By Jen Domagal-Goldman, ADP National Manager, AASCU

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 #7? Civic Pathways!

The theme for the 2014 ADP/TDC National Meeting is “Forging Civic Pathways for Students between Our Institutions.” This theme underscores the importance of the unique partnership between ADP and TDC, which brings together two-year and four-year public institutions of higher education committed to advancing civic learning and engagement.

Civic pathways are collaborative, intentional and articulated civic education programs (curricular and/or co-curricular) and practices that are built between cooperating two- and four-year institutions, many times in close geographic proximity to one another.

At the national meeting, you’ll notice that the civic pathway theme pops up repeatedly.

It’s the topic of our opening plenary session on Thursday:

Thursday, June 5, 2014
3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Opening Plenary
Forging Civic Pathways on Our Campuses and in Our Communities: Helping Students Navigate and Succeed in Higher Education

Reflecting the conference theme, this session offers a vision for the creation of a set of curricular and co-curricular civic pathways designed to help students navigate through our two- and four-year colleges and universities and their surrounding communities. Existing pathways and partnerships are introduced, and meeting participants engage in a facilitated conversation designed to envision and develop new pathways on our campuses, in our communities and across public higher education.

It’s one of the thematic strands of program sessions throughout the meeting. There’s an organizing meeting during breakfast on Friday to talk about joint ADP/TDC work that we envision based on this topic.

But why?

We believe that:

  1. Civic learning outcomes are significantly improved and more comprehensive, more articulated and more effective for all students when two- and four-year programs collaborate.
  2. Civic pathways provide opportunities for innovative programming to be tested and subsequently used in both two-year and four-year institutions. When two- and four- year programs work together, they learn from one another.  Programs are enriched, and opportunities for professional development for all faculty and staff increase.
  3. Civic pathways provide for efficiency and effectiveness in program design and delivery in an era of constrained resources.  For example, when both two- year and four- year programs collaborate with specific community partners, they can use common data systems, common forms, and common policies and practices, reducing administrative time and reducing confusion among community partners.  They can improve program design.  They can build common service learning and internship structures.
  4. Students should not have to leave their communities behind when they transfer from a two-year to a four-year school.  They should not have to sever connections to the places they have worked, done service learning or volunteered. Students have a rich understanding of their communities, deep connections to them, and those understandings and connections should be a source of strength for both students and their programs, not something that they have to abandon.
  5. In a civic pathways program, students have opportunities for progressive community participation from volunteer work to paid internships in the same organizations.

And we envision the following programmatic possibilities:

  1. Majors:  civic-infused majors which do not have community college equivalents
  2. Minors:  the best example may be the civic minor in urban education
  3. Degrees:  civic-related degrees where there can be close collaboration between two- and four-year schools
  4. Documentation:  shared documentation which might include a co-curricular transcript; jointly used community engagement or service learning forms, or other forms of community engagement documentation
  5. Shared civic projects:  community-based programs, voter registration programs and other forms of civic projects that could be joint two-year – four-year programs
  6. Shared Infrastructure:  the possibility of creating a center for community engagement that is jointly operated by a two-year and four-year institution, when those two institutions are either co-located or nearby
  7. Shared assessment tools:  two-year and four-year institutions could develop shared assessment instruments
  8. Shared community agencies:  from the perspective of community organizations, creating unified forms procedures and practices that simplify the way that agencies and organizations interact with both two-year and four-year institutions. Such sharing would increase the number resources and increase coordination, while providing greater continuity for both the community organization and for students

We hope you’ll join us in Louisville for this conversation, but, more than that, we hope that the planning that takes place there and its subsequent actions will fuel efforts to create and advance civic pathways.  We are convinced that these civic pipelines can be designed to advance student retention and success and to promote the civic health of our democracy through the preparation and graduation of informed, engaged citizens.

Civic Pathways Strand Sessions:
Note: These are denoted in the mobile app program by “(CP)” before the session title

Of particular note, the breakfast we mentioned above:

Friday, June 6
7:30 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.
Salon X
(CP) Breakfast Session:  Civic Pathways Planning Meeting (open to all)

A follow-up to Thursday’s opening plenary conversation, this breakfast session is intended to serve as a planning and organizing meeting for collaborative efforts between ADP and TDC to create, expand and scale-up civic pathways between our campuses.
Facilitators:  Jennifer Domagal-Goldman, ADP National Manager; and Stephanie South, TDC National Coordinator, AASCU

You can download a PDF containing all of the (CP) Civic Pathways-themed sessions here.

Posted in #ADPTDC14 Update on May 29, 2014