Archive for July, 2010

Suggestions for Constitution Day from P.O.V.

Are you looking for a way to celebrate Constitution Day? Engage your students through a free film screening!

Borrow award-winning documentaries from POV, PBS’s longest running showcase for independent non-fiction films.

You simply:

1)    register in our community network:

2)    request a film from our lending library.

3)    POV will send you a screening kit that includes a copy of the DVD, discussion guides, event ideas and facilitation tips.

Select Films include:

The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers

In 1971, Daniel Ellsberg, a leading Vietnam War strategist, concludes that America’s role in the war is based on decades of lies. He leaks 7,000 pages of top-secret documents to The New York Times, a daring act of conscience that leads directly to Watergate, President Nixon’s resignation and the end of the Vietnam War. Ellsberg and a who’s-who of Vietnam-era movers and shakers give a riveting account of those world-changing events in POV’s The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers by award-winning filmmakers Judith Ehrlich (The Good War and Those Who Refused to Fight It) and Rick Goldsmith (Tell the Truth and Run: George Seldes and the American Press). A co-production of ITVS in association with American Documentary/POV. (90 minutes)

Watch the trailer:

William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe examines the life of this radical attorney from a surprising angle. Kunstler’s two daughters from his second marriage grew up lionizing a man already famous for his historic civil rights and anti-war cases. Then, in their teens, they began to be disillusioned by a stubborn man who continued representing some of the most reviled defendants in America — this time accused rapists and terrorists. In this intimate biography, Emily Kunstler and Sarah Kunstler seek to recover the real story of what made their late father one of the most beloved, and hated, lawyers in America. Winner of the L’Oreal Paris Women of Worth Vision Award, 2009 Sundance Film Festival. A co-production of ITVS.

Watch the trailer:

The Oath, filmed in Yemen, interweaves the stories of Abu Jandal, Osama bin Laden’s former bodyguard, and Salim Hamdan, a prisoner at Guantánamo facing war crimes charges. Directed by Laura Poitras (Flag Wars, POV 2003; the Oscar®-nominated My Country, My Country, POV 2006), The Oath unfolds via a narrative rife with plot reversals and betrayals that ultimately leads to Osama bin Laden, 9/11, Guantánamo and the U.S. Supreme Court. Winner of the 2010 Sundance Film Festival Excellence in Cinematography Award: Documentary. A co-production of ITVS in association with American Documentary/POV.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me

Call for Nominations: The K. Patricia Cross Future Leader Award

Call for Nominations

The K. Patricia Cross Future Leader Award

Deadline for receipt of materials: October 4, 2010

The K. Patricia Cross Future Leader Award recognizes graduate students who show exemplary promise as future leaders of higher education; whose work reflects a strong emphasis on teaching and learning; and who demonstrate a commitment to developing academic and civic responsibility in themselves and others.

The award honors the work of K. Patricia Cross, Professor Emerita of Higher Education at the University of California-Berkeley.

Please go to the K. Patricia Cross page of AAC&U’s Web site for complete information.

All doctoral-level graduate students who are planning a career in higher education are eligible, regardless of academic department.

Applicants must demonstrate:

1.   Leadership ability or potential for exercising leadership in teaching and learning, with a strong commitment to academic and civic responsibility
2.   Leadership or potential leadership in the development of others as leaders, scholars, and citizens

Nomination Process
A faculty member or administrator must nominate the student, with a supporting letter from a second faculty member or administrator. The following materials must be submitted for an application to be considered:

1.  A nomination letter from a faculty member or administrator

2.  A supporting letter from a second faculty member or administrator

3.  A statement from the student indicating how he or she meets the award criteria

4.  A copy of the student’s curriculum vitae

Nominations can be submitted anytime, but no later than October 4, 2010.  Nominees must also complete an online form with all contact information.  Only complete nominations will be considered.

The Award
The K. Patricia Cross Future Leader Award provides financial support for graduate students to attend AAC&U’s 2011 Annual Meeting, which will be held in San Francisco, California, January 26-29, 2011. All award recipients are required to attend the conference.

The award includes travel, lodging, conference registration, and a one-year affiliation with AAC&U, including subscriptions to all AAC&U periodicals.

The award will be announced in December 2010, and recognized at AAC&U’s Annual Meeting in January.

Contact Information
Please contact Suzanne Hyers at or 202.387.3760 with any questions.

You Can Do It, Too: The SUNY Fredonia Story

The SUNY Fredonia Story

By Caitlin Levesque, former student, SUNY Fredonia

SUNY Fredonia student volunteers get out the vote.

Two years ago, I was in the middle of my summer internship in Washington, D.C. at the same time Barack Obama became the Democratic front-runner for the 2008 Presidential election. It was at that moment, being in D.C., that I realized State University of New York (SUNY) Fredonia students needed to capitalize on this historic opportunity to become civically engaged; and I would be their cheerleader.

There were several obstacles that stood in my way: low voter turnout rate in the past, lack of interest in political issues and elections, high dissatisfaction with the government, and most importantly, an underlying sense of disenfranchisement amongst youth voters.

How we did it!

So, how did SUNY Fredonia register 1,065 new voters and have an 88% turnout rate on November 4th, 2008? I quickly realized that I was unable to transform our students’ perception on my own, and began to use my relationships with professors, student groups and, most importantly, my friends to help implement this non-partisan campaign. By weekly tabling, knocking on dorm room doors, invading classrooms, hosting open mic nights, and causing quite a ruckus, our team registered over a thousand students in just under five weeks.

