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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.

RSVP Today for the Engage the Election Webinars #8 and 9


Webinar #8
Text, Talk, Vote!
Wednesday, September 14, 2016 | 2 p.m. EST
Register here.

Text Talk Vote logo.pngText, Talk, Vote
 uses a text-based platform to facilitate in-person conversations about voting with a small group of young people (3-4 per group). The group receives and discusses prompts delivered by text, interacting with each other and moving through the program at their own pace. The free program creates meaningful conversations about politics and policy, elevates the voices of younger voters, and increases civic participation and turnout. After using the platform, participants identifying as “definitely going to vote” rises by 21%. Participants not only enjoy the program and have a great time, but also feel more informed and report learning something new from their peers. Try Text, Talk, Vote right now by texting in “Vote” to 42016. You can use this free, open platform whenever you want.

Webinar #9
Is your campus ALL IN? Join the Challenge to Increase Democratic Engagement
Wednesday, September 21, 2016 | 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. EST
RSVP here.

all inIs your campus ALL IN? More than 130 college campuses across 33 states (including 45 ADP campuses & 12 TDC campuses) have committed to improving democratic engagement by joining the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge. The challenge is a national, nonpartisan initiative recognizing campuses for increasing democratic engagement and student voting. Your campus is invited to a special ADP webinar to learn more about this exciting new initiative. During the webinar, participants will: learn about the background of the ALL IN Challenge and why it is important for campuses to join; understand who can join, and how to join; and be introduced to the steps involved after committing as well as the opportunity for recognition and awards.


RSVP Today for Free Engage the Election 2016 Webinar Tomorrow

Engage the Election Logo

Webinar #7
Graduating Students into Voters:  Overcoming the Psychological Barriers Faced by Student Voters and Improving Student Voting Rates Using Insights from the Behavioral Sciences
Wednesday, September 7, 2016 at 2 p.m. Eastern  RSVP here.

Graduating Student VotersHow do students decide to vote? And why do some students fail to cast a ballot even though they intend to on Election Day? More importantly, can we design programs to overcome barriers to student voting with simple, scalable innovations? In this webinar the behavioral design lab, ideas42, will review major findings from their new research on how insights from the behavioral sciences – including the fields of psychology and behavioral economics – can shed light on both the internal psychological forces (like a feeling that voting isn’t for me) and seemingly small external hassles (like not having a stamp to mail a voter registration form) that impact student voting. Participants will learn about the role of identity and social norms, the effect of being a first-time voter, and the impact of psychological distance on voting behavior. Participants will also walk away with more than 30 actionable tips and tricks that can be easily integrated to on-campus programs to improve their efficacy. Armed with these tips and tricks, we believe colleges and universities can more successfully execute on their mission to educate civically engaged youth. Read the research report here.


Engage the Election Webinar: Is Your Campus ALL IN?

As part of our ADP/TDC 2016 Engage the Election initiative, we’re partnering with the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge to bring you a webinar focused on this national, nonpartisan initiative focused on recognizing campuses that are increasing democratic engagement and student voting. Over 45 ADP and 12 TDC campuses are already signed up — this webinar is for campuses considering participating as well as campuses that are already ALL IN and want to know more about next steps. We hope you join us!

all-inIs your campus ALL IN? More than 130 college campuses across 33 states have committed to improving democratic engagement by joining the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge. The challenge is a national, nonpartisan initiative recognizing campuses for increasing democratic engagement and student voting. Your campus is invited to a special ADP/TDC Engage the Election webinar to learn more about this exciting new initiative.

The webinar will include:

  • The background of the ALL IN Challenge;
  • Why it is important for ADP campuses to join;
  • Who can join, and how to join;
  • The steps involved after committing;
  • Recognition and awards;
  • Q&A.

Date: Wed. September 21, 2016
Time: 2 p.m. ET

Register for the webinar HERE.

If you can’t join us for the ADP/TDC ALL IN Challenge webinar on September 21, then we invite you to participate in one of the other ALL IN Challenge webinars being offered this month, or contact Catherine Fish at for additional information.

