Archive for January, 2010

SAVE THE DATE: 7 Revolutions Institute: April 15-16, 2010


Educating Globally Competent Citizens Institute: Strategies for Teaching 7 Revolutions

April 15-16, 2010

Washington, D.C.


Please save the date for the Educating Globally Competent Citizens Institute: Strategies for Teaching 7 Revolutions. This Institute will be a day and a half long, beginning at 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 15th and concluding on Friday, April 15th at 4 p.m.

Participants will embark on an in-depth exploration of the 7 Revolutions with experts from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the 7 Revolutions Scholars. In addition, each participant will receive a tool kit for folding the content of the 7 Revolutions into on-campus projects and courses. This practical and insightful two-day Institute is ideal for universities that want to deepen their commitment to providing effective international education in a variety of disciplines. The 7 Revolutions curriculum has been taught in a wide-range of courses from including First Year Experience courses, sociology, mathematics and theater.

CSIS created the 7 Revolutions to identify and analyze the key policy challenges that policymakers, business figures, and citizens will face out to the year 2025. In 2006, the American Democracy Project (ADP) partnered with CSIS to translate these 7 Revolutions into curricular and co-curricular strategies ( The program identifies seven areas of change expected to be most revolutionary:

  • Population
  • Resource management and environmental stewardship
  • Technological innovation and diffusion
  • The development and dissemination of information and knowledge
  • Economic integration
  • The nature and mode of conflict
  • The challenge of governance

Registration information will follow in early February. Please save the date and join us in Washington, D.C. as we explore strategies for educating globally competent citizens for our democracy!

IUSB American Democracy Project Students Watch Obama Address Closely

Re-posted from WSBT.

The debate over President Barack Obama’s first State of the Union address began almost immediately, across the country and here at home.

Students from Indiana University South Bend’s American Democracy Project had their own unique take on Wednesday night’s address as they watched for Obama to “change the conversation” during his speech.

Meaning, Obama wanted to shift from “stalling progress on his agenda” to “seizing the reigns” on items like the economy, health care and national security.

Obama sought to emphasize jobs and the economy, focusing more than half of his address on those issues. As for seeking to move the nation forward, whether or not he accomplished that goal depended on the issue Obama was addressing, students and professors said.

“He understands that people are skeptical and growing impatient,” said Elizabeth Bennion, a political scientist at IUSB. “And so he really did repeatedly come back to the anxiety and frustrations of the American people, and also speak to their aspirations and try to recapture that hope and optimism that made him so popular a year ago.”

The students and professors took notes in near-silence, save for the occasional grunt of disapproval of clap of support.

But there was one subject that got more applause than any other: Obama’s call to make higher education more accessible and affordable.

Still, the audience was split on other issues. Some said Obama continued to deflect too much onto the Bush administration, and failed to present clear plans to dig the country out of its recession.

Others disagreed, and said the president did address those concerns — calling for a three-year freeze on domestic spending, and asking Congress to pass a second stimulus package.

Political science student Angela Johnson said she approved of Obama’s handling of the more difficult issues.

“Like him or hate him, or whatever,” she said, “I think he’s really making some great strides toward taking action. And he doesn’t necessarily shy away from the negative, or from what’s not working. He’s willing to address those issues.”

Most of the IUSB observers felt that at this pivotal time in America, Obama set out to do what he planned with his message, even if his first State of the Union address wasn’t a slam-dunk.

The big questions: Will tonight’s speech move the Obama administration’s plans forward? And will Obama be able to capitalize on any momentum?

Bennion says the true impact of Obama’s address won’t be known until the days and weeks ahead, although he may enjoy a temporary bump in the polls.

However, she thinks the president was able to put renewed focus on his economic plan. And at the same time, he made it clear that his agenda — including health care reform — has not changed.