Getting Students to the Polls

Then the biggest struggle began: how do we get these registered voters to the

Teach-in that helped students learn more about the issues on the ballot.

polls? By connecting with our local TV and radio stations, as well as newspapers we were able to put out ads that told students exactly where to go and when. Realizing how detrimental it would be to have a group of uninformed first-time voters heading to the polls, we decided to work with several students with expertise in the economy, environment, and foreign policy fields to develop three teach-ins discussing these areas.  Total turnout at these events exceeded 200 students.  Next we began to focus our time and

Uncle Sam and Abe Lincoln are enlisted to help get out the vote.

energy on planning for Election Day. From chalking polling information all over our campus’ concrete, to hanging banners directing people where to go to vote, to enlisting our own “Abe Lincoln” and “Uncle Sam” to invade dining halls, libraries and classrooms, we transformed the SUNY Fredonia campus. We were able to engage students and volunteers who finally understood the issues and saw the importance of young voter participation in the election. Most importantly, our efforts helped to flip our county from red to blue, putting Fredonia on the electoral map like never before.

What can you do?

In order to replicate SUNY Fredonia’s success, we need to advocate for strong civic programs in our colleges.  Studies show that first time voters make lifetime voters.  By advocating for youth turnout in and around campuses across our country for the 2010 Midterm elections, we can create a voter bloc that will be influential in the 2012 election and beyond. By understanding your audience, and educating yourself on issues that students can relate to; we can create a citizenry of youth voters and help keep our country on track.

If you’re looking for a way to get started on connecting with like-minded young people helping to promote civic engagement, check out some of these sites:

  • Civic Youth offers a wide range of statistics as well as State Election Laws
  • Rock the Vote allows student leaders to download toolkits to help start a voter registration campaign
  • On The Issues is a necessary tool If you are trying to inform your new voters on key issues that will encourage them to get to the polls

Reinhard Mohn Prize Contest 2011

The search for the winner of the Reinhard Mohn Prize 2011 has begun!  As one of Europe’s largest charitable foundations, the German Bertelsmann Stiftung awards a significant monetary prize every year. In 2011, the Reinhard Mohn Prize (previously known as the Carl Bertelsmann Prize) will celebrate and recognize governmental institutions (including agencies, departments, school systems, etc.) that have shown innovative democratic leadership by making a strong and lasting contribution to “Vitalizing Democracy through Participation.”

The Bertelsmann Stiftung has asked Europe’s leading consultancy in participation, IFOK, and its American subsidiary, Meister Consultants Group (MCG), to identify and assess innovative projects and structural measures that are prize-worthy. The research team assisting in gathering and assessing nominations includes Peter Levine (CIRCLE at Tufts), Archon Fung (Kennedy School at Harvard), John Gaventa (Inst. for Development Studies at Univ. of Sussex), Andrea Rommele (Hertie School in Berlin), and Matt Leighninger of Everyday Democracy.

Please participate in our search by nominating any initiative that you think exemplifies the responsibility and role of governments for democratic innovation. This can be a project you have organized, or supported, or led, or researched – or simply one you have heard or read about. You can submit your project nomination directly via the online platform that has been established at (it is a fairly straightforward application).

Your support and input will be rewarded. The person who nominates the ultimate winner of the Reinhard Mohn Prize 2011 will be invited by the Bertelsmann Stiftung to attend the international symposium and prize ceremony taking place in June 2011. This all-expenses-paid trip offers the opportunity for you to exchange ideas with other experts in the field and to celebrate the winning project at an exclusive gala event where the Reinhard Mohn Prize 2011 will be presented. In addition, all submissions will be available for other users to view and rate, giving you the unique opportunity to promote a project to a new, wider, international audience.

YVO: Civic Engagement in a Global Framework

By Clair Whitmer, Voter Outreach Director for the Overseas Vote Foundation

Those of us living abroad are often acutely aware of our “American-ness”. Many of us participate in forms of civic engagement in our overseas communities, but voting in U.S. federal elections remains one of the most important ties to the civic life of our home country.

This is especially true for young people: students studying abroad, volunteers or young professionals like the worldwide network of English teachers.

When they move abroad, many of these young citizens become aware for the first time of what it really means to be American, to themselves, and to people they meet. We know that if we can associate that experience with the act of casting a ballot, voting may very well become a lifetime habit

That’s our goal with Youth Vote Overseas (YVO), an offshoot of Overseas Vote Foundation (OVF) that we launched in 2008 at the American Democracy Project Annual Meeting.

OVF is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that delivers online voting tools and information to make voting simpler and faster for voters living outside the U.S. Our YVO initiative is intended to build a network of young voters abroad that encourgage their peers to participate and spread the word about YVO’s online voter services.

We particularly depend on universities and colleges, like those represented by the ADP membership, to help deliver a simple message to students and faculty who are overseas on Election Day: you have the right to vote from wherever you are and YVO is there to help you do it.

We are grateful for the continued support of ADP and AASCU, which has done so much to help YVO reach its target audience.

Vote 2010 – U.S. Congress – Register Now

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Matthew Segal, head of the Student Association for Voter Empowerment, at the OVF Summit 2010 in Munich. What do overseas and young voters have in common? It’s about citizenship, not partisanship

Talking to: OVF’s Clair Whitmer about the Importance of Overseas Voters

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