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Civic Engagement Job Postings: UMBC, An Honors University in Maryland

Occasionally I am sent job postings for civic engagement opportunities within the AASCU network. Below you will find two recent job listings. Please pass these along to anyone you know of who is looking for an exciting opportunity to do civic work at an AASCU school. – Jen Domagal-Goldman

UMBC’s Office of Student Life has gone through a restructuring process that makes a focus on the development of students’ civic agency more central to their work. Two new positions are now open:

Coordinator for Campus and Civic Engagement (focused on supporting our student government as a catalyst for engagement), and

Coordinator for Leadership Development and Education (focused on helping students learn from their leadership experiences).

Both positions will report to David Hoffman, the Assistant Director of Student Life for Civic Agency. UMBC is specifically interested in candidates who have a passion for democracy and some familiarity with the ideas behind our collective work.  For best consideration,  candidates should apply within the next week or so.

Interview with Neesha Tambe, intern for The Democracy Commitment

The American Democracy Project is helping to launch a new partner and parallel civic engagement initiative for our community college colleagues called The Democracy Commitment, or “TheDC.” TheDC debuted at the ADP 2011 national meeting in Orlando last month, and currently has 24 member institutions, representing over 40 individual campuses. Neesha Tambe is helping to get TheDC off the ground while serving as an intern here at AASCU. This interview introduces Neesha as she offers her perspective on TheDC and its important role in ensuring that higher education assists all students in becoming informed, engaged citizens.

Neesha Tambe

Born and raised in the Silicon Valley/Bay Area, Neesha A. Tambe has spent her entire life in California in one of the most diverse communities in the nation. She graduated in June from De Anza Community College and will enroll as a junior at Georgetown University, studying sociology with a concentration in social justice. Having been heavily involved on campus at De Anza, Neesha served Executive Vice President of the Student Body representing roughly 25,000 students of varied backgrounds and experiences. She also spent six months as a Congressional Intern for her Representative (Honda, CA-15) and was the lead student organizer for a local campaign to support the Foothill – De Anza (FHDA) Community College District.

Neesha Tambe

Although she is not sure exactly what the future holds for her, Neesha plans to synthesize the many voices and needs of the people to create policy that better serves the youth in the country, with an emphasis on the use of dialogue versus debate. In addition to her organizing and activism, Neesha is a classically trained Pointé dancer and has practiced more than 10 different styles of dance, Indian and Western. Neesha is very excited to be working to launch The Democracy Commitment this summer, and looks forward to empowering the next generation of informed and engaged citizens.


American Democracy Project (ADP): How did you get involved with TheDC?

Neesha A. Tambe (NAT): I walked into an Introduction to Sociology lecture on the first day of college at De Anza College, only to hear the professor bluntly state, “The American Dream does not exist.” As a native Californian, born to immigrant parents who pulled themselves up by their bootstraps, I was floored by his statement. Soon, however, I began to understand that many people – especially young people – experience a great disconnect with our government, and I became seriously concerned about the future of our democracy.

In an effort to participate in the system and protect the interests of my fellow students, I decided to run for and was elected as the Executive Vice President of the De Anza Associated Student Body Senate. Along with the Student Body President and the student leaders before us who laid the foundation, we worked through the year to foster sustainable activism throughout the student body, organizing both in the college itself as well at the statewide level.

After my experience as a lead student organizer for a campaign to locally fund the FHDA Community College District, my training in Wellstone Action, and my participation in Asian Pacific American Leadership Institute (APALI), I learned about the American Democracy Project and the intention to found a parallel national initiative that would foster community colleges’ efforts to cultivate informed, engaged citizens for our democracy. When Dr. Murphy, the President of De Anza College, asked if I would be interested in interning in Washington, DC for The Democracy Commitment, I jumped at the opportunity to do my part in ensuring the health of our democratic nation.

ADP: Tell us more about what you’re working on as the Summer Intern for TheDC?

NAT: This summer, will be a very busy time for The Democracy Commitment as we launch the national community college initiative to foster community and civic engagement on campuses. Over the course of six short weeks, I will be working to develop the organization’s internal and external communication structures and processes; produce a basic social media toolkit and plan; delineate and identify key project processes (including a welcome process); generate a formal expansion plan; create a wiki; and begin to develop national networks and partnerships. Also, I will be preparing for the TheDC’s National Signatory Event on November 4, 2011 at The New York Times.

