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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.

Call for Participation: Research Study on Millennial Faculty & Civic Engagement

A faculty member at Texas A&M University-Central Texas — an American Democracy Project campus — is engaged in a research project focused on Millennial Generation Faculty Members and Civic Engagement. Please read the short study description below and share with colleagues that might be interested in participating in this important effort. Thanks!

 Millennial Faculty & Civic Engagement Study

“Civically-minded” is a term often used to describe individuals from the Millennial Generation (individuals born in 1982 or later) due to their affinity for community service, social activism and involvement in nonprofit organizations. Coincidentally, the time during which those from this generation entered college represented an era during which higher education demonstrated a renewed emphasis on civic engagement efforts nationally. These activities and programs have repeatedly demonstrated positive effects on many student outcomes that prepare them for lives as engaged citizens and professionals.

It is at this point that Millennials are beginning to enter the professoriate themselves. As the sustained success of service-learning and other community engagement endeavors ultimately lies with faculty members, this study aims to investigate how generational tendencies and/or undergraduate experiences have affected currently engaged Millennial faculty members’ development.

We are seeking full-time faculty members born after 1981 who have utilized service-learning in their teaching in order to investigate: 1) their personal perceptions and motivations towards the practice, and 2) if their undergraduate experience affected their development as civically-engaged professionals.  Participants will take part in a brief individual interview and a short follow-up discussion with other participants to examine commonalities and themes. Webcams will be necessary for participation.

Interviews will begin in December 2015 and will continue through early February 2016.  All interested individuals should contact Morgan Lewing at morgan.lewing@tamuct.edu.

Dr. Morgan Lewing
Assistant Professor, College of Education
Texas A&M University-Central Texas (Killeen, TX)
254-519-8030

100 Years of John Dewey’s Democracy and Education — Commemorate in DC in April 2016

The Centennial Conference on Democracy and Education (1916-2016)

Take out your calendars and mark these dates: April 7 and 8, 2016.
The John Dewey Society will be celebrating the Centennial of the publication of John Dewey’s magisterial Democracy and Education in Washington DC. We want every one interested in advancing democratic education to participate.

The meeting will take place in the historic Thurgood Marshall Center in Washington, DC – in the very rooms in which Marshall and his colleagues developed the legal strategy that resulted in the Brown v. Board decision. It will be free and open to the public, taking place immediately prior to the annual meeting of the Dewey Society and the American Educational Research Association on April 8-12, 2016.

But space is limited: reserve your spot today! (See below for how to reserve your spot!)

Why Celebrate the Centennial of Democracy and Education?

  • Democracy and Education is the most important book on education in American history, and is the bible of democratic education worldwide.
  • Democracy and Education has been translated into more languages than any book in history – except the Holy Bible. It is cited more frequently each year that all other classics of American educational studies – those by G. Stanley Hall, Alfred Binet, Edward Thorndike and others – combined!
  • Democracy and Education has inspired innovations and experiments in democratic education – in public schools and private experimental schools – in the United States and throughout the world – for one hundred years.
  • Democracy and Education is more relevant today than ever. We need to come together to celebrate its centennial, and to renew our commitment to democratic education. Please join us!

Democracy and Education Today
Despite the efforts of thousands of dedicated educators and parents, schools in the United States today are suffering under the domination of top-down standardized education: compulsory curriculum standards, pre-determined learning objectives, and high stakes standardized tests.

This standardization regime is sold as ‘preparing all learners for the global economy.’ In fact, it traps young people in a rat race for high test scores and endless competition for slots in colleges with the highest rejection rates and the best ‘payoffs.’ Children from elite families win; the rest struggle to survive.

The standardization regime compels teachers to abandon their hard-won practical knowledge, ignore the strengths of individual learners, and teach for the tests; It compels learners to give up their own passions and goals to conform to a system where their own interests and aims count for nothing.

Instead of ‘no child left behind,’ this regime should be called ‘no child left alive,’ as it has a deadening effect hostile to individual passions and group aspirations. Instead of moving ahead – growing – young people are all too often trapped in isolation, boredom, frustration, and rigged competition.

The message of Democracy and Education – its challenge to the standardization regime – needs to be re-stated, critically digested, re-interpreted for today’s educational situation, and disseminated for today’s teachers, parents and young people. It’s core message is clear:

  • that education of young people is not preparation for adult life but life itself,
  • that the only aims worth pursuing in education are the aims of the learners themselves, as individuals and as members of groups,
  • that teaching consists primarily in structuring learning environments that engage learners in pursuing their aims – alone or in cooperative groups,
  • that school lessons, however necessary to convey abstract and general relations, are a peripheral, and often dangerously overused component of schooling,
  • that democracy is built through cooperation and communication across racial, ethnic, gender, class, religious, political and philosophical differences as learners work together to achieve practical aims.

Why Participate in the Centennial Event?
Through presentations and workshops, the Democracy and Education Centennial in Washington on April 7-8 2016 will offer you a chance to renew your appreciation of this great work, to think through its message for today, and to renew your commitment to democratic education. We will soon be finalizing our selection of speakers and workshop presenters, and you will hear exciting information about them in the months ahead. Meanwhile, all of your suggestions are welcome.

Please mark your calendar and join us in Washington on April 7-8, 2016.

To reserve a spot, simply send an email to Kyle Greenwalt, JDS Secretary-Treasurer, at greenwlt@msu.edu and put the term ‘reserve’ (without the quotes) in the subject line.