Collaboration and Public Service: The Kansas Corps Experiment

By:  Curt Brungardt and Chantelle Arnold, Fort Hays State University

Over the last twenty years we have witnessed a national movement among higher education to increase civic engagement.  This national movement has been achieved through the development of community service programs, political engagement activities, service learning and a multitude of other programs and activities.  Typically these programs are developed on individual campuses and benefit the community in which they reside.  Kansas is currently experimenting with a new concept that will expand these successful programs to all areas of the state using a statewide systems approach called Kansas Corps.

In concept, Kansas Corps is a pool of student volunteers from Kansas colleges and universities who serve the public service needs of the state of Kansas.  The Kansas Corps will serve as a coordinating agency that will link the various community service and volunteerism programs from Kansas higher education institutions for the direct purpose of serving the citizens of Kansas.  With a single phone call, this group of college student volunteers could be mobilized to provide disaster recovery, social services and/or community development assistance to any region of the state.  Many of the Kansas public and private institutions of higher learning have some form of a public service/volunteerism program that is designed to match college students with the local community.  The purpose of this new initiative is focusing on linking and building upon established programs to create a network of these various college programs that, when needed, could be called into action to serve the entire state. The Kansas Corps creates an opportunity for these institutions to work directly with one another and other state agencies to provide valuable public services.

Kansas Corps and it’s partners, Kansas Campus Compact and the Kansas Volunteer Commission, joined forces with the City of Melvern, Westar Energy, PRIDE Organization, and the Kansas Trails Council to test and pilot the concept.  Approximately 50 students from 6 colleges and universities of all types gathered to build hiking and biking trails to reclaim a landfill, provide an outdoor classroom, and provide an economic resource for the community of Melvern, Kansas.  The response was tremendous and provided many lessons for further development of the Kansas Corps.

Kansas Corps, the brainchild of Christine Downey-Schmidt, member of the Kansas Board of Regents, and Curt Brungardt of Fort Hays State University, has been developed over the last fourteen months into a full proposal that was recently endorsed by the entire Kansas Board of Regents.  This statewide systems community service program will be presented to the state legislature later this year.

What we’re Viewing: Kansas Corps Webpage

UW Oshkosh Debates the Obama Presidency After One Year

The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh chapter of the American Democracy Project, in conjunction with the university’s Political Science Student Association, sponsored a panel titled “Obama After One Year.” The event was held on the anniversary of President Obama’s inaugural address, and included professors from a variety of academic disciplines, as well as a student representative from the College Democrats and one from the College Republicans. The panelists offered a wide-ranging analysis of the 44th President’s first year in office, and then took questions from the audience.

Dr. Michael Lizotte (Campus Sustainability Director) commented on the impact recent Cabinet appointments have had on changing the direction of U.S. environmental policy. He stressed that the Obama appointments indicated that the administration is quite serious about enforcing environmental regulations, something a number of prior Presidents have not emphasized. Dr. Chad Cotti (Economics) analyzed health care reform, expressing the view that it is not easy to provide for full access in a system of employer-based coverage. The proposed reform would do so through an individual mandate to get health care insurance and a corporate mandate to provide it.

Dr. Michael Jaszinski (Political Science) noted the surprising lack of change brought by Obama’s foreign policy. Many treaties remain unsigned and the administration’s war strategy is essentially a continuation from the late Bush Administration. He also pointed out the difficulty of enacting a foreign policy in light of the tendency to act as if there is a permanent campaign. Dr. Siemers contrasted the incremental pace of change accomplished through governing, with the tendency of presidential candidates, like Obama, to promise sweeping reforms. This combination, he contended, contributes to cynicism as voters become frustrated with pace of change.

President of the College Republicans, John Nerat, emphasized his worries about excessive taxation and deficit spending. The College Democrats’ representative, Alan Kania, focused on the Obama Administration’s positive record on human rights.

A series of engaging questions and comments were posed by the audience. A particularly intriguing question was “How would other presidents, such as Lincoln or FDR, have looked after their first year and is it fair to judge them so soon?” An answer from the panel captured the essence of the event: “The assessment of presidents and the political system must be done with care and is an ongoing process, but it is something that every citizen should do.”

University of Arkansas – Fort Smith ADP Event Urges “Call to Service”

Re-posted with permission from UA Fort Smith News.

