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ADP Query about Tenure and Promotion Practices that Recognize Democratically Engaged Teaching and Scholarship

By Cecilia M. Orphan, National Manager, American Democracy Project

A signature feature of the American Democracy Project is its focus on creating university institutional intentionality for preparing informed, engaged citizens for our democracy. Tenure and promotion policies and practices that encourage faculty commitment to civic engagement are an important component of this institutional commitment to activating students for lives of engaged citizenship. To this end, we would like to know how your university recognizes civic education and engagement in its tenure and promotion guidelines.

An ADP Coordinator at a school in Tennessee has done preliminary investigations into how engaged learning and scholarship is recognized in tenure and promotion guidelines at a number of institutions. She found that many universities count “community-based learning” in their tenure and promotion policies. As she astutely observes, community-based learning and all that it connotes is important and critical, but it stops somewhat short of describing all that is entailed in democratically engaged teaching and scholarship. She would like to know if there “there are short, pithy, potent terms/phrases (not to replace “community-based learning” but as a conceptual supplement to it) to add throughout universities’ tenure and promotion wording as guidance objectives and touch points?”

As far as we can tell, community-based learning is fairly well embedded in many tenure and promotion guidelines (as are service learning and experiential learning). As we have often observed, though, community-based learning, service learning, and experiential learning are frameworks, processes, tools, and mechanisms for student empowerment and engagement.  The even larger goal, of course, is awakening students to active citizenship and to their responsibilities in and to a participatory democracy. So the question becomes, how do we fully articulate the role of the faculty member in activating students as citizens in a way that extends beyond discrete tools, mechanisms, and specific teaching strategies (such as service learning, community-based learning, etc.)?

The field of civic education uses a lot of different terms, sometimes without much precision. We are particularly interested in collecting precise and descriptive language as guidance for objectives and touch points for tenure and promotion guidelines, but we want to see any tenure and promotion language that refers to educating students for active citizenship.

To contribute to this discussion and share your campus’s practices, please complete this brief, online survey. Thank you in advance for your help. The results will be shared with all ADP campuses. We hope to uncover best-practices for encouraging engaged teaching and scholarship through this query.

To fill out the online query about Tenure and Promotion practices, please visit this website.

Top 10 Desired Learning Outcomes for Participants of the ADP National Meeting

By Cecilia M. Orphan, National Manager, American Democracy Project

Below you will find the “Top 10 Desired Learning Outcomes” for participants of the ADP National Meeting in Orlando, Florida, June 2-4, 2011. I know some of you who read the ADP Blog  on a regular basis will not be able to join us in Orlando. I thought I’d share these Desired Learning Outcomes, though, because they reflect the progress we have made in ADP and the major lessons we have learned over the past nine years.

As many of you know, the ADP National Meeting is not a traditional academic conference. At the Meeting we hope to engage in a process of national cross-pollination. We have the goal of showcasing individual campus lessons learned and challenges faced throughout the ADP network. To this end, we encourage our presenters to compose presentations that give an assessment of what has worked on their campuses, what has not worked, and how challenges to doing civic work have been overcome.

I sent the list of learning outcomes to all presenters yesterday and I encouraged them to think outside of the PowerPoint presentation box. It will be exciting to see the types of presentations and sessions are created that will meet these desired learning outcomes.

Please plan to join us for the 9th Annual American Democracy Project National Meeting in Orlando, Florida, June 2-4, 2011. Registration, conference and hotel information can be found on this website.

Top 10 Desired Learning Outcomes for Participants of the ADP National Meeting

Ways of Knowing

1. Understand the field of civic engagement. What contributions has higher education made to the civic engagement movement? Get to know the major players in the American Democracy Project and where we are heading as a project.

2. Understand your community through engagement. Get to know the root causes of community problems and how universities might leverage their resources to solve these problems.

3. Understand higher education’s role in American democracy. What role does higher education play in ensuring we improve on and protect American democracy? Think about the major successes of the civic engagement movement and think about the important next steps for the movement.