New Resource: CivicLEADS

CivicLEADS: Civic Learning, Engagement and Action Data Sharing

Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR)’s Education and Child Care Data Archives at the University of Michigan is proud to announce the launch of Civic Learning, Engagement, and Action Data Sharing (CivicLEADS). Funded by a grant from the Spencer Foundation, CivicLEADS provides a centralized repository for data produced by the multi-disciplinary research surrounding civic education and action.

CivicLEADS provides access to quantitative and qualitative data for secondary analysis and promotes data discovery through our data, variable, and publication search tools. Beyond facilitating the sharing and discovery of data, CivicLEADS seeks to create a learning community around civic education and engagement research.

Visit this new resource for researchers who explore diverse topics including civic and political engagement, curricula and learning, social networks, media literacy, activism, and social movements.

Looking for data but not sure what terms to include? Try these search terms as a starting point:

We will add data and resources regularly, so please be sure to sign up for our mailing list.

We are always searching for high-quality data from research into civic education, involvement, action, and the intersection of the three. If you have conducted a study or know of an existing study which would make an excellent addition to CivicLEADS, please read more about how to share your data and contact David Bleckley to recommend a study.

Visit CivicLEADS to learn more about our work and to search for data on civic learning, engagement, and action.


Campus Vote Project Webinars Announced


Our partners and friends at the Fair Elections Legal Network’s Campus Vote Project are holding a set of upcoming webinars to get up-to-date on state-specific election laws and the current best practices for voter engagement on campus. They’ll also share useful tools and how they can support your work.

The “Best Practices for Voter Engagement” webinars will cover:

  • Why Student Voting Matters,
  • Best Practices for Student Democratic Engagement,
  • Tools to Guide Your Work,
  • And State-based Election Law.

Florida Best Practices for Voter Engagement
When: August 25 at 1:30pm ET | RSVP HERE

Michigan Best Practices for Voter Engagement
When: August 30th at 1pm ET/12pm CT | RSVP HERE

Pennsylvania Best Practices for Voter Engagement
When: August 31st, at 12pm ET | RSVP HERE

Wisconsin Best Practices for Voter Engagement
When: August 31st at 2pm ET/1pm CT | RSVP HERE

Ohio Best Practices for Voter Engagement
When: September 13th at 12:30pm ET | RSVP HERE

Virginia Best Practices for Voter Engagement
When: September 15th at 12pm ET | RSVP HERE

Introducing the CLDE 2017 Planning Committee

CLDE 2017

The Association of  American State Colleges and Universities’ American Democracy Project (ADP), and The Democracy Commitment (TDC), in partnership with NASPA and its Lead Initiative are proud to announce its committee members for the 2017 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, from June 7-10, 2017. Below you’ll learn more about each committee member and their contributions to higher education’s civic work.

Staff Leadership

domagal-goldmanJennifer Domagal-Goldman directs AASCU’s American Democracy Project. She earned her doctorate in higher education from the Pennsylvania State University. She received her master’s degree in higher education and student affairs administration from the University of Vermont and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Rochester. Jennifer’s dissertation focused on how faculties learn to incorporate civic learning and engagement in their undergraduate teaching within their academic discipline. Jennifer holds an ex-officio position on the eJournal of Public Affairs’ editorial board.

stephanie-reynoldsStephanie Reynolds is the Assistant Director for Knowledge Communities and Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) Initiatives at NASPA.  She has worked in higher education since 2009 in the areas of student activities, orientation, residence life, and civic learning and democratic engagement.  Stephanie earned her Master of Arts in Psychology at Chatham University and her B.S. in Biology from Walsh University.  She has served as the Coordinator for Commuter, Evening and Weekend Programs at Walsh University, Administrative Assistant to the VP and Dean of Students for the Office of Student Affairs, the Coordinator of Student Affairs, and the Assistant Director of Residence Life and Student Affairs at Chatham University. 

