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TDC Newsroom

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.

[Why We Are #LovinLouisville] Stuff for Students Only

By Caitlin Reilly, Program Associate, The American Democracy Project

Heading to Louisville for #ADPTDC14? Over the next two weeks leading up to our June 5-7 ADP/TDC Joint National Meeting in this City of Compassion, we’ll be highlighting reasons that we’re #LovinLouisville.

Reason #6? Student-focused programming!

We’re super excited by the student participation we get at ADP/TDC national meetings. Thus, we wanted to take a minute to highlight some of the student-specific programming and ideas we have planned for Louisville, Ky.

[Stu] The Student Strand:

Introducing thematic strands this meeting has allowed us to point out sessions that might be of particular interest to students.  Watch out for programming labeled with “Stu.”  This indicates that the session especially created with you, the students, in mind.  Of course, as with all other strand designations, the student strand is merely a suggestion—all are welcome to come to these sessions.

That said, here are some student-focused sessions we think you should look out for:

Student Breakfast on Saturday, June 7 @ 7 a.m.
Get an early start on Saturday June 7 with the Student Breakfast from 7:00 to 8:15 a.m.  This is session provides a great chance to get to know your peers, network and share ideas about how to organize for our movement. Also, we’re not saying there will be a speed-dating like exercise, but…we’re not saying there won’t be.

Please note: We request an RSVP for this event. You likely checked this box when you registered, but if not, please send an email to Cait Reily at to RSVP.

Mini-Featured Session
on Saturday, June 7 @ 2:45 p.m.
Student Journalism Fellowships:  Global Reach, Local Resonance
Join our Saturday Plenary speaker, Mark Schulte, for this session on student journalism fellowships.  College students interested in training as journalists or just sharpening their communications skills in an exciting global context can apply for Pulitzer Center student reporting fellowships as part of our campus consortium. Come learn more about how you can cover the world with our help!
Presenter:  Mark Schulte, Education Director, Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting

Concurrent Session on Saturday, June 7 @ 3:30 p.m.
Student Feedback Laboratory: Student Review & Critique Session for Proposed Civic Workshop
Student input is solicited to refine structure and content for a new workshop on service and volunteerism. This workshop is intended to help disenfranchised students consider how their own interests and lived experiences can be applied in a powerful way to meet community needs.
Presenter:  Alberto Olivas, Director of the Center for Civic Participation, Maricopa Community Colleges (Ariz.)

[Why We Are #LovinLouisville] Our Sponsors and Partners

By Jen Domagal-Goldman, ADP National Manager

Heading to Louisville for #ADPTDC14? Over the next two weeks leading up to our June 5-7 ADP/TDC Joint National Meeting in this City of Compassion, we’ll be highlighting reasons that we’re #LovinLouisville.

Reason #5? Our sponsors and partners!

We’re excited to introduce you to the array of stellar sponsors and partner organizations that will be present in Louisville to support our ADP and TDC civic learning and engagement work.







From ADP’s founding partner and ongoing corporate sponsor The New York Times in Education to the sponsorships of Echoing Green’s Work on Purpose, GiveGab, Lyon Software, The Washington Center, and TurboVote, we are thankful for the financial and programmatic support of our valued sponsors. We encourage you to learn more about our sponsors via the information below and their websites, as well as by visiting with their representatives at the national meeting.

