating from all sides in trying to do this,” Long said. “This effort was unfortunately hampered by well-organized extreme messaging from groups representing both sides of this discussion — many of whom are from out of state. Neither of those sides were truly seeking a solution” (South Bend Tribune, Feb. 2, 2016). Indiana Republican lawmakers, who hold a super majority in both chambers, abandoned efforts to strengthen protections for lesbian, gay and bi-sexual people on Tuesday, February 2, 2016, opting not to vote on a measure designed to restore the state’s reputation following a national boycott over a religious objections law in 2015.

Modeled on the live television weekly TV program Dr. Bennion moderates on WNIT-TV (South Bend), this session will highlight diverse perspectives on the issue of LGBT rights and religious freedom in Indiana. Attendees will come away with a better understanding of the debate, the host city, and ways to moderate difficult dialogues on controversial political issues. Attendees are also invited to attend a follow-up workshop with Dr. Bennion where she will discuss her students’ involvement in the weekly TV program. Students earn college credit and gain valuable knowledge and skills while serving as researchers, call screeners, episode reviewers, amateur videographers, and more.  Reaching a 22-county, two-state area with 1.2 million viewers, the program offers a valuable opportunity for students to become part of a dynamic civic education team. Learn how you can adapt this model to capitalize on a variety of traditional and new media opportunities to engage a broader audience in your civic education efforts.


BennionElizabeth Bennion is a Professor of Political Science at Indiana University South Bend. Her teaching and research focus on U.S. political behavior and effective approaches to fostering civic and political engagement. Elizabeth is co-editor of the book Teaching Civic Engagement: From Student to Active Citizen, and has published her civic engagement scholarship in numerous other books and academic journals. Elizabeth directs IU South Bend’s American Democracy Project and moderates candidate debates and forums for offices ranging from city council and mayor to U.S. House and Senate. She is also host of WNIT’s live weekly TV program Politically Speaking which brings her students into contact with local, state, and national elected officials and community activists from a two-state, 22-county region. Elizabeth earned her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and lives with her husband and four children in South Bend, IN. For more about Elizabeth.


HenegarJane Henegar joined the ACLU of Indiana as executive director in September of 2012. Prior to her service at the ACLU she was a deputy mayor of Indianapolis from 2000 to 2006. Henegar has held various positions in government, including state director in the office of Senator Evan Bayh, deputy commissioner and general counsel in the Indiana Department of Administration, executive posts at the Family and Social Services Administration and judicial law clerk for the Hon. Thomas Reavley, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Henegar has taught political science and led the Indiana Bar Foundation’s Project Citizen to teach civics to K-12 students in Indiana. Born and raised in Bloomington, she is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and Indiana University Maurer School of Law in Bloomington.


PaulsenChris Paulsen, Campaign Manager for Freedom Indiana, is a long time Hoosier. Chris brings a business and coalition building background to the campaign. She spent over 20 years working for a regional custom homebuilder as Vice President of Operations overseeing sales, purchasing, administration and construction. Chris currently owns her own custom homebuilding company.  Chris has a been an active member of the LGBT movement as a board member and President of Indiana Equality Action, a board member of Freedom Indiana during the marriage amendment fight, and as a member of the capital campaign committee of Indiana Youth Group.   For more about Chris.


RusthovenPeter Rusthoven, a partner in the Indianapolis office, has a multi-dimensional practice. His business experience includes transactional and corporate governance work, in areas ranging from manufacturing to publishing to healthcare. He was active in drafting Indiana’s corporation statute and official comments and has frequently written and spoken on corporate change-of-control issues. In the governmental services area, he is experienced in gaming and alcoholic beverage licensing and other regulatory and legislative services matters. For more about Peter.


WesciState Representative Timothy Wesco (R-District 21) is a 5th generation Hoosier and a lifelong resident of St. Joseph County. He and his wife, Kathryn, live in Osceola. Timothy is the sixth of 10 siblings and the son of Virgil and Rebecca Wesco. Representative Wesco serves on the following committees: Public Policy (Vice Chair), Local Government, Employment, Labor & Pensions, and Elections & Apportionment.  He holds an associate’s degree in biblical studies from Midwest School of Theology and a B.S. in organizational management from Bethel College.



