Strengthening Civic Life
Civic life is how we come together to accomplish big goals and overcome serious challenges. What is amazing is that it is often grounded in the smallest actions. Actions like talking with neighbors, eating with family and friends, exchanging favors, and other random acts of kindness. These acts create the social connections necessary to solving big problems and maintaining a healthy democracy.
The National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) is an organization dedicated to strengthening civic life in America. For 70 years, NCoC’s Annual Conference has been a must attend event for community builders searching for new ways to engage their neighbors and create positive change. Given the current social and political polarization, the need for this Conference couldn’t be greater.
Leaders from the nonprofit, private, open data, and technology sectors will converge at the Conference to share best practices and uncover innovative civic engagement strategies. There will be high-quality Learning Summits, panels, and networking time – all chances to strengthen civic life and take on the issues facing our field.
We hope to see you in DC on October 10 at the 2014 National Conference on Citizenship. Click here to register.
Spring 2014 Community Engagement Virtual Think Tank Series
||“This was my first NERCHE webinar and it was a great experience. It was very well planned and executed, with helpful follow-up….I look forward to participating in more NERCHE webinars and sharing with my colleagues.”– Virtual Think Tank Participant
NERCHE’s Virtual Think Tanks are webinars designed for higher education practitioners engaged in collaborative change processes which address social justice in a diverse democracy. Participants have utilized Virtual Think Tanks for faculty and staff training, initiative development, and deepening reflection and discussion on their respective campuses. Virtual Think Tanks are valuable whether participants are developing long-term strategic change efforts or thinking about immediate programming and teaching issues.
The Center’s spring 2014 Virtual Think Tanks will focus on community engagement in teaching and learning, research, and institutional structures within higher education.
|Spring 2014 Virtual Think Tank Session Descriptions
||The New Faculty Majority and Civic Engagement
The majority of all college faculty now work on part-time or full-time temporary contracts, and many lack sufficient access to the institutional support that is necessary for quality education. In many fields, the majority of adjuncts are no longer simply traditional “second career” or “teaching professionals” but rather trained academics who are encountering a starkly downsized tenure-track job market.This virtual think tank will explore how campuses can advance student civic learning and democratic engagement when a faculty majority lacks a full voice in campus governance and is treated as second class institutional citizens; how campuses sustain long-term relationships with formal obligations in community partnerships while not providing the institutional support for a majority of faculty; how faculty can pursue community engaged teaching and learning on public issues without the protections of academic freedom. How can campuses advance civic engagement without advancing the professional working conditions of faculty who do not have the rights and protections of tenure?
Maria Maisto (New Faculty Majority)
||The Politics of Community Engagement: Engaging Values Beyond Partisan Posturing
There is a contradiction at the heart of the higher education civic engagement discourse–that we may be objective and neutral while we engage in an act as overtly political as building democratic citizens. This webinar will briefly review the theoretical bases of democracy and its requirements while illuminating the ways in which those requirements express political actions and values choices. The webinar discussion will then turn to applied approaches to rigorously engaging values discourse in the classroom without falling into partisan bickering or ideological straightjackets.
Eric Hartman (Providence College)
||Becoming Stewards of Place: Strategies for Institution-Community Engagement
At a time when traditional institutions feel besieged by a rapidly changing landscape, defining themselves as “stewards of place” offers new possibilities. Collaborating with communities and thinking of the border between campus and community as a permeable boundary provide new insights and opportunities for teaching, research, and service. This webinar will focus on AASCU’s two 2014 monographs in the Stewards of Place series, both of which demonstrate that stewardship of place can make institutions stronger and more relevant in the 21st century.
George Mehaffy (AASCU)
Registration and Cost:
The registration fee for participation in each real-time Virtual Think Tank session is $195. For more information on payment methods, please see our Virtual Think Tank FAQs.
NERCHE also offers recordings of its spring 2014 Virtual Think Tanks for $100. Recordings will be made available on the NERCHE website to registrants one week after the real-time sessions. Purchase a recording here.
For an archive of NERCHE’s past Virtual Think Tanks available for purchase, click here.
With support from the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, CIRCLE published “New and Alternative Assessments, Digital Badges, and Civics: An Overview of Emerging Themes and Promising Directions” (March 2013) which explores digital badges and alternative assessments for civic skills, knowledge, and dispositions. This working paper also considers ePortfolios, rubrics, games, simulations, and other assessment and learning tools that might expand options for those committed to improving civic education.
States are, to a greater extent, using multiple-choice-only tests that focus primarily on memorizing information, rather than demonstrating civic skills. Furthermore, assessments focus mostly on the history and geography of the United States; far fewer states assess students in world affairs or economics. Are we preparing and assessing students to be engaged citizens?
CIRCLE explores this question and the broader landscape of alternative assessments, here, in an online presentation.
For more information, go here.
Guest Post by Lynn M. Hall, National Education DIrector, The New York Times
You’ve known us as The New York Times in College, but we have taken a new name — The New York Times in Education – to better communicate with audiences abroad as well as here in the U.S.
We’ve also launched these exciting resources that we hope you will view and share:
- An elegant new Web site at our old address, www.nytimes.com/edu. We welcome your contributions to our Classroom Ideas section!
