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
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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.
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.
By Renee Baharaeen, AASCU Civic Engagement Intern and Truman State University Student
With the upcoming 2016 presidential election approaching, several politicians have recently declared their candidacy for President of the United States. Although it is still early, it is important to pay attention to the ideas each candidate holds in regard to their vision for the country.
A pressing issue facing America is economic inequality. ADP and TDC recently launched their joint Economic Inequality initiative, making this a timely issue. Although some argue economic mobility is not of public concern, others say the issue is gaining attention and that Americans believe there is a problem with the wealth gap (Nyhan, 2015; Blake, 2015). In past years, this issue has not received a lot of focus by a majority of candidates; however, current presidential candidates from both major political parties have recently addressed the topic.
The following information is an overview of some of the front runners’ thoughts from each major political party in regard to inequality, which is likely to remain a key topic in the 2016 presidential race.
Jeb Bush has taken a stance on the economic inequality that differs from the usual Republican position. Instead of citing unemployment statistics, Bush’s approach has been discussing the economic advancements in the country and how they have only been working for the more affluent families (Martin, 2015). His website discusses issues of poverty as a concern. He believes if Americans are working harder, then the government leaders need to offer a plan to fix the situation, or step aside. Voters should be aware of the rhetoric in Bush’s approach. When asked about specifics of his policies, he did not offer a clear explanation as to if he would work to develop policies focused on assisting those at the bottom or favor cutting taxes across the board.
Donald Trump, currently leading in the Republican polls, has made comments in response to his opponents’ platforms relating to economic inequality. However, Trump has not released any information regarding his own economic platform other than these brief comments. In his announcement speech he claims, if elected, he will be “the greatest jobs president that God ever created.” It is important voters pay attention for details about how Trump plans to improve the economy and address issues of inequality if elected president.
Scott Walker has been running his campaign thus far on his previous experience as the Wisconsin Governor. His website currently has no information on where he stands on any issues. However, as he has been on the campaign trail, Walker has referenced his policies for the state of Wisconsin as a success and therefore believes he can bring his skills to the table as president. While Walker emphasizes the success of his policies, others in Wisconsin disagree with the success (Bauer, 2015). Voters should pay attention to the results of how his economic policies in the state of Wisconsin turn out and if the economic platform he creates for his presidency addresses any of the concerns.
Hillary Clinton believes the economy is stacked in favor of those at the top. In order for Americans to get ahead, Clinton has developed ideas on how to improve the economy to provide Americans with a strong foundation that leads to social mobility. Some of these economic changes include raising the minimum wage, making college more affordable, providing quality childcare, and lowering health costs. Additionally, Clinton’s platform indicates wanting to rein in Wall Street after the bailout of 2008. An important note that voters should pay attention to is Clinton’s past work with Wall Street in recent years.
Bernie Sanders is focusing heavily on economic inequality, as his platform currently shows the issue to be one of his top concerns. Currently, there are no developed ideas listed on his website about specific ways he intends to address the economic inequality issue. However, as a senator, his economic agenda has included raising the minimum wage, taking on Wall Street, making college affordable and making healthcare a right for all. Sanders is also currently working on a bill to break up big banks. It is important for voters to watch for specific ideas on how Sanders plans to achieve economic equality if elected as president.
CIRCLE: The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement recently released an analysis of Millennial voter registration and turnout rates after the 2014 midterm election yielded the lowest number of ballots cast by 18-29 year-olds in U.S. history.
Based upon data from the November 2014 midterm elections released from the United States Census, CIRCLE examined the “under-mobilization” of youth in comparison to the increase in campaign funding, and stressed the importance of outreach. In a separate but connected report, they investigated what young people look for in candidates in order to offer ideas for engagement for this demographic.
By Renee Baharaeen, AASCU Civic Engagement Intern and Truman State University Student
The College Readiness Institute – hosted in Washington, DC by Reach for College! – brought together educators and community organizers this past week to learn about preparing students for college success.
The first day of the institute featured influential guest plenary speakers including Terry Reed (George Washington University), Eric Waldo (White House Reach Higher Initiative), Ivory A. Toldson (White House Initiative on HBCUs), and Tobi Printz-Platnick (The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation). The speakers shared their insights about education and problems currently facing the U.S. system as well as ways they believe the country can improve.
On day two of the event, students from George Washington University’s early college program spoke about their current experiences in the education system. The panelists highlighted challenges they faced as well as what allowed them to be successful.
The institute also offered several breakout sessions and workshops to provide educators and community organizations with classroom tactics that will engage students in viewing post-secondary education as a realistic goal. Workshops ranged from teaching strategies for helping students navigate the scholarship process and prepare for the SAT/ACT to addressing the relationship between students, teachers and parents.
Learn more about Reach for College! on the organization’s website.
