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Posts from the ‘deliberative democracy’ Category
Please join us for this free training by registering HERE by April 17, 2017. Lunch will be provided. Click here for the tentative agenda.
When we started ADP in 2003, AASCU and chief academic officers at our member campuses were concerned about the Robert Putnam’s observations in Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community (2001) as well as with the low voter participation of college students and young people more broadly. Together we embarked on a vision of our state colleges and universities taking a central role in fostering the civic health of our campuses and our communities by creating opportunities for students to enhance their knowledge and skills as well as to reflect on and examine their attitudes towards community and democratic engagement. We’ve made it our collective mission to prepare students to be informed, engaged citizens for our communities and our democracy.
And together we’ve accomplished a lot: we’ve established initiatives that focus on increasing nonpartisan political engagement; on fostering dialogue and deliberation around pressing public issues and across difference, on understanding the competing interests at play in our national parks and how the policy process works, and on reaching Millennials and others through emergent digital and social media platforms.
And yet, in the month since the election, our work has become more important than ever before.
The 2016 presidential election has surfaced deep divides in the U.S. electorate. We continue to bear witness to a rise in hateful, racist commentary and behaviors on our campuses, in our communities, and from some politicians. While ADP remains nonpartisan, we actively affirm the values of diversity, equity, and access in public higher education and in our democracy. We also affirm the need for civility from our politicians, the value of informed discourse on issues, and the growing importance of civic literacy in our digital age.
Elections play a critical role in our democracy. Yet our democratic way of life is about so much more than elections. Now is the time for us to recommit to our civic learning and democratic engagement work. We must refocus on fostering in students a sense of civic agency and help ourselves and our students identify ways to and develop skills with which to navigate our increasingly fractured political terrain and make positive change in our communities.
1. Campus Coordinators — watch for information about a call in the next week or so Join during which we will discuss ways in which campuses are approaching the upcoming inauguration and accompanying protests as well as providing spaces for campus and community dialogue across difference and advocacy of our core values around inclusivity, equity and education.
2. We are organizing a Digital Polarization Initiative lead by Mike Caulfield of ADP’s Washington State University Vancouver. Together we’ll examine the “fake news” controversy and growing polarization in news feeds and opinions and begin to “debug the news.” Stay tuned for details next week, including how you can get involved.
3. We’ll create space at our 2017 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Meeting in Baltimore from June 7-10th with our student affairs and community college colleagues at NASPA and The Democracy Commitment, respectively, to continue to foster discussion and action as to how to continue to best prepare informed and engaged citizens for our democracy. You can submit program proposals for this conference here before January 30th.
Thank you for the work that all of you have done and will continue to do to ensure the robustness of our democratic way of life. Together we will forge a path toward justice and freedom for all.
This June, at the 2016 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) Meeting (#CLDE16), the historic landmark of Democracy Plaza at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) will be showcased as one way to make place(s) across our higher education institutions intentional and meaningful for their campus’ (i.e., students, faculty, staff) political engagement. If your institution also has a place designated for discussion about or engagement with political ideas and issues, please tell us more about it by filling out our survey here, before it closes on Friday, May 13th at 11:59 p.m. EST.
After the “hanging chad” incident during the 2000 presidential election, students at IUPUI vocalized that there must be a place on our campus where our community’s constituents can come together (formally and informally) to discuss the most pressing political issues of our time. What manifested from these students’ passion and voices is the public landmark of Democracy Plaza (DP): 22 large chalkboards in the middle of IUPUI’s urban campus.
Every week, each of the 22 chalkboards has one question written on it regarding political ideas or issues which solicit passers-by to write a response, to either the question or other responses; these questions are generated by IUPUI students who receive a scholarship for their work. Then in 2012, the concept of Democracy Plaza was extended to three white boards in the IUPUI Campus Center. In between, these more formally designated places, “pop-up” Democracy Plaza boards have been found around gathering places within the edifices of IUPUI.