Light was shed on personal civic involvement Jan. 19 at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith as Dr. Alice Taylor-Colbert spoke during a ceremony recognizing actions by two local women.

Honorees were Isabelle Bass, 95, and Katherine Brown, 94, the last two living members of the local Rainbow Girls organization, a women’s auxiliary formed in 1945 that spearheaded efforts to meet needs of the Twin Cities Colored Hospital in Fort Smith.

Dr. Taylor-Colbert spoke of her own personal journey to South Africa in 2004, detailed original constitutional rights the country’s forefathers desired for all citizens, quoted from author Henry David Thoreau and reminded the audience of humanitarian efforts of former President Jimmy Carter and India’s political and spiritual leader Mohandas Gandhi. She then reminded those in attendance of the goals of slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“The success of the Civil Rights Movement was made possible by the thousands of people who acted on their consciences, their souls, their understanding of what was right and of what incredible potential for good we have in this nation,” said Dr. Taylor-Colbert.  “A democracy relies on the continuing participating of its citizens and on the continuing vigilance of its citizens to address injustices and inequities in order to fulfill the promise of the American Dream.”

Dr. Taylor-Colbert said that making the world a better place requires service for the benefit of others and the ability to see the pain, the grief, the suffering or the simple need of a friend or a neighbor.

She lauded Bass and Brown for seeing a need in the Fort Smith community and choosing to not ignore that need, which speaks to the goals of the American Democracy Project at UA Fort Smith. The ADP is a national initiative fostering responsible citizenship at all levels. UA Fort Smith’s chapter was sponsor of the event honoring Bass and Brown and commemorating the Civil Rights Movement. Dr. Taylor-Colbert, who heads the ADP chapter at UA Fort Smith, is chair of the Department of History, Geography, Political Science, Philosophy and Religious Studies.

“Not all of us can be a Gandhi or a King, or even a Carter,” she said. “We can, however, do our part.”

She said the ADP saw the Rainbow Girls organization as a symbol of the kind of civic participation that makes democracy thrive.

“For every act of kindness, for every effort of time and energy and resources to serve others, for every attempt to become informed in order to make wise decisions, for every trip to the polls to vote, for every letter or e-mail sent to a representative, for every membership in a community organization, for every attempt to right a wrong, for every effort to improve the lives of future generations,” Taylor-Colbert said, “we of the American Democracy Project thank you for accepting the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement, which is simply put, ‘the call to service.’”

Dr. Taylor-Colbert said that accepting the call to service would allow King’s dream to stay alive and become a reality.

“One day, all of God’s children — Asian, Hispanic, Caucasian, African, Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Catholic, Protestant — all of God’s children can join hands and sing, ‘Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty, free at last!’”

Dr. Taylor-Colbert received a standing ovation from the approximately 300 people in the audience, which included UA Fort Smith students, a group of students from Northside High School and members of the community.

UA Fort Smith Chancellor Dr. Paul B. Beran encouraged those assembled to become involved in their community.

“I do believe that people need to participate in civic engagement,” said Dr. Beran, “and that doesn’t happen by yourself. No person is an island.”

He went on to say that no person should be “bowling alone,” taken from the book of the same name, a book that describes the disengagement of Americans from political and civic involvement.

Dr. Beran then acknowledged the honorees and their families as well as other guests and groups attending and supporting the ADP event on campus.

Introducing Bass and Brown was Billy Higgins, associate professor of geography and history, who said he chose as a graduate student to study African American history because he “was stirred.”

“I’m still stirred,” said Higgins, lauding Bass and Brown for their lifelong stand for decency, integrity and justice.

Nichelle Christian, member of the ADP committee and Brown’s granddaughter, presented Bass and Brown with the ADP’s first Citizenship Awards. Also speaking were Fort Smith Mayor Ray Baker and Rhonda Gray, president of the Fort Smith Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta. Mariah Hall of Fort Smith, a member of UA Fort Smith’s Upsilon Kappa Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, presented bouquets of flowers to Bass and Brown at the conclusion of the ceremony.

