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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.

Registration Now Open for 2014 TDC/ADP National Meeting


Registration Open for 2014 TDC/ADP National Meeting
June 5-7, 2014 | Marriott Louisville Downtown | Louisville, Kentucky
“Forging Civic Pathways for Students Between Our Institutions”

Please join us in Louisville, Kentucky for The Democracy Commitment’s (TDC) 4th annual national meeting and the American Democracy Project’s (ADP) 12th annual national meeting at the Marriott Louisville Downtown. Registration is now open; click here to sign up to attend.

We are excited to announce several new meeting components this year, including a Day of Service and Early Bird Registration rates, which expire on April 30. However, what we are most pleased to tell you about is TDC Day, which will begin at 9 a.m. on Thursday, June 5 and serve as the official kickoff for the 2014 TDC/ADP National Meeting for TDC members.

Prior to joining our university colleagues for our annual joint TDC/ADP meeting, TDC Day will offer us a chance to engage our membership in organizing for our movement; we will have the opportunity to plan for our upcoming initiatives, including Engage the Election 2014; network with colleagues; and learn about TDC and ADP civic programs. Special focus will be on our three-year National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant project, “Bridging Cultures to Form a Nation.” Lunch will be provided as part of regular registration. If you are registering as a member of a TDC institution, please be sure to arrive in Louisville on Wednesday evening.

TDC Day will conclude at 3 p.m. that Thursday when we will join our ADP colleagues for the start of the annual meeting, which will begin with an opening plenary and a reception; it concludes with a closing reception on Saturday evening, June 7.

You’ll find important information below about dates and registration fees, how to reserve a room at the Marriott Louisville Downtown, and how to submit a proposal. Additional information can be found here:

Registration Fees:
Registration Fees include all program sessions and materials; reception on Thursday evening; breakfast on Friday; and lunch and a closing reception on Saturday.

Earlybird Fee (register by Wednesday April 30)
Individual Fee: $545
Team Member Registration Fee: $485
Student Registration Fee: $395 (only pertains to undergraduate students)
Non-Member Registration Fee: $625

Fee starting May 1
Individual Fee: $625
Team Member Registration Fee: $545
Student Registration Fee: $425 (only pertains to undergraduate students)
Non-Member Registration Fee: $725

How to Register

Please select among the three options below:

Click here to register online
NOTE: Please click this LOGIN HELP if you have trouble using the online registration form.

Register via the Download TDC Reg Form (pdf) to be mailed or faxed in.

You may also contact Felicia Durham at (202) 478-4673 to register for this meeting.

Call for Proposals (CFP) | Due February 16, 2014



Louisville Marriott Downtown
280 West Jefferson
Louisville, Kentucky 40202
Phone: 502-627-5045
Fax: 502-627-5044
Toll-free: 800-533-0127

Room Rate

  • The special conference rate is $169 for a single/double room plus 15.01% tax (current tax rate may change)
  • A triple occupancy room is $ 179.00 and a quad occupancy room is 189.00 plus 15.01% tax (current tax rate may change)
  • To obtain this rate, you must book your room by Wednesday May 14, 2014.
  • Please book in the room block to receive complimentary Wi-Fi in your guest room. AASCU will be providing Wi-Fi in the meeting space as well.

Hotel reservations can be made online

  • All reservations must be accompanied by a first night room deposit, or guaranteed with a major credit card or by American Association of State Colleges and Universities.
  • Any reservation canceled within (24) hours of the arrival date, will be charged for one (1) night’s room and tax.

Alamo College: SGA training ground for civil servants of tomorrow


By: Carlos Ferrand
Student Reporter
Alamo College

Alamo College - SGA TrainingWhen Student Government Association Secretary Justin Wideman enrolled at Northwest Vista College in fall 2007, he selected a major out of appreciation of the kindness he saw as a child.

As a young boy, Wideman suffered from severe asthma and acid reflux.

According to about half the children with severe asthma also have gastroesophageal reflux disease.

The symptoms of acid reflux were causing his asthma symptoms to worsen. Wideman would need surgery to prevent severe acid reflux.