ADP:  What do you see as the relationship between TheDC and ADP?

NAT:   As over 50% of the students from AASCU institutions matriculate from community colleges, I see the partnership between The Democracy Commitment and ADP as integral to the sustainable development of students as informed and engaged citizens. Students who have community and civic engagement training from community colleges can get lost in the shuffle as they transition to a four year institution. We plan to build a pathway between community college students and ADP/AASCU institutions so as to continue and build upon the development of the students. I believe that ADP’s experience and network are essential to the successful launch of TheDC, but that through joint programming and information sharing, TheDC will also inform and strengthen ADP.

ADP:  What are your hopes for the future – in terms of TheDC and youth civic engagement more broadly?

NAT:   In terms of TheDC, we hope to change the perception of community colleges from vocational and transfer institutions to colleges dedicated to creating the next generation of informed and engaged citizens prepared to protect and defend the health of our country. It is so essential for youth to know that we do in fact have a say in our country and that our voices matter.

It is my desire to see youth civic engagement integrated into the very core of education. It is often said that youth are apathetic about becoming involved in their communities, but this apathy does not come from the idea that being civically involved isn’t important; it comes from the feeling that what we have to say doesn’t matter and will never make a difference. But it can, and it does. I believe that TheDC can empower students to know that we can make a difference, and that we have the power to change the world.

We the People Interview Series: Interview with Stephanie South

As part of the Civic Agency initiative, we are conducting a special “We the People” interview series. In this series, we interview intriguing people with different perspectives on the “We the People” phase of our work in ADP. This is the fourth of many interviews that will be included in this series.

A Colorado native, Stephanie South was born and raised on the beautiful Western Slope and finished a B.A. in political science at the University of Northern Colorado in May 2010. She minored in journalism and legal studies and was actively involved on campus as a member of Student Senate, Greek life, the President’s Leadership Program, and the Honors Program. She also studied abroad in the south of France. During her third and final year of college, Stephanie focused her efforts largely on her undergraduate thesis and recently had a portion of her work published as “Making the Move from Shouting to Listening to Public Action: A Student Perspective on Millennials and Dialogue” in the Journal of Public Deliberation.

Stephanie’s collegiate experiences were both broad and diverse, instilling in her a passion for service, Middle Eastern politics, civic engagement, community, and travel.  She spends her free time taking photos, planning trips, working out, and reading Time magazine.  Stephanie is currently exploring overseas volunteer opportunities with hopes of pursuing a year of service post-Fellowship. She eventually plans to attend law school and is extremely interested in advocating for social justice issues.

Stephanie South

American Democracy Project (ADP): Why were you interested in civic engagement?

Stephanie South (SS): In my three years at the University of Northern Colorado, I was a part of the University Honors Program. During my second year of college, the Center for Honors, Scholars, and Leadership, which houses the program, was in the midst of a transition and beginning to shift its focus to incorporate civic engagement more fully. The then director of the University Honors Program, Kaye Holman, and the director of the Center, Michael Kimball, encouraged me to explore the concept of civic engagement in higher education for a possible thesis topic, but at the time, as I was wrapping up classes and preparing to move to Washington, D.C. for the summer, I was not fully enthusiastic about identifying the subject for my thesis, which I had been putting off for a good month or so.

However, before I got on the road for D.C., Mike gave me a copy of Harry Boyte’s The Citizen Solution: How You Can Make a Difference to read on the 25-hour road trip; not long after starting it, I was hooked. In the months that followed, I worked with Mike to narrow my topic, and somehow he convinced Harry to sign on as an external advisor, which I was both honored by and thrilled about.

My passion for civic engagement and my interest in the nearly yearlong project I undertook for my University Honors Program thesis were a direct result of Kaye’s and Mike’s willingness to mentor and push me and, of course, Harry’s book.

ADP: What did you learn about public work as a way to shift Millennials from “shouting” to “co-creation”?

