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Posts from the ‘Dialogue & Deliberation’ Category

ADP in the News | August 10, 2017 Edition

ADP in the News is a compilation of brief updates about American Democracy Project (ADP) activities at participating colleges and universities and is a semi-regular news feature on our blog. Below you will find the latest edition of this series.

If you have an ADP event you’d like posted in this format, please email

Illinois State University (ISU) Students in Washington, D.C.
As part of the 2017 Civic Engagement Trip, nine students from Illinois State University (ISU) got to visit Washington D.C. and experience the government of the United States in action. ISU’s American Democracy Project (ADP) supports the annual trip and ADP’s national manager, Jen Domagal-Goldman, had the chance to speak to the students about the organization. Students also got to meet various politicians, hear from ISU alumni, network with graduate students and D.C. lobbyists and, of course, take tours of the national monuments. Find more information about their trip and some pictures here.

New Central Michigan University Initiative
As part of its overall community engagement strategy, Central Michigan University recently launched the Office of Business Engagement, a new initiative to interact with and aid the CMU community with business initiation and growth. Through the Office of Business Engagement individuals have the opportunity to get connected with CMU’s network of prepared and committed students, find research partners, use one of CMU’s educational or professional development services, get help nourishing a new business, or invest with CMU. Find out more about CMU’s new Office of Business Engagement here.

Rutgers-Newark Professor on “Urban Universities” and Civic Responsibility
Steven Diner, a professor and former chancellor at Rutgers University, Newark, interviewed with Tim Goral at the University Business Magazine to talk about civic responsibility in higher education. Diner discussed the history of the term “urban universities”- once used derogatorily to refer to low-income, city-based institutions – and explained how institutions like these are now epicenters for education for civic responsibility. Diner’s new book, Universities and Their Cities: Urban Education in America (2017, Johns Hopkins University Press), addresses the ways in which urban universities are at the forefront of the movement to teach students civic engagement. Read the full interview here and purchase Steven Diner’s book here.

An Introduction to Dialogue and Deliberation | the eJournal of Public Affairs
The eJournal of Public Affairs, a partnership between the American Democracy Project and Missouri State University, recently published a piece by John J. Theis and Jose Vela from the Lone Star College-Kingwood in Kingwood, Texas. Theis and Vela collaborated on a written and visual introduction to the concept of dialogue and deliberation in order to highlight the work that Lone Star College’s Center for Civic Engagement has been doing to put dialogue and deliberation into action amongst its students. Read more about dialogue and deliberation and the Center for Civic Engagement’s work and watch Jose Vela’s engaging video here.



University of North Georgia’s ADP hosted Multi-Campus Discussion of Trump Presidency

“President Donald Trump has shown himself to have “thin skin” and be more conservative than Ronald Reagan early on in his presidency. Those were just some of the observations tossed out Monday at the University of North Georgia’s multicampus discussion of the Trump presidency one-third into its first 100 days. The Gainesville campus joined the Dahlonega and Oconee campuses in the discussion via a live video feed.” Learn more here.


University of Northern Iowa hosts the “Best of Enemies” Screening

In a screening ponsored by UNI’s ADP, the “Best of Enemies” film  tells the story of Ann Atwater, a civil rights leader, and C.P. Ellis, a Klan leader in Raleigh/Durham North Carolina. They served on a desegregation committee together and although they started as enemies became friends. Learn more here.


University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s ADP Hosts Campus Roundtable Conversation
The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh American Democracy Project hosted a roundtable conversation to discuss ethics, politics, voting and strategies for citizen engagement. The event–called Real Issues. Real Dialogue. Real Change.–took place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 8, at Reeve Union Ballroom, Room 227BC, on the UW Oshkosh campus. Learn more here.


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4/29 Free ADP Dialogue Moderator Training Workshop in Washington, DC

Please join us for this free training by registering HERE by April 17, 2017. Lunch will be provided. Click here for the tentative agenda.

