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The Democracy Commitment is the leading national organization focused on the civic education of community college students.   To such an end, TDC  is an excellent source of information on community college curricular change, how community colleges are educating and engaging students in our democracy, and ensuring that community college voices are heard and do matter in our society.  TDC National Office aims to expand public and student civic knowledge and understanding. Welcome to the National Newsroom

What's New with TDC

The quarterly newsletter from TDC’s National Office is published at least once every semester and contains updates on TDC’s latest work, announcements, opportunites, and news from member institutions.  See below for the most recent issues and archives of previous issues.

National Blog

Our national blog contains important news, updates, announcements, and opportunities from TDC National’s Office on a weekly basis.  Sign up for the mailing list to receive notifications when they posted and check it out frequently to stay up to date.  Contact the national director for opportunities to contribute.

#iSOTU16 Update | icitizen is live in the Apple App Store — download before Tuesday’s SOTU event!


We are incredibly excited to announce icitizen is now live in the Apple App Store! Download it for free here.

The icitizen app is the civic engagement tool that will play an instrumental role in our State of the Union live-stream event on Jan. 12th with polling before, during and after the address and Republican response.

Download it now to get acquainted with the app before Tuesday!

Your participation is essential to making this nationwide event a success. As a friendly incentive, schools participating in the live-event polling on icitizen will have access to data and results gathered during the SOTU address. Encourage students to make their voices count and take part in the conversation surrounding issues affecting their campus and our democracy.

Join us and sign up here if you haven’t already done so, or tune in via YouTube Live for coverage on Jan. 12th starting at 7 p.m. CST.

Here is a link to the toolkit with information on how to use icitizen and how to host a watch party. This nationwide, interactive event is a great nonpartisan way to actively engage students around a political event. Equipped with icitizen’s civic tech and the power to make our voices count, we can make history together during the live-stream event next Tuesday.

Be sure to join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #iSOTU16. See you then!


TDC NEWS | 7 TDC Campuses and AAC&U Join Together to Launch a New Project on Citizenship

$200,000 Grant from NEH to Fund New Project Series of Public Forums called “Citizenship Under Siege”

Washington, DC—The Democracy Commitment (TDC) and The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) announced on Friday the receipt of a $200,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to sponsor a series of public forums around the country on “Citizenship Under Siege” in partnership with seven TDC community colleges. This project builds on a previously NEH-funded initiative, Bridging Cultures to Form a Nation: Difference, Community, and Democratic Thinking. Seven of the community colleges in that aforementioned three-year curriculum and faculty development initiative will sponsor forums in the project.

TDC and AAC&U, in partnership with these community colleges, will facilitate a tapestry of public dialogues exploring who counts as citizens and who has been accorded full rights to democracy’s promises.  These public forums will be grounded in the nation’s history and explore creative ways to use the power of the humanities to bridge differences and build strong communities.

In announcing the grants awarded as part of NEH’s new initiative, The Common Good: Humanities and the Public Square, William D. Adams, NEH Chairman, said, “We need the humanities, now more than ever, because they give us access to the most fundamental and consequential dimensions and forces of our experience.”

Co-Founder of The Democracy Commitment, President of De Anza Community College, and member of AAC&U’s board of directors Brian Murphy adds, “Community college students represent the broadest diversity of our nation’s students and our communities, and they are deeply interested in developing their own voice.  Especially in a time of divisive, even xenophobic, political rhetoric, community college students seek to build more generous and caring communities, where one people is built out of many.  This grant will enable us to expand and augment the excellent work already underway on so many of our campuses.”

Since the nation’s origins, who counts as a U.S. citizen has been hotly contested, and today those divisive debates are as intense as ever.  AAC&U’s Senior Scholar and Director of Civic Learning and Democracy Initiatives Caryn McTighe Musil explains, “The forums will examine how the humanities can help people understand the successive re-imagining of American identity over time and the excruciating distinctions in one’s everyday life, depending on whether one’s citizenship has been deemed as full, partial, stratified, postponed, or denied.”

Tailored to issues of importance to their local communities, the public forums will explore critical questions about citizenship such as:

  • What historic struggles for full social justice, democratic rights, and recognition can illuminate a way through contemporary logjams over issues about citizenship, who belongs, and who should get full citizenship rights?
  • How can the humanities provide fresh understandings for our contemporary context of key principles and values embedded in our founding documents: equality, individual dignity, opportunity, liberty, and public happiness?
  • How can the humanities with their powers of narrative and imagination illuminate the human drama behind these political debates: the yearning, struggle, humiliation, resilience, despair, and triumph?
  • How can the humanities contribute to the constructive practice of democratic engagement across multiple differences in background and world view especially in the face of suspicion, mistrust, vulnerability, ignorance, and polarization?