At 8 years old, Wideman under went a procedure known as nissen fundoplication, a procedure where surgeons take the upper part of the stomach and wrap it around the lower end of the esophagus to support the closing function of the lower esophageal sphincter.

He spent the following month in the hospital recovering, and it was there he witnessed kindness and care from his nurses.

When Wideman declared his major, it was no wonder he chose nursing.

“I had nurses that were really good,” Wideman said. “My intention was to go into nursing and be that nurse that loved doing what they did.”

Wideman transferred from Northwest Vista in fall 2010 to enroll at this college.

He wanted to be more active and more involved in campus clubs.

When he joined the Gay, Ally, and Lesbian Association and the Catholic Student Association, he began to network and get to know people in different organizations.

Soon after, GALA President Rene Orozco recommended Wideman as a possible Student Government Association secretary to SGA President Jacob Wong.

“I needed people that were motivated,” Wong said.

So when Wideman appeared sporting a pink mohawk during his first meeting in the summer, all Wong could say was, “OK.”

“It turned out that anything I gave him or any idea, we would start brainstorming and we created an open communication. Everything started rolling,” Wong said.

“This person was just as determined as I was to put the time and work in for SGA. I was really impressed.”

Wong appointed Wideman as secretary for fall 2012.

After his first SGA meeting, Wideman found himself in new territory.

He was excited about this new position within student government and the opportunities his new position offered him.

“It allowed me to represent students who have similar issues and concerns as I do,” Wideman said.

This position allowed him to see that nursing might not be the best fit for him.

He started looking seriously at a career in politics and public service.

Wideman also credits Professor Phillip Rogers’ government and international relations courses for his increased interest in politics.

“Dr. Rogers’ classes are so informative and they left a great impression on me,” Wideman said.

The pieces started to come together for Wideman.

His admiration for the nursing profession was still in his heart but now he wanted to help in a different way.

He ultimately wanted to be a public servant and changed his major to political science.

Wideman has been accepted to the University of Texas-San Antonio, where he will work toward earning a bachelor’s degree in public administration.

After he graduates, Wideman expects to do big things. He wants to continue his education by earning a master’s degree.

Wideman said he would like to become a city manager and work his way up through the ranks to the much loftier goal of U.S. President.

Though candidates must be at least 35 years old to serve as president, “I have plenty of time to gain the knowledge needed,” the 24 year old joked.

If the executive branch is not in the cards for Wideman, he is OK with serving in Congress.

Wideman said he does not want to be in public office for the sole purpose of having power, but rather “to be a representative who actually represents the voice of the people.”

Wideman said the shared governance model that President Robert Zeigler promotes between college administration and SGA was a great look at how democracy can work.

“It has been a great experience to get in a room with people with different views,” he said. “Administration and students coming together to think about how new policy might help students.”

During Pepsi with the President, SGA presents information to Zeigler; Dr. Robert Vela, vice president of academics and student engagement; and David Mrizek, vice president of college services.

The majority of information they present to the executive team reflects student opinion.

For now, Wideman represents the students of this college and is proud of that voice.

One initiative that Wideman is proud to discuss is the quick action SGA took to collect student input on the single textbook issue.

“In one week, we were able to get 366 surveys together. We were able to draft, write, rewrite and rewrite again our speech to district,” Wideman said.

“We wanted to focus on the key issue in those surveys … That district was not informing students of changes.”

Wideman encourages students to “get involved and stay active.”

“If you want to have your voice heard then speak up with your SGA,” he said.

SGA’s goal has always been to give students of this college a voice, he said.

As spring semester winds down, Wideman has begun to turn his attention to the legacy he leaves behind. He starts his first semester at UTSA this fall.

What path would Wideman pave for the organization that encouraged him to get involved and helped to mold a future legislator.

Wideman believes that he will be leaving behind a stronger SGA and a student body that has become more involved and aware of college issues.

Before leaving office, he also wanted to bridge the gap between outgoing SGA members and new members.

Wideman suggested new SGA members serve over the summer with current SGA members to keep continuity.