SS: Boyte’s work was extremely influential not only in my writing but in my own life as a student. I found his take on democracy—his public work philosophy—a perfect expression of how I thought humankind should function, of how I thought students at a university should function. I remember a piece Boyte once wrote where he quoted a student he had interviewed, and the student said something about an essential missing piece in the lives of Millennials, a disconnect from their communities.

As a student who was actively and perhaps overly involved in my campus, I did not identify with this, but I saw so many students around me that did. They were simply passing through their college experience, and for most of them, despite popular opinion, it was not the result of apathy. It was disengagement perpetuated by a broken system of higher education. The break I speak of, although I know there are more, is in regard to how students are taught in the classroom and what they are taught about. Students I conducted focus groups with, as well as interviewed one-on-one, were not being engaged by teachers talking to instead of speaking with them. They were tired of one-way conversations had by PowerPoint. They were disappointed with the lack of real world application and context they were learning with their subject matter.

It began to dawn on me that students were being treated like consumers with all sorts of propaganda simply being shouted at them. What they really wanted and what America really needs is for students to be treated like citizens; for students to become stakeholders in their own lives and communities, to translate their professional purpose into one that exists for public benefit, to become problem solvers and co-creators and co-producers of public goods.

ADP: What did your experiences and what you learned at UNCO have to say about the broader movement for civic empowerment and educational change?

SS: If American colleges and universities want to get back to their roots and truly make higher education about more than getting students in and out the door with a degree as fast as possible, then they must answer the call for community. Our institutions must work not only to educate students on how the collective can be created and on the power of it, but they must foster opportunities for the intentional conversations that allow community to thrive. And, if this generation, the Millennials, is to truly reach its potential and make a return to the commonwealth, then higher education must give them the proper instruction to be citizens. They must not only teach them how to utilize their collegiate experiences and chose career path to contribute to their communities, but they must empower students to do so by giving them a voice, and, therefore, a stake in the commonwealth.

However, this is a two-way street, and if higher education institutions are willing to give students the stage, students have to step of to the mic[rophone]. This conversation cannot be a monologue; both parties have to add their voice to the exchange. As a result of my thesis and the conversations I had with students, professors, and administrators during the course of my research, I believe that higher education reform in the sense that I see it is entirely possible if both university professionals and students commit to making the move from “shouting” to “listening.”

Civic Engagement Job Posting: Executive Director, Center for Service and Learning, IUPUI

Occasionally I am sent job postings for civic engagement opportunities within the AASCU network. Below you will find a recent job listing. Please pass this along to anyone you know of who is looking for an exciting opportunity to do civic work at an AASCU school. – Cecilia M. Orphan

Executive Director of the Center for Service and Learning

Indianapolis, Indiana

IUPUI, an outstanding public urban research university located in the heart of Indianapolis, seeks applicants for the Executive Director of the IUPUI Center for Service and Learning. IUPUI, serving over 30,000 students including 21,000 undergraduate students, has become a national leader in promoting civic engagement and has been nationally recognized; including three Presidential Awards for Community Service, the 2006 Carnegie Foundation Classification for Community Engagement, two Saviors of our City citations, recognition in Colleges with a Conscience, and US News and World Report recognition for service learning each year since 2002.

The Center for Service and Learning (CSL) is one of three IUPUI learning-based centers that also include the Center for Research and Learning and the Center for Teaching and Learning.  The executive directors of three centers report to the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

The Executive Director (ED) provides vision and leadership to the CSL, exercises fiscal responsibility over budgets and grants, provides oversight for the operations of the Center, and its staff and programs. The ED collaborates with other campus units on teaching, research and service as it relates to civic engagement, conducts research on issues related to civic engagement in higher education, and expands campus capacity to assess and conduct scholarship on civic engagement. The ED promotes CSL’s work on campus, nationally and internationally.

Because the successful candidate will assume a tenured, senior faculty appointment in an appropriate academic discipline, a Ph.D. or equivalent terminal degree is required.  At least five years of supervisory, program leadership, and/or academic administrative experience in a relevant position is expected, as are experiences in working closely with academic and support service units, appreciating and advocating for diversity, inclusion, and equal access to educational opportunity. The successful candidate will have teaching experience (including service learning courses), faculty development experience, and a strong record of scholarship including the development of significant grant proposals and success in securing external funding.