Participating Community Colleges Include:

  • City University Kingsborough Community College, New York
    Citizenship Under Siege: Promoting Religious Pluralism and Inclusive Citizenship
  • Middlesex Community College, Massachusetts
    Citizenship Under Siege: A Culture in Transition
  • County College of Morris, New Jersey
    Citizenship Under Siege: Stratified Citizenship
  • Lone Star College, Texas
    Citizenship Under Siege: The Effects of Income Inequality
  • Santa Fe College, Florida
    Citizenship Under Siege: Stratified Citizenship in Florida
  • Mount Wachusett Community College, Massachusetts
    Citizenship Under Siege: Degrees of Citizenship
  • Miami Dade College, Florida
    Citizenship Under Siege: Democracy for All?

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. AAC&U will devote a special issue of its quarterly Diversity & Democracy to serve as a print and online resource about how the humanities can provide content, process, and perspectives on these contentious debates and how others might replicate public forums on their own campuses with local communities.

For more information, see:

About AAC&U

AAC&U is the leading national association concerned with the quality, vitality, and public standing of undergraduate liberal education. Its members are committed to extending the advantages of a liberal education to all students, regardless of academic specialization or intended career. Founded in 1915, AAC&U now comprises more than 1,300 member institutions—including accredited public and private colleges, community colleges, research universities, and comprehensive universities of every type and size.

AAC&U functions as a catalyst and facilitator, forging links among presidents, administrators, and faculty members who are engaged in institutional and curricular planning. Its mission is to reinforce the collective commitment to liberal education and inclusive excellence at both the national and local levels, and to help individual institutions keep the quality of student learning at the core of their work as they evolve to meet new economic and social challenges.

About The Democracy Commitment

The Democracy Commitment (TDC) is a national initiative providing 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.

The goal of TDC is that every graduate of an American community college shall have had an education in democracy. This includes all of our students, whether they aim to transfer to university, achieve an associate degree or obtain a certificate.

For more information about The Democracy Commitment’s mission, activities, and members, visit

#CLDE16 | Student Intern Opportunity

In order to encourage student participation in the 2016 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) Meeting, The American Democracy Project, The Democracy Commitment and the NASPA Lead Initiative are proud to offer the opportunity for three students to have a voice on the planning committee. CLDE student interns will:

  • Organize the student symposium on Wednesday, June 1, 2016;
  • Have an active presence on social media regarding the #FacesofCLDE and #CLDE16 campaigns;
  • Contribute blog postings for ADP, TDC, and the NASPA Lead Initiative;
  • Coordinate student gatherings while in Indianapolis;
  • Volunteer on site at the 2016 CLDE Meeting in Indianapolis;
  • Be on the planning committee conference calls leading up to the meeting;
  • Aid in organizing mentor and mentee meetings; as well as
  • Additional opportunities will also be made available.

Each of the student interns will receive a complimentary registration to the 2016 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (#CLDE16) as well as transferrable work experience.  To apply for this intern position fill out the application by Friday, January 29, 2016.  The application can be found here The duration of this commitment will be remote from March – July 2016.  Expected work load will be about five hours per week and onsite from June 1-4 in Indianapolis, In.

All applicants will be notified about their application in late February 2016.

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 | (202) 478-7833

Gabriel Arteaga
National Manager, The Democracy Commitment | (202) 478-4675

State of the Union Tweet-up Event | Save the Date: January 12, 2016 — #iSOTU16


We are excited to invite you to join the The Democracy Commitment (TDC), American Democracy Project (ADP), and icitizen, our civic technology partner, for a live-streamed State of the Union (SOTU) event on the evening of Tuesday, January 12, 2016. This event, headquartered at Illinois State University, will feature interactive polling, live tweeting, and pre- and post-speech coverage designed entirely around advancing the non-partisan political engagement of students.

Please sign up here to learn more.

Community Colleges interested in participating are encouraged to organize a watch party on campus, and any students not able to attend will be able to stream the coverage on their devices from anywhere with an internet connection! This event marks the beginning of a year-long ADP/TDC partnership powered by icitizen called “Engage the Election 2016.”

Join us as we pilot icitizen, an innovative app that will enhance our campus political engagement and polling efforts, inspire students to actively participate and connect them with their peers on trending civic issues. We look forward to your participation!

