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 (njcarpe@ilstu.edu) or Dr. Steve Hunt, Executive Director (skhunt2@ilstu.edu).

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 https://7layersanalytics.com/

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:

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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” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zf0lHMn3BG0). “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

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