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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.

Opportunities for TDC Members | NEH & ALA Offering Grants of $3,000 to $10,000 to Screen and Discuss the History of Latinos in America

By Gabriel Arteaga, TDC National Manager

In early February, the National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH) and the American Library Association (ALA) announced their plan to bring a film screening and discussion program on the history of Latinos in America to 200 libraries and cultural institutions across the nation. As part of a new NEH initiative, The Common Good: Humanities in the Public Square – is offering grants of $3,000 to $10,000 to foster discussion about the history of Latinos in the United States. This project will feature an award winning six- part documentary series created for PBS titled, Latino Americans: 500 Years of History.

Latino Americans

TDC strongly encourages its campuses to apply, and would also like to keep track of TDC schools that have applied, or will apply. Please email our National Manager, Gabriel Arteaga at or you may call him at 202.478.4656 to indicate your campuses level of interest.

Applications are due by Friday, May 1, 2015. Only 200 sites will be awarded a Latino Americans grant, so what are you waiting for?

To apply visit,                 

NEH Logo        ALA Logo


Free Webinar Offered by Lyon Software | Learn the Value of Institutional Impact Reports

Courtesy of the American Democracy Project Blog

Lyon Software Image

Join us for a free webinar about Institutional Impact Reports on
Wednesday, March 11 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern.

Register here!

As a non-profit college or university, telling the story of your institution’s community involvement is crucial. Are you currently collecting the information you need to create your institutional impact report?

Institutional impact reports are a way for colleges and universities to share all of the steps they are taking to improve their local communities. Impact reports allow colleges and universities to show the bigger picture of what their institution is doing to serve their community, how their activities align with their mission, and validate their not-for-profit status. As stewards of place or anchor institutions, colleges and universities have the responsibility of being good stewards of their resources. Impact reports provide a way of demonstrating to students, staff members, and the community, that you are using your resources wisely. Show your community how you are making an impact!

If you are interested in learning more about the value of institutional impact reports and how your school may benefit from tracking your service-learning and community engagement information join our webinar! On March 11th at 2 p.m. Eastern we will be hosting an informational webinar on institutional impact reports and an opportunity to partner with Lyon Software. The webinar will walk viewers through some of the basic benefits and advantages of impact reporting. Join us to learn how institutional impact reports can help you see how your current service-learning and community engagement activities align with the culture and values of your institution. See how other anchor institutions are providing community members with the bigger picture of how they are serving the community and showing how they are living out their mission.

Unsure of what to include on your institutional impact report or where to start? We will also be highlighting some of the key components needed to create an institutional impact report. Lyon Software will provide webinar viewers with a summary of the details often included in an institutional impact report as well as some sample reports. Find out how to help your community see the big picture and show them what you are doing to make your area a smarter, safer and better place to live, learn and work.

Webinar viewers will also be among the first to hear about Lyon Software’s AASCU User Group Opportunity. During this year’s Civic Learning & Democratic Engagement Meeting Lyon Software will be extending an offer to AASCU member institutions (including ADP and TDC campuses) allowing them to join a user group for their software CBISA Plus. CBISA Plus is a planning, managing, and tracking tool higher education institutions can utilize in creating their institutional impact reports. AASCU CBISA User Group members will receive their CBISA Software subscriptions at a discounted price and have the opportunity to work closely with Lyon Software. User group members will have full access to all of the newest benefits and features of the premiere package, CBISA Plus. AASCU members wishing to join the CBISA user group will be among the first to provide feedback on the new Community Needs and Goals modules. Lyon Software is very excited to team up with AASCU and hear the insight user group members will be able to provide!

Click here to learn more about CBISA Plus for Higher Education. You can also contact Crystal Randolph at or at 419.882.7184 for additional information.

Sign up for the Institutional Impact Report Webinar here. Webinar is from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, March 11, 2015.

Follow @LyonSoftware on Twitter or “like” Lyon Software on Facebook here.


Opportunities for TDC Members | Global Health Crises, Pandemics, and Policy Challenges Seminar & A Week in Washington

By Gabriel Arteaga, TDC National Manager

The Democracy Commitment would like to share with its members, two opportunities that are being debuted by the Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) Institute for Public Service (ISP). We strongly encourage those interested to apply.

A Week in Washington

NOVA would like to host approximately 25 students this summer, from around the country, to learn about American politics, international affairs, and the rule of law in the Nation’s Capital. In what it is calling, “A Week in Washington,” NOVA aims to promote student leadership and activism and forge stronger relationships with other community colleges. Students would enroll in a 1-credit PLS (Political Science) 198 – Seminar and Project course at NOVA that would include lectures, a research and writing assignment, site visits and a small group presentation to allow students to reflect on their experience and learning. NOVA is currently conducting information sessions to interested students at community college campuses.

