Archive for October, 2009

Recommended Read: Partnerships for Service-Learning: Impacts on Communities and Students

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln

Partnerships for Service-Learning

By: Todd Kelshaw, Freyda Lazarus, Judy Minier and Associates


The recent expansion of service-learning initiatives throughout American higher education is accompanied by the risk of idealistic and exuberant experimentation. Motivated by a great need for conscientiousness in the invention and execution of service-learning partnerships, Partnerships for Service-Learning distills a collection of important and enlightening case examples, at once readably anecdotal, substantively rigorous, and critically reflective. University presidents, academic officers, student affairs administrators, directors, deans, faculty, student leaders, and K12 administrators who oversee programs with outside partners will benefit from this enlightening work.

Praise for Partnerships for Service-Learning

“These case studies highlight the critical importance of reciprocity in campus-community partnerships. It is through the two-way interchange of knowledge and assets that service-learning achieves its democratic potential as a pedagogy with the power to transform education, campuses, and communities. The examples provided here offer rich and sophisticated models that will be invaluable for community as well as academic leaders committed to deepening the partnering process.”

John Saltmarsh, professor of higher education administration and director, New England Resource Center for Higher Education (NERCHE), University of Massachusetts, Boston; and Edward Zlotkowski, professor of English, Bentley University

“This practical guide explores the power and pedagogy of K–12 school and university partnerships. This educational ‘how-to’ is a superior resource and must-read for every school and community leader across the country.” Arlene C. Ackerman, superintendent of schools, Philadelphia School District

About the Authors

Todd Kelshaw, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at Montclair State University (an ADP school). His scholarship addresses communicative dimensions of democratic civic engagement and he has particular concerns for the functions of dialogue and deliberation in community-based organizational partnerships, and for the civic potentials of service-learning pedagogies.

Freyda C. Lazarus, Ed.D., is the founding director of the Center for Community-Based Learning at Montclair State University. She served at the forefront of institutional change in support of experiential education through the creation of the Service-Learning, Cooperative Education, and American Democracy Project programs (AASCU).

Judy Minier, Ed.D., has 35 years of public school and university experience as a teacher, professor, and administrator. She has worked at six American universities and in international educational settings in Central Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. Areas of scholarly interest include innovations in teacher preparation programs, diversity issues in schools and universities, assessment of learning, democracy in education, curriculum redesign and development, as well as accreditation and program evaluation.

Book Information

978-0-470-45057-4  |  Hardcover  |  Est. 336 pp. |  $40.00  |

To order, visit your favorite bookseller, online vendor, or visit this website: (Receive a 20% discount with code HAE20)

Fourth Annual American Democracy Project Poster Exhibition

By guest blogger Karrie Simpson Voth, Professor, Fort Hays State University

The poster, as a medium, has not only managed to sustain its existence, but has also continued to thrive as a significant art form as well as a powerful tool of communication. That fact is surprising given the fast-paced and ever-changing technological society in which we live. Not only is it the truest form of graphic communication, but the poster is also an effective tool of persuasion, a great force for change and a mighty political weapon, as we have seen in examples of war posters from as early as WWI. The design styles of the posters my students created were based upon historical design styles that I covered during class lectures, and the application of many of these styles were created in a time when graphic design was used to encourage people to vote, volunteer to support a cause, join the armed forces, or even protest or support war.

The goal of the joined efforts between my History of Graphic Design course and the FHSU chapter of the ADP is to reach out to the ever-growing segment of the FHSU student population in order to create awareness in civic engagement efforts, citizenship, and democracy through a poster exhibition. I created six goals for the students to be aware of while creating their posters.

  1. To explore the relationship between graphic design and its audience.
  2. To recognize and distinguish between stylistic periods of graphic design and study the social and economic impact of design activities during each period.
  3. Engage in class discussions of the topics of democracy, citizenship, and civic engagement in order to promote a better understanding of the stated topics and how each relates to graphic design.
  4. To promote political awareness through graphic design and realize the power a designer has to influence others in their design.
  5. To influence, persuade, make an impact, and/or change the way an individual and/or community thinks about civic engagement, citizenship, and democracy.
  6. Be an example to the youth of today by illustrating the importance of voting and of being proactive in the issues that concern our country and world. This year, seventy posters were on display in the Fort Hays State University Memorial Union. For one week, students, faculty, staff, and the Hays community were encouraged to vote for their top three favorite posters.