Haiti Earthquake Response Resources: Paper Clip Communications

Below is a list of resources and materials that you may use as you formulate your campus’ response to the Haitian crisis. These are taken from the Paper Clip Communications resource page.

“The images coming from Haiti have been upsetting and disturbing. Many on campuses across North America and across the world have looked on and asked, ‘what can we do to help?’

As usual, colleges and universities are early leaders in rallying their communities – students, alumni, faculty and staff in organizing to help others recover from terrible tragedies.

Please find below a few resources to help you muster your community in its efforts to help the people of Haiti in both their short term needs and long-term recovery efforts. This includes a thirty minute webinar recording that offers concrete ideas your campus community can engage in immediately to assist in relief efforts.

Multi-media Resources

30 Minute Webinar From The Editors of PaperClip Communications:
The Disaster in Haiti: Higher Ed Responds.

Full Webinar Version Please Click Here. (Will not work with Firefox browsers)
Podcast Version Only Please Click Here.

PDF Resources

These resources are offered with no copyright. Therefore, please feel free to photocopy and distribute among students, staff and faculty as needed.

News Regarding Higher Ed and Haiti

Taken directly from our 1.19.10 edition of our free news service: Student Affairs Newswire

Higher Education & Haiti

As the world focuses on the disaster in Haiti, stories about those related to higher education continue to emerge. The country’s largest institution, the University of Haiti, was demolished and other schools are in hard-hit Port-au-Prince. You can read more

Here are some clips of other Haiti-related higher education news:
Campus Responses
And here is information on how several campuses are addressing the situation in Haiti…
Contact us with a link to your campus response and we may publish your efforts in an upcoming issue of the Student Affairs Newswire.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact us at


By David Kraljic of Votetocracy – is a site where citizens access current bills in Congress, vote on those bills and send their votes to their representative. The site provides access to current bills, bill status, summaries, and votes by the house and senate. Votetocracy members vote on these bills, can comment and discuss them as well. Tallies of government votes are included as well as tallies of citizen votes. An outcome is presented as a disagreement or agreement between the government’s vote and citizen’s votes.
Votetocracy’s goal is to provide citizens with an actionable and measurable means of directly engaging their congressional representatives. By providing the tools described above, the site aims to go beyond discussion forum models by giving citizens actionable steps in addition to traditional discussion models. In doing so – Votetocracy displays solidarity among like minded voters otherwise lost in solitary efforts such as writing letters, emailing or faxing directly to congress. Consider the hundreds of thousands of letters written to Congress each year. These efforts go largely unnoticed by other citizens yet holds incredible influential power. Votetocracy aims to amplify that influence aggregating citizen sentiment on actual bills and by displaying it on the site.
You are invited to join Votetocracy:
Votetocracy provides free tools for Bloggers
For those of you who have a blog, Votetocracy provides widgets that you can take and place on your blog. The widgets are free and display current bills in different topic categories such as Economy or Healthcare. To get one of these widgets visit the widget page on Votetocracy.

A Ladder of Opportunity in Dire Need of Repair

By Lawrence Wallack of Portland State University

Op-Ed piece originally featured in The Oregonian on July 4, 2006.

One summer day more than 40 years ago, when I was about 12, I almost drowned. I was at Jones Beach in New York, and it was the first time I had even been in the ocean. I was in the water enjoying the crashing waves but soon realized that I was being pulled out by a strong undertow. I struggled against it but found myself being dragged farther out. It was a terrible feeling. I began to see the shore recede, and I was on the verge of panic. Somehow, I overcame the current and made it back to shore. Exhausted and scared as I was, it dawned on me that I was lucky.

On this Fourth of July the memory of that undertow and the troubling force it exerts comes back to me. It worries me that as a nation we are collectively being pulled out to sea by an undertow of narrowly focused values and consequent policies that are constraining the great pool of human potential that is at the heart of our society. We have lost our sense of a common good — that combination of things that make the great promise of America tangible and accessible to people.