For details please contact David Smith at

Global Health Crises, Pandemics, and Policy Challenges Seminar


Courtesy of Northern Virginia Community College

NOVA’s Institute for Public Service will host a 2.5 day seminar titled Global Health Crises, Pandemics, and Policy Challenges: Approaches to Teaching in Community Colleges, April 9-11, 2015 in Alexandria, VA.  The seminar is designed to build capacity in community colleges for teaching about global health issues.  The recent Ebola crisis has drawn attention to the need to better prepare students and local communities for public health challenges.  The program is designed for both liberal arts and health sciences faculty and will include presentations by George Mason University epidemiologist Kathryn Jacobsen, and global health practitioner and Yale University faculty member Richard Skolnik, author of “Global Health 101”. Talks by Doctors Without Borders and the CDC​ are planned.  Also included will be a​ site visit to the World Health Organization/Pan American Health Organization, and training by the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. Registration is limited to 25 and will close on March 18, 2015.

More information including an agenda can be found here.

If you have any questions please contact David Smith at to Organize Millennials Around Prison Reform on College Campuses and Communities Nationwide

Courtesy of the American Democracy Project Blog

by Pete Davis, Co-Founder

Americans care about the rehabilitative mission of prisons. In poll after poll, a vast majority of respondents assert that “the criminal justice system should try to rehabilitate criminals, not just punish them.” We want strong returns: prisoners reentering their communities with a second chance at life with the necessary connections and personal tools to find success.

And yet, the U.S. prison system has not been held accountable to rehabilitative results. Whereas the best prisons around the world are held to the standard of “better out than in”—prisoners being better off after prison than they were at the start of their term—American “correctional facilities” often leave the formerly incarcerated in worse shape than when they entered. Potential is squandered; families are fractured; communities are left open to recidivism risks.

Fortunately, Millennials—a generation free from the baggage of old “tough on crime” debates—have attitudes especially receptive to the project of revitalizing the rehabilitative mission of prisons. For example, 58 percent of Millennials—compared to 36 percent of those over 65—support allowing non-violent drug offenders to seal their criminal recordsWhile 41 percent of Millennials—compared to 26 percent of those over 65—believe the criminal justice system is racially biased.

Furthermore, recent Millennial movements have proven immensely helpful to multiple causes, as students have shared personal stories with their campus networks. The DREAM Act and gay marriage became salient youth issues when DREAMers shared their stories of being undocumented to classmates, and LGBT students came out to their friends in conjunction with social media campaigns. If campuses were to be activated for prison reform to the level they are now around these issues, Millennials could help force prison reform on the agenda for the 2016 elections.

That’s why Scott Johnston and I, two recent college graduates and upcoming law school students, have launched, an initiative aimed at making prison reform the Millennial generation’s issue in the 2016 elections. The effort is centered on building, pushing and voting a Millennial Prison Reform Agenda, the first-ever prison reform agenda developed to express Millennial values and publicized with Millennial voters in mind.  We’re building this agenda the Millennial way: authentic, viral and bottom-up, by organizing a generation-wide conversation about prisons and prison reform.

To get this conversation going, we have been:

  1. Hosting campus events throughout the South to spotlight ways students and administrators can build campus-to-prison bridge organizations that promote sustained engagement between college communities and their nearby prison and reentry communities;
  2. Building an online presence at and its social media channels, so that students across the country can submit their own stories and policy proposals to the Millennial prison reform community; and
  3. Launching a national Millennial Prison Reform Network to connect students, professors and administrators who are involved in engaging their campuses in prisons and prison reform.

With Washington deadlocked, it may be the case that only issues with appeal to both sides of the aisle have a shot at making progress in the coming years. Prison reform—which serves the marginalized, holds government accountable and lowers costs for taxpayers—is one of those Left-Right causes.  Think of how powerful a message will be sent if, while Washington bickers, Millennials from all political backgrounds—from libertarian to racial justice to religious—came together on campuses across the country to heal one of our nation’s darkest wounds.

To join up, visit We would love to have you join the Millennial Prison Reform Network, share your prison system story, submit a proposal for the Millennial Prison Reform Agenda, host a campus event or start a campus-to-prison bridge group in your neck of the woods…seriously, anything helps.

The Washington Post recently reported, “In many parts of America, particularly the South, there are more people living in prisons than on college campuses.” Fortunately, it might be students on those campuses who can turn the tide.

AASCU & The New York Times in Education Produce Teaching Toolkit

Courtesy of the American Democracy Project Blog

The Democracy Commitment encourages its members all to read and share AASCU’s (TDC’s fiscal agent and physical host) latest free publication, The New York Times in Education Teaching Toolkit. This toolkit builds on a long and productive partnership between AASCU and the Times—one that produced the American Democracy Project.

This toolkit showcases some of the great work happening on AASCU and ADP campuses, while providing a roadmap for those who want to expand their teaching techniques and strategies to include current events, and Times coverage and resources. The partnership has collected observations, learning outcomes, course descriptions, assignments and course syllabi from real instructors who are currently using The New York Times in their classrooms. The result is a rich resource for anyone looking to bring the outside world into the classroom.

While compiling this toolkit, AASCU and the Times paid close attention to learning outcomes. When possible, they highlighted courses and assignments that they think help students to become stronger readers, writers and critical thinkers; to develop an increasing sense of global awareness and level of civic engagement; to widen their understandings of cultural diversity and social relevance, and to demonstrate ethical behavior and leadership skills. These outcomes, along with so many other reasons, are why they are proud to share this toolkit with each of you.

TDC hopes you will take a look. Please feel free to let them know how you’ve incorporated the Times into your own classroom.

The toolkit is available for download on the AASCU website.