The posters the students created not only impacted those who viewed them, but they also impacted the students who designed them. During the research and design process, the students were greatly educated on the issues of democracy, civic engagement, citizenship, and other issues that plague our country and world, such as study of the Seven Revolutions. As a result, the students became actively engaged in conversations with one another about their own political views and involvement or lack thereof. It was an amazing process to witness and an experience from which the students and the FHSU community as a whole learned so much.

What we’re viewing: FHSU website with all contest submissions

Agents and Architects of Democracy: The Struggle for the Future of Higher Education

By Guest Blogger: Harry Boyte, Co-Director, Center for Democracy and Citizenship

To date, the important engagement efforts have not turned around the forces which threaten to turn higher education into a private good. The webinar on November 3, Agents and Architects of Democracy: The Struggle for the Future of Higher Education,” addresses the challenge of making the needed civic change.

One need only glance at the 2009 US News and World Report special issue on “Solving the College Crisis ” to see the problem: How many students are turned away is a key metric of excellence. The lead editorial defines colleges as “like other industries,” and students as “customers, voting with their feet.”  As former Harvard president Derek Bok has observed “In the last 25 years universities have become much more active in selling what they know and do,” turning public knowledge into private commodities.

As intellectuals in the eastern bloc in 1989 sounded the death knell of communism we need to end detachment in our institutions and ourselves from civic life.

This requires re-conceiving of both the institution and ourselves. It means seeing our institutions not as static bureaucracies but rather as living communities, cultures with norms, practices, and identities which can be changed. It means thinking of change not in terms of reports, studies, or findings, but rather, most importantly, as a political process, in the older meaning of politics: building public relationships across sharp differences. It means thinking of ourselves as agents of this change.

This involves translating methods from what is called “broad based organizing” into our environments. Maria Avila, a former community organizer who directs the Center for Community Based Learning at Occidental College, has described what this means:  “The medicine for our predicament [in higher education] requires efforts to restructure the way we think, act, behave toward each other, and the way we act as a collective to restructure power and resources. Culture changes [come] first, leading to structural changes later.”

The Center for Democracy and Citizenship had seen possibilities for such change in higher education in the work of Nan Kari and her colleagues at the College of St. Catherine in the early 1990s, who organized a “citizen politics” group that thought strategically to create a more public culture. Since then, a few other institutions – the University of Minnesota, beginning in 1997, Western Kentucky University, the University of Fort Hare in South Africa  among others – have begun to undertake institution wide culture change. The webinar, drawing on such experiences, will explore how such examples might grow into a democracy movement for the 21st century.

What we’re planning to view: Agents and Architects of Democracy: The Struggle for the Future of Higher Education

Tuesday, November 3, 2009
3:00 PM–4:00 PM Eastern
2:00 PM–3:00 PM Central
1:00 PM–2:00 PM Mountain
12:00 PM–1:00 PM Pacific

It Begins with a Question

“Sometimes questions are more important than answers.” – Nancy Willard

By Chelsee Bente, Edited by Cecilia M. Orphan

Sometimes a small inquiry is all that is needed to spark an interesting conversation, a heated debate or a deeper set of questions to discover an answer. These conversations can lead to important answers in relation to complex issues. In 1995, Juanita Brown and David Isaacs recognized the importance of asking questions and individuals deliberating as it pertained to a group’s community, business, religion and politics. Consequently the World Café was born.

The World Café seeks to facilitate conversations about questions that matter. These conversations can lead to individuals connecting with other groups, exchanging ideas and discovering new insights to questions or issues important to life, work and the community. As a result the World Café can visually demonstrate the intelligence of any group and increase individual’s willingness to actively pursue common aims.

Across the continent, World Cafés are being hosted and used in a variety of settings. These conversations have sparked innovations, motivated action, and created a shared purpose among individuals. World Cafés can be used as a tool to civically engage students, colleagues, communities, and other groups and it all begins with a question.

The World Café website provides resources on how to host your own World Café at your campus. In addition, the website hosts an online community that connects individuals from places such as the United States, South Africa, the Philippines, Europe, Argentina and more where you can participate in online discussions that transcend boundaries.

What we’re viewing:     The World Café Homepage

What we’re reading:      Brown, J. & Isaacs, D. (2005). World Café:         Shaping Our Futures Through Conversations that Matter. Berrett-Koehler Publishers: California.

The American Democracy Project Gets a Virtual Facelift

The ADP website received a much needed facelift. The website now features a robust set of tools, resources, and descriptions of the work taking place in the American Democracy Project. Of special note, please visit the new Resources page, the various initiative pages, and the new Friends and Partners page.