Candidates are invited to submit an electronic application that includes:

  • a letter of application ,
  • a philosophy statement that frames the candidate’s views on how to advance civic engagement and transformative campus-community collaborations in higher education and as part of  IUPUI’s campus culture,
  • a curriculum vitae, and
  • The names and contact information of three references.

Review of applications will begin October 1, 2011, and continue until the position is filled with an anticipated starting date on or before July 1, 2012.  IUPUI is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer, M/F/D.

Applications should be sent electronically to Ms. Susan Christian, Academic Support Specialist, Office of Academic Affairs, at  A detailed position description may be viewed at  Direct any questions to Dr. Mary L. Fisher, Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at, or 317-278-1846.

ADP Faculty Feature: Richard Kendrick of SUNY Cortland Recognized with Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service

By Jennifer M. Domagal-Goldman, National Manager, American Democracy Project

The American Democracy Project is led by a very small national staff (me and the occasional intern). With such a limited staff, ADP relies heavily on the hard work and dedication of our faculty members and Campus Coordinators. Because of their vital contributions to ADP, we love to provide a national stage for their excellent work. Even more important, though, is the recognition that ADP Campus Coordinators receive on their own campuses.

A signature feature of the American Democracy Project is its focus on creating institutional intentionality for preparing informed, engaged citizens for our democracy. One way universities can be intentional about civic preparation of undergraduate students is by recognizing and rewarding faculty members for civic engagement work. The State University of New York (SUNY) at Cortland understands this important component of institutional intentionality and that is why we are deeply supportive of SUNY’s Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service.

Please join me in congratulating Richard Kendrick, a long time ADP Campus Coordinator at SUNY Cortland, on his receipt of this important award. Richard is a Professor of Sociology/ Anthropology, the Director of the Institute for Civic Engagement, and has been SUNY Cortland’s ADP Coordinator since 2003. He also served for four years as Chair of the Sociology/Anthropology Department. As ADP Campus Coordinator, Richard served on the Electoral Voices Task Force and contributed a chapter entitled “Voter Education” with co-author Jim Perry to the 2006 ADP monograph, Electoral Voices: Engaging College Students in Elections. ADP applauds both Richard’s tireless efforts to educate informed, engaged citizens for our democracy and SUNY Cortland’s leadership in providing important incentives for faculty civic engagement.

See below for a press release describing Richard’s stellar work taken from the SUNY Cortland website.


Richard Kendrick

Kendrick becomes the eighth SUNY Cortland recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service, which recognizes his extensive College service and leadership, as well as his specific contributions in the area of civic engagement since his appointment to the Sociology/Anthropology Department faculty in 1991.

He joined the College as a lecturer and was promoted to assistant professor in 1992. He became an associate professor in 1998 and a professor in 2005. Kendrick served as chair of his department while teaching and directing the Institute for Civic Engagement. He also has coordinated the All-College Honors Program.

A longtime proponent of community-based research, he has worked tirelessly with the City of Cortland on projects that include VISTA, AmeriCorps and the Cortland Community Assessment Team.

In 2003, he was appointed coordinator of the American Democracy Project. His dedication to the area of civic engagement resulted in his appointment as director of the Institute for Civic Engagement. In that role, he led the College’s successful effort to become the first SUNY school to achieve the prestigious Carnegie Community Engagement classification. He also was instrumental in having the College named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for four consecutive years. Some of his campus-wide initiatives promote student voting during elections.

His external grants bring in significant funding for town-gown collaborative projects. Most recent is a Bringing Theory to Practice grant for $100,000 over two years. This project, done in partnership with the American Association of Colleges and Universities, will serve as a national model that will establish the critical connection between civic engagement and student well-being.

A frequent presenter and consultant at meetings of the Rotary Club and the New York State campus Compact chapters, he has served as a volunteer mediator for New Justice Conflict Resolution Services and a volunteer for Syracuse Habitat for Humanity. Within his profession, he is a reviewer for Michigan Journal of Community and Service Learning.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts in politics from Wake Forest University and an Master of Public Administration from University of Georgia. Kendrick earned a Ph.D. in social science as well as a certificate in achievement in conflict analysis and resolution from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

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