verdis-RobisnonVerdis LeVar Robinson is the interim National Manager of The Democracy Commitment (TDC). He comes to TDC as a tenured Assistant Professor of History and African-American Studies having taught writing-intensive, web-enhanced, service-learning courses at Monroe Community College (NY) for the past 10 years. Verdis is a fellow of the Aspen Institute’s faculty seminar on Citizenship and the American and Global Polity, and the National Endowment for the Humanities’ faculty seminar on Rethinking Black Freedom Studies: The Jim Crow North and West.  Additionally, Verdis is the founder of the Rochester Neighborhood Oral History Project that created a walking tour of the community most impacted by the 1964 Race Riots, which has engaged over 300 members of the Rochester community in dialogue and learning. He holds a B.M. in Voice Performance from Boston University, a B.S. and an M.A. in History from SUNY College at Brockport, and an M.A. in African-American Studies from SUNY University at Buffalo.

Committee Members

fagan_forhanFagan Forhan is the Assistant Dean of K-12 Partnerships and Civic Engagement at Mount Wachusett Community College (Mass.). She is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with a degree in Psychology. Before coming to the MWCC in 2006, Fagan worked for six years with the Massachusetts State Legislature as Chief of Staff for former State Rep. Brian Knuuttila as a liaison for local nonprofits and constituents. In her current role, Fagan provides strategic direction and oversight for the Center for Civic Learning and Community Engagement, as well as the college’s Division of Access and Transition. She serves as a member of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education’s Study Group on Civic Learning, a National Steering Committee Member for The Democracy Commitment, and a steering committee member for the national Economic Inequality Initiative through the American Democracy Project and The Democracy Commitment. She also advises the Phi Delta Chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, and serves as an advisor for Otaku United.

david_hoffmanDavid Hoffman is the Assistant Director of Student Life for Civic Agency at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) and an architect of UMBC’s BreakingGround initiative. His work is directed at fostering civic agency and democratic engagement through courses, co-curricular experiences and cultural practices on campus. His research explores students’ development as civic agents, highlighting the crucial role of experiences, environments, and relationships students perceive as “real” rather than synthetic or scripted. David is a member of Steering Committee for the American Democracy Project and the National Advisory Board for Imagining America. He is an alum of UCLA (BA), Harvard (JD, MPP) and UMBC (PhD).

jensen_christopherChristopher D. Jensen, Ph.D. is the Director for the Office of Civic Engagement and Leadership at Towson University (Md.). He has worked in higher education for over 17 years, in the areas of leadership development, community service/service-learning, campus safety, housing, Greek life, orientation, and enrollment management. Chris earned a B.A. from the University of Michigan in Studies in Religion, a M.Ed. from Michigan State University in Student Affairs Administration and a Ph.D. from Oakland University in Educational Leadership. His research has focused on the impact of community service experiences on students’ persistence in college. Chris coordinates many of the political engagement, environmental initiatives, service-learning, and leadership initiatives at Towson University.

rhonda_lewisRhonda K. Lewis, Ph.D., MPH. is a professor and chair of the psychology department at Wichita State University (Kan.). She is also a member of the Society for Community Research and Action, Division 27 of the American Psychological Association, and the Association of Black Psychologists. Lewis uses behavioral and community research methodologies to promote health and reduce educational inequity. Dr. Lewis has over 20 years of experience in community organizing, program development, and evaluation. Dr. Lewis’ research interest include: eliminating disparities in health among populations of color, working with disadvantaged populations, building healthy communities, and investigating adolescent and emerging African American adult health. She has over 50+ publications and 100 presentations at regional, national, and international conventions.

patrickobrien-edit-jpg1Patrick O’Brien serves as the Director, Civic Engagement, Student & Community Involvement at Frostburg State University (Md.) from which he received his B.S. in Business Management.   He is currently pursuing his Masters in Public Administration from the University of Baltimore. While a student at FSU Patrick served as an AmeriCorps member with the A STAR! in Western Maryland AmeriCorps program as their VOICE Clearinghouse Volunteer Coordinator. He has been working for Frostburg State University as the Director of Civic Engagement since July of 2008. Patrick’s office works with programs including Special Olympics Maryland, Read to Succeed, Relay for Life, Alternative Breaks, and Beautify the ‘Burg to name a few. The office also houses their own AmeriCorps program (A STAR! in Western Maryland) that spans the four most western counties in Maryland (Frederick, Washington, Allegany, and Garrett) and includes over 20 full time members and 100 part time members.