- The New York Times in Education YouTube channel, where you can watch exclusive, 30-minute Webcasts with Times journalists addressing focus areas of our Leadership and First Year programs. Visit www.nytimes.com/edu/video.
- An inspiring, two-minute video that introduces our multimedia journalism: “The New York Times: Because The World Has a Lot To Teach.” Watch in at www.nytimes.com/edu/video.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to contribute your classroom ideas to our new Web site, or for further information about our program.
We’re excited that for the second year in a row, Lyon Software is a sponsor of the ADP/TDC National Meeting! Lyon Software is also an ADP Partner working to support our Campus & Community Civic Health Initiative. A number of ADP campuses use Lyon Software to track civic engagement and community service efforts on their campuses.
By Jessica Franchino, CBISA Specialist/Event Coordinator, Lyon Software
At Lyon Software, we believe in helping you and your community achieve a better tomorrow. We enable our clients to track how their programs and partnerships are working together to improve the communities they serve. Track both quantitative and qualitative data about your programs to make sure they are meeting the needs of your community and your organization. Easy reporting features allow you to report to your stakeholders with the click of a button. Customizable features ensure your community and their specific needs are tracked. Let us show you a whole new world of data.
Come talk to us and check out our giveaways at our table, which will be set up during the ADP National Meeting!
by the National Conference on Citizenship (an ADP Partner organization)
The 2013 Civic Data Challenge launches today at the Data Visualization Summit in San Francisco. The Challenge invites participants to turn raw data about civic health into useful applications and visualizations that have direct impact on public decision-making.
Expanded version of last year’s challenge
Last year, the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) with the support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation launched the first-ever national Civic Data Challenge. Winning teams spanned the country and included undergraduate students and nonprofit leaders, financial analysts and graphic designers, developers and coders. They brought new eyes, new minds, and new skill sets to the field of civic health to help make this trove of community insight more valuable and accessible to decision makers and the public. For a great recap of last year’s Challenge, read Fast Company’s Visualizing Civic Data to Make the Case for Civic Health.
This year, NCoC, with the support of Knight Foundation, is launching an expanded version of the Challenge. Exciting additions to this year’s Challenge include:
- Three Challenge phases–ideation, creation, and implementation– to help teams come together to build entries that are responsive to community needs.
- Grand prizes to teams that create exceptionally useful products AND work with community partners to successfully implement those tools.
- The opportunity for participants to improve entries along the way with the support of a team of expert advisors.
Submit an idea now
The Civic Data Challenge is asking community leaders, government officials, developers, coders and all interested citizens to get involved. The first step is to submit an idea through the Challenge website, from April 11 – May 19. This ideation phase is an opportunity to creative a collective brainstorm about what tools (apps, websites, videos, and infographics) could be built using civic data. These ideas will inform the parameters of the Challenge and teams will begin building entries to respond May 24 – July 28. Join us at www.CivicDataChallenge.org .
The Civic Data Challenge is supported by our launch partners at Innovation Enterprise who are organizing the Data Visualization Summit. DVSF is the world’s largest executive led data visualization summit and will be attended by Fortune 500 executives. The challenge is also supported by promotional partners at CEOs for Cities, DataKind, Data Visualization Summit and sponsors at Iron.io.
The fifth annual Summer Institute of Civic Studies (http://activecitizen.tufts.edu/circle/summer-institute/) will be an intensive, two-week, interdisciplinary seminar bringing together advanced graduate students, faculty, and practitioners from diverse fields of study.
Organized by Peter Levine, Tisch College, and Karol Sołtan, University of Maryland, the Summer Institute features guest seminars by distinguished colleagues from various institutions and engages participants in challenging discussions such as:
- What kinds of citizens (if any) do good regimes need?
- What should such citizens know, believe, and do?
- What practices and institutional structures promote the right kinds of citizenship?
- What ought to be the relationships among empirical evidence, ethics, and strategy?
The syllabus for the fourth annual seminar (in 2012) is here: http://activecitizen.tufts.edu/circle/summer-institute/#syllabus. The 2013 syllabus will be modified but will largely follow this outline. You can also read more about the motivation for the Institute in the “Framing Statement”: http://activecitizen.tufts.edu/circle/summer-institute/summer-institute-of-civic-studies-framing-statement/.
The daily sessions will take place from July 8-18, 2013, at the Tufts campus in Medford, MA. The seminar will be followed (from July 18 at 6 pm until July 20 at 3 pm) by a public conference–Frontiers of Democracy 2013–in downtown Boston. Participants in the institute are expected to stay for the public conference. See information on the 2012 conference: http://activecitizen.tufts.edu/circle/summer-institute/frontiers-of-democracy-innovations-in-civic-practice-theory-and-education/
Tuition for the Institute is free, but students are responsible for their own housing and transportation. A Tufts University dormitory room can be rented for $230-$280/week. Credit is not automatically offered, but special arrangements for graduate credit may be possible.
Please email your resume, an electronic copy of your graduate transcript (if applicable), and a cover email about your interests to Peter Levine at Peter.Levine@Tufts.edu. For best consideration, apply no later than March 15, 2012. You may also sign up for occasional announcements even if you are not sure that you wish to apply: http://tinyurl.com/a9qfftb