What the places of Democracy Plaza does cannot be quantified, however, what is clear is that it does send clear literal and rhetorical messages to IUPUI constituents. These places can be seen, they can be enacted with (touched, erased, molded), and they can host events as well (i.e., programming around political ideas and issues). These places and spaces send a clear message that having the time and place to engage with political ideas and issues and those that are different from you (through public, written communication) is important. As many of us know, place and space on any campus is its own political issue, and therefore, to see (literally) that IUPUI has given a part of its place to the co-construction of the public sphere is promising.
And you can do it too! There will be two opportunities to learn more about not only IUPUI’s Democracy Plaza, but how others have carved out intentional and meaningful places at/on/across their institution for political engagement. Here they are:
Friday, June 3rd, 2016:
- 10:45 a.m.- 11:45 a.m. Public Landmarks for Political Engagement
In this informative dialogue between invited panelists, we will explore how places across our campuses have intentionally or organically become landmarks for political engagement. These landmarks manifest themselves through such places as the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) Democracy Plaza– consisting of 22 chalkboards outside– to sidewalks or the sides of campus edifices. We will discover how they are used for student demonstrations, political dialogue or deliberation, and civic learning. Attendees will leave informed of how to create similar places.
- 5:15 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Democracy Plaza Tour at IUPUI
Take part in a walking tour of Democracy Plaza (DP) at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). Established in 2004 by students and staff, Democracy Plaza at IUPUI gives their community a place to write, listen, watch or deliberate with peers on political ideas or issues. Many other campuses have adopted democracy walls as a similar place for such dialogues. During this opportunity, attendees will interact with the questions posed on the chalkboards that make up DP. This tour will include a history of the project, examples of current issues, and an overview of how IUPUI uses the space for events.
The 2016 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) Meeting organized by the American Democracy Project (ADP), The Democracy Commitment (TDC), and NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, have created a special pre-conference workshop with content provided by the National Issues Forum (NIF).
Join us on Wednesday, June 1st to engage in planning activities and hear from experts in the field in the Democratic Dialogue & Deliberation Institute: “Introduction to Deliberative Democracy Theory & Practice”.
This pre-conference institute, supported by NIF, is intended to help colleges and universities as they provide students, administrators, faculty, and community members to talk productively about a difficult issue that concerns all of us. This workshop is a brief introduction to the theory and practice of deliberative democracy using the National Issues Forums (NIF) model. This forum outlines several alternative ways of looking at the issue, each rooted in a shared concern. It provides strategic facts associated with each approach, and suggests the benefits and drawbacks of possible solutions. We encourage individuals from a variety of roles on campus to participate in this endeavor so that skills learned can be further developed back on your respective campuses.
Organizers: Bill Muse, President Emeritus of the National Issues Forums Institute; Windy Lawrence, Associate Professor of Communication Studies, University of Houston-Downtown (Texas); Lisa Strahley, Associate Professor of Teacher Education, SUNY-Broome Community College (N.Y.).
Wednesday, June 1 | 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Half-day Pre-conference Workshops
Democratic Dialogue & Deliberation Institute: Introduction to Deliberative Democracy Theory & Practice
The most familiar concepts of politics either acknowledge that politics is a competitive struggle for power, or aim at a harmonious consensus on the common good. The political theory of deliberative democracy seeks an alternative that is more public than adversarial politics, but allows more room for disagreement than a harmonious consensus on the common good. In the context of a sustained crisis of political polarization, the task of promoting thoughtful public discourse on controversial issues is more urgent than ever. The numerous activities and approaches that constitute civic engagement in higher education offer great promise, but without careful attention to theory and practice they may miss the mark when it comes to promoting deliberative discourse. This workshop is a brief introduction to the theory and practice of deliberative democracy using the National Issues Forums (NIF) model. Workshop topics will include trends in our democracy and the rationale for deliberation; the strengths and weaknesses of deliberation as an approach to civic engagement; naming and framing issues for deliberation; convening and moderating deliberative forums; and resources for deliberative civic engagement. Participants with no prior experience in the use of deliberation are especially welcome.