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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.

#e214 Update: Campus Vote Project’s Midterm Elections Resources and #VotePledge2014

Courtesy of the Campus Vote Project

As deadlines approach, it is important students have the information needed to register and cast a ballot in the midterm elections. Campus Vote Project has updated 2014 guides for all 50 states and D.C. including important dates to remember, where to find registration forms, how to register with your college or home address, any voter ID rules, options to cast your ballot, and answers to common student questions.

CVP also offers a variety of resources for students to get involved on their campus and administrators to encourage students to participate. Information on setting up a student voting website, meeting with college administrators or election officials about providing your campus with elections materials, starting a GOTV effort, and instituting change on your campus are included in our Student Toolkit. For administrators we have a one-page Best Practices Guide with strategies to help students register and vote. Many of these are institutional changes that will help students get the information they need and overcome common barriers to voting.

Join CVP this fall with an action to get students excited and motivated to vote in the midterm elections called Vote Pledge 2014. We’re asking student voters and advocates to make a pledge to participate in the midterm elections and share their pledges. To participate in Vote Pledge 2014 campaign, download the pledge sheet and tweet a picture of your pledge to @campusvote using #votepledge2014.

If you are interested in getting more information or have a question about electoral engagement activities on campus reach out to Campus Vote Project at or 202-331-0114.

TDC Partners & Friends: Election Engagement Checklist from CEEP

By Stephanie R. South, TDC National Coordinator

The Campus Election Engagement Project (CEEP) is a national nonpartisan project that helps America’s colleges and universities get as many of their 20 million students as possible to register, volunteer in campaigns, educate themselves, and turn out at the polls.  Focusing on how administrators, faculty, staff, and student leaders can help engage their students, CEEP worked with 500 schools in 2008 and over 750 in 2012. The organization is currently working to engage students in the upcoming mid-term elections.

As a part of this effort, CEEP has produced a downloadable PDF guide to engaging your campus in six different ways, intending this document to be thought of as an election engagement checklist. 

Interested? Access it here.

TDC Partners & Friends: 80 Schools Join the AASCU/NASPA/TurboVote Partnership

Courtesy of the American Democracy Project

TurboVote Partnership Logo

80 colleges and universities have joined a partnership with The Democracy Commitment’s headquarter host and the American Democracy Project’s (ADP) parent organization, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU); NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education; and TurboVote. This nonpartisan effort aims to increase voter engagement on college and university campuses.

Through this partnership, TurboVote, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, will bring its innovative “one-stop-shop” voter engagement platform to students at college and university campuses across the country.

Made possible by a grant from the Rita Allen Foundation, the institutions receive a $1,200 subsidy for using TurboVote in their voter engagement efforts this year. The grant is available for up to 100 institutions, so less than half of the slots remain open.

TurboVote’s platform helps colleges and universities meet federal mandates that require institutions provide students with voter registration information. With help from AASCU and NASPA, TurboVote hopes to support institutions in meeting these mandates and set a new standard for voter engagement in higher education.

For more information check out the full news release on AASCU’s website. If you’d like to learn more about or take advantage of this opportunity, please contact Stephanie South, TDC’s national coordinator, at

As of a couple weeks ago, 70 schools have entered into the partnership, including two TDC community colleges and 28 AASCU/ADP institutions.  You can find the full list below; TDC campuses have two asterisks and ADP schools are indicated with an asterisk.