Save the date for the ADP/TDC/NASPA Civic Learning & Democratic Engagement (CLDE) meeting in Indianapolis, Ind. from June 2-4, 2016! The 2015 ADP/TDC/NASPA CLDE meeting was a huge success thanks to our knowledgeable speakers and engaged attendees who demonstrated their commitment to advancing CLDE in higher education. We are excited to see what 2016 brings and hope to see you all there!
A call for proposals and registration will open in the fall – stay tuned!
For more information about #CLDE16 and other great civic news, subscribe to our blog, Facebook, and Twitter to receive regular updates.
By Rebecca Keller, AASCU Civic Engagement Intern and Indiana University of Pennsylvania
AASCU’s sister organization has produced a free publication entitled Civic Prompts: Making Civic Learning Routine across the Disciplines. This report suggests a need to 1) change the definition/current conception of civic learning, 2) more clearly articulate precisely what a “civic minded” institution is, and 3) ensure that all educators are capable of engaging their field of study through a civic lens. The report also advocates engaging students in the “big question” of civic learning; preparing students to not only have knowledge of civic engagement but to also actually take action; and highlighting personal and social responsibilities in every discipline.
Our recent 2015 ADP/TDC/NASPA Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) Meeting in New Orleans, La. 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. Collectively, we considered one of higher education’s civic missions: to act as stewards of the communities they inhabit as well as to prepare students to be stewards of their present and future communities.
Highlights of our time together:
By The Numbers 662 participants, representing 205 colleges and universities as well as 41 other organizations.
83 AASCU Campuses of which 70 are participating in ADP
There were 989 social mentions using the keyword #CLDE15 between June 4th at 7 a.m. (Central Daylight Time) and June 6th at 6 p.m. (Central Daylight Time).
166 unique authors contributed to the overall conversation, producing an average of 16 posts per hour for the duration of the conference.
The #CLDE15 conversation was very viral. Of the 989 mentions using the conference hashtag, 630 were original mentions reaching a potential audience of 87,875. In addition, 67 unique profiles made a total of 359 reshares spreading the mentions to an additional 574,977 people.
The peak of the social conversation occurred on June 5th at 9 a.m. (109 mentions) and included the following keywords: “student affairs,” “panel,” “campuses,” and “academic affairs.”
In terms of social media sources, 94.84% (n = 938) of the mentions originated from Twitter. Facebook and Instagram accounted for 2.63% (n = 26) and 2.53% (n = 25) of the mentions respectively.
Overall, the conversation was very positive about the conference. The top positive keywords in this conversation were “thanks,” “awesome,” “trust,” “engage,” and “helping.”
Most Active The most active Twitter accounts using the #CLDE15 hashtag were @VictorPiercy1 (116 mentions), @StocktonSL (106 mentions), @ADP_SU (97 mentions), @skhunt2 (60 mentions), @channelandrew (35 mentions), @drkj (24 mentions), @tzappile (16 mentions), @thauptli (15 mentions), @ADPaascu (14 mentions), and @NICDInstitute (11 mentions).
Most Popular Mention The most popular mention appeared on June 5th at 9:27 a.m., posted by @ADPaascu, and as of June 17th at 1:22 p.m., was retweeted 12 times:
Most Reach The mention with the most reach (the account with the largest number of followers, 21,840) was posted by @NASPAtweets on June 4th at 9:14 am:
NASPA: RT @Sreynolds05: The 2015 @ADPaascu / @TDCNational / @NASPAtweets #CLDE15 meeting is officially underway with the Lead Initiative!
Most Spread The mention that generated the most spread (spread measures how many additional social accounts re-tweeted or shared the mention) was posted on June 4th at 3:58 pm by @NASPAvpd. This account has 830 followers and the mention spread to 24,993 additional people:
Stephanie Gordon: We need to fiercely defend the education of the whole person.” Chairman “Bro” Adams @NEHgov #clde15 @NASPAtweets
Most Shared Positive Mention On Thursday (June 4th) at 2 pm, there was a spike of 41 positive mentions. The most shared positive mention was posted by @abbyik during this time period:
abbyik: We need to talk about moving beyond service-learning because colleges are failing at helping students learn to navigate democracy #clde15
Highest Volume by State Of the social media accounts that were geotagged or listed a location in their profile description, those originating in New Jersey (237 mentions), Washington, D.C. (99 mentions) and Illinois (82 mentions) were the most active.
Top Hashtags In addition to the official #clde15 conference hashtag, the next most frequently used hashtags were “#facesofclde” (25 mentions), “#stewardshipofplace” (14 mentions), “#adptdc” (13 mentions), “#pdf15” (10 mentions), “#nola” (10 mentions), “#civicengagement” (9 mentions), “#highered” (8 mentions), “#adptdcei” (7 mentions), and “#texttalkvote” (7 mentions).