  • The New York Times in EducationThe New York Times provides a vibrant daily record of history in the making, igniting student interest by linking learning to living, serving the ideals of today’s demanding educational aims by spurring critical thinking, increasing national and global awareness and fostering a more informed and engaged citizenry.
  • Echoing Green’s Work on Purpose – Echoing Green’s Work on Purpose program helps emerging professionals identify their purpose and put it into action by creating a career with impact. Throughout its 27-year history, Echoing Green has performed thousands of in-depth interviews with its world-changing social entrepreneurship Fellows— from the founder of Teach For America, to the founder of the Freelancers Union, to the founder of City Year. In the process, they uncovered a series of best practices and common experiences that lead individuals to fulfilling work that makes the world a better place.
  • GiveGab – GiveGab is The Social Network for Volunteers.  GiveGab helps people find volunteer opportunities they’re passionate about in the local community, log volunteer hours, create a volunteer resume and connect with friends to make a difference.  Volunteer managers can use GiveGab to create and manage events, promote their programs, recruit volunteers, track hours and report on all the good they’re doing in the community.
  • Lyon Software – Lyon Software is a leader in community benefit and engagement software.  Through exceptional personalized and product training, support and customer service, Lyon Software works hand-in-hand with heath care facilities, colleges and universities, businesses and other community organizations to report their tremendous impact on the populations they serve.
  • The Washington Center – The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars (TWC) is an independent, nonprofit organization serving hundreds of colleges and universities from the United States and around the world by providing students with an integrated academic, and professional living and working experience in Washington D.C.
  • TurboVote – TurboVote is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization to help colleges and universities improve voter registration and use voter engagement as a mechanism to achieve broader learning objectives. TurboVote’s innovative technology allows institutions to strategically promote and monitor voter engagement simply by sharing a single link with their students. Through this link, students can register to vote, request an absentee ballot and receive reminders with important election information, dates and deadlines.

Partners & Friends

ADP and TDC are also very appreciative of the efforts and support of our partners and friends – organizations whom we work with on specific initiatives and programmatic efforts and who are themselves influential forces in the civic engagement movement.

Be sure to learn more about the following partners and friends during the Campus & Friends Showcase Thursday evening and in various sessions throughout the meeting:



[Why We Are #LovinLouisville] Themed Session Strands

By Caitlin Reilly, Program Associate, The American Democracy Project

Heading to Louisville for #ADPTDC14? Over the next two weeks leading up to our June 5-7 ADP/TDC Joint National Meeting in this City of Compassion, we’ll be highlighting reasons that we’re #LovinLouisville.

Reason #4? Themed Session Strands

We’ve made the #ADPTDC14 program even easier to follow, with the incorporation of thematic session strands. Throughout the program, you will find that many sessions, from lightning rounds to concurrent sessions, have been labeled with one or more themes to allow meeting participants to quickly identify the primary content of a session. These selected sessions have been designated as part of one or more of nine different thematic strands.  Based on your interests, you can choose to attend sessions in one or more strands.  You will be able tell at a glance whether or not a session fits with your interests.  Again, these strands are not meant to limit you in any way, but rather to allow you to tailor an expansive program to your unique interests and make the experience your own.

The thematic strands and their abbreviations within the mobile app are as follows:

  • Students (Stu)
  • Partnerships (Par)
  • Assessment (Asmnt)
  • Civic Pathways (CP)
  • Political Engagement (Pol)
  • eCitizenship (eC)
  • Discourse Dialogue and Deliberation (DDD)
  • Civic Learning (CL)
  • Bridging Cultures (BC)

To view complete descriptions and register for the meeting, click here.


[Why We Are #LovinLouisville] Pre-Cons Aplenty

By Stephanie R. South, TDC National Coordinator

Heading to Louisville for #ADPTDC14? Over the next two weeks leading up to our June 5-7 ADP/TDC Joint National Meeting in this City of Compassion, we’ll be highlighting reasons that we’re #LovinLouisville.

Reason #3? Our pre-con sessions!

Prior to the opening plenary session on Thursday (we haven’t told you a lot about that yet, but it’s going to be about the meeting theme—and awesome!), ADP and TDC attendees will come together (from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.) to attend one of the many pre-conference sessions being offered.

A complete list of them follows below. We encourage you to take a look and begin mapping your attack on #ADPTDC14.

