Posts Tagged 'Campus Spotlight'

Campus Spotlight: Georgia College’s Times Talk Program

By Gregg Kaufman, ADP Campus Coordinator, Georgia College

The 8th year of the Georgia College Times Talk program is coming to an end this month. An unprecedented number of participants, over 1500 as of this writing, have gathered to address a variety of current and controversial topics. The Times Talk program has become a part of the university’s culture and is a dependable resource for quickly responding to campus as well as national and international issues. Student broadcast and print journalists trust the Wednesday Noon civil discourse as they cover the Wednesday sessions when reporting on specific stories.

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A small segment of the Social Media and Hate Times Talk participants on March 5.

A controversial and embarrassing incident occurred on campus this semester  due to the “community-based vent application” Yik Yak. The app is designed to communicate anonymous comments relative to a specific locale and in the unfortunate case of GC, several insensitive racial statements targeting young campus visitors. As news spread about these prejudiced comments, a grass-roots response from students, faculty, and staff mobilized to use the incident to candidly dialogue about what some are referring to as racial “microaggressions.” To paraphrase the organizers, “How can we gather concerned people together to talk about this? Let’s see if this week’s Times Talk could be used to begin a conversation.”

Indeed, Times Talk became the starting point for what has become an ongoing dialogue as over 175 students attended a March 5 session and another 90 shared their thoughts at the following week’s Healing a Wounded Community Times Talk. The GC 360 weekly campus television show covered several Times talks over the course of the academic year. You can view these segments in the March 11 and April 1 broadcasts.

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Co-moderator Emmanuel Little, Diversity Coordinator, standing and Dr. Andy Lewter, Dean of Students, not pictured, moderated the Times Talk.

Times Talk also hosted a debate on the Georgia Legislature’s HB60 bill that expands gun-carrying legislation after which Times Talk participants engaged in Q&A with the Rhetoric student debaters. Times Talk will be used as the first  hour of a Crimean Crisis: Democracy at Stake Teach-in on April 16.

While the weekly sessions provide a venue for discussing any number of current event issues, the Times Talk series also provides a dependable, “stewardship of place” resource that is responsive and adaptable to critical issues of interest to the campus community. Once more, it is important to note that the physical space for Times Talk is in a study area of the GC Library. No longer a bastion of quiet, the library becomes a public place for dialogue and pizza consumption!



AASCU’s Innovations Exchange: A Source of Best Practices on Civic Engagement

Innovations Exchange

The AASCU Innovations Exchange seeks to facilitate the sharing of successful new programs, policies and practices that other AASCU member institutions may benefit from replicating. Innovations reflect a range of issues central to contemporary university operations: resource management, student success, research and regional stewardship, program design and delivery, teacher education, international education, institutional change, and legislative relations and advocacy.

Be sure to check out the civic engagement innovations and consider submitting an ADP-related innovation of your own!


What is Considered to be an Innovation

Innovations are defined as projects, programs, policies or practices that have demonstrated positive, measurable outcomes. They reflect initiatives that represent a new or creative approach to operationalizing an activity that supports the campus mission.

Share Recent Successful Initiatives on Your Campus

Campus representatives are encouraged to submit recent successful innovations via the links below. They will be asked to briefly describe the innovation, including its objectives, outcomes, challenges encountered, and evaluation approach, and provide contact information for further information.

Commemorating Veterans Day the ADP Way

Veterans and men and women currently serving in the military are being honored today, on Veterans Day, by ADP at Fort Hays State University (Kans.)

A ceremony will include speeches by the President and Vice President of FHSU’s Student Government Association. The Student Coordinator for ADP will speak as well as the student coordinator for FHSU’s Global Leadership Project. A flag ceremony will be conducted by a local Boy Scout troop.

Participants can write cards to veterans and soldiers in exchange for a poppy flower. The poppy is the emblem of Veterans Day as well as a reference to “In Flanders Field,” which will be read aloud during the ceremony.

Read more here.

How is your campus commemorating Veterans Day?

AASCU & ADP on the Federal Government Shutdown

Gov't ClosedThe federal government shutdown is garnering a great deal of attention and outrage. Late last week, AASCU, along with five other national higher education associations, issued a joint community statement on the shutdown, calling for our campuses to treat it as a teachable moment and to encourage civic learning and engagement (see below).

AASCU’s American Democracy Project also sent out a query asking campus coordinators if they were utilizing the government shutdown for the purposes mentioned above and, if so, how they were doing it. Stephen F. Austin State University’s (Texas) Democracy Wall, a free speech area similar to the Democracy Plaza at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), is dedicated to the shutdown this month. SUNY Buffalo State is engaging in classroom-based discussion of the shutdown vis a vis the private capture of public goods and Larry Diamond’s “Physician Heal Thyself” chapters from his 2009 book The Spirit of Democracy: The Struggle to Build Free Societies Throughout the World. And at Western Carolina University, the International Programs & Services office is making sure that students studying abroad or planning to go abroad are well aware of how passport, visas, embassies, and consulates are functioning in face of the shutdown.

Community Statement on Shutdown of the Federal Government

Muriel Howard HeadshotMy colleagues and I write as college and university leaders, concerned about the effect that the ongoing political paralysis in Washington is having on our country. The shutdown of federal agencies and the potential for default if the government’s borrowing limit is not raised are having a significant effect on the nation’s economy and many of our fellow citizens. This stalemate threatens to exacerbate the cynicism Americans already feel about the function and importance of their government.