Register now For more information about the #CLDE16 meeting, go here.

Don’t forget to book your hotel room by May 25th.

Indianapolis Marriott Downtown
350 W. Maryland Street
Indianapolis, IN, 46225

Phone: 317-822-3500
Toll-free: 1-888-236-2427

Room Rate
The special conference rate is $175 for a single/double room, $185 for a triple room, and $195 for a quad; plus applicable state and local taxes (currently 17%).

PLEASE NOTE:  You must choose first what type of room you need (single/double, triple, or quad occupancy) and then the link will take you to choose the dates and enter your information.


Your Questions Answered about the Voter Friendly Campus designation

naspa_and_cvp_logo__largeGood Housekeeping has their seal as a stamp of approval and indication of good products. Campus Vote Project and NASPA are teaming up to offer our own recognition for campuses that help students register and vote.

The Voter Friendly Campus Designation program is a brand new opportunity and we want to answer some basic questions to help administrators decide if they should sign up. Voter Friendly Campus Designation Interest Forms due May 13, 2016.

Q. What is the Voter Friendly Campus designation program?

This program helps institutions develop a plan that will coordinate administrators, faculty, and student organizations in civic and electoral engagement. After colleges and universities execute their plan to help students register and vote in the 2016 elections, campuses will be evaluated and designated as an official Voter Friendly Campus.

Q. Why should my college or university sign up to be designated a Voter Friendly Campus?

A. In addition to educating students, fostering civic learning is a goal of many colleges and universities. By helping students register and vote, campuses will help students be active participants in our democracy. The Voter Friendly Campus designation helps administrators develop a plan using our checklist and set clear goals so a path can be created well in advance of November. These activities can be institutionalized for the following years, keeping students engaged as they enter, and move through their time at school.

Q. What happens after we are designated a Voter Friendly Campus?

A. Campuses that follow through on their plan to register students and help them cast a ballot will be recognized and sent materials that can be used on the college or university’s website and on social media.  CVP and NASPA will maintain and promote an Honor Roll of the institutions that receive the designation.

Q. Does the designation have to be renewed?

A. Yes, designations awarded in early 2017 will be valid through 2018, with an updated round of Voter Friendly Campuses designations in early 2019.  The development of the initial plan will put your campus in a good position to continue these activities for years to come. After seeing the results from 2016, plans can be modified and adapted to best suit the campus and its students and lead the campus’ efforts to maintain the designation in future cycles.

Q. If I sign up for the interest form am I committed to participating?

A. We hope you continue with the program after you learn more about expectations and activities that can help students register and vote, but there is no penalty if you don’t follow through with the program.

Q. Are there any fees associated with participating in this program?

A. There is no cost to join the Voter Friendly Campus designation program. Many of the tools we recommend in the checklist use existing communications tools like email, social media, and the current website. We also recommend working with student groups and campus volunteers to help spread the word. It is your choice if you decide to spend additional funds to engage student voters.

Voter Friendly Campus Designation Interest Forms due May 13, 2016. Sign up today.

This program is endorsed by our colleagues at the American Democracy Project, The Democracy Commitment, and Young Invincibles. We hope to have a long list of campuses participating in this effort and educating student voters on registration and voting.

If you have any questions please contact:
Mike Burns
Director, Campus Vote Project Director
P: (202) 331-0114 E:

Stephanie Reynolds
Assistant Director for Knowledge Communities and CLDE Initiatives, NASPA
P: (202) 719-1193 E:

RSVP Now: Becoming a Voter-Friendly Campus Webinar | Wednesday, March 2nd


Becoming a Voter-Friendly Campus Webinar | Wednesday, March 2nd

This is the first of our ADP/TDC Engage the Election 2016 webinar series powered by icitizen. There will be 6 total webinars between now and November 2016 — all will be open to faculty, staff, students and friends.