Requesting a space indicates that you have placed the centennial event on your calendar and plan to attend. We want to assure a lively and enthusiastic participation, but space is limited.

Thanks very much,
Leonard J. Waks
President, John Dewey Society

Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Roundup | October 2015

Our Civic Learning & Democratic Engagement Roundup is a new, semi-regular feature on the ADP National Blog. It will feature short summaries of news, research, events and opportunities as well as other work by our partners and other national and international leaders in the civic engagement movement. Please email TDC@aascu.org if you have information you’d like featured in a future Roundup.


#CLDE16 Update | Call for Proposals opens for June 2016 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Meeting

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ADP/TDC Economic Inequality Initiative | Student Summit Planned for March 2016

Economic Inequality LogoCourtesy of American Democracy Project

As currently planned, the summit would incorporate educational opportunities through keynote speakers — including Tamara Draut — and program sessions, networking with faculty/staff and students from the Northeast, and experiential learning through participation in Congressional-style debate and engagement in “action” after the summit.

The first day of the summit will focus on providing students with opportunities to become acquainted with their peers, gain knowledge regarding the history and current issues involved in funding for public higher education as well as the functions, processes and procedures of Congress. Students will be provided with information to support role playing as an actual member of Congress in the weeks preceding the summit to model the current elected government representative political ideological perspectives.

Day two will engage students in a mock legislative session, beginning with the presentation of a bill regarding funding for higher education, followed by a time to caucus with their ideological colleagues leading into a congressional debate.  Debate will resume after lunch and the day will close with voting on the proposed and perhaps amended legislation.  A keynote speaker will bring the event to a close and help students process their experiences.

The following day, students will be invited to attend a session debriefing their experiences to assist in refining a model that will be shared with ADP/TDC institutions across the country in the hopes of encouraging similar regional summits throughout the 2016-2017 academic year and ending in a culminating event at the 2017 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement meeting sponsored by ADP/TDC/NASPA in Baltimore.

Save the date and contact Kim Schmidl-Gagne, Program Coordinator at Keene State College at kgagne@keene.edu for more information.

The Keene State College (N.H.) American Democracy Project (ADP) in partnership with Mount Wachusett Community College (Mass.) are planning a two-day regional Student Public Policy Summit on March 4th and 5th, 2016focused on funding for Higher Education. This summit grows out of our work with on the ADP/TDC initiative on Economic Inequality.

Upcoming ETS Forum: Innovations in Conceptualizing and Assessing Civic Competency and Engagement in Higher Education

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On Wednesday, November 4, 2015 ETS is holding a research forum dedicated to Innovations in Conceptualizing and Assessing Civic Competency and Engagement in Higher Education.

The forum will showcase Judith Torney-Purta, Ph.D., Professor Emerita, University of Maryland College Park; Katrina Roohr, Ed.D., Associate Research Scientist, Higher Education, Educational Testing Service; and Ou Lydia Liu, Ph.D., Director of Research, Higher Education, Educational Testing Service, authors of “Assessing Civic Competency and Engagement in Higher Education: Research Background, Frameworks, and Directions for Next-Generation Assessment,” (September 2015) in discussing the issues of civic competency and engagement.

The presentations by the authors will be followed by a discussion with Peter Levine, Associate Dean for Research and Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship & Public Affairs in Tufts University’s Jonathan Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service.

For more information and to register click here.

Reminder| 3rd Annual National Community College Peace Building Seminar

The 3rd Annual National Community College Peacebuilding Seminar will be held at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA), Alexandria Campus on October 23-36, 2015. The conference will focus on promoting the understanding global issues including conflict, violence, war, and the efforts to build peaceful and sustainable communities.

The seminar is designed to support faculty and administrators as they work on developing relevant and innovative approaches to teaching about global conflict and peacebuilding. Experts on global conflict and peacebuilding from Washington D.C. will be teaching attendees about approaches that can be used with students. The themes that will be covered will include international law, peace and conflict resolution education, experiential learning, media, dialogue, program development and other areas that will tap the expertise uniquely based in Washington, D.C.

See you there Saturday!

For more information on the conference click here.

What We’re Watching: Immigration Battle, a documentary film presentation from Frontline and Independent Lens

Immigration Battle image

Immigration Battle is a special 2 hour documentary film presentation from Frontline and Independent Lens. Filmmakers Shari Roberson and Michael Camerini (who have participated in previous ADP/TDC National Meetings) take viewers behind closed doors in Washington’s halls of power to explore the political realities surrounding the issue of immigration.

The film will debut on PBS on Tuesday, October 20, 2015 (for the time check your local listings).

For more information click here.

Event Showcase|3rd Annual National Community College Peacebuilding Seminar Oct. 23-26 at NOVA

NOVAThe 3rd Annual National Community College Peacebuilding Seminar will be held at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA), Alexandria Campus on October 23-36, 2015. The conference will focus on promoting the understanding global issues including conflict, violence, war, and the efforts to build peaceful and sustainable communities.

The seminar is designed to support faculty and administrators as they work on developing relevant and innovative approaches to teaching about global conflict and peacebuilding. Experts on global conflict and peacebuilding from Washington D.C. will be teaching attendees about approaches that can be used with students. The themes that will be covered will include international law, peace and conflict resolution education, experiential learning, media, dialogue, program development and other areas that will tap the expertise uniquely based in Washington, D.C.

For more information on the conference click here.