What We’re Reading

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.

What We’re Reading: General Education and Democratic Engagement

Courtesy of the American Democracy Project

What we’re reading right now is AAC&U’s latest issue of Diversity and Democracy which is focused on general education and democratic engagement — issues we here at AASCU’s American Democracy Project value deeply. Pay special attention to Thia Wolf’s article on Public Sphere Pedagogy from ADP member campus CSU-Chico. Thia and her colleagues presented about their public sphere pedagogy in a plenary session at ADP’s 2012 national meeting; you can find more information on their work here and here. You’ll also encounter articles from three community colleges that are members of our sister organization The Democracy Commitment.

– Jen, ADP National Manager

DD coverDiversity & Democracy: General Education and Democratic Engagement

General education programs and curricula can provide key opportunities for students to practice democratic thinking and civic action. This issue of Diversity & Democracy features approaches to general education that help students develop the skills they need for participation in a diverse and globally connected democracy. Contributing authors also raise pertinent questions about opportunities for and barriers to faculty and students’ democratic engagement in higher education itself.

The table of contents for this issue of AAC&U’s Diversity & Democracy is below, with links to full online articles. Diversity & Democracy, Summer 2014, Vol. 17, No. 3


From the Editor

General Education and Democratic Engagement

Modeling Democratic Practices through General Education Reform: A Developmental Journey
Lenore Rodicio, Miami Dade College
“Even as the national dialogue on student success continues to focus on workplace readiness, our goal as ‘democracy’s college’ is for every graduate to become a well-informed citizen who can effectively—and actively—participate in civic and economic life within a diverse and globally connected environment.”

Moral Discernment: Essential Learning for a Principled Society
L. Lee Knefelkamp, Teachers College, Columbia University and the Association of American Colleges and Universities
“Our work as educators to help students develop mature capacities for democratic engagement cannot be separated from our work to help them develop mature capacities for ethical and moral reasoning.”

Public Sphere Pedagogy: Engaging Students as Participants in Democracy
Thia Wolf, California State University–Chico
“Recognizing that college students, particularly first-year college students, frequently occupy the role of observers in their survey classes or large lecture courses, faculty engaged in PSP work seek to provide students with arenas, means, and reasons for public participation.”

Connecting Democratic Engagement and Global Learning in General Education
Carina Self, Dona Cady, and Matthew Olson—all of Middlesex Community College
“To address current pressures on and goals for higher education, MCC began its general education reform process in 2011 with this question: How do we, as an institution, mobilize across a number of functional areas to provide general education that develops students’ intercultural competence, global understanding, and democratic engagement?”

Campus Practice and Perspective

Integrating Democratic Education at Stonehill
Hailey Chalhoub, Stonehill College
“IDEAS is an outlet for students to further develop their identities as leaders and change agents by designing and facilitating classes attended by their peers.”

Bridging Cultures to Form a Nation: A Project for Democracy
John Dethloff, Lone Star College–Kingwood
“Classrooms should serve not only as meeting places for students or training grounds for future employees; they should provide a space for the birth of citizens.”

Science Literacy: A Key to Unlocking a Fully Engaged Citizenry
Amy F. Savage, Bard College
“In today’s world, an educated citizenry must be prepared to make decisions that are rooted in scientific or technological knowledge.”

“Getting the Community into the Student”: The Indianapolis Community Requirement
Donald Braid, Butler University
“Developing successful community-engagement programs presents several pragmatic challenges. Even well-designed experiences require significant attention to achieving civic learning outcomes.”

An Ethic of Listening in Higher Education
Adam Bush, College Unbound
“College Unbound attempts to build a learning environment and a degree pathway that is safe, inclusive, and imbued with an ethic of listening.”

Parts of a Whole: Contingency, Democracy, and Higher Education’s Mission
Maria Maisto, New Faculty Majority
“The truth of the harm contingent employment causes to the entire academic enterprise is still very difficult for academic citizens to confront, even though it speaks to a core principle of the civic engagement curriculum: that authentic learning cannot take place in an environment that does not foster inclusion, justice, and collaboratively oriented action.”

Game Theory and Reality TV: Pathways to Democratic Thinking
Carol A. Davis, Hampton University
“Through communications projects based in game theory, students become engaged in the process of learning, participate in both their educations and their community, and learn to work together in the service of shared goals.”

For More

Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Resources
From the Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Action Network

[What We’re Reading] The Impossible Will Take a Little While by Paul Loeb

ImpossibleCoverSmallPaul Loeb, founder of the Campus Election Engagement Project, has a wholly updated edition of his political hope anthology, The Impossible Will Take a Little While. And free exam copies are available either through his publisher, along with his classic civic engagement study Soul of a Citizen, or first come/first served at the upcoming 2014 ADP/TDC National Meeting.

The Impossible explores how the leaders and unsung heroes of world-changing political movements have persevered in the face of cynicism, fear, and seemingly overwhelming odds. After 22 printings and adoption at hundreds of colleges—in every discipline, from first-year common readings to graduate seminars—Editor Paul Rogat Loeb has comprehensively updated the book. It explores what it’s like to go up against Goliath, whether South African apartheid, the dictatorships of Mubarak’s Egypt or Communist Eastern Europe, racial or sexual prejudice in America, or the corporations driving escalating climate change. These stories don’t sugarcoat the obstacles. But they inspire hope by showing what keeps us keeping on.

The Impossible creates a conversation among some of the most visionary and eloquent voices of our times, or any time: Think Nelson Mandela, Maya Angelou, Vaclav Havel, Bill Moyers, and Howard Zinn. Alice Walker, Mary Pipher, Jonathan Kozol, Diane Ackerman, Tony Kushner, Bill McKibben, Paul Hawken, and Marian Wright Edelman. Cornel West, Terry Tempest Williams, Pablo Neruda, Audre Lorde, and Desmond Tutu. Loeb has added valuable new essays, worked with existing authors to update their contributions, and updated his own introductions to speak to a time when students need models for hope more than ever.

For more on this book or to purchase, click here.