duane_oakes_picture-editDuane D. Oakes has served as the Faculty Director for the Center for Community & Civic Engagement and Recreation Instructor at Mesa Community College (Ariz.) since 2000. At Chandler-Gilbert Community College he helped create a comprehensive student life program which included the Service-learning program where he and his colleagues were recognized with the Innovation of the Year award from the District. He also served as a service-learning and civic responsibility trainer for the Community College National Center for Community Engagement and the American Association of Community Colleges for over 15 years. Duane service as the Chair of the Brigham Young University Alumni Association in Arizona and serves on the Mesa Public Schools Service-learning Advisory Board, volunteers with the Boy Scouts of America and supports his son’s high school supporting the music arts. Duane has worked in the higher education arena since 1990 helping students becoming better citizens through service and leadership.

julian-rogersJulian Rogers serves as the Director of Community Partnerships with Cleveland State University (Ohio) where he oversees the Office of Civic Engagement. Prior to this, he was a member of the inaugural Cuyahoga County Council where he represented a diverse district of about 118,000 people. Julian has also served as the Executive Director of Education Voters of Ohio, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving public education. Julian is a resident of Cleveland Heights, Ohio and is active in the community. He formerly served on the boards of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District, and the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA). He currently serves as a trustee for the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture. Julian was inducted into Kaleidoscope Magazine’s 40/40 Club and was awarded the Emerging Leader Award from the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus.

dianel-fidalgo-tomeDaniel Fidalgo Tomé is the Director of Service Learning at Stockton University (N.J.). He earned his Bachelor of Science in Environmental Policy, Institutions and Behavior from Cook College, Rutgers University and his Master in Education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He works closely with the faculty and students from Stockton University and community partners in the South Jersey region creating authentic, reciprocal relationships. Prior to his work at Stockton, he has worked at the City College of New York in Harlem overseeing diversity, community service and leadership development student programs, part of the City University of New York system and for the Board of Public Higher Education for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts coordinating the Undergraduate Research Conference for the state. 

erin-yokum-editErin Yokum is the Director of Student Life at Allegany College of Maryland (Md.), where she coordinates extracurricular and co-curricular experiences for students, faculty, staff and the community, as well as New Student Orientation. She oversees ACM’s student clubs/organizations and serves as the advisor to the Student Government Association and co-advisor for the Veteran Support Club. She is also a member of The Democracy Commitment committee and the Diversity committee for Allegany College of Maryland (among several other committees), helping to plan events (such as speakers, film screenings, discussions, Deliberative Dialogues, Democracy Cafés and voter registration drives) on campus around themes selected by the committees. Erin is active in several professional organizations, serves on the regional leadership team for NODA Region 8 and volunteers in several community organizations.

Please feel free to share ideas for the conference with committee members or in the comments space below– we look forward to planning the best CLDE meeting yet! #CLDE17

Engage the Election: 2016 Webinar- This Wednesday!!!

Don’t Miss this week’s Engage the Election Webinar!

Webinar 6: Voter Registration & Campus Technology: Engaging Student Voters by the Thousands
Wednesday, August 24, 2016 | 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. EST

turbovote-logoOffered in partnership with TurboVote, this webinar will explore the research and subsequent implementation of an innovative (yet, easy!) voter engagement strategy: integrating voter registrati
on and resources into campus IT infrastructure. The TurboVote team and their campus partners will share success stories and their personal experiences with engaging the necessary stakeholders and turning web-based student portals and pass-throughs into “online voter registration tables.” Just in time for this fall’s election, we invite you to join us in raising the voter engagement bar and institutionalizing your registration efforts so voting can fit the way students live.