Bridging Cultures to Form a Nation—Difference, Community and Democratic Thinking
Co-sponsored by AAC&U and TDC, this interactive pre-conference symposium convenes Bridging Cultures project participants to share their progress, including successes and challenges, and to trade insights about best practices and resources for sustaining their campus work in the last year of the project and beyond. Although this pre-conference session has been designed with our current Bridging Culture grantees in mind, we welcome others who have a high interest in NEH’s Bridging Cultures program to attend.  If you would like to attend this session, please email Stephanie South at

Please note: While this is open to all attendees, it is required for TDC’s Bridging Cultures Grant participants and will focus on them.

Community Learning Partnership—Forging Civic Pathways

To date the Community Learning Partnership (CLP) has developed eight Community Change Studies programs—civic pathways—across the country. This session presents CLP’s approach to establishing civic pathways that engage TDC and ADP campuses in Phoenix, Ariz., Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn. and Detroit, Mich.  Participants learn about how CLP programs are established and about CLP resources and tools available for developing similar programs among TDC and ADP campuses.

Economic Inequality Initiative Steering Committee Meeting

An open planning meeting and organizing session for the first ADP/TDC joint national initiative surrounding economic inequality.

If you haven’t read the call for participation, you can do so here; we are asking for an RSVP on this one.

Election 2014 and Beyond—An i3 (Information, Ideas, and Innovation) Conversation

Join ADP and TDC for a conversation designed to exchange information, ideas and innovations about advancing student electoral and political engagement in this year’s mid-term election cycle and beyond.

Global Engagement Knowledge Exchange

ADP’s Global Engagement Scholars share exciting new elements of their Global Challenges curriculum and participants exchange ideas and information about best practices and lessons learned. If you’re currently teaching about the seven global challenges on your campus or are interested in doing so, this is the session for you!

Organizing Workshop on Citizen Alum

A hands-on introduction to organizing Citizen Alum (CA) campus teams, facilitated by members of CA teams at ADP/TDC institutions. This is an orientation for those interested in alumni as partners in building multi-generational communities of active citizenship and active learning.


To view complete descriptions and register for the meeting, click here.


[Why We Are #LovinLouisville] Untold Stories of the Connected World: Journalism as an Instrument for Citizenship

By Caitlin Reilly, Program Associate, the American Democracy Project

Heading to Louisville for #ADPTDC14? Over the next two weeks leading up to our June 5-7 ADP/TDC Joint National Meeting in this City of Compassion, we’ll be highlighting reasons that we’re #LovinLouisville.

Reason #2? Saturday’s plenary session!

We’ll be opening Saturday’s activities with a plenary session given by Mark Schulte, the education director for the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.  During his session, “Untold Stories of the Connected World: Journalism as an Instrument for Citizenship,” Mark will talk about what quality journalism is and how it plays a role in citizenship in the modern world.

Mark’s background is in journalism; before joining the Pulitzer Center he worked as a magazine writer and editor for U.S. News & World Report and regional publications in Virginia.  As education director, he uses the journalism supported by the Pulitzer Center to engage students on under-reported global topics such as water and sanitation, extractives and commodities, climate change, women and children in crisis, and food insecurity.

Earlier this week, he took a minute to chat with us about journalism, citizenship and, of course, why he’s #LovinLouisville.

Q: Was there anything you experienced or studied as a student that has particularly informed the work you do now or your devotion to the Pulitzer Center’s mission?

A: My subscriptions to National Geographic World and Ranger Rick, two kids’ magazines, were as educational as anything I learned in class—and more fun. So my conviction that good journalism is the best way to learn about the world started around the age of 9 or 10.

Q: Do you have any advice for current students or faculty?

A: You have more power than any prior generation to cultivate a healthy information diet that will make you an effective citizen. It’s all free, and it’s all instantly available. But you also have more personal responsibility to figure out what the right balance is. Nobody will do it for you.

Q: What role do you see journalism playing in civic engagement?

