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SAVE THE DATE: 7 Revolutions Institute: April 15-16, 2010


Educating Globally Competent Citizens Institute: Strategies for Teaching 7 Revolutions

April 15-16, 2010

Washington, D.C.


Please save the date for the Educating Globally Competent Citizens Institute: Strategies for Teaching 7 Revolutions. This Institute will be a day and a half long, beginning at 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 15th and concluding on Friday, April 15th at 4 p.m.

Participants will embark on an in-depth exploration of the 7 Revolutions with experts from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the 7 Revolutions Scholars. In addition, each participant will receive a tool kit for folding the content of the 7 Revolutions into on-campus projects and courses. This practical and insightful two-day 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 courses from including First Year Experience courses, sociology, mathematics and theater.

CSIS created the 7 Revolutions to identify and analyze the key policy challenges that policymakers, business figures, and citizens will face out to the year 2025. In 2006, the American Democracy Project (ADP) partnered with CSIS to translate these 7 Revolutions into curricular and co-curricular strategies ( The program identifies seven areas of change expected to be most revolutionary:

  • Population
  • Resource management and environmental stewardship
  • Technological innovation and diffusion
  • The development and dissemination of information and knowledge
  • Economic integration
  • The nature and mode of conflict
  • The challenge of governance

Registration information will follow in early February. Please save the date and join us in Washington, D.C. as we explore strategies for educating globally competent citizens for our democracy!

IUSB American Democracy Project Students Watch Obama Address Closely

Re-posted from WSBT.

The debate over President Barack Obama’s first State of the Union address began almost immediately, across the country and here at home.

Students from Indiana University South Bend’s American Democracy Project had their own unique take on Wednesday night’s address as they watched for Obama to “change the conversation” during his speech.

Meaning, Obama wanted to shift from “stalling progress on his agenda” to “seizing the reigns” on items like the economy, health care and national security.

Obama sought to emphasize jobs and the economy, focusing more than half of his address on those issues. As for seeking to move the nation forward, whether or not he accomplished that goal depended on the issue Obama was addressing, students and professors said.

“He understands that people are skeptical and growing impatient,” said Elizabeth Bennion, a political scientist at IUSB. “And so he really did repeatedly come back to the anxiety and frustrations of the American people, and also speak to their aspirations and try to recapture that hope and optimism that made him so popular a year ago.”

The students and professors took notes in near-silence, save for the occasional grunt of disapproval of clap of support.

But there was one subject that got more applause than any other: Obama’s call to make higher education more accessible and affordable.

Still, the audience was split on other issues. Some said Obama continued to deflect too much onto the Bush administration, and failed to present clear plans to dig the country out of its recession.

Others disagreed, and said the president did address those concerns — calling for a three-year freeze on domestic spending, and asking Congress to pass a second stimulus package.

Political science student Angela Johnson said she approved of Obama’s handling of the more difficult issues.

“Like him or hate him, or whatever,” she said, “I think he’s really making some great strides toward taking action. And he doesn’t necessarily shy away from the negative, or from what’s not working. He’s willing to address those issues.”

Most of the IUSB observers felt that at this pivotal time in America, Obama set out to do what he planned with his message, even if his first State of the Union address wasn’t a slam-dunk.

The big questions: Will tonight’s speech move the Obama administration’s plans forward? And will Obama be able to capitalize on any momentum?

Bennion says the true impact of Obama’s address won’t be known until the days and weeks ahead, although he may enjoy a temporary bump in the polls.

However, she thinks the president was able to put renewed focus on his economic plan. And at the same time, he made it clear that his agenda — including health care reform — has not changed.

Collaboration and Public Service: The Kansas Corps Experiment

By:  Curt Brungardt and Chantelle Arnold, Fort Hays State University

Over the last twenty years we have witnessed a national movement among higher education to increase civic engagement.  This national movement has been achieved through the development of community service programs, political engagement activities, service learning and a multitude of other programs and activities.  Typically these programs are developed on individual campuses and benefit the community in which they reside.  Kansas is currently experimenting with a new concept that will expand these successful programs to all areas of the state using a statewide systems approach called Kansas Corps.