Ways of Thinking

4. Think in terms of culture change. Much of the focus in ADP is on institutional intentionality. How might the culture of your campus be changed to create a focus on preparing students as citizens?

5. Think in terms of student learning outcomes. What are the best strategies for equipping undergraduate students with the skills, knowledge, and attitudes they need to be informed, engaged citizens? How can we effectively assess student learning outcomes?

6. Think in terms of networks. How might the ADP network aid you in your work on campus? What contributions can you make to the civic engagement movement through your involvement with the ADP network? How might you tap the networks in your community to solve public problems and activate student citizen leaders? Use the ADP National Meeting as a time to mine for program ideas and strategies that will help you institutionalize civic engagement on your campus.

Ways of Interacting

7. Think in terms of student leadership. How might students be activated as civic leaders on campus? How might faculty and students form equitable partnerships to prepare informed, engaged citizens?

8. Think in terms of reciprocity. How might university leaders create equitable partnerships with community leaders to address and solve community-based problems? What are the different types of expertise needed to do public work?

9. Think in terms of “We the People.” How might the university be used as a civic space for public work? How might university and community leaders partner with elected officials to solve public problems?

Ways of Being

10. Think in terms of Civic Agency. How might we activate our students and ourselves to be civic agents and architects of democracy? What does authentic civic leadership look like and how might we embody it on our campus and in our communities?

Fort Hays State Launches a Service Learning Initiative

By Cecilia M. Orphan, National Manager, American Democracy Project

This week’s Campus Spotlight is on Fort Hays State University (FHSU). Fort Hays recently won financial support from the Welch Charitable Fund to encourage faculty members to use service learning in their teaching. Service Learning, when combined with community organizing tactics and effective reflection activities, can be an important civic pedagogical tool that will help students develop their citizenship skills. The press release below describes the details of the new FHSU initiative.



Faculty members at Fort Hays State University (FHSU) now have extra
incentive to employ service learning, a pedagogical strategy in which students learn through a unique educational experience that incorporates reflective learning and service to the internal FHSU community and the broader civic community of which the university is a part.
The Provost’s Service Learning Faculty Fellows Program (PSLFFP), instituted by FHSU Provost Dr. Larry Gould and the university’s Service Learning Committee, will award up to four $1,500 fellowships each year with the goals of increasing the number of available service learning courses and contributing to the integrity and value of service learning as part of tenure, promotion, sabbatical and merit processes and decision making.

“The new program will be an excellent way to help meet the teaching and scholarship expectations of the university’s relatively new and broadened definition of scholarship passed by the Faculty Senate,” said Gould.

“Equally important, it will enhance the opportunity for faculty to earn recognition for their efforts to create innovative experiences that foster learning by doing and to include those innovations in their case for merit, tenure and promotion.”

The PSLFFP is supported in cooperation with resources provided by George Welch and the Welch Charitable Fund. Welch is a successful entrepreneur in real-estate development, transportation, manufacturing, finance and banking.

Dr. Stacey Smith, chair of the FHSU Service Learning Committee, has worked with Welch. “George Welch has spent many years as an outstanding businessman with a passion for education and community work,” she said.

“His personal and business ventures have given him the opportunity to mentor many young individuals, including myself. I look forward to sharing with George the growth of service learning initiatives on the FHSU campus that will be made a reality as a result of his generosity,” said Smith.

The application process for the first set of service learning fellows is now under way. The application deadline is 4pm on Tuesday, May 3, 2011.  The first group of Faculty Fellows will be notified on May 13. Applications are available through the chair of the Service Learning Committee or the Office of the Provost.

The applications must include a description of the applicant’s service learning project, a statement of why the applicant is motivated to participate in service learning and what he or she expects to gain from their involvement in the Service Learning Fellows program.

Selections will be made by a panel that includes members of the university’s Service Learning Committee and, eventually, five current and former service learning fellows as the program reaches full implementation. Appointments begin on July 1 of each fiscal year and end 18 months later, on Dec. 31. The $1,500 stipend will be disbursed every six months, in increments of $300, $450 and $750. The Welch Charitable Fund has committed resources to support the program for five years.