A: We engage effectively only if we have an understanding of our civic society as it currently exists, and as it changes. Quality journalism is the only practical way for busy people to comprehend complex, fluid global and regional trends.

Q: With click-driven content, how do you think the public service aspect of journalism’s mission has changed?  Do you think it’s become either easier or harder to find people to cover, publish and read under-reported, but important stories?

A: The media landscape has been freed, in a sense, by the digital revolution. But with that change has come a barrage of trivial or misleading content. While there is less money for global news than there has been in the past, I don’t see the most important change coming from the supply side. There will always be people who will cover and publish good news. I think the critical piece is consumer demand. We have to help people understand why news matters, and we should start early!

Q: Would you mind sharing one of your favorite stories that has come out of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting?

A: We screened a documentary on homophobia in Jamaica to a public high school in Philadelphia earlier this year, and after the movie ended the students burst into spontaneous applause when they learned that the filmmaker and the subject of the film, a Jamaican HIV activist, was in the audience. You wouldn’t have seen a response like that in my high school 25 years ago. Gay rights are a huge issue for this generation.

Q: Lastly, what reason are you “Lovin’ Louisville”?  (Sorry, that’s really cheesy, but it’s what this series of blog posts is titled.)

A: I’m a boxing fan, so the Muhammad Ali Center is on my to-do list! 

To hear more of Mark’s ideas, join us for the plenary session, “Untold Stories of the Connected World: Journalism as an Instrument for Citizenship,” on Saturday, June 7 from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.


[Why We are #LovinLouisville ] #Online: Democracy Gone Digital Plenary Session

By Jen Domagal-Goldman, ADP National Manager

Heading to Louisville for #ADPTDC14? Over the next two weeks leading up to our June 5-7 ADP/TDC Joint National Meeting in this City of Compassion, we’ll be highlighting reasons that we’re #LovinLouisville.

Reason #1? Our Friday morning plenary session!

Get ready for an exciting morning plenary session featuring a conversation with two dynamic, digitally engaged divas. ADP’s Mike Stout, Associate Professor of Sociology at Missouri State University, will moderate a discussion about #eCitizenship and digital civic engagement and activism and TDC’s Monica Bustinza from Miami Dade College (Fla.) will serve as a student respondent and provocateur.

Here are the session details:

Friday, June 6, 2014
9 a.m. – 10 a.m.
Ballroom X and VI

Plenary – #Online:  Democracy Gone Digital
We carry the Internet in our pockets, and it has changed the way we work, shop, play and interact with each other. It’s also changing the way we teach and learn as well as how we organize and mobilize for or against the causes we care about. But are the connections and communities we build online authentic? Can anything worth saying be said in 140 characters? Does online activism actually start revolutions? What does it mean to be an eCitizen? What are our responsibilities in these new public spaces? And how can we harness the power of emergent technologies to advance civic learning and engagement efforts on our campuses? Join us for a moderated conversation about a world online and how we share within and shape it.

Moderator:  Mike Stout, Associate Professor, Sociology and Anthropology, Missouri State University
Presenters: Lauren Bird, Spokesperson & Digital Content Strategist,Harry Potter Alliance and
Suey Park, Writer, Comedian and Activist
Student Respondent:  Monica Bustinza, Student, Miami Dade College (Fla.)

Meet Lauren & Suey!

Lauren Bird | Spokesperson & Digital Content Strategist | Harry Potter Alliance

LaurenLauren began her involvement with the HPA as a volunteer in 2010 and has since taken on the professional role of Spokesperson and Digital Content Strategist. She received her Bachelor’s in Comparative Literature, with a concentration in Documentary Filmmaking, from New York University and has spoken on numerous panels including Futures of Entertainment at MIT, TEDx Women, and San Diego Comic-Con. Lauren produces the HPA’s online videos, which have been featured on sites such as Upworthy, Mashable, and the Huffington Post. She also writes horoscopes for the W.A.N.D. Beyond her wizard activist duties, Lauren can be found on YouTube answering the age-old question, “Will It Waffle?” She can be found online @laurenthebird.

