Archive for August, 2011

ADP Remembers 9/11: Free Discussion Guide Available from Everyday Democracy

In order to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, I will be posting a variety of resources and guest blog posts about ways in which ADP campuses or partner organizations are working to create teachable moments with which to engage students in conversations about the effects of 9/11 on our democracy and ways we can work collectively as informed, engaged citizens to affect positive change in our society.

Today’s blog post is adapted, with permission, from The National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation’s August 29, 2011 Community News Story, “What will you do on 9/11?”

 – Jen Domagal-Goldman, National Manager, American Democracy Project

With the tenth anniversary of the tragic events of September 11, 2001 right around the corner, our friends at Everyday Democracy have made available a new discussion guide, One Nation, Many Beliefs: Talking About Religion in a Diverse Democracy (2011) on their website.

This free discussion tool is adapted from a 2006 LaGuardia Community College guide. According to Everyday Democracy, the One Nation, Many Beliefs discussion guide is “designed to strengthen relationships and understanding across religious and philosophical perspectives as a foundation for talking about intergroup tensions and the role of religion in public decision making.”

While most people don’t blame religious differences for causing 9/11, in the aftermath of the tragedy, tensions surfaced between people with different religious beliefs. We were reminded of how these tensions simmer just beneath the surface when, in August 2010, a controversy erupted over locating an Islamic cultural center in lower Manhattan near Ground Zero.

This discussion guide can help us honor and remember the 9/11 victims by working together to create a more vibrant democracy that honors the voices of all of its people. It explains how to run a “dialogue-to-change” or “study circle” effort on your campus or in your community that will help foster relationships across religious differences and to explore the role of religion in our community and national lives.

To download the “One Nation, Many Beliefs” discussion guide in PDF form, go here.

Please let Everyday Democracy know if you use the guide and how it worked so that they can improve the guide. You can do so by emailing mrogers.bursen [at] everyday-democracy [dot] org.

To see NCDD’s original “What will you do on 9/11?” Community News story, go here.

New MLK, Jr. National Memorial is Inspiring and a Cause for Reflection

By Jen Domagal-Goldman, National Manager, American Democracy Project

Between natural disasters here on the East Coast last week (a 5.8 earthquake last Wednesday and Hurricane Irene this past weekend) I found time to visit the new national monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial is stunning. It is a fitting reminder of the important — albeit unfinished — work of a citizen who inspired a sense of civic agency and purpose in generations of Americans. As you walk through the “mountain of despair” and come around to the “stone of hope” in which MLK’s likeness is carved, you get a sense of his work and his dream for our democracy — that we as a nation live up to our founding principle of all persons being created equal. 

The new MLK Memorial overlooks the Tidal Basin and is situated across the basin from the Jefferson Memorial and is nearby to the Lincoln and Washington Memorials. The surrounding “Inscription Walls” and the memorial as a whole are cause for contemplation and reflection — about how we use our own civic agency to enact change in our communities — local, national, and global, and what kind of society we want to leave as our legacy for the generations that come after us.

As we think about our work in the American Democracy Project,  this MLK quote from 1959, inscribed on the wall of the memorial, particularly spoke to me: “Make a career of humanity. Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.” Career preparation is an important role of higher education and entails not only helping students get jobs, but also helping students develop the key civic skills and competencies that employers seek in their employees. These are the same civic skills and competencies that students will require as they  consider their roles as informed and engaged citizens in our democracy and as they contemplate their “careers” as citizens.

I hope you have the opportunity to visit this new memorial, and if you’re in town stop by AASCU and visit us!

For more information about the MLK, Jr. Memorial go here.

ADP and The Democracy Commitment mentioned in ACPA Summer Newsletter “The Pipeline”

By Jen Domagal-Goldman, National Manager, American Democracy Project

The American Democracy Project and our new sister community college civic engagement initiative The Democracy Commitment were recently included in ACPA’s Commission on Student Development in the Two-Year College’s Summer 2011 newsletter “The Pipeline.”

ACPA: College Student Educators International’s Commission for Student Development in the Two-Year College is “is directly concerned with issues relevant to student development programs at two-year institutions.”

