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Call for Proposals: ADP/TDC 2013 National Meeting in Denver

By Jen Domagal-Goldman, ADP National Manager and Amee Bearne, TDC National Coordinator

American Democracy Project and The Democracy Commitment Joint National Meeting:

“21st Century Citizens: Building Bridges, Solving Problems”

Thursday, June 6, 2013 to Saturday, June 8, 2013

Marriott City Center • Denver, Colorado

Please join us in Denver, Colorado for the American Democracy Project’s (ADP) 11th annual national meeting and The Democracy Commitment’s (TDC) 3rd annual national meeting at the Marriott City Center.

The meeting begins on Thursday, June 6 with a series of pre-conference workshops, a late afternoon opening plenary, and a wine and cheese reception; it concludes with a dinner Saturday evening, June 8.

Announcing the Call for Proposals:

The deadline for presentation proposal submissions is Friday, February 1, 2013. All proposals will be reviewed and notification will be sent out no later than Monday, March 4, 2013.

The description of the meeting’s theme can be found below and is available here. Please note that we have added new session types and formats to this year’s conference — they are listed below and you can read about them here.

If you are interested in making a presentation at the ADP/TDC 2013 National Meeting, please complete and submit this online proposal form:

(You can download a Word document version of this Call for Proposal form here. (Please note: you should make a copy of your proposal. The webform will not generate one for you. You are encouraged to write your proposal in a Word document first and to copy and paste the questions and your responses before you hit submit!)

Meeting Theme:

The theme for this year’s meeting, 21st Century Citizens: Building Bridges, Solving Problems, calls our attention to the educational experiences and civic skills needed by today’s college graduates. Citizenship is more than a legal status; all students must be prepared to be active contributors in their communities. However, our institutions are increasingly called on to train students for employment, an emphasis which often seems to undermine the historic liberal education mission of U.S. public higher education. As our society grows increasingly complex, students need more than ever the preparation required to become informed, engaged citizens. In order to prepare students to engage in our communities, students must be equipped with 21st century skills: working with others, critical thinking, communication, creativity and problem-solving, to name a few. Such skills are as valuable in the workforce as they are in our communities and are essential if we are to bridge existing gaps between learning and doing, intention and action. In fact, research and employer surveys indicate that citizenship skills are an important component of 21st century career skills (Battistoni and Longo, 2005; Kolb, 2011; Hart Research Associates, 2010). Employers seek graduates who can work collaboratively with people who are different from them; they want graduates ready to tackle complex problems in multi-disciplinary teams. The first step in problem solving and working with others is building bridges to understanding different perspectives; skills required not only in the workforce but needed even more in our fractured democracy.

The meeting theme poses the following set of questions:

  • What educational experiences across disciplines and practices are best suited to help students develop 21st century skills?
  • In what ways can the American Democracy Project and The Democracy Commitment work together to better prepare students in connecting their studies with the concrete problems facing our communities?
  • How can we educate for both employment and civic engagement, leveraging the congruence between career and civic skills?
  • How do we prepare students to be globally competent citizens in our increasingly complex, interdependent world?
  • What knowledge, skills, attitudes and experiences do students need to be the informed, engaged citizens our democracy needs?

During our meeting in Denver, we will explore innovative ways in which to advance our civic work.

The 2013 meeting will be an outstanding program with more than 500 attendees, including provosts, other administrators, faculty members, students and community partners. The conference structure includes four plenary sessions, a set of featured speaker presentations, a poster session, a series of concurrent sessions, workshops, and lightning rounds, panels and roundtables with multiple presenters.

Battistoni, R. M., and Longo, N. V. (2005). Connecting workforce development and civic engagement: Higher education and public good and private gain. Danvers, MA: Public Policy Institute, North Shore Community College.

Kolb, C. (2011). Reforming American higher education: Implications for a vibrant work force and a healthy democracy. Change, 43(5), 14-16.

Hart Research Associates. (2010). Raising the bar: Employers’ views on college learning in the wake of the economic downturn. Washington, DC: AAC&U.

2013 Presentation Formats:

As our national meeting continues to grow in size and scope, we are adding new concurrent and featured session types to the 2013 program in order to make the national meeting more dynamic. By adding various types of session formats, we hope to encourage broader participation in the meeting, by offering more diverse session formats designed to help participants share promising pedagogies and practices of civic learning and democratic engagement as well as opportunities for colleagues to exchange ideas and network.

This year, by sending in a program proposal, you acknowledge that your presentation may fit into one of the session types listed below. Please feel free to indicate a preference of session format (listed below) in your proposal and even structure your proposal to reflect particular sessions (e.g., indicating round table questions or workshop activities). However, because some formats may more popular than others there is a possibility that the program planners will have to modify the initial session preference to fit within the available time slots.


Poster Presentation: Presentations given during a communal gathering of conference participants during which participants can walk around and learn from presenters.
Time allotment: 1 ½ hours during provided lunch

Lightning Round: Short, yet dynamic presentations given by 4-6 presenters at 7 minutes per proposal to flesh out the main purpose and points of a new program, initiative, service-learning course, etc. At the end of 25-35 minutes the rest of the time will be given to audience Q&A. Because there won’t be large numbers of other concurrent sessions at the time of the lightning round—instead there will be a few rooms with themes—presenters will be able to reach greater numbers of people. In this format the presenter will be asked to provide a handout for participants to learn more or to be able to follow-up with additional questions. The lightning round will be moderated and followed by an extended break during which further discussion can occur. Participants will be encouraged to Tweet questions.
Time allotment: 7 minutes per presentation; 1 ¼ hours per round

Concurrent Presentation: Our old standby: Two or three similar proposals will be grouped together to create one session. We will be experimenting with adding a 10 minute break in between individual presentations to let audience members move from one session to another if they are seeking specific types of sessions (e.g., those focused on community colleges or specific topics.)
Time allotment: 1 ½ hours

Round Table Discussion: Space to discuss “big questions” or plan new initiatives. Tables will be assigned to presenters whose proposals require dialogue and feedback from colleagues. Individuals choose to sit at particular tables based on their interests and have discussions moderated by the presenter.
Time allotment: 1 hour

Workshop: A “hands-on” session in which the presenters brings their projects to life in the room; they can demonstrate a particular learning activity within varying disciplines from STEM to health to the humanities, have a formal debate in the style of one held on campus in the past year, or bring poetry or rehearsed theatrical performances to demonstrate how students are understanding civic issues through art. Proposals for workshops must clearly indicate how this session will be a workshop – e.g. how it will be hands-on; what activities participants will be engaged in.
Time allotment: Varies, though will be longer sessions

Panel: Students and/or faculty from one school, project, or program will sit on a panel and discuss their experiences. When choosing number of panelists please allow time for at least 15 minutes of Q & A.
Time allotment: 1 hour


We will also have particular strands by which we hope to categorize most proposals so those who attend the conference for the purpose of learning about one or two topics will have a greater understanding of which sessions are best to attend. Those potential categories are:

  • 21st century citizenship skills
  • ADP/TDC partnerships
  • Assessment of civic learning
  • Community partnerships, engagement & organizing
  • Diversity and social justice
  • Global citizenship
  • Infusing civic learning into curriculum (e.g., STEM, arts & humanities, social sciences, professional fields)
  • Increasing civic participation of disengaged student populations
  • Institutionalization of civic learning and engagement
  • Political engagement
  • Programs, projects, and events on campus
  • Research & theory
  • Service-learning
  • Student activism & organizing

Please note: Meeting registration will be opening soon! Registration rates will be the same as last year’s.

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