  • Alcorn State University*
  • Alfred State
  • Alfred State University*
  • Alvernia University
  • Arizona State University
  • Barry University
  • Bloomsburg University*
  • Boston College
  • Brown University
  • Cal Poly – San Luis Obispo*
  • California State University, Los Angeles*
  • Chapman University
  • Chatham University
  • Clayton State University*
  • Community College of Allegheny County**
  • Creighton University
  • Davis and Elkins College
  • Depaul University
  • Drexel University
  • Elmhurst College
  • Ferris State University*
  • Florida A&M University*
  • Florida International University*
  • Florida State College at Jacksonville
  • Florida State University
  • Friends University
  • Frostburg State University*
  • Georgetown University
  • Georgia Gwinnett College
  • Harper College
  • Howard University*
  • Illinois State University*
  • Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis*
  • Kennesaw State University*
  • Lane Community College**
  • Louisiana State University
  • Marlboro College
  • Millersville University*
  • Missouri State University*
  • Montclair State University*
  • North Central College
  • Northeastern Illinois University*
  • Northeastern State University*
  • Northeastern University
  • Occidental College
  • Palm Beach Atlantic University
  • Peru State College*
  • Ramapo College of New Jersey*
  • Salisbury University*
  • Salt Lake Community College
  • Sam Houston State University*
  • San Francisco State University*
  • School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Seton Hall University
  • Sewanee: The University of the South
  • Southern New Hampshire University
  • Stanford University
  • SUNY Geneseo
  • Texas A&M University-Central Texas*
  • The College at Brockport (SUNY)*
  • The Ohio State University
  • University of California, Irvine
  • University of Central Oklahoma*
  • University of Florida
  • University of Missouri Kansas City
  • University of Nebraska – Lincoln*
  • University of Nebraska at Kearney*
  • University of Saint Joseph
  • University of Texas at Arlington
  • University of Texas at El Paso
  • University of Texas at San Antonio
  • University of Texas Health Sciences Center San Antonio
  • University of Texas of the Permian Basin
  • University of Texas Northeast Health Center
  • University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
  • Weber State University*
  • West Chester University of Pennsylvania*
  • Western Illinois University*
  • Wheaton College
  • Wheelock College

Updates & Announcements: Respect or Reject is Live!

By Stephanie R. South, TDC National Coordiantor

The other day, we told you about the Respect or Reject campaign, and we hope you have had a chance to take a look and think about how you might use it with your students. Today, we just wanted to update you to let you know a few more things:

  1. The campaign is live. Respect or Reject officially launched on Tuesday, September 2, and the first round of political ads are up. You can check it out here:
  2. It changes each week. New rounds of ads for House and Senate races will post each Friday through Election Day (cough…November 4th…cough), so you could make this a weekly feature in your classroom.
  3. We have resources for you. Speaking of classrooms, if you want ideas about how to incorporate the Respect or Reject campaign in your class, we have provided a lesson plan; you can download it here.

As we mentioned, the campaign will run for the next two months. Following Election Day, Respect or Reject will release the five most outrageous ads and the five most civil ads, according to our votes.

We hope you will take advantage of the opportunity our partners at the National Institute for Civil Discourse are providing through Respect or Reject. Remember, we’re not giving politicians a voice by re-tweeting them, we’re giving people a place to publicly state that the behavior is unacceptable and undesired.

To learn more, read the Respect or Reject one-pager here.

TDC Partners & Friends: TDC Invited to 2014 Global Challenges Institute in November

Courtesy of the American Democracy Project

The American Democracy Project is pleased to announce that registration is now open for the 2014 Global Challenges Faculty Institute, and TDC member faculty are invited to join us!

Global Challenges Logo

Thursday & Friday, November 6 – 7, 2014
Global Challenges Institute on Educating Globally Competent Citizens
The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey · Galloway, NJ


This two-day institute introduces participants to numerous tools for educating globally competent citizens. Global Engagement Scholars (faculty members) from 11 AASCU campuses describe how they have built courses and curricula around the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ 7 Revolutions framework to address seven Global Challenges: population, resources, technology, information, economies, conflict and governance. Institute leaders demonstrate the teaching materials and resources they have found most valuable in the courses they teach (including introductory, first-year, discipline-based and honors courses) and guide participants in anticipating how these same tools could be used effectively on their home campuses.

Participants also have the opportunity to learn more about how to bring the new national Global Challenges blended learning course to their campuses. The blended learning model course, designed by the AASCU scholars, includes a variety of teaching methods to deliver and facilitate classroom materials and activities. The course is delivered through a variety of LMS platforms (including Blackboard, Moodle Rooms and Desire2Learn) and can be used as a turn-key course or customized as desired. Costs for the 2014-15 academic year are $50 per student for AASCU institutions; the fee includes a digital subscription to The New York Times.

Each Institute participant will receive a faculty toolkit for using the global challenges content in campus courses and programs. This practical and insightful Institute is ideal for colleges and universities that want to deepen their commitment to providing effective international education in a variety of disciplines. That’s why AASCU is excited to provide reduced registration fees for campus teams. While individuals are certainly welcome, campus teams of three to five may find the Institute most instructive

Who Should Attend?

  • Campus teams seeking to enhance their curriculum related to global engagement
  • Faculty members teaching courses with global content
  • Administrators who are interested in internationalizing their campus curricula
  • Anyone interested in educating globally competent citizens

To register, visit by October 6, 2014.