In her “From the Chair” introduction, Dr. Lisa Kelsay, the current chair of the Commission for Student Development in the Two-Year College, wrote, “Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in the American Democracy Project National Meeting and The Democracy Commitment planning meeting in Orlando, FL. The American Democracy Project began in 2003 as an initiative of the 4-year colleges and it has grown extensively since day one. The goal according to the ADP is to “produce graduates who are committed to being active, involved citizens in their communities.” The Democracy Commitment was created to focus on democracy at the 2-year college level. The excitement level by faculty, staff, and students from the 2- and 4-year colleges in attendance was incredible. Keynote speakers such as Erica Williams (Civic Engagement Laboratory) and Andrew Rosenthal (New York Times) brought such a depth to the information shared. Through conversations with attendees and at various workshops, I learned about many projects and programs that we could implement on our campus through collaboration between academic and student affairs. I believe that participating in this initiative would be good for all 2-year colleges. To learn more about this program and how your college can become a part of this new initiative, go to”

The newsletter also includes a portion of Cecilia Orphan’s earlier interview with The Democracy Commitment co-founder Dr. Bernie Ronan from this blog’s March 2011 post, “The Democracy Commitment: Community Colleges in the Mix.”

You can view the Summer 2011 edition of “The Pipeline” electronic newsletter here.

For more information about ACPA’s Commission for Student Development in the Two-Year College, go here.

Civic Engagement Position Opening: Salisbury University (MD)

Occasionally I am sent job postings for civic engagement opportunities within the AASCU network. Below you will find a recent job listing. Please pass this along to anyone you know of who is looking for an exciting opportunity to do civic work at an AASCU school! – Jen Domagal-Goldman


Salisbury University is seeking qualified applicants for the position of Managing Director, The Institute for Public Policy and Civic Engagement (PACE).

Primary Job Duties: Work with the Director of PACE to identify, develop and execute program planning; identify, coordinate and engage in SU community, outreach and publicity activities; interact and/or correspond with students, faculty, administration, board, speakers, and donors; research civic/political engagement issues; grant writing; coordinate Presidential Citizen Scholar Program; supervise PACE student employees; and manage the daily operations of the Institute. Writing responsibilities include the PACE newsletter; annual report; grant applications; website updates; press releases and media advisories; Event Briefing Memos; and all external PACE correspondence, brochures and promotional materials. May have the opportunity to teach undergraduate courses.

Minimum Qualifications: Master’s degree or PhD. in public policy, public administration, nonprofit management, or political science; and eight years of program management or similar experience.

Applications received by August 14, 2011 will be given first consideration.

You can view the entire job posting here.

You can read more about PACE here.

Registration Now Open for October 2011 Seven Revolutions Institute

Registration is now open for the October 28-29, 2011 Seven Revolutions Institute: Educating Globally Competent Citizens. This institute is sponsored by the American Democracy Project’s 7 Revolutions initiative and is being hosted by California State University, Fresno in Fresno, CA. You will find information about registration fees, hotel reservations, and the downloadable registration form below. I hope to see you in Fresno!

- Jen Domagal-Goldman, National Manager, American Democracy Project

About the 7 Revolutions Initiative

In 2006, ADP partnered with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) to translate the 7 Revolutions into curricular and co-curricular strategies to educate globally competent American citizens. The 7 Revolutions content was created by CSIS and identifies the seven global trends that will shape the world by 2030, in areas such as population, resource management and technological innovation. To learn more, visit 7 Revolutions website.

About the Institute

Institute participants will be offered an in-depth exploration of the 7 Revolutions led by CSIS experts and the 7 Revolutions Scholars. Each Institute participant will receive a toolkit for using the content of the 7 Revolutions in on-campus projects and courses. This practical and insightful 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 formats including first-year seminars, as well as sociology, theater, and mathematics courses.

Schedule At-a-Glance:


5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
7 Revolutions Committee Meeting
(invitation only)


9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Program
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Lunch (provided)
1:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Program
5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m. Dinner (provided)


8:30 a.m Breakfast (provided)
8:30 a.m. – Noon Program
Noon – 1 p.m. Lunch (provided)
1 p.m. – 3 p.m. Program
3 p.m. Adjourn
3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. 7 Revolutions Committee Meeting (invitation only)

Registration Fee

The registration fee is $250 per person. The fee includes all program sessions and materials, as well as breakfast, lunch and dinner on Friday and breakfast and lunch on Saturday.

Registration Information

  • Register via the downloadable registration form, to be mailed or faxed to Felicia Durham.
    Download form (Word doc)
  • E-mail, Fax or mail completed application to:
    Felicia Durham
    7 Revolutions Meeting, Fresno
    American Association of State Colleges and Universities
    1307 New York Avenue, NW, Fifth Floor
    Washington, DC 20005-4701
    Fax: (202) 296-5819



  • University Square Hotel
    4961 North Cedar Ave.
    Fresno, CA 93726
    Phone: 1-559-224-4200Hotel accommodations for the 7 Revolutions Institute can be booked directly with the hotel by calling (559) 224-4200 and referring to the group rate for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ 7 Revolutions Institute.