Think of the common good as a ladder of opportunity that we as a society build, working together. It’s not a government ladder, it’s not a business ladder but a ladder built by a public/private partnership with a sense of history, obligation, responsibility and hope. It is a ladder that allows individuals to take the initiative and make use of their talents and energy.

There are some real danger signs that our nation’s ladder of opportunity is in need of repair. We are in a time when public investment is seriously declining and when the distribution of wealth is getting more concentrated, more skewed — when people are drowning 25 feet offshore and social service providers have funding for only 20 feet of rope.

This is where we have to fight against the undertow.

First, we need to resist the idea that people simply have to work harder to build their own ladders, that it is solely their fault, their responsibility, their problem if they cannot build it. I am often struck by the blame-the-victim mentality that permeates our society, in which people are berated for their own misfortune. But the reality is that we are all in this together, that we need to balance personal responsibility with social accountability.

The evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould observed, “Few tragedies can be more extensive than the stunting of life, few injustices deeper than the denial of an opportunity to strive or even to hope, by a limit imposed from without, but falsely identified as lying within.”

Second, interconnectedness is important. We are connected across space and time; our collective actions as a society not only affect the world we live in now but the world we will be passing on to the next generation. Policy decisions that we are making today about education, social services and the environment will provide us with feedback years down the line about how well we have done. We need to be sure that we are leaving the next generation a benefit, not a liability.

Third, government must play a central role to remedy the injustice of grossly unequal starting positions in life. The issue is not bigger or smaller government but a better government that is responsive to people. A physician colleague of mine used to claim that she could predict the life chances of newborns in the hospital nursery just by knowing what ZIP code they were born into. This is not a biological issue, this is not an issue of personal choice, this is an issue of social justice. We also need the help of government to control the excesses of the free market and protect the public when the greed of selfish individualism endangers public health and safety, hard-earned retirements and the quality of our environment.

Fourth, we have a strong obligation to the collective good, to the idea that our success and well-being is linked in a very concrete way to the success and well-being of society. In his second inaugural address, Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed the nation in the midst of the Great Depression. He said: “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”

We all cherish the notion of rugged individualism, this deeply held American value, the stuff of 10,000 movies and countless stories, but we need to remember there is more. As Roosevelt’s words of seven decades past explain, “In our personal ambitions we are individualists. But in our seeking for economic and political progress as a nation, we all go up, or else we all go down, as one people.”

So on this Fourth of July we should celebrate as a country what we have achieved, and rededicate ourselves to maintaining a ladder of opportunity as part of the common good that allows people to do well for themselves and do good for others.

As the ladder strengthens or weakens, so goes our national soul.

Lawrence Wallack is dean of the College of Urban and Public Affairs at Portland State University. Dr. Wallack will be a featured speaker at the ADP National Meeting in Providence, RI June 17-19, 2010. Don’t forget to register for the Meeting by visiting our website!

Cognates of Change Conference at Western Kentucky

March 25-27, 2010

The social responsibility imperative in higher education continues to grow; more and more colleges and universities view development of students’ knowledge, skills and commitment to the social dimensions of their professional training as essential learning outcomes.  There is renewed momentum among our students as well; they come to us both passionate about and experienced in working to enact social change.  Institutions must be prepared to meet students’ expectations with opportunities that whet their appetite for service while also enhancing their capacity to be agents of change in the communities of which they will become a part.

Building such capacity in students is not done in one course or through one service learning experience; rather, it is a process that must engage students throughout their undergraduate careers and across multiple teaching and learning modalities.  The curriculum broadens and deepens students’ awareness and understanding of societal issues.  Opportunities to participate in civic events and initiatives build the skills necessary to influence public discourse and public policy around pressing social issues.  Community engagement and service learning projects expose students to the tangible impacts their service can have on the lives of others and on themselves.  Finally, the chance to confront and explore unfamiliar and sometimes uncomfortable questions through ongoing dialogue with colleagues and peers assists students in discovering their own passions and perspectives about the world.  These four cognates of change – Curriculum, Context, Community and Conscience – are essential elements in an undergraduate experience that cultivates educated and engaged citizens for the 21st century.