Training for fellows is divided into two phases, professional development and academic leadership.  In the professional development phase, fellows will participate in an orientation and development workshop, develop a service learning course, and perform annual service as a member of the Service Learning Committee.

During the academic leadership phase, fellows are required to give presentations on the purpose and practice of service learning to internal and external audiences and teach at least one course that includes a service learning component. To keep the service learning title beyond the end of the fellowship period, faculty will be asked to meet a number of expectations and responsibilities contained in the program’s charter document.

Individuals with questions or a need for further information should contact the Service Learning Chair, Stacey Smith at 628-4696 or email her.

Join an Online Discussion on Economic Security: Saturday, April 30

By Beth Offenbacker and Bill Corbett, The Center for Voter Deliberation of Northern Virginia

You are invited to join a continuing National Issues Forum in the virtual world of Second Life on Saturday April 30 at 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time).  The topic is economic security in America.

Participants in our first forum, two months ago, focused on how best to take charge of the future so families can feel reasonably secure, parents can help their children prosper, and everyone can move toward a financially stable retirement.

We had a small and like-minded group, one that was more concerned about the actions of government than individuals in failing to prevent the nation’s recent recession and in needing to take further steps to remedy it.

“I hadn’t realized before how fundamental is a properly functioning financial system….Because of the distortions in the financial system supported by government, the financial system is not doing its traditional job of supporting innovation throughout the entire economy.”

“I wasn’t thinking about how the current economic crisis is an opportunity to question the fundamental design principles of our economy such as whether we even want to return to the same kind of economy we had in 2008. It would be useful to think about how to rebuild in a better way than we had before.”

We hope to broaden the discussion on April 30, and to add your point of view.

To register and get information on how to join Second Life (it’s free), please email the organizers  or complete this online form.  Registration will close at noon on Friday April 29.

Earth Day the ADP Way: Query and Campus Spotlights

By Cecilia M. Orphan, National Manager, American Democracy Project

Happy Earth Day!

“Each year, Earth Day – April 22 – marks the anniversary of what many consider the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970 (from the Earth Day Network website).” ADP campuses have long celebrated this important day of environmental awareness and action through celebrations and service projects. This year’s Earth Day is no different. Below you will find descriptions of Earth Day celebrations that are planned on three ADP campuses.

Earth Day Query: Are you an ADP Campus Representative? Is your campus planning celebrations for Earth Day? If so, please take a moment to fill out this brief query so that we can gather your great ideas and share them with the rest of the ADP Network.

Earth Day the ADP Way: Campus Spotlights

Northern Arizona University: Earth Day Extravaganza!

Earth Event: NAU Earth Day Extravaganza & Outdoors Gear Swap
As part of the city-wide celebrations for Earth Day, NAU will be hosting its own Earth Day Extravaganza and Outdoors Gear Swap. This event will be on the 2nd Floor of the University Union Expansion and outside the Union Expansion. Come join us for free food, conversation with student groups, and a gear swap! 

Earth Event: CHEI First Indigenous Music Bash
As part of the celebrations for Earth Day, the CHEI Club, The Applied Indigenous Studies Department, Department of Health and Human Services, The Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and the Student Association Council proudly present the 1st Annual Indigenous Music Bash. Performers include Nation’s Ensemble, Pax Harvey, Kupa’aina, Pamyua, Wade Fernandez, and Black Fire. Along with this, there will be activity and information booths set up by student organizations, departments and community members, following with the Indigenous and environmental themes of the event. There will also be a raffle that includes items donated by local community members to raise money to create a scholarship fund for Native students. So come out and “BASH YOUR HEAD NOT THE EARTH!”

Earth Event: Green Room Earth Day Celebration
The Student Environmental Caucus will be hosting an Earth Day celebration at the Green Room. Tickets are $5 for NAU Students, Staff, and Faculty and $10 for community members. Contact the Student Environmental Caucus for more information or to reserve a ticket. The Green Room is located at 15 N Agassiz St in Flagstaff. 