Last week, our colleagues at AAC&U published the results of a survey of civic engagement (Civic Responsibility: What Is the Campus Climate for Learning?). The researchers found that a gap exists between aspirations about civic engagement and actual campus practice. We couldn’t agree more. In fact, the American Democracy Project was created to identify and develop strategies and approaches to prepare all undergraduates as informed, engaged citizens for our democracy. We are now developing a robust collection of materials and approaches to help campuses close the gap between aspiration and practice. I urge you to take a look at our newly designed and enlarged website.

In addition to the revised website, we have developed a suite of online tools that you may use to follow and stay engaged with the work of the ADP, work that grew out of our newest initiative, eCitizenship: New Tools, New Strategies, New SpacesHere are three new tools:

Read the ADP Blog. We are now blogging about the amazing work taking place on AASCU campuses, the progress being made in our various initiatives, and the opportunities available through our partner organizations. If you have a story you’d like to share, a student you think would be a good addition to our “Student Spotlight” feature, or anything else you think would be appropriate for the blog, please email Cecilia Orphan directly.

Become a fan of ADP on Facebook. We will use Facebook to organize the ADP National Meeting taking place June 17-19, 2010 in Providence, Rhode Island. You may also use Facebook to network with other ADP participants, coordinators, and students.

Follow ADP on Twitter @ADPaascu. We will use the Twitter feed to showcase the work of our campuses as well as promote the work of our partner organizations. We will also share current information and research about the field of civic engagement using this tool.

If you have any suggestions or ideas about things that should be featured on the blog, website, Twitter feed, or Facebook page, please email Cecilia Orphan directly.

Accept the Challenge!

By Chelsee Bente, Edited by Cecilia M. Orphan

The American Democracy Project is partnering with the National Service-Learning Partnership for the 2009 National Learn and Serve Challenge. As an extension of the summer phase of United We Serve, the 2009 National Learn and Serve Challenge is focused on promoting civic engagement and service learning within the academic classroom and communities.

The 2009 National Learn and Serve Challenge kicks off October 5-12, 2009 for a week of service learning related activities during with a national call to schools, college campuses and youth-serving organizations to commit students to service learning activities that address the problems that face our country.

Impact: Anticipated Results of the Learn & Serve Challenge

  • Youth participation in service-learning significantly increases annually, eventually reaching at least 5 million young people engaged in service-learning each year by 2012
  • Measurable progress made in local communities on the specific priority areas: education, community renewal, health, and clean energy and the environment
  • Increased visibility and engagement of children and youth in the civic life of their communities, particularly low-income youth and those living in traditionally disenfranchised communities
  • Increase in the number of schools that offer service-learning opportunities for students
  • Increased local media coverage of service-learning and youth engaged in service-learning

Get Started Today

  • Step 1. Visit to accept the Challenge. Let us know you are ready to engage young people in service-learning in your classroom, youth group, club, school, campus, faith-based or community organization.
  • Step 2. Gear up for service-learning success. Access free online resources, lesson plans, planning tools and virtual professional development opportunities. Join Facebook communities to learn from and connect to others.
  • Step 3. Share your service-learning action plan. Tell us how young people will learn and serve in your school or community.
  • Step 4. Kick-off your Challenge initiative in January. Build local awareness and support for your local Learn & Serve Challenge by telling your story to fellow community members, local media, civic leaders and public officials.
  • Step 5. Showcase your service-learning accomplishments. In April and May, join Challenge participants nationwide to tell your service-learning story in your local community by hosting a Service-Learning Solution Summit at your school, campus, or organization.

The Learn & Serve Challenge is a signature event of the National Service-Learning Partnership in collaboration with the Corporation for National and Community Service. It is made possible with support from State Farm® Companies Foundation.

The Challenge is supported by nearly 100 local, state, and national organizations committed to engaging in service-learning in our nation’s schools, college campuses, and communities. Lead Organizing Partners include:

America’s Promise Alliance

American Association of State Colleges and Universities

Campus Compact

Learn and Serve America’s National Service-Learning Clearinghouse

National Alliance for Faith and Justice

National Community Education Association

National Educational Association

National Youth Leadership Council

National Parent Teacher Association

SEANet – the State Education Agency K-12 Service-Learning Network

Usher’s New Look Foundation

Youth Serve America

For more information, visit or call (202) 884-8982

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