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Campus Spotlight: Democracy Wall at Kennesaw State University (Ga.)

This post is a re-blog of this post on the NASPA Lead Initiative Blog, shared with permission. You’ll find the original post here.


Author: Michael L. Sanseviro, Ph.D., Associate Vice President for Student Affairs & Dean of Students, Kennesaw State University (Ga.)

From the moment we learned about IUPUI’s famed Democracy Plaza, my colleagues and I pined for the day when we could introduce an equally amazing space at our institution. Despite years of posting temporary Democracy Walls on butcher paper with markers during our annual Constitution Week activities, the dream of a permanent installation evaded us. After the ADP/CLDE conference in Indianapolis this past June, our team returned invigorated and determined to bring this dream finally to fruition.  A recently completed library renovation and relocation of the library main entrance provided a fortuitous facility refuge alongside the previous entry breezeway – an ideal location for chalkboards! A quick visit to facility surplus furnished a treasure trove of free retired chalkboards begging for reincarnation. The library staff and academic affairs colleagues were immediately on board, facility staff volunteered to delivery and install the boards, and more institutional partners than I can name here contributed in myriad ways to ensuring the necessary approvals and support from students, administrators, faculty, staff, alumni, and community partners.  KSU is a multi-campus institution, and to ensure equal access for all students, comparable spaces were identified for each campus.

As one might expect, especially on the heels of a contentious national election, there were many questions and concerns. Most importantly, how do we honor the free expression that is paramount when creating this space yet balance that with the desired safe space we strive to create for all members of our community? Borrowing from the guidelines established by IUPUI, and working with a diverse team from across the institution and community, we established the following statement and guidelines:

The purpose of a Democracy Wall is to provide an outlet for discussing civic issues, increasing communication across diverse audiences, encouraging thoughtful reflection, and increasing participation in the democratic process. Through this Democracy Wall we actively demonstrate our democratic values, heighten awareness, and encourage all voices to be heard. The Democracy Wall is also a space to encourage idea-generation for proactive change – on campus, in the local community, and across the globe.

Democracy Wall Ground Rules:

  1. The most important rule – the “spirit of fair play” prevails. All voices are welcome.
  2. Choose words that convey meaning and reflect our educational dignity, i.e., obscenity, cursing, and other indecencies do not serve the purpose of this wall nor the spirit of The Owl Creed*.
  3. Civic discourse is respectful in disagreement. We can agree or disagree with arguments and issues without attacking individuals, i.e., name calling or personal attacks do not serve the purpose of this wall.
  4. Do not alter or obscure what others have written, but add your voice to the conversation. Feel free to pose your own questions as well as comments.
  5. Free speech is not always pleasant speech, but cannot be illegal speech. The Supreme Court has provided guidance on limitations, such as direct threats, incitement, false statements of fact, obscenity, fighting words, etc. If you believe anything posted on the wall is illegal speech, notify the Dean of Students Office immediately at 470-578-6310 or

The Democracy Wall and these guidelines are based on the Democracy Plaza created on the Indianapolis campus of IUPUI over a decade ago, which has stood as a national model for democratic engagement and civic dialogue.  Kennesaw State University will administer compliance with the law based on consultation with KSU Legal Affairs and KSU Public Safety, and compliance with university codes of conduct based on consultation with Student Conduct and Academic Integrity.  Periodically the boards will be cleaned to allow for a fresh round of conversations.

* The Owl Creed is an aspirational statement that was developed by the KSU Student Human Relations Task Force in 1998 and reads: “The community of Kennesaw State University is steadfast in its commitment to academic excellence and personal integrity. Members of the Kennesaw State University community are obligated to a practice of civilized behavior. Choosing to become a member of this community proclaims the acceptance of KSU’s Creed as suggested by the following ideals.






The Aftermath of Election 2016: Our Civic Work is Important Now, More than Ever Before

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.

Next Steps:

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.

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