Western Kentucky University: One Planet Day

Students at WKU are re-imagining this year’s Earth Day festivities under the new theme of One Planet Day. The idea for One Planet Daycame from the One Planet Living framework of sustainability developed by the World Wildlife Fund and BioRegional. One Planet Living features 10 principles of sustainability including Zero Carbon, Zero Waste, Sustainable Transport, Local and Sustainable Building Materials, Local and Sustainable Food, Sustainable Water, Natural Habitats and Wildlife, Culture and Heritage, Equity and Fair Trade and Health and Happiness.

One Planet Day is about going beyond what we typically associate with being green,” said Charlie Harris, One Planet Day student organizer. “We want to challenge everyone, whether they’re completely new to sustainability or a seasoned greenie, to take the next step in their personal commitment to living a better, more sustainable life.” Friday’s One Planet Day events are just one part of the annual Earth Week festivities at WKU which begin Wednesday night at 7 with a lecture in Mass Media and Technology Hall Auditorium by Sarah Lynn Cunningham called The Elegant Solution, Climate Solutions Cut Costs, Create Jobs and Stabilize Our Economy.

Thursday night will feature a One Planet Day-themed Poetry Slam from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Downing University Center Courtyard. On Friday, students, faculty and others will have the opportunity to receive One Planet Day punch cards at informational booths across campus. For each One Planet Day action pledge one makes they will receive a punch on their card. Once all 10 sustainability principles have been punched they can turn in their card to be eligible for one of many free prizes including a ride in a hot air balloon.

Harris and other student organizers hope to take the message of One Planet Day beyond WKU’s campus. They’ve partnered with a non-profit design group to launch the One Planet Website and a Facebook page where people all around the world can pledge to take action and change their profile pictures to take part in the One Planet Day digital mosaic to promote sustainable living.

Other highlights of One Planet Day at WKU will include a DIY fair on South Lawn; photography competition and silent auction; Tree Campus USA Flag Raising with President Gary Ransdell; an Earth Day speech by Dr. Bob Hatfield, Executive Faculty MBA Coordinator; a campus garbology project and a recycled materials fashion show. One Planet Day will conclude with a celebration of cultural diversity at the annual International Night in Downing University Center’s fourth floor.

One Planet Day is a project of Campus Conscience, a new initiative based out of WKU that seeks to unite unique socially and environmentally conscious events, campaigns and initiatives taking place at WKU and around the world.

Check out the complete list of One Planet Day events. (Description taken from WKU News Blog.)

Middle Tennessee State University

Want to show you’re green while being true to the blue? Join MTSU’s Students for Environmental Action and the American Democracy Project Student Organization, who are sponsoring an Earth Day celebration on Thursday, April 21.

Students are circulating posters with the day’s itinerary, which includes a free document-shredding service, recycling information, music, special guests and vendors, all on the Keathley University Center Knoll.

Earth Day is usually observed on April 22, but MTSU organizers moved up their event date to accommodate the Good Friday holiday and ensure that more people can participate.

“Raiders Recycle” T-shirts and tote bags, in bright spring colors and in tie-dye, will be for sale on the Knoll on April 21. The celebration is scheduled for 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., and events include:

  • free shredding and recycling of documents by MaxShred of Murfreesboro, 10 a.m.-noon;
  • acoustic music and a poetry slam, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.;
  • entertainment by DJ B. Roll, 2-4 p.m.; and
  • a yard sale by Young Americans for Liberty.

Special guests include representatives from Rover, Murfreesboro’s public transportation system; The Nature Conservancy; Procycling Bicycle Repair; the Center for Environmental Education; the Murfreesboro Electric Department; Origins beauty products; Scott Atkins for Kangen; and Drs. Cliff Ricketts, Charles Perry and Ngee Sing Chong , who will bring the latest green inventions.

For drive-through and drop-off of materials for shredding at MTSU’s Earth Day event, recyclers should enter campus from East Main Street onto North Baird Lane, turn right onto Alumni Drive and then left on Friendship Street to circle through the Davis Science Building parking lot. Students will unload papers there for shredding by MaxShred.

For more details, visit the SEA website at or email

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