Sign up and engage your campus here.

Candidates on Campus | Keene State College to host Bernie Sanders

You are cordially invited to participate in Keene State College‘s (N.H.) Town Hall Meeting with Presidential Candidate Senator Bernie Sanders. Senator Sanders will visit Keene State College on Saturday, December 5th at 1 p.m. Eastern. If you are interested in watching a live-stream of this event, please RSVP to Kim Schmidl-Gagne at for the link.

Central to Keene State College’s mission as the public liberal arts school of New Hampshire and its commitment to academic excellence and public service, Keene State College has partnered with the American Democracy Project (ADP) to develop the “Participating Candidates” program. We developed the Participating Candidates Program in collaboration with our community partner, The Keene Sentinel, to invite candidates to come to the Keene State College campus in order to engage our students, faculty, staff and Keene community members in the political process.

We hope that this will be one of many opportunities for ADP/TDC institutions to share in New Hampshire’s “First in the Nation” primary status!

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.

Opportunity for Students: Blog for New York Times

NICHOLAS KRISTOF is inviting University Students to go overseas with him and blog for him on The New York Times website.

Here is what Kristof has to say about the contest:

Read the full rules here. The contest is open to students enrolled in an American college or university, either as an undergraduate or graduate. You can submit an essay or video or both, essentially explaining why I should pick you. Please don’t gush about my reporting — just explain what you bring to the table. It might be that you’re a great writer or photographer, or it might be that you grew up poor and know something about poverty, or grew up rich and don’t know a thing about it. I’m not looking for expertise but for intelligence and great communication skills so that your blogs, videos and social media will make other students interested in these issues and generate some conversations. If you blog or have other writing or video experience, mention it and send links.

To enter, use this form at the Center for Global Development website. The center will help me winnow down the applicants to a much smaller pool of finalists, and then with the help of my assistant, Liriel Higa, I’ll choose the winner. Probably the aim will be to travel for about 10 days or two weeks in the late spring or early summer. I’ll try to work around your schedule, but if you know for sure you won’t be able to take the time off, then please don’t apply. Your expenses will be covered, but there’s no cash award, and you may have to pay taxes on the value of the trip. I’m not sure just where we’ll travel, but the two Congos are a possibility. If you speak French, mention that but it’s certainly not a requirement.

Also, remember that the traveling is sometimes tough. The joke within The New York Times is that first prize is a trip with me; second prize is two trips with me. We will be bouncing over awful roads, we’ll be eating wretched food, and you may get sick. Hotel rooms may come with bedbugs and rats. And we’ll be on the go from dawn to dusk. To get a sense of what the past winners have done, check out Austin Meyer’s post on malnutrition in India, my interview with the 2014 winner Nicole SgangaSaumya Dave’s first impressions of Morocco in 2011Paul Bower’s reflections in 2009 on how religion in Liberia shares many similarities with the South, or my 2006 visit to the Dzanga-Sangha area in the Central African Republic to see gorillas and elephants with Casey Parks. You can also see what past win-a-trip winners are up to; the 2013 winner, Erin Luhmanncaught up with the previous winners, going back to the Casey in 2006.

If you want to get a sense of the issues I cover and care about, subscribe to my free email newsletter. But don’t feel you need to agree with me to apply or win!

One other suggestion. Only one person will win this trip, but you can always try to make your own trip. Africa is relatively expensive, but traveling around Nicaragua or India/Bangladesh, or Vietnam/Cambodia is more affordable. You may also be able to get a job or volunteer position teaching English. And for that matter, there are many opportunities to leave your comfort zone without leaving this country — tutor in a prison, or in an inner city school. Over the years, I’ve heard from a number of win-a-trip applicants who, disgusted by my poor judgment in failing to pick them, went off on their own journeys and had life-shaping experiences. So if you don’t win my trip, win your own! You may also find ideas for places to volunteer abroad at or

Everyday Democracy’s Big List of Community Action Grants

Everyday Demoracy logo.masthead.inside

Here’s what you’ll find in Everyday Democracy‘s

  • 60 grant opportunities
  • Details on the grant amount, area funded, deadlines, and geographic location
  • Funding for a wide variety of issue areas including youth empowerment, education, strengthening democracy, sustainability, immigration, art and media projects, poverty, and more.
  • Direct links to more information about the requirements

If you’re looking for external funding to boost your community change efforts, this list is the perfect place to start. This list has compiles all the important details in one place, making it easy to decide whether to pursue the opportunity further.

Check out the list of grant opportunities.