Posts Tagged 'What We’re Reading'

[What We're Reading] The Impossible Will Take a Little While by Paul Loeb

ImpossibleCoverSmallPaul Loeb, founder of the Campus Election Engagement Project, has a wholly updated edition of his political hope anthology, The Impossible Will Take a Little While. And free exam copies are available either through his publisher, along with his classic civic engagement study Soul of a Citizen, or first come/first served at the upcoming 2014 ADP/TDC National Meeting.

The Impossible explores how the leaders and unsung heroes of world-changing political movements have persevered in the face of cynicism, fear, and seemingly overwhelming odds. After 22 printings and adoption at hundreds of colleges—in every discipline, from first-year common readings to graduate seminars—Editor Paul Rogat Loeb has comprehensively updated the book. It explores what it’s like to go up against Goliath, whether South African apartheid, the dictatorships of Mubarak’s Egypt or Communist Eastern Europe, racial or sexual prejudice in America, or the corporations driving escalating climate change. These stories don’t sugarcoat the obstacles. But they inspire hope by showing what keeps us keeping on.

The Impossible creates a conversation among some of the most visionary and eloquent voices of our times, or any time: Think Nelson Mandela, Maya Angelou, Vaclav Havel, Bill Moyers, and Howard Zinn. Alice Walker, Mary Pipher, Jonathan Kozol, Diane Ackerman, Tony Kushner, Bill McKibben, Paul Hawken, and Marian Wright Edelman. Cornel West, Terry Tempest Williams, Pablo Neruda, Audre Lorde, and Desmond Tutu. Loeb has added valuable new essays, worked with existing authors to update their contributions, and updated his own introductions to speak to a time when students need models for hope more than ever.

For more on this book or to purchase, click here.

Frontiers of Democracy conference 2014 – July 16-18 in Boston

Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service, the Democracy Imperative, and the Deliberative Democracy Consortium present:

Frontiers of Democracy
July 16-18, 2014
Tufts University, Boston, MA

Register  |   Preliminary Agenda

Who’s on the bus, and where is it going? The state of the civic field
Civic work is proliferating: many different kinds of people, working in different contexts and issue areas, are expanding the ways in which citizens engage with government, community, and each other. It is increasingly clear that growing inequality, social and political fragmentation, and lack of democratic opportunities are undermining our efforts to address public priorities such as health, education, poverty, the environment, and government reform.

But attempts to label the responses – as “civic engagement,” “collaborative governance,” “deliberative democracy,” or “public work” – or to articulate them as one movement or policy agenda under a heading like “civic renewal” or “stronger democracy” – immediately spark debates about substance, strategy, and language.

Though it is clear we have many principles and practices in common, we differ on what we should call this work and where it is headed. In order for “overlapping civic coalitions”* to form, the potential  partners would have to work through goals, assumptions, and differences. Register now and join us July 16-18 for an invigorating, argumentative, civil discussion on the state and future of the civic field.

Visit the Frontiers of Democracy website for more information and a preliminary agenda.

* Peter Levine, We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For, chapter 7 (“Strategies”)

What We’re Reading: Bringing Theory to Practice’s Civic Studies volume

civic studies

Civic Studies | Edited by Peter Levine and Karol Edward Sołtan

Bringing Theory to Practice’s Civic Studies, the third monograph in The Civic Series, is composed of nine scholarly but accessible essays written by scholars from diverse disciplines and nationalities who address such questions as, “What should good citizens know and do? What scholarly knowledge is useful to citizens?” More information about Civic Studies and The Civic Series.

PART 1 Overview

The Case for Civic Studies |  Peter Levine
The Emerging Field of a New Civics |  Karol Edward Sołtan

PART 2 The Art and Science of Association: The Bloomington School

Artisans of the Common Life: Building a Public Science of Civics | Filippo Sabetti
Citizenship, Political Competence, and Civic Studies: The Ostromian Perspective | Paul Dragos Aligica

PART 3 Deliberative Participation

Deliberative Civic Engagement: Connecting Public Voices to Public Governance | Tina Nabatchi and Greg Munno
The Challenge of Promoting Civic Participation in Poor Countries |  Ghazala Mansuri and Vijayendra Rao

PART 4 Public Work

Transforming Higher Education in a Larger Context: The Civic Politics of Public Work | Harry C. Boyte and Blase Scarnati
Citizen-Centered Research for Civic Studies: Bottom Up, Problem Driven, Mixed Methods, Interdisciplinary |  Sanford Schram
Public Sociology, Engaged Research, and Civic Education | Philip Nyden

View the full monograph here.

What We’re Reading: Anchor Dashboard Paper

Our friends at The Democracy Collaborative authored a white paper The Anchor Dashboard, designed to help colleges and universities assess the long-term impact of their programs, initiatives, and economic activity on the well-being of low-income children, families, and communities. The concept of anchor institutions aligns nicely with AASCU’s conception of our member institutions as Stewards of Place (see this 2002 monograph here).