Room Rates

  • The special conference rate is $79/night plus 13% tax (current tax rate may change)
    To obtain this rate, you must call the hotel by September 29, 2011.
  • Check-in at the hotel is at 3 p.m. and check-out is at 12 noon.


  • There is courtesy phone in the baggage claim area at Fresno International Airport for the hotel. You may call the hotel (559-224-4200) and request a shuttle pickup once you arrive at the airport.
  • If you drive to the institute, there is free parking at the hotel and at the university. The hotel is across the street from the university.

Cancellation & Refund Policy

If you must cancel your registration, you will receive a full refund if the cancellation is before 5 p.m. EST on Monday, October 24. There will be a $125 cancellation fee after that date. Special circumstances will be handled on an individual basis.

For additional information about the 7 Revolutions Institute, click here.

An Interview with Cecilia Orphan: Reflections on 5 Years with ADP

Cecilia Orphan’s last official day as National Manager of The American Democracy Project was last Friday, July 29, 2011. As Cecilia heads off to pursue her PhD in higher education at the University of Pennsylvania, I asked her to reflect on her five years leading ADP. In this interview, Cecilia demonstrates the insightfulness and passion for the work of civic engagement that we’ve all come to know and love. ADP is thankful to Cecilia for her tireless leadership and wishes her all the best at UPenn!

Cecilia Orphan

Cecilia M. Orphan is a doctoral student in higher education at the University of Pennsylvania. At Penn, Ms. Orphan studies the role of higher education in American democracy. Prior to coming to Penn, Ms. Orphan directed the American Democracy Project (ADP), a multi-campus initiative of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU).  The 230 universities involved with ADP focus on higher education’s role in educating informed, engaged citizens for our democracy. As part of her work with ADP, she directed the Civic Engagement in Action (CEIA) Series. The CEIA Series consists of seven national initiatives that serve as laboratories for experimentation with curricular and co-curricular programming that will further institutionalize civic engagement on AASCU campuses. In addition to directing ADP, Ms. Orphan also served as the editor of the Academic Leadership and Change Digest series, a collection of queries about current institutional practices that are used by AASCU provosts as they consider new approaches to campus issues. Ms. Orphan serves on the board of directors for The Democracy Imperative and the steering committee of the American Commonwealth Project. Ms. Orphan was awarded the John Saltmarsh Award for Emerging Leaders in Civic Engagement and is currently a PAGE Fellow with Imagining America. Ms. Orphan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Portland State University. As an undergraduate, Ms. Orphan co-founded the PSU Volunteer Resource Center and was awarded the President’s Award for Outstanding Community Engagement two years in a row.

Cecilia in Madrid

Jen Domagal-Goldman (JDG):  Share with us what you’ve learned during your time working with the American Democracy Project.

Cecilia M. Orphan (CMO):  We have learned so much about how to deepen and institutionalize civic engagement in higher education during the last five years. Below are some of the most important lessons that I will take with me into my graduate program.

Student Leadership

When ADP began, we worked primarily with provosts and faculty members. Through the launch of the eCitizenship initiative, we learned that for many students, the ADP felt “top down,” and like something, “administrators dreamed up while playing golf and slapping themselves on the back” (quotes from a focus group held at Wayne State University). We now include students in the implementation of the initiative, and we have learned to include them in a non-hierarchical and collaborative way.  We now have a student on the ADP Implementation Committee. The student has offered wonderful insights into what works well in getting undergraduates engaged. We also invite students to attend all of our events and make presentations to attendees. Their presence and passion has profoundly enhanced the work of ADP.

National Partners

National partners are critical and enrich our programs and initiatives by providing content and strategies we would otherwise lack. We would not be able to do all that we do if it weren’t for our partners.

Making the Work Relational

Many of our campus coordinators are at the early stages of their career. This means that they are working hard to advance and earn tenure and promotion; they have limited time to devote to anything that won’t fit into their tenure and promotion efforts. Therefore, we try to find ways to frame ADP activities in ways that “count.”

We have been deliberate about building powerful relationships with faculty members who serve as campus coordinators. If we propose an initiative, or propose a new direction in an ongoing initiative, our campus coordinators are frank in their assessment of the success of these proposals. Additionally, because the work has become “personal” for them, they are more impelled to contribute to the national movement.