In concept, Kansas Corps is a pool of student volunteers from Kansas colleges and universities who serve the public service needs of the state of Kansas.  The Kansas Corps will serve as a coordinating agency that will link the various community service and volunteerism programs from Kansas higher education institutions for the direct purpose of serving the citizens of Kansas.  With a single phone call, this group of college student volunteers could be mobilized to provide disaster recovery, social services and/or community development assistance to any region of the state.  Many of the Kansas public and private institutions of higher learning have some form of a public service/volunteerism program that is designed to match college students with the local community.  The purpose of this new initiative is focusing on linking and building upon established programs to create a network of these various college programs that, when needed, could be called into action to serve the entire state. The Kansas Corps creates an opportunity for these institutions to work directly with one another and other state agencies to provide valuable public services.

Kansas Corps and it’s partners, Kansas Campus Compact and the Kansas Volunteer Commission, joined forces with the City of Melvern, Westar Energy, PRIDE Organization, and the Kansas Trails Council to test and pilot the concept.  Approximately 50 students from 6 colleges and universities of all types gathered to build hiking and biking trails to reclaim a landfill, provide an outdoor classroom, and provide an economic resource for the community of Melvern, Kansas.  The response was tremendous and provided many lessons for further development of the Kansas Corps.

Kansas Corps, the brainchild of Christine Downey-Schmidt, member of the Kansas Board of Regents, and Curt Brungardt of Fort Hays State University, has been developed over the last fourteen months into a full proposal that was recently endorsed by the entire Kansas Board of Regents.  This statewide systems community service program will be presented to the state legislature later this year.

What we’re Viewing: Kansas Corps Webpage

UW Oshkosh Debates the Obama Presidency After One Year

The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh chapter of the American Democracy Project, in conjunction with the university’s Political Science Student Association, sponsored a panel titled “Obama After One Year.” The event was held on the anniversary of President Obama’s inaugural address, and included professors from a variety of academic disciplines, as well as a student representative from the College Democrats and one from the College Republicans. The panelists offered a wide-ranging analysis of the 44th President’s first year in office, and then took questions from the audience.

Dr. Michael Lizotte (Campus Sustainability Director) commented on the impact recent Cabinet appointments have had on changing the direction of U.S. environmental policy. He stressed that the Obama appointments indicated that the administration is quite serious about enforcing environmental regulations, something a number of prior Presidents have not emphasized. Dr. Chad Cotti (Economics) analyzed health care reform, expressing the view that it is not easy to provide for full access in a system of employer-based coverage. The proposed reform would do so through an individual mandate to get health care insurance and a corporate mandate to provide it.

Dr. Michael Jaszinski (Political Science) noted the surprising lack of change brought by Obama’s foreign policy. Many treaties remain unsigned and the administration’s war strategy is essentially a continuation from the late Bush Administration. He also pointed out the difficulty of enacting a foreign policy in light of the tendency to act as if there is a permanent campaign. Dr. Siemers contrasted the incremental pace of change accomplished through governing, with the tendency of presidential candidates, like Obama, to promise sweeping reforms. This combination, he contended, contributes to cynicism as voters become frustrated with pace of change.

President of the College Republicans, John Nerat, emphasized his worries about excessive taxation and deficit spending. The College Democrats’ representative, Alan Kania, focused on the Obama Administration’s positive record on human rights.

A series of engaging questions and comments were posed by the audience. A particularly intriguing question was “How would other presidents, such as Lincoln or FDR, have looked after their first year and is it fair to judge them so soon?” An answer from the panel captured the essence of the event: “The assessment of presidents and the political system must be done with care and is an ongoing process, but it is something that every citizen should do.”

University of Arkansas – Fort Smith ADP Event Urges “Call to Service”

Re-posted with permission from UA Fort Smith News.