The Dashboard identifies 12 indicators that anchor institutions can use to assess current local conditions and evaluate

institutional progress in aligning their activities with community needs. Made possible by support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the report draws on over 75 in-depth interviews with leaders of anchor institutions, national nonprofit organizations, federal agencies, and community organizations.

The paper will be the centerpiece of an upcoming briefing this fall at the Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, DC (rescheduled because of the federal government shutdown). The Anchor Dashboard has been profiled in Next City and on the San Francisco Federal Reserve’s “What Works” website.

Download the report

What We’re Reading: Levine’s We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For

We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting for: The Promise of Civic Renewal in America (Hardcover)


Chronic unemployment, deindustrialized cities, and mass incarceration are among the grievous social problems that will not yield unless American citizens address them.

Peter Levine’s We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For is a primer for anyone motivated to help revive our fragile civic life and restore citizens’ public role. After offering a novel theory of active citizenship, a diagnosis of its decline, and a searing critique of our political institutions, Levine-one of America’s most influential civic engagement activists-argues that American citizens must address our most challenging issues. People can change the norms and structures of their own communities through deliberative civic action. He illustrates rich and effective civic work by drawing lessons from YouthBuild USA, Everyday Democracy, the Industrial Areas Foundation, and many other civic groups. Their organizers invite all citizens-including traditionally marginalized people, such as low-income teenagers-to address community problems. Levine explores successful efforts from communities across America as well as from democracies overseas. He shows how cities like Bridgeport, CT and Allentown, PA have bounced back from the devastating loss of manufacturing jobs by drawing on robust civic networks. The next step is for the participants in these local efforts to change policies that frustrate civic engagement nationally.

Filled with trenchant analysis and strategies for reform, We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For analyzes and advocates a new citizen-centered politics capable of tackling problems that cannot be fixed in any other way.

Product Details
ISBN-10: 019993942X
ISBN-13: 9780199939428
Published: Oxford University Press, USA, 10/01/2013
Pages: 239
Language: English


ADP is co-sponsoring a discussion and book signing  featuring Peter Levine at Teaching for Change’s Bookstore at Busboys and Poets in Washington, DC!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 | 6:30 to 8:30 PM 
Busboys and Poets – 14th & V (Washington, DC)


The Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools
National Council for the Social Studies
National Conference of Citizenship
Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy, George Mason
Street Law, Inc.
Teaching for Change
Busboys and Poets

What We’re Reading: Ehrlich’s Civic Work, Civic Lessons (forthcoming 2013)

Civic Work Civic Lessons book imageTom Ehrlich, civic scholar and close ADP friend (as well as a recipient of our Spirit of Democracy Award!), has a forthcoming book that’s on our reading list! Make sure to check it out!

Book Summary:

Civic Work, Civic Lessons explains how and why people of all ages, and particularly young people, should engage in public service as a vocation or avocation. Its authors are 57 years apart, but united in their passion for public service, which they term “civic work.” The book provides unique intergenerational perspectives. Thomas Ehrlich spent much of his career in the federal government. Ernestine Fu started a non-profit organization at an early age and then funded projects led by youth. Both have engaged in many other civic activities. An introductory chapter is followed by seven key lessons for success in civic work. Each lesson includes a section by each author. The sections by Ehrlich draw mainly on his experiences. Those by Fu draw on her civic work and that of many young volunteers whom the co-authors interviewed. The concluding chapter focuses on leveraging technologies for civic work. All profits received by the authors from the sale of this book will be donated to philanthropic organizations.

For more information: 

Download this flier and purchasing form to take advantage of a 20% discount!

What We’re Reading: Teaching Civic Engagement — From Student to Active Citizen

The American Political Science Association (APSA) is pleased to announce the release of Teaching Civic Engagement: From Student to Active Citizen compiled by editors Alison Rios Millett McCartney, Elizabeth A. Bennion (an ADP campus coordinator and faculty member at Indiana University South Bend!), and Dick Simpson and with contributions from political scientists leading research on civic engagement within the discipline and related fields. Covering a wide range of critical discussions over 27 chapters, this work is a significant and timely contribution to the study of civic engagement.

Table of Contents
Book Preview

There is also a website ( offered as an additional resource and as an extension of the book. It provides concrete examples of how educators from fields ranging from American government to comparative politics have built methods of teaching active citizenship into their coursework. Visitors will find sample syllabi, examples of class projects, and boilerplates for assessments that correspond to the chapters featured in the edited volume. In addition, lists of references for each section of the volume are provided.

Happy 10th Anniversary ADP! (2003 – 2013)


The American Democracy Project (ADP) is featured on the cover and in a five-page spread in the spring 2013 issue of AASCU’s Public Purpose magazine! This feature is in commemoration of ADP’s 10th Anniversary (2003 – 2013).