SGA’s constitution was amended in March to reflect these changes.

This will allow new members to work with members with more experience, he said.

Wideman wants SGA to be successful long after he leaves this college.

From a nursing degree to presidential hopeful, Wideman has big dreams and is grateful to this college for the experiences and guidance.

For Wideman, he said it doesn’t matter if he works in the oval office or just the floor, he wants to make change.

“Why don’t I be that change I want to see.”

For information on SGA, call 210-486-0133.


[TDC Action Alert] Inequality for All

By Stephanie R. South
Interim National Coordinator

Inequality for All Flyer

The Democracy Commitment has been working with the American Democracy Project and former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich and his staff to organize a simultaneous screening of his Inequality for All film at college campuses across the country.

The event will take place on Thursday, February 20, 2014, when institutions all over the United States will simultaneously screen the film at 5 p.m. EST. Following the showing, Robert Reich has agreed to do a national webcast from an ADP institution—San Francisco State University—this will take place at 6:30 p.m. EST.

We are very excited about the opportunity that this event presents to raise awareness about economic inequality in America and give our students a chance to come together for dialogue and deliberation on the subject. Several other groups (i.e., Democracy Matters, Generation Alliance, Generation Progress, NASPA and U.S. Students Association so far) have also signed up. We really hope your campus will also sign on to be a part of this event, which has been a catalyst for developing the first joint initiative between TDC and ADP–you will be hearing more about this in the coming months. You are also welcome to forward this to other campus networks as well. It would be wonderful to make this a truly monumental national event, and with your help, we can do that

The only cost for a campus to participate is to have the institution’s library purchase the Reich film at a special reduced rate ($250, as compared to $400), which can then be used anytime on campus later on for classes, special showings, etc. We’ll also be organizing a variety of means (e.g., through Facebook, Twitter and video) of collecting questions from participating campuses to be asked of Reich during the webcast. Participating campuses will be provided with further details, as well as a screening toolkit, which includes a discussion guide and promotional materials.

National screening of Inequality for All, followed by live conversation with Robert Reich via webcast

On your campus; live webcast from San Francisco State University (Calif.)

Thursday, February 20, 2014 beginning at 5 p.m. EST with the webcast at 6:30 p.m. EST

Please contact me if you are interested in participating in this national effort, so that I can get you in touch with the right people.

FUNDING OPPORTUNITY for Undergraduate STEM Education in the Computer/Information Sciences


Through a generous $4.9 million grant from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, AAC&U has launched its newest STEM initiative, TIDES: Teaching to Increase Diversity and Equity in STEM.

This initiative invites proposals from institutions of higher education (particularly predominantly undergraduate institutions, minority-serving institutions, and community colleges) to implement curriculum and faculty professional development activities, and develop models for broader institutional change to advance evidence-based and culturally competent teaching in STEM fields.

The overall goal of this three-year initiative is to increase the learning outcomes and retention of students historically underrepresented in the computer/information sciences and related STEM disciplines. The project will work to:

  • Develop and implement curricula that will enhance underrepresented STEM student interest, competencies, and retention rates; and
  • Empower STEM faculty to adopt culturally sensitive pedagogies and sustain the necessary changes in practice required for relevant and inclusive STEM teaching.

AAC&U is dedicated to promoting high-quality learning, accelerating broad-scale systemic innovation to advance diversity, and advancing inquiry across all liberal arts and sciences disciplines. In its recently expanded mission, AAC&U also seeks to make liberal education and inclusive excellence the foundation for institutional purpose and educational practice in higher education. This STEM initiative is integrally connected to all of these important elements of higher education reform, and is designed to build capacity in higher education to achieve these goals and to create a national community of faculty leaders committed to and effective in developing supportive and empowering environments for students traditionally underrepresented in STEM.

Further information on submitting an application for this initiative is available here. A letter of intent is due on January 10, 2014. Full proposals are due on February 18, 2014.

To learn more about PKAL, please visit, e-mail us at, or call us at 202.884.7439.

Questions about Project Kaleidoscope? E-mail
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