Initiatives as Laboratories for Democracy

Because it’s important to develop ideas for programming before you go to scale, we’ve developed the Civic Engagement in Action Series. Each initiative provides us with an opportunity to develop partnerships at multiple levels with campus representatives, experiment with strategies for increasing civic engagement on the part of undergraduate students, and partner with leading national organizations. The strategies and programs we field test in those environments then get disseminated broadly across the 230 participating ADP institutions.

The Role of the Provost

We initially worked primarily with the chief academic officers (CAO) of AASCU institutions because our Academic Leadership and Change division conducts substantial programming for them, including two national meetings each year. As the president of the university increasingly becomes an external actor, it is the provost who is in charge of the day-to-day operations and agenda setting for the university, particularly for academic matters. We have found that provosts are key in institutionalizing civic engagement programming.

As budgetary circumstances become increasingly more complex and difficult, the provosts who have been engaged in ADP are now sheltering these programs because they see them as integral to the life and success of the university, and to the health of their student body.

The Role of the President

Presidents are able to use their bully pulpit to call the university’s attention to issues of civic engagement. They can be a powerful voice with trustees, donors, and legislatures.

Letting 1,000 Flowers Bloom

AASCU institutions reflect the vast diversity found in American higher education. Our institutions are located in both rural and urban settings, they are small and large, they span six Carnegie Classifications, and have very different institutional circumstances. With these unique circumstances in mind, we have not been prescriptive. Our campuses have been able to create a robust and innovative set of activities and projects and we have been able to spread these good lessons throughout the AASCU network.

Institutional Intentionality

Institutional intentionality is a signature concept of the American Democracy Project. We believe that the majority of students at an institution will not develop important citizenship skills unless civic engagement programming exists broadly across the campus, not in isolated islands of innovation. We also believe that institutions must be intentional in order to develop a broad commitment to civic learning. In the most intentional institutions, civic learning reaches most students, in student affairs programming, in requirements for the major, in general education, and in student and resident life.

Civic learning is enhanced and institution intentionality emphasized when there are administrative structures and budgets that are specified for civic learning. Civic learning is also increased when there are rewards and recognition for faculty and staff that undertake civic learning work: e.g., promotion and tenure guidelines, release time for faculty members, awards and public recognition.


For all the obvious reasons (students live tech-heavy lives) and non-obvious reasons, we’ve found that technology is integral to our work. It allows us to collaborate, share best practices, and provide a national stage for our work.

JDG: What lessons/memories will you hold closest to you as you embark on your Ph.D.?

CMO: More than anything, I have learned that the relationships that we create and build are central to this work. It is through the relationships that we’ve built with our partner organizations and with our faculty members, students, administrators and staff that we’ve been able to accomplish so much with so few resources.

My fondest memories have been created through these relationships. I will always remember the phone calls I would receive from faculty members, students, and provosts eager to share the good work they are doing. These calls served as reminders to me of why I spent hours toiling away in an office. Indeed, these calls inspired me to keep working hard.

JDG: ADP is about to celebrate its 10th anniversary. What hopes do you hold for the ADP in the next 10 years?

CMO: ADP was only supposed to be a three-year project. Next year we will celebrate our 10th year. We thought the project would last three years because that’s the lifespan of many projects in higher education. What we found was that there was sustained and growing interest and enthusiasm for the work. It is exciting to think that this energy will continue for another 10 years. While we’ve learned a lot, I know we still have much to learn. Below are a few things I hope ADP will accomplish in the next ten years.

I would like to see better assessment metrics and tools for understanding the impact of our work, both on students and in the community. I know it’s difficult to measure something like civic agency and community/university impact, but we need to be able to understand our impact so that we can refine and improve our work.

Much of our work is still marginal and celebratory which serves an important purpose, but stops short of reaching and educating each undergraduate student. I also hope that ADP campuses continue to drive civic engagement deeper and deeper into the core of the university. This includes the breaking down of silos on campuses where pockets of good work are going on and are not connected to one another.

Finally, I hope that students continue to be a major force in shaping and directing the work of the American Democracy Project. I truly believe that students know best what will inspire and engage them. If we are hoping to transform students, we must make their leadership central to our work.

I will always look upon my time at AASCU and directing ADP with great affection. We have done a lot of important work together and I look forward to seeing what will come next!

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 229 other followers



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 229 other followers