We invite institutions to send teams of administrators, faculty and/or students to explore the interplay among these four cognates of change, and how colleges and universities can leverage their various assets to create an experience for students that fosters deep and persistent learning.  Through a series of presentations and moderated conversations, teams will have the opportunity to share their individual perspectives, best practices, stories of success as well as failure and move towards development of integrated strategies for infusing a social responsibility imperative on their campuses.   There will be separate workshop tracks for administrators/faculty and for students.

Featured Speakers will include:

TBD – New York Times Columnist
Dr. George Mehaffy, AASCU
Dr. Harry Boyte, Center for Democracy and Citizenship, Augsburg College

This event will also serve to introduce our new WKU Institute for Citizenship and Social Responsibility.  ICSR affiliates will be on hand to discuss the role of the Institute as a nexus for civic organizing and social change on our campus.

For more information, please visit the website.

The Drum Major Instinct

This post was written by Harry Boyte, co-director of the Center for Democracy and Citizenship, for the By the People Blog. Boyte worked with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as a field secretary with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference during the American Civil Rights Movement.

While working in South Africa last month, I came upon a book chapter by Nicholas Rowe, dean of humanities at St. Augustine College in Johannesburg. His piece in Re-imagining the Social in South Africa; Critique, Theory and Post-apartheid Society brought me back to a sermon the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave shortly before his murder, titled “The Drum Major Instinct.”

Rowe describes how St. Augustine College was created 10 years ago out of a deepening concern that “now apartheid has been dismantled…we have ended up with this individualistic materialism.” He cites research that a spreading culture of consumerism is the most important factor in crime and violence in South Africa.

Against this dominant trend, St. Augustine’s goal is “to assert the common good as a framing value against the individualist materialist norms and logic.”

This brings me to the Drum Major Instinct, delivered by Martin Luther King on March 4, 1968. Using the story of Jesus’s disciples James and John who expressed the desire to be “by his side” in heaven, King had much the same message of St. Augustine College, with a down to earth, realistic dimension. He challenged his audience to acknowledge that the desire for recognition and success are part of the human condition.

“Before we condemn [James and John] too quickly, let us look calmly and honestly at ourselves, and we will discover that we too have those same basic desires for recognition, for importance,” King said.

The problem comes when larger purposes are lost in the pursuit of materialistic success. “You see people over and over again,” said King, “[who] just live their lives trying to outdo the Joneses. If this instinct is not harnessed, it becomes a very dangerous, pernicious instinct.”

King moved from the individual level to race relations. “The poor white has been put into this position, where the only thing he has going for him is the false feeling that he’s superior because his skin is white—and can’t hardly eat and make his ends meet week in and week out.” More broadly, the “drum major instinct” of success with narrow or selfish purpose, King argued, is shaping the world. “I would submit to you this morning that what is wrong in the world today is that the nations of the world are engaged in a bitter, colossal contest for supremacy,” said King. “And if something doesn’t happen to stop this trend, I’m sorely afraid that we won’t be here to talk about Jesus Christ and about God and about brotherhood too many more years.”

King concluded by pointing out that Jesus, in challenging his disciples James and John, didn’t condemn their desire for distinction. “He did something altogether different. He said in substance, ‘Oh, I see, you want to be first. You want to be great. Well, you ought to be. If you’re going to be my disciple, you must be.’ But [Jesus] reordered priorities. And he said, ‘Yes, don’t give up this instinct. It’s a good instinct if you use it right. Don’t give it up. Keep feeling the need for being important. But I want you to be first in love. I want you to be first in moral excellence. I want you to be first in generosity. That is what I want you to do.”

King’s message is powerfully and disturbingly apt today, in a time of unbridled greed, unrestrained competition, and rampant consumerism. Public work–engaging with others in public to do work with lasting value–can be understood as developing our sense of larger purpose and harnessing “the drum major instinct” to build the commonwealth.

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