To learn more about the Global Challenges curriculum, visit the following website:

Community Colleges in the News: Free Tuition, Transfers, and the White House

By Stephanie R. South

Community Colleges in the News is a new monthly feature on the TDC blog in which we intend to future notable articles concerning concerning community colleges that were published during the last month.

This month’s line-up:

  • White House Hosts Community Colleges
    August 13, 2014 on Inside Higher Ed
    The Obama administration gathered several dozen community colleges, nonprofit organizations, and other groups focused on college readiness in Washington on discuss best practices in college remediation.
  • Best Path for Transfer Credit
    August 20, 2014 on Inside Higher Ed
    A new federal study, released this month, finds that students are most likely to be successful in transferring academic credits when they have higher grade-point averages and move between community colleges and four-year institutions.
  • Aggressive Pragmatism
    August 26, 2014 on Inside Higher Ed
    Tennessee’s governor is working for two years of tuition-free community college. In Texas, a state senator is also proposing free community college tuition (read this article here).

If you read a great article relevant to the institutions we serve, feel free to email me the link for the next month’s roundup.

CIRCLE’s New, Interactive State-by-State Map

By Stephanie R. South, TDC National Coordinator

CIRCLE Interactive Map Preview

Our friends at CIRCLE—the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement—have recently launched a new, interactive state-by-state map for those interested in youth and electoral engagement. The map, which includes voter turnout and registration rates in midterm and presidential elections for citizens aged 18-29 and for those 30-years old+, makes use of historical trends and state-level data.

CIRLCE has also made available a two-page, printable fact sheet for each state (se  e an example of one for Ohio here); these can be accessed by double-clicking on a state on the map.

To visit the interactive map, click here.

For more Election 2014 resources, visit TDC’s E214 page.

UPDATES & ANNOUNCEMENTS: New TDC #e214 User Guides Now Available

By Stephanie R. South

The Democracy Commitment is pleased to share with our members new Engage the Election 2014 (hashtag #e214) resources, including three new user guides regarding voter registration drives, candidate forums, and get-out-the-vote (GOTV).

These guides can be accessed using the links below:

As you may recall, we previously published a Best Practices User Guide based on what our campuses did for Engage the Election 2012; you may also find this useful as you gear up for the Midterm Elections.

For all of TDC’s #e214 resources, visit that section of our website by visiting:


REMINDER: TDC/ADP Seek Applications for Economic Inequality Initiative

By Stephanie R. South, TDC National Coordinator

This is just a reminder….

TDC and ADP are seeking a small cohort of two- and four-year member institutions to join us 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.

Participation in the initiative is open to any TDC or ADP member institution.

To read the call for participation in its entirety and access the application to join the initiative, click here.

If you have questions, please feel free to email me at

TDC Partners & Friends: NICD’s Respect or Reject Campaign

By Stephanie R. South, TDC National Coordinator

NICD LogoThe National Institute for Civil Discourse is trying to put civility back into political campaigns, and to that end, they are debuting a new project after Labor Day—the Respect or Reject Campaign. The Democracy Commitment is partnering up with NICD to spread the word because we believe this initiative has some real potential to help faculty members engage and empower their students during #e214.

Today, we offer you a preview of the project, so that you can begin to consider how you might incorporate it into your classrooms this fall. If you would like more guidance on that, the campaign has helped us create a brief resource for faculty members that can be found here.

Respect or Reject Logo

Courtesy of Respect of Reject

The last presidential campaign season was one of the least civil campaigns we’ve ever experienced. This year’s midterm election campaign will undoubtedly bring the current polarized state of our democracy front and center, blaring negative campaign ads on our radios and TVs, and taking social media by storm with retweets and social shares that don’t keep pace with modern-day fact checking capacities.

We as citizens have become accustomed to seeing politicians launch campaign advertisements filled with vitriolic dialogue, sensational imagery, and less than respectful depictions of the opposing candidate. Holding them accountable for their actions is a key priority in encouraging candidates to run on a platform that focuses on the issues at hand and not on demonizing the other candidate.  This can only be accomplished if the public takes a stand and renounces the behavior.  We can help to fill this role by providing an avenue that helps people find their voice.

The National Institute for Civil Discourse will seek to frame the conversation around civility and give the public a place to take a stand against the behavior, rather than sensationalizing it. In this campaign, we’re not giving politicians a voice by retweeting them; we’re giving people a place to publically state that the behavior is unacceptable and undesired.

Visit to join the conversation about campaign ads and let’s take responsibility for the direction of our democracy.