Top Keywords The keywords that were most frequently used during the conference included “students” (31 mentions), “civic engagement” (28 mentions), “education” (19 mentions), “place” (18 mentions), “bro adams” (12 mentions), “whole person” (12 mentions), “thanks” (11 mentions), “violence” (11 mentions), and “people” (10 mentions).
The full program is available for download here (pdf).
Opening Plenary & First Day highlights:
Thursday afternoon’s opening plenary session was kicked off by two powerful thought leaders on civic engagement, Nancy Cantor, Chancellor, Rutgers University Newark (N.J.) and William ‘Bro’ Adams, Chairperson, National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH). They each gave their own take on the power Colleges, Universities, and community partners can have on helping bridge the divides of today’s paradoxical social landscape. Cantor and Adams both emphasized the responsibility of higher education institutions and community partners to find ways to help our communities better dialogue across differences and help faculty find ways to spur the next generation to value engaged education for democracy.
After such a powerful message from both speakers we moved on to a networking reception, where 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 Ashé Marketplace.
The night didn’t end there; participants had the opportunity to watch a screening of the award winning documentary film from the National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH), “Freedom Summer,” which recounts the deadly summer of 1964 where over 700 student volunteers joined organizers and local African Americans in Mississippi to fight for the right to vote.
Thursday’s concluding event was a student led workshop and meet-up that included a debate amongst themselves over President Obama’s proposal to grant students access to higher education through two years of tuition-free community college.
Friday morning, participants jump started their day with a panel discussion connecting Academic Affairs and Student Affairs as part of our “Making Collaboration Happen: Forging Partnerships Between Academic and Student Affairs for Democratic Student Engagement” plenary session. This session explored the possibilities for deeper and more effective collaboration to enhance a campus communities facilitation of civic learning and democratic engagement. Strategies, approaches, and models for moving beyond structural and attitudinal barriers were provided in a discussion format from moderator, Andrew Seligsohn, President, Campus Compact, and panelists Reva Curry, Vice President of Academic Affairs, Delta Community College, Vincent Ilustre, Senior Director of Development, Regional Program, Tulane University, and Frank E. Ross III, Vice President for Student Affairs, Northeastern Illinois State University.
Friday evening, participants were treated to a set of performances coordinated by the Ashé Cultural Arts Center in New Orleans as part of our “Learning through Listening: Performance and Story Circles as Instruments for Community and Cultural Change” plenary session. The plays were developed through Story Circle methodology—a group facilitation process built around narrative and personal experience with longstanding traditions in African and African American cultural practices and community theater histories. Participants also learned story circle methodology by participating in a conference-wide Story Circle moderated by Carol Bebelle, Co-founder & Executive Director, Ashé Cultural Arts Center, and Adam Bush, Provost of College Unbound, based on the performances.
In our closing plenary session on Saturday, participants were asked to examine our communities using #equity and #justice lenses based in large part on the language in one of our democracy’s foundational documents, the Declaration of Independence. Political Philosopher Danielle Allen — author of the 2014 book Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality — shared an important history lesson with #CLDE15 participants as she led us through a close reading of the Declaration. She presented the text as a coherent and riveting argument about equality: an animating force that could and did transform the course of our everyday lives. Challenging so much of our conventional political wisdom, she boldly made the case that we cannot have freedom as individuals (liberty) without equality among us as a people.
Comments from #CLDE15 participants:
“I think these conferences on American democracy and civic engagement in higher ed are critical and am happy for their existence.”
“Thanks for such a wonderful conference. It was a blast and I learned a great deal.”
We hope to see you in Indianapolis, Indiana from June 2-4, 2016, for the next ADP/TDC/NASPA 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 ADP Facebook Page (#CLDE15 album); please send any photos you took to email@example.com so that we can upload them to Facebook/Twitter/Instagram.
The Washington Center is a sponsor of the 2015 ADP/TDC/NASPA Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Meeting as well as an American Democracy Project partner organization. We encourage your campus to consider applying for their 2015 Higher Education Civic Engagement Award — many ADP campuses are included among past honorees!
In reviewing nominations, The Washington Center and the selection committee will consider the extent to which institutions are building strategic community partnerships that demonstrate the following:
Leadership and innovation in defining and addressing issues of public concern;
Vision for change that is systemic and sustainable;
Depth and breadth of institutional commitment.
The Washington Center has presented the Higher Education Civic Engagement Awards each year since 2009. Past awardees have reflected diverse institutional profiles.
Learn more about past recipients and how to nominate an institution at twc.edu.
The 2015 New York Life Higher Education Civic Engagement Awards are sponsored by the New York Life Foundation. Five winners will receive $20,000 in scholarship funding to help their students participate in The Washington Center’s Academic Internship Program in the nation’s capital during the following year.