This is a challenging time for our democratic process, a process which has served our country well for more than 200 years.

We are deeply concerned by the growing resignation of the American people to this “new normal”: the idea that Washington is so broken and dysfunctional that it cannot be fixed, only ignored or ridiculed. Our democratic government is most effective when it embraces open discourse, bipartisan cooperation and the art of compromise. These traditions have served us well since our founding, and are at the heart of the success of the American Experiment.

We believe this gradual acceptance of government dysfunction should be vigorously challenged and that each college and university can play a role in doing so. We call on colleges and universities around the country to bring together students, business and community leaders, and the public to engage in conversations and to be active engaged citizens. We should focus attention on the processes that ensure responsible government and sound budget policy.

Our nation was built upon the idea of a new form of government. Inherent in this promise is the idea of compromise and respect for the views of others. The belief in ideas and respect for conflicting viewpoints is also a core purpose of education. Together we can and must act to ensure the current stalemate in Washington is used to renew our students’ interest and commitment to democracy, rather than to discourage it.

We hope each of our institutions will make that possibility real for students and communities across the nation.

With warm regards,
Muriel A. Howard, Ph.D.
American Association of State Colleges and Universities

In cooperation with:

Walter G. Bumphus, President
American Association of Community Colleges

Molly Corbett Broad, President
American Council on Education

M. Peter McPherson, President
Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities

Hunter R. Rawlings III, President
Association of American Universities

David L. Warren, President
National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities

Campus Spotlight: Florida Gulf Coast University

By Brandon W. Kliewer, Asst. Professor of Civic Engagement & ADP Campus Director, Florida Gulf Coast University

FGCU logoOn April 2, 2013, Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) hosted a campus-community civic dialogue on the role universities have in supporting commitments to democracy and advancing conceptions of the public good. The American Democracy Project on campus partnered with students from an Interdisciplinary Studies Senior Seminar to organize, coordinate and execute the event. Students from the senior seminar were introduced to theories of deliberative democracy in the course and were trained as civic dialogue facilitators and dialogue recorders.

The dialogue was orchestrated and captured using a rigorous dialogue method known as the Nominal Group Technique (NGT). Students that were trained in these methods will hopefully use this increased theoretical and practical knowledge as their civic identity begins to solidify outside of the university experience.

Students affiliated with the American Democracy Project and the senior seminar coordinated all aspects of the event. Over 65 students, staff, administrators and community members participated in the event by considering a series of questions related to the role universities have in supporting commitments to democracy and advancing the public good. Dean of Undergraduate Studies at Florida Gulf Coast University Jim Wolpart spoke to the importance of community dialogue and the role universities will have in confronting a series of issues in the 21st century. This video clip highlights Wolpart’s comments and illustrates the format of the event.

This civic dialogue was truly an expression of FGCU’s commitment to meaningful campus-community partnerships and community-engaged scholarship. The FGCU community and local community participants hope to transfer the results from the civic dialogue into a format that can be published in an academic journal. The campus-community civic dialogue not only engaged members of our community as democratic citizens, but also created a powerful infrastructure of dialogue that gave voice to members of our community that would have otherwise been unheard.

IUPUI’s Center for Civic Literacy

Self-government in a democratic state requires a civically literate citizenry. But survey after survey confirms that Americans, on average, are civically illiterate.

Despite this overwhelming evidence of a public deficit in basic constitutional and civic knowledge, the nation has not previously had a research center devoted entirely to studying issues surrounding civic knowledge. But we do now.

The  Center for Civic Literacy at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)–an ADP campus–was formed to fill that void. It will pursue an aggressive research agenda focused upon the causes and consequences of the nation’s “civics deficit” and will disseminate its findings broadly, in order to make those findings available to a diverse audience of opinion leaders, educators, and policymakers.

The Center’s Mission is, first, to increase scholarly and public understanding of the dimensions of our civic deficit and the effect of that deficit upon democratic decision-making and civil society; and, second, to identify, develop, and disseminate evidence-based best practices to help educators and others address and correct the problem. Among the many questions it wants to explore are the following:

  • How do we define civic literacy? Are there elements of civic knowledge essential to democratic participation? If so, what are those elements?
  • What aspects of civic knowledge are most predictive of civic engagement?
  • Do individuals with low civic literacy hold attitudes about social, scientific, economic and political issues that vary in a statistically significant fashion from attitudes held by high civic literacy individuals?
  • Has the growth of social media fostered or inhibited civic literacy?
  • Why have previous efforts to improve civics education failed? What social or structural incentives might lead to more long-lasting and robust results?

This center, the first of its kind in the U.S., is housed in the IU Public Policy Institute and will publish an online journal, convene a national conference, and conduct research projects that result in peer-reviewed journal articles. The Center received funding from IUPUI’s Signature Centers Initiative and is due to attain IUPUI Signature Center status in 2015.

In the near future, there are plans to unveil a web-based clearinghouse for research done by the Center and others working on these issues, convene its first annual conference, and begin issuance of a variety of planned publications, including but not limited to a peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal.The Center is an interdisciplinary collaboration of scholars in public policy, business, religious studies, history, social work, and education; it is housed at Indiana University’s Public Policy Institute, a well-respected venue with significant experience in innovative social science research.

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