``A More Perfect Community``

A Civic and Community Engagement Initiative
TDC’s "A More Perfect Community" Initiative is a series of projects created to advance our commitment to inspire community colleges students to make a difference in the civic life of thier communities. The goal of these projects is to promote direct action in our communities through both political and non-political processes in order to empower our students to become the social capital of their communities while recognizing themselves as members of a larger social fabric and therefore considering social problems to be at least partly their own. These projects inspire students to see the moral and civic dimensions of issues, to make and justify informed moral and civic judgments, and to take action when necessary.

Steering Committee:

  • Dr. Aaron Hoffman, Community College of Allegheny County
  • Dr. Carrie Kisker, Center for the Study of Community Colleges
  • David McMahon, Kirkwood Community College
  • Dr. David Price, Santa Fe College
  • Ken Rolling, Community Learning Partnerships
  • Dr. Joe Scanlon, Monroe Community College
  • Sharon Wettengel, Tarrant County College, NE

Projects and Initiatives

Selected institutions will engage their campuses and communities in awareness, dialogues, and action to combat the growing issue of poverty that affects community college students and their communities.

Participating Campuses:

  • Allegany College of Maryland
  • College of Marin
  • College of the Canyons
  • Lone Star College- North Harris
  • Mesa Community College
  • Sinclair Community College
  • Tarrant County College- NE
  • Tarrant County College- SE

The Democracy Commitment: An American Community College Initiative (TDC) and the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) are pleased to announce a three-year curriculum and faculty development project supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the HumanitiesBridging Cultures to Form a Nation: Difference, Community, and Democratic Thinking.

Diversity has always characterized our nation’s democracy and marked differential access to opportunities. In the face of ever increasing diversity, intensified globalization, and hardening political polarization, it is more urgent than ever that higher education—and the humanities in particular—offer vehicles through which students expand their knowledge of each other’s cultures and develop skills to work across differences toward shared goals. As a microcosm of our nation’s diversity, community colleges are the ideal public space to infuse such learning, and the humanities—steeped in the practice of entering imaginatively into other people’s lives and worldviews through literature, history, and philosophy—are particularly well-suited to cultivate these capacities.

Ten community colleges have been competitively selected to participate as leadership institutions in the Bridging Cultures project:

2013-2014 Cohort:

  • Chandler-Gilbert Community College (AZ)
  • CUNY Kingsborough Community College (NY)
  • County College of Morris (NJ)
  • Georgia Perimeter College (GA)
  • Kapi’olani Community College (HI)
  • Lone Star College – Kingwood (TX)
  • Miami Dade College (FL)
  • Middlesex Community College (MA)
  • Mount Wachusett Community College (MA)
  • Santa Fe College (FL)

These ten institutions will engage humanities faculty and administrators in intensive efforts to:

  • infuse questions about difference, community, and democratic thinking into transfer courses in the humanities;
  • promote greater adoption of proven high-impact practices that advance important civic learning outcomes;
  • create a series of humanities-enriched professional development opportunities for community college faculty, especially adjunct faculty; and
  • expand the project’s impact through collaboration with additional community colleges and partnerships with state humanities councils.

The project has included a summer faculty development institute in August 2012 and  culminated in a symposium June 2014. Bridging Cultures’ impact was strengthened by a partnership with the New York Times’ Epsilen online learning network, which partnered with TDC in their national initiative. Through this partnership, project participants used the online learning platform to develop forums and to share and co-create resources and course materials.

For More Info.

In an age of fractious differences about this topic when finding common ground seems elusive, The Democracy Commitment (TDC) and The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&C) have joined with seven TDC community colleges to orchestrate a series of public forums each with accompanying programs and educational resources to bridge the rifts.

