According to their website, “Diversity & Democracy supports higher education faculty and leaders as they design and implement programs that advance civic learning and democratic engagement, global learning, and engagement with diversity to prepare students for socially responsible action in today’s interdependent but unequal world.”  I am thrilled to announce that a special issue grounded in TDC’s Citizenship Under Siege Project in partnership with  The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) is now posted online and available in print.

In an era of fractious differences about this topic when finding common ground seems elusive, TDC and AAC&U joined with seven community colleges to orchestrate a series of public forums each with accompanying programs and educational resources to bridge the rifts.   Organized under the common theme, Citizenship Under Siege, and supported by a grant from The National Endowment for the Humanities, the events were framed through the powerful historic, ethical, and narrative lenses of the humanities.  This tapestry of forums underscored how the humanities are still “the heart of the matter, the keeper of the republic—a source of national memory and civic vigor, cultural understanding and communication, individual fulfillment, and the ideals we hold in common” (American Academy of Arts & Sciences, 2013, 9).

Featuring the efforts of project participants and educators engaged in similar work, this special issue of Diversity & Democracy illustrates the potential of the humanities to illuminate issues of identity and belonging.  We are indebted to the editor of Diversity & Democracy, Kathryn Campbell, for her commitment to producing an issue on this volatile topic.

With poignant and insightful lead articles by NEH’s Chair William “Bro” Adams, who also delivered an address at TDC’s Fifth Anniversary Celebration at The New York Times this past December, and the project’s director, Caryn McTighe Musil, who made the partnership and project possible, this issue is dominated by the creative and committed leaders at all seven community colleges in the project.  We are grateful to each of these authors who labored to produce the following enlightening articles:

From the Editor: Exploring Key Questions of Citizenship through the Humanities | By Kathryn Peltier Campbell, Association of American Colleges and Universities

Diversity and the Future of American Democracy | By William D. Adams, National Endowment for the Humanities

Clashes Over Citizenship: Lady Liberty, Under Construction or On the Run? | By Caryn McTighe Musil, Association of American Colleges and Universities

Bridges of Empathy: Crossing Cultural Divides through Personal Narrative and Performance | By Dona Cady and Matthew Olson—both of Middlesex Community College; and David Price, Santa Fe College

Affirming Interdependency: Interfaith Encounters through the Humanities | By Debra L. Schultz, Kingsborough Community College, City University of New York

Addressing Wicked Problems through Deliberative Dialogue | By John J. Theis, Lone Star College System, and Fagan Forhan, Mount Wachusett Community College 

Creating a Generation of Humanitarian Art Activists (Artivists) | By John Frazier, Miami Dade College

Gentle People | By Christian Carmelino and Sabrina Mendoza, Miami Dade College

Reconsidering Citizenship in the American Republic | By Michael Parrella and Jill Schennum—both of County College of Morris

After reading this issue of Diversity & Democracy, I am sure that you could agree that the project would not have produced a more timely or perceptive set of articles on a more pressing national issue with America’s community colleges leading the way.

For the full issue online, click HERE.  For information on ordering print copies, click HERE.


This issue of Diversity & Democracy was funded in part through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.