Offered in partnership with The Fair Elections Legal Network’s Campus Vote Project (CVP), this webinar will introduce participants to the Students Learn, Students Vote Checklist and seek early adopters to be part of an inaugural class of higher education institutions undertaking these efforts to foster more voter-friendly campuses. CVP will discuss promising practices from previous experiences with student electoral engagement, identify resources and materials to help campuses plan, execute, and evaluate their efforts, and create a system to enroll and support campuses in this program. We encourage you to participate in this webinar and to consider how your campus can become more voter-friendly!

  • Speaker: Mike Burns, National Director, Campus Vote Project
  • When: Wednesday, March 2, 2016 from 2:30 p.m. – 4 p.m. EST

To RSVP click here.

TDC Partners & Friends | ADP’s 2016 Faculty Seminar in Yellowstone National Park


Announcing the American Democracy Project’s
2016 Faculty Seminar in Yellowstone National Park:
Stewardship of Public Lands:
Politics and the Yellowstone Ecosystem
August 1 – 6, 2016

How does a democracy manage competing but often equally legitimate positions over public resources? How are the rights of all citizens protected in conflicts over public lands? How do universities design courses and programs to help undergraduates develop the understandings and skills necessary to think about, and become engaged in, conflict management and resolution? How do we help undergraduates become more thoughtful, more engaged citizens for our democracy?

The American Democracy Project (ADP) is creating new strategies to answer these questions.

2015 marks the 11th summer of our Yellowstone seminar, part of the American Democracy Project’s Stewardship of Public Lands Initiative. The seminar, a partnership with the Yellowstone Association, is open to faculty members from any academic discipline.

For the last 11 summers, we expanded the focus of the program to examine a variety of conflicts in the entire Yellowstone region, including bison and brucellosis, winter use, wolves, and grizzly bears. Our program is entitled Politics and the Yellowstone Ecosystem. In this program, we spend six (6) days in Yellowstone National Park in a combination of activities, beginning with a study of the science and history of the controversies, listening to scientists and Park rangers. Then we interview local citizens on both sides of the issues, including political activists, business people, ranchers, and other citizens.  At the end of the week-long program, we consider ways that faculty might develop programs on their own campus that focused on (1) national public resource issues such as wolf re-introduction and (2) local public resource issues such as oil drilling on national seashores, wind turbines in state parks, and restoration efforts in wetlands.

The goal of this project is to develop new strategies and new approaches that colleges and universities can use to help undergraduates become thoughtful, informed, and engaged citizens. In a political environment where special interest groups tend to push people to polarized positions, we often try to seek common ground.

The program begins late afternoon on Monday, August 1st and ends at noon on Saturday, August 6th. The program will be held at Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel in Yellowstone National Park. The cost of the program is $1,465, which includes five (5) nights individual room lodging at Mammoth Hotel (each participant will have a separate hotel room or cabin); all instruction and instructional materials, AV rental, classroom rental; in-park transportation; and several meals, including reception and dinner the first night, lunch Tuesday, and breakfast Wednesday. Space does not allow for guest participation in the full program. However, guests and family members are welcome to attend some classroom lectures, a few field trips, and evening films and presentations.

Seminar Highlights
• Participate in a study of political conflict in the world’s first national park
• Examine the political controversies over wolves, grizzlies, snowmobiles, and bison
• Meet and listen to stakeholders on all sides
• Learn how to design courses to help prepare students to understand and engage in conflict management and resolution over national and local public resources

To learn more, please visit

Register online here:

What We’re Reading: Transfer Student Success

Today, most college students in the United States do not attend a single institution in pursuit of their college degrees. Accordingly, the successful attainment of a degree or other credential often depends on a smooth transfer process, as students move between and among higher education institutions. Many states and institutions are working to develop policies and practices that ensure that students can successfully and efficiently make their way from one institution to another and move from one level of learning to another. As these policies and practices are developed, however, we must ensure that we attend not only to the efficiency of these guided learning pathways, but that we map them against common frameworks for quality learning outcomes. Campus models and tools featured here highlight ways that we can advance transfer student success both in learning and completion of degrees of real value.

The Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) has five case studies and and campus models for your school to learn from and use.