The 2017 Civic Learning & Democratic Engagement (CLDE) meeting organized by the American Democracy Project (ADP), the Democracy Project (TDC) and NASPA - Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, is continuing the conversation set forth during the #CLDE16 meeting  by introducing our emergent theory of change adapted from elements of the 2012  A Crucible Moment report. We encourage attendees to reflect on how to build campus cultures that enhance the following threads of our work: civic ethos, civic literacy and skill building, civic inquiry, civic action and civic agency.

This year’s conference will feature CivEd talks by three practitioner scholars making waves in the CLDE space. CivEd Talks are dynamic, short, and quick-paced presentations by members of the civic learning and democratic engagement community intended to inspire and challenge our collective imagination and thinking. Each of the three CivEd Talks presented will actively engage participants in stretching our thinking and motivating us to action as we return to our campuses and communities following the meeting.

Join us for an opening plenary session that asks you to envisioning the work of our CLDE movement in higher education and consider how you can help us move the needle on democratic engagement on campus, in your communities, and in our civil society. Each of the CivEd Talks presented will actively engage participants to challenge the status quo and to move toward change and to take action upon returning to their campuses.

The opening plenary session will take place at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, June 8, 2017.

Opening remarks by: Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, President of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC).

CivEd Talks:

Millennial Conservatism and Civic Engagement: No, Really, What Do Young Conservatives Want?

Young conservatives are here to stay, and in 2016, they voted in higher numbers — and exhibited higher engagement with candidates and issues — than they had in the past 20 years. But millennial conservatives aren’t social conservatives, and they aren’t necessarily fiscal conservatives, either. Jane Coaston will review the latest polling data and analytics to discuss what we’re hearing — and not hearing — from a demographic that will impact our politics, and our policies, for decades to come. Speaker:  Jane Coaston, political reporter, MTV News

Doing Civic Engagement through a Wicked Problems Lens: The Case for Passionate Impartiality

Amid perhaps the most polarized time in our nation’s history, the quality of public discourse has also reached historic lows. Civic engagement practitioners must find ways to build capacity in our communities and campuses to change the dialogue, work against the overly adversarial climate, and support the kind of conversation democracy requires. Martin Carcasson will make the case for taking a “wicked problems” perspective on tough issues to work toward improving the quality of public discourse and building the necessary civic skill sets and mindsets in our students.
Speaker: Martín Carcasson, Founder and Director, Center for Public Deliberation, Colorado State University

Citizen Power

Far too many Americans are illiterate in power – what it is, how it operates, why some individuals have more than others. As a result, those few who do understand power wield it disproportionately. How can you learn to activate your civic power to see problems through fresh eyes and bypass broken institutions, stale ideologies, and divisive politics? Eric Liu answered this question in his recent book You’re More Powerful Than You Think: A Citizen’s Guide to Making Change Happen. In this talk about power and civic purpose, Eric Liu expounds the values, knowledge and skills of effective citizenship, and rejuvenates the meaning of being an active American. Speaker: Eric Liu, CEO, Citizen University

Eric Liu will be signing copies of his book You’re More Powerful Than You Think: A Citizen’s Guide to Making Change Happen (2017) after the plenary and everyone who registers will get a free copy of it onsite at the CLDE meeting registration desk.



There will be plenty of additional engagement opportunities during this year’s meeting such as:

  • CLDE Orientation on Thursday, June 8th prior to the start of the Opening Plenary.  
  • Campus & Friends Showcase at CLDE17 on Thursday, June 8th! Learn more here. Sign up here.
  • Exploratory Session by Bus | Right to the City - Curtis Bay: Community Engagement through a Mobile App Sponsored by Towson University.
  • Walking Tour 1 | Baltimore West Side Sponsored by University of Maryland Baltimore County.
  • Walking Tour 2 | Baltimore “Untour” Sponsored by University of Maryland Baltimore County.

To learn more about the 2017 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Meeting and to register by the May 1, 2017, early-bird deadline, visit the conference website.