Speakers:   Matt Tharp and Emily Giffin, TurboVote Partner Support Leads will be joined by TurboVote Campus Partners


Pew’s Voting Information Project (VIP)

Pew’s Voting Information Project (VIP): Delivering Non-Partisan Voting Information in 2016

619-07799305 © Masterfile Royalty-Free Model Release: Yes Property Release: No Students holding buttons at voter registration

What’s the first thing you do when you realize there’s an election coming?  If you’re like most people, you probably open a search engine and search “where’s my polling place?” or “what’s on my ballot?”  To make sure you can find this information and trust what you find, The Pew Charitable Trusts partnered with election officials and Google in 2008 to create the Voting Information Project (VIP) to give voters access to the information they need to cast a ballot on or before Election Day.

VIP has already provided election information for 44 elections, including 29 presidential preference primaries, and helped more than 3.4 million people find their polling place and ballot information via Facebook, presidential campaigns on both sides of the aisle, media websites, third party groups, and more, including our own website!  VIP provides free tools that anyone can use or promote to help their constituents find accurate, official voting information without requiring any personally identifiable information.  In addition, all of VIP’s information is published via the Google Civic Information API, which is open source and free for anyone to use

  • The Voting Information Tool is mobile-friendly, customizable tool that can be placed on your website. It provides official voting information, including polling locations, to anyone using just a residential address and is available in 16 languages.  You can try  the customizer to see how easy it is to use and to design the tool exactly how you want it to look, or the tool itself is open source and can be customized even further.
  • White-label iOS and Android mobile apps that can be customized, branded, and released by state and local governments. The apps are available in Spanish and English, and are both open source (iOS and Android).
  • short messaging service (SMS) tool provides voters with election information via text message in 10 languages. By texting “VOTE” or “VOTO” to GOVOTE (468-683), voters can find their polling place or dropbox location, contact information for a local election official, and a link to check voter registration status.  Although it isn’t customizable, anyone is welcome to promote it.
  • is a joint effort of Pew and the Internet Association.  The site allows voters to enter their addresses and find the location and hours of their polling place and ballot and candidate information.  Anyone can promote or link to this website.

If you or your organization has questions about VIP, please contact and follow VIP on Twitter!

Engage the Election Summer 2016 Webinars: Recording & RSVP

Engage the Election Summer 2016 Webinars: Recording & RSVP

Webinar #5 | Walk2Vote: Student Empowerment through Civic Engagement | Thursday, July 28, 2016
Walk2Vote ( is a student led, student executed, non-partisan political engagement program created by students from the University of Houston-Downtown (Texas). It has grown from a local/campus-based initiative to what is now a national movement. We discussed how to host a Walk 2 Vote campaign on your campus.

  • Speaker: John Locke, Walk2Vote Co-Founder and former Student Body President, University of Houston-Downtown
  • When: Thursday, July 28, 2016 from 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. EST
  • Recording of webinar is available here (Time: 50:22)


Webinar #6 | Voter Registration & Campus Technology: Engaging Student Voters by the Thousands | Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Offered in partnership with TurboVote, this webinar will explore the research and subsequent implementation of an innovative (yet, easy!) voter engagement strategy: integrating voter registration and resources into campus IT infrastructure. The TurboVote team and their campus partners will share success stories and their personal experiences with engaging the necessary stakeholders and turning web-based student portals and pass-throughs into “online voter registration tables.” Just in time for this fall’s election, we invite you to join us in raising the voter engagement bar and institutionalizing your registration efforts so voting can fit the way students live.

  • Speakers:  Matt Tharp and Emily Giffin, TurboVote Partner Support Leads will be joined by TurboVote Campus Partners
  • When: Wednesday, August 24, 2016 | 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. EST
  • RSVP here

Civic Tech in Higher Ed Webinar- Today!!

Civic Tech in Higher Ed Webinar- Today!!

tv icitizen webinar.png

What: Civic Tech in Higher Ed Webinar

When: Tuesday, August 2, 2016 at 1:30 p.m. EDT

Who: Hosted by icitizen and TurboVote

Why: We’ll share strategies on how to deploy civic tech effectively at your school. These leading practices will help you engage your community in civic learning during election season. After all, your students will be back on campus soon (or already are)!

Civic tech has been getting a ton of buzz(feed) worthy coverage lately and has helped shape the polling landscape during this election cycle. Even President Obama has endorsed civic tech and our polls have been cited in the NYT!

Register here.