Suey Park | Writer and Activist

SueySuey Park is a 23-year old writer and activist based in Chicago. Park is well-known for her social media activism and her trending hashtags such as #NotYourAsianSidekick, #BlackPowerYellowPeril and the recent controversial #CancelColbert, all of which have resulted in media furor. Park is one of the most outspoken and dynamic young Asian American women in the public view with incisive views on race and gender and social organization.  She spoke at ADP campus Richard Stockton College of New Jersey in April about “Hashtags: A New Form of Social Activism.” Follow her on Twitter at @suey_park!

[What We’re Reading] The Impossible Will Take a Little While by Paul Loeb

ImpossibleCoverSmallPaul Loeb, founder of the Campus Election Engagement Project, has a wholly updated edition of his political hope anthology, The Impossible Will Take a Little While. And free exam copies are available either through his publisher, along with his classic civic engagement study Soul of a Citizen, or first come/first served at the upcoming 2014 ADP/TDC National Meeting.

The Impossible explores how the leaders and unsung heroes of world-changing political movements have persevered in the face of cynicism, fear, and seemingly overwhelming odds. After 22 printings and adoption at hundreds of colleges—in every discipline, from first-year common readings to graduate seminars—Editor Paul Rogat Loeb has comprehensively updated the book. It explores what it’s like to go up against Goliath, whether South African apartheid, the dictatorships of Mubarak’s Egypt or Communist Eastern Europe, racial or sexual prejudice in America, or the corporations driving escalating climate change. These stories don’t sugarcoat the obstacles. But they inspire hope by showing what keeps us keeping on.

The Impossible creates a conversation among some of the most visionary and eloquent voices of our times, or any time: Think Nelson Mandela, Maya Angelou, Vaclav Havel, Bill Moyers, and Howard Zinn. Alice Walker, Mary Pipher, Jonathan Kozol, Diane Ackerman, Tony Kushner, Bill McKibben, Paul Hawken, and Marian Wright Edelman. Cornel West, Terry Tempest Williams, Pablo Neruda, Audre Lorde, and Desmond Tutu. Loeb has added valuable new essays, worked with existing authors to update their contributions, and updated his own introductions to speak to a time when students need models for hope more than ever.

For more on this book or to purchase, click here.

[TDC Partners & Friends] ACPA to Hold Service Learning Symposium Prior to #ADPTDC14; Member Rate Available

ACPAACPA Symposium on Service-Learning
June 3 – 5, 2014 • Louisville, Kentucky

In the spirit of democracy and civic engagement, ACPA (American College Personnel Association) is hosting its 2nd Service-Learning Symposium immediately prior to the 2014 American Democracy Project/The Democracy Commitment National Meeting.

This symposium will be an outstanding professional development opportunity as student affairs practitioners come together to discuss the ever-changing landscape of higher education and consider how colleges and universities are integral parts of their communities.  The focus of this symposium is on reciprocity and assessing the community engagement work that is done on campuses around the country.

Join the symposium to participate with other professionals and scholars who work specifically with the service-learning portion of our civic engagement work.  All are welcome to participate.

By participating in the symposium, attendees will:

  • Develop a common language for service-learning
  • Explore key elements of the fundamentals of service-learning
  • Exchange best practices
  • Connect with one another

Speakers will include:

  • Robert Bringle (Appalachian State University)
  • Thomas Dahan (Rutgers Camden)
  • Gayle Hilleke (Kentucky Campus Compact)
  • Harry Boyte (Center for Democracy & Citizenship)
  • And many more!

Register today!

Please note that ADP National Meeting attendees can register at the ACPA member-rate for this Service-Learning Symposium.