Light was shed on personal civic involvement Jan. 19 at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith as Dr. Alice Taylor-Colbert spoke during a ceremony recognizing actions by two local women.

Honorees were Isabelle Bass, 95, and Katherine Brown, 94, the last two living members of the local Rainbow Girls organization, a women’s auxiliary formed in 1945 that spearheaded efforts to meet needs of the Twin Cities Colored Hospital in Fort Smith.

Dr. Taylor-Colbert spoke of her own personal journey to South Africa in 2004, detailed original constitutional rights the country’s forefathers desired for all citizens, quoted from author Henry David Thoreau and reminded the audience of humanitarian efforts of former President Jimmy Carter and India’s political and spiritual leader Mohandas Gandhi. She then reminded those in attendance of the goals of slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“The success of the Civil Rights Movement was made possible by the thousands of people who acted on their consciences, their souls, their understanding of what was right and of what incredible potential for good we have in this nation,” said Dr. Taylor-Colbert.  “A democracy relies on the continuing participating of its citizens and on the continuing vigilance of its citizens to address injustices and inequities in order to fulfill the promise of the American Dream.”

Dr. Taylor-Colbert said that making the world a better place requires service for the benefit of others and the ability to see the pain, the grief, the suffering or the simple need of a friend or a neighbor.

She lauded Bass and Brown for seeing a need in the Fort Smith community and choosing to not ignore that need, which speaks to the goals of the American Democracy Project at UA Fort Smith. The ADP is a national initiative fostering responsible citizenship at all levels. UA Fort Smith’s chapter was sponsor of the event honoring Bass and Brown and commemorating the Civil Rights Movement. Dr. Taylor-Colbert, who heads the ADP chapter at UA Fort Smith, is chair of the Department of History, Geography, Political Science, Philosophy and Religious Studies.

“Not all of us can be a Gandhi or a King, or even a Carter,” she said. “We can, however, do our part.”

She said the ADP saw the Rainbow Girls organization as a symbol of the kind of civic participation that makes democracy thrive.

“For every act of kindness, for every effort of time and energy and resources to serve others, for every attempt to become informed in order to make wise decisions, for every trip to the polls to vote, for every letter or e-mail sent to a representative, for every membership in a community organization, for every attempt to right a wrong, for every effort to improve the lives of future generations,” Taylor-Colbert said, “we of the American Democracy Project thank you for accepting the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement, which is simply put, ‘the call to service.’”

Dr. Taylor-Colbert said that accepting the call to service would allow King’s dream to stay alive and become a reality.

“One day, all of God’s children — Asian, Hispanic, Caucasian, African, Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Catholic, Protestant — all of God’s children can join hands and sing, ‘Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty, free at last!’”

Dr. Taylor-Colbert received a standing ovation from the approximately 300 people in the audience, which included UA Fort Smith students, a group of students from Northside High School and members of the community.

UA Fort Smith Chancellor Dr. Paul B. Beran encouraged those assembled to become involved in their community.

“I do believe that people need to participate in civic engagement,” said Dr. Beran, “and that doesn’t happen by yourself. No person is an island.”

He went on to say that no person should be “bowling alone,” taken from the book of the same name, a book that describes the disengagement of Americans from political and civic involvement.

Dr. Beran then acknowledged the honorees and their families as well as other guests and groups attending and supporting the ADP event on campus.

Introducing Bass and Brown was Billy Higgins, associate professor of geography and history, who said he chose as a graduate student to study African American history because he “was stirred.”

“I’m still stirred,” said Higgins, lauding Bass and Brown for their lifelong stand for decency, integrity and justice.

Nichelle Christian, member of the ADP committee and Brown’s granddaughter, presented Bass and Brown with the ADP’s first Citizenship Awards. Also speaking were Fort Smith Mayor Ray Baker and Rhonda Gray, president of the Fort Smith Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta. Mariah Hall of Fort Smith, a member of UA Fort Smith’s Upsilon Kappa Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, presented bouquets of flowers to Bass and Brown at the conclusion of the ceremony.

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