Organized under the common theme, Citizenship Under Siege and supported by a grant from The National Endowment for the Humanities, the events are framed through the powerful historic, ethical, and narrative lenses of the humanities.  We believe this tapestry of forums underscores how the humanities still are “the heart of the matter, the keeper of the republic—a source of national memory and civic vigor, cultural understanding and communication, individual fulfillment, and the ideals we hold in common” (American Academy of Arts & Sciences, 2013, 9).

Beginning January 2018, selected institutions will build on the experience and model of the first cohort of the project to continue by hosting public dialogues exploring who counts as citizens and who has been accorded full rights to democracy’s promises.

2016-2017 Cohort:

 

2017-2018 Cohort:

  • Allegany College of Maryland
  • College of Marin
  • College of the Canyons
  • Delta College
  • CUNY Guttman Community College
  • Mesa Community College
  • Northwest Vista College
  • Wilbur Wright College

CLASHES OVER CITIZENSHIP:  PROMOTING LISTENING, LEARNING, AND ENGAGEMENT

Fall 2016 Webinar Series:

The Democracy Commitment (TDC) will also host a series of webinars that will provide educational resources on how to organize public forums that offer a way to discuss these critical questions about citizenship and wrestle with associated hard choices and different viewpoints.  Click Here For More Info.

We believe that those of us in higher education have the responsibility to engage our students and communities in assembling the knowledge and skills to effectively enact change related to the complex issue of growing economic inequality.

In February 2014, The Democracy Commitment (TDC) joined with our State Colleges and University colleagues in AASCU’s American Democracy Project (ADP) and former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich at San Francisco State University (Calif.) for a live webcast about his documentary film, Inequality for All. This event served as the inspiration for the first joint TDC/ADP national initiative, an effort centered on economic inequality and co-led by TDC’s Mount Wachusett Community College (Mass.) and ADP’s Keene State College (N.H.).

A cohort of two- and four-year ADP and TDC member institutions joined our lead institutions in a three-year initiative to understand the impact of economic inequality on our democracy. The goal of this initiative is to help students think about and take action to confront the complex causes of growing economic inequality.

We envision developing, implementing and documenting innovative, interactive curricula and experiential learning modules that can be adapted across our campuses and communities. Participating institutions will work together to study the relationship between public policy, economic inequality, economic opportunity and social mobility to prepare undergraduates for lives of informed civic engagement.

See specifics of what some of these institutions are doing below:

Participating Campuses:

  • Allegany College of Maryland
  • Kirkwood Community College (Iowa)
  • Lone Star College, Kingwood (Texas)
  • Manchester Community College (Conn.)
  • Monroe Community College (N.Y.)
  • Moraine Valley Community College (Ill.)
  • Mount Wachusetts Community College (Mass.)
  • Santa Fe College (Fla.)
  • Tarrant County College, Southeast Campus (Texas)

Institutions will recognize selected days/weeks of action, remembrance, or service adopted or created by TDC in addition to the tradition national days of service.  This initiative will develop toolkits and best practice guides for implementation on member campuses.

Participating Campuses:

  • Allegany College of Maryland
  • College of Marin
  • Community College of Allegheny County
  • Delta College
  • Heartland Community College
  • Kirkwood Community College
  • Mesa Community College
  • Northwest Vista College
  • Perimeter College, Georgia State
  • Rio Salado Community College
  • Santa Fe College
  • Sinclair Community College

Committee Members:

  • Dr. Mary Frances Archey, Chair, Community College of Allegheny College
  • Dr. Aaron Hoffman, Community College of Allegheny College
  • Dr. Kim Klein, Delta College
  • Dr. David Price, Santa Fe College

In partnership with the Humanities Action Lab, this project engages students and communities in a national discourse about the criminal justice system.  Institutions will host and take part in a traveling exhibit of local histories and creative expressions on incarceration.

Participating Campuses:

  • Allegany College of Maryland
  • College of Marin
  • College of the Canyons
  • Guttman Community College
  • Kirkwood Community College
  • Lone Star College- North Harris
  • Mesa Community College
  • Perimeter College, Georgia State