Questions can be directed to Patrick Grayshaw @

[TDC Updates & Announcements] Economic Inequality Preliminary Call

Economic Inequality: Announcing a Joint ADP/TDC National Initiative

America has long been heralded as the “land of opportunity,” but consider:

  • The average student loan debt for the class of 2012 was $29,400;[1] this doesn’t account for any debt accrued in graduate school.
  • Between 1947 and 1972, the average hourly wage, adjusted for inflation, rose 76%. Since 1972, by contrast, the average hourly wage has risen only 4%.[2]
  • In 2011 the poverty rate for female-headed families with children was 40.9%.[3]
  • In 2009, CEOs of major U.S. corporations averaged 263 times the average compensation of American workers.[4]
  • Between 1979 and 2007, wages for the top 1% rose almost 10 times as fast as those for the bottom 90%: 156.2% versus 16.7%.[5]
  •  “[T]he two years in the last hundred that mark the apogees of inequality – when the richest 1% received a record 23.5% of total income – were 1928 and 2007.”[6]
  • An Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development study found that almost 884,000 excess deaths per year in the United States could be attributed to high levels of income inequality.[7]

Some degree of economic inequality occurs naturally in a free and open society, but a vibrant democracy experiencing these dramatic trends ought to be asking tough questions:

  • How did the extreme inequality we find today happen?
  • What are the implications of such dramatic economic inequality?
  • How much inequality is too much?
  • If these trends undermine the integrity of our democracy, then what can we do?

Our democracy deserves answers to these questions.

We believe that those of us in higher education have the responsibility to engage our students and communities in assembling the knowledge and skills to effectively enact change related to the complex issue of growing economic inequality.

In February, we hosted a national screening of the documentary film “Inequality for All”and a live webcast with former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich; now, we are taking our commitment to this issue a step further—join us as we embark upon an exciting inaugural joint national initiative between The Democracy Commitment and the American Democracy Project as we tackle the challenging topic of economic inequality. 

This joint national initiative is being organized by teams at ADP’s Keene State College (N.H.) and TDC’s Mount Wachusett Community College (Mass.). We are looking to identify two- and four-year institutions interested in helping us engage and begin to form civic pathways around this topic. We intend this work to help students in thinking about and taking actions 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.

Learn more and help us shape this initiative at an open informational meeting and planning session at the 2014 ADP/TDC National Meeting in Louisville on Thursday, June 5 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. in Salon IX.

Please R.S.V.P. to Kim Schmidl-Gagne at by June 2, 2014.

Note: A formal call for participation will be forthcoming after the national meeting.

Download a PDF version of this Preliminary Call for Participation here.

[6] Reich, R. (2013). Aftershock. New York: Vintage Books.


MA Civic Learning Policy Should Be [On Your Radar]

By Stephanie South, TDC National Coordinator

Just last week, the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education adopted a policy that encourages public colleges within the state to direct their attention to civic learning. This policy, which is the first of its kind in the United States, will expect schools to begin incorporating these outcomes with those for the 2014-2015 academic year.

To read the official news release, click here.

To understand more about the background of this policy, you can read about the 2012 U.S. Department of Education call to civic learning commitments (i.e., A Crucible Moment) here.

Also worth noting, at the 2014 ADP/TDC National Meeting, specifically on Saturday, June 7, from 2:45 p.m. to 3:15 p.m., there will be a mini featured session on the policy. See description below, and, if you have not already registered for the national meeting in Louisville, KY, make sure you do so ASAP.

Mini-Featured Session (CL – Civic Learning)

Massachusetts Board of Higher Education’s New Civic Learning Policy 

On May 6, 2014, Massachusetts became the first and only state to require public higher education institutions to include civic learning as an expected student learning outcome. Come learn about this new policy, the process by which it was created, and how the Department will implement the policy moving forward.

Presenter:  Shelley Tinkham, Assistant Commissioner for Academic, P-16 and Veterans Policy, Massachusetts Board of Higher Education