“Marking a Major Milestone for Civic Engagement,” an article by writer Kathy Harvatt summarizes the current state of ADP and includes photos from Western Carolina University, SUNY’s College at Brockport, Weber State University (Utah), UW Oshkosh, and Indiana State University. Also featured in the article are Washington State University Vancouver; Metropolitan State University of Denver; Missouri State University; Fort Hays State University (Kan.); and Georgia College.

Make sure to read ADP founder and AASCU Vice President George Mehaffy’s commentary entitled “The American Democracy Project: Lessons Learned and the Road Ahead.”

You’ll find descriptions of ADP’s seven (7) current Civic Engagement in Action Series initiatives on pp. 12 and 13. And, finally, on the inside back cover there’s a listing of current ADP participating campuses.

You’ll find the five page ADP Public Purpose feature here. You’ll find additional articles from the current issue of Public Purpose here. (Note: hard copies of the magazine are always mailed to AASCU Presidents.)



What We’re Reading: eCitizenship Special Issue of the eJournal of Public Affairs


Volume 2, Issue 1 of the eJournal of Public Affairs — a collaborative effort between Missouri State University and AASCU’s American Democracy Project was just released. This is a special issue dedicated to ADP’s eCitizenship Initiative and is guest edited by the Faculty Chair of eCitizenship, Mike Stout who is an associate professor of sociology at Missouri State.

This special issue contains a Guest Editor’s Introduction and three peer-reviewed articles that consider ways in which social media is being used to further civic learning goals. You’ll find abstracts of the introduction and the articles below and more information about ADP’s eCitizenship Initiative here.

Guest Editor’s Introduction

Guest Editor’s Introduction

Michael Stout, Ph.D.
Apr 29, 2013 • Vol 2, Issue 1
On occasion the eJournal of Public Affairs publishes special issues highlighting research and best practices related to American Democracy Project (ADP) initiatives. This special issue is organized around the ADP eCitizenship initiative and it highlights three projects that relate to ways social media technologies are being used to teach students civic skills on four college campuses in the United States.
Civil Dialogue for the Twenty-First Century: Two Models for Promoting Thoughtful Dialogue Around Current Issues on a College Campus

Civil Dialogue for the Twenty-First Century: Two Models for Promoting Thoughtful Dialogue Around Current Issues on a College Campus

Emma Humphries, Ph.D., Shelby Taylor and H. Anne Weiss
Apr 29, 2013 • Vol 2, Issue 1
This manuscript describes two models for promoting civil dialogue around important social and political issues on a college campus—Democracy Plaza at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and The Civil Debate Wall at the University of Florida (UF)— and examines the differing types of expression fostered by each platform, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of each platform. By doing so, it offers important insights for institutions of higher learning that seek to promote not just civil dialogue, but also a culture of civility and engagement, on their respective campuses. Whether armed with a budget of one million dollars or just one thousand dollars, campuses can and should create spaces for meaningful dialogue surrounding important issues.

iPolitics: Talking Government with the American Idol GenerationiPolitics: Talking Government with the American Idol Generation

William J. Miller, Ph.D.
Apr 29, 2013 • Vol 2, Issue 1
In 2008, Mark Bauerlein sent a shot across the bow of the Millennial generation, suggesting in The Dumbest Generation that no one in our country under the age of 30 could be trusted. Bauerlein warned that: Millennials “care about what occurred last week in the cafeteria, not what took place during the Great Depression…they heed the words of Facebook, not the Gettysburg Address.” Yet this should not be the case since the constant communication amongst their peer groups has made it so that “equipped with a Blackberry and laptop, sporting a flashy profile page and a blog…teenagers pass words and images back and forth 24/7.” In this article, I conduct a survey of Millennial college students to test their political knowledge and awareness in comparison to their understanding of pop culture. I then see how they respond to the unspoken challenge issued to them by Bauerlein.

Tomorrow’s People: Using Facebook to Advance Civic Engagement  and Global Learning in a First-Year Seminar

Tomorrow’s People: Using Facebook to Advance Civic Engagement and Global Learning in a First-Year Seminar

Carlton A. Usher II, Ph.D.

Apr 29, 2013 • Vol 2, Issue 1
This research examines the use of Facebook as an instructional tool in two first-year seminar courses during two consecutive years. The convergence of social media and in-class instruction throughout the semesters was examined to identify whether Facebook has positive utility in teaching and learning. The areas of convergence focused on two learning outcomes, global learning and civic awareness and engagement. In order to assess learning effectiveness and participation, student perception of the efficacy of convergence was collected using an automated response and data collection system. Additionally, pre- and post-course surveys, real-time assessment of learning goals, and a questionnaire on Facebook were used to assess Facebook utility. This research found a significant level of viability for Facebook in a first-year seminar course for students in transition. Accordingly this research offers the foundation for the use of Facebook as a pedagogical technique and how to best execute these learning opportunities. While research concerning Facebook utility appears to offer mixed assessment of value, these results are consistent with the ever-increasing evaluation that tends to offer a positive assessment of Facebook’s viability and effectiveness.

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