Our recent 2017 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) Meeting in Baltimore, Md., brought together a great group of faculty, students, administrators, community partners and representatives from our national sponsor and partner organizations committed to advancing civic learning and democratic engagement through higher education.
Read on for highlights of our time together.
By The Numbers
608 participants (100 more than in 2016!) representing 181 colleges and universities as well as 52 other organizations.
- 161 Four-year Colleges and Universities (103 public; 38 private)
- 39 Community Colleges
- 1 international university
- 113 Students
- 19 Sponsors/Exhibitors
The full program is available for download here (pdf).
- The 2017 CLDE Meeting opened with nine pre-conference sessions that engaged participants in a variety of important civic learning and democratic engagement topics. Participants were invited to take part in one or both of a pair of popular Educational Testing Service (ETS)- sponsored Civic Engagement Assessment Pre-Conference Workshops focused on planning for institution-wide data collection and measuring civic outcomes during college, respectively.
- Other pre-conference workshops included a full-day Charting a Course on the Pathway to Civic Engagement: An Inventory and Action Plan for Engaged Campuses workshop for campus teams as well as a set of half-day workshops including: Measures That Matter: Regarding Engaged Scholarship In Tenure and Promotion; Dialogue and Democratic Deliberation: Moderator Training; Educating for the Democracy We Want, Not the One We Have; and Integrating Civic Responsibility into the Curriculum.
- The Student Pre-Conference Workshop was organized for students, by students. Led by the 2017 CLDE Student Intern Team (Amber Austin, sophomore, Tarrant County College (Texas.); Christina Melecio, sophomore, Winona State University (Minn.); and Tyler Ferrari, sophomore, Chapman University (Calif.)), the session introduced students to #CLDEStuds17 and provided a space to discuss issues focused on being an active participant in local and national communities, and introduced students tools to be effective activists in their communities.
- In being mindful of the city that CLDE17 took place, there were three opportunities to engage with the Baltimore community. Two walking tours (Westside of Downtown Baltimore and Baltimore “Untour”) led by University of Maryland Baltimore County faculty members Nicole King, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of American Studies and Joby Taylor, director, Peaceworker Program at The Shriver Center. Towson University supported an exploratory session by Bus (Right to the City – Curtis Bay: Community Engagement through a Mobile App) led by Nicole Fabricant, associate professor; and Matthew Durington and Samuel Collins, professors, department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice.
Opening Plenary & First Day highlights:
- Participants had the opportunity to participate in two sponsored lunch sessions. The first, a 2017 Voter Engagement Symposium organized by our friends at TurboVote, provided an interactive symposium on what it takes to engaged student voters in not one, but all of their elections. The second lunch, sponsored by our friends at Roadtrip Nation, included a screening of their documentary film Beyond the Dream and included a panel discussion about undocumented immigrants and their higher education journeys.
- UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski, III welcomed participants to Baltimore and reminded us that the most important office in our democracy is that of citizen. Three CivEd talks then kicked off Thursday afternoon’s opening plenary session. These three, short, dynamic and fast-paced presentations by members of the civic learning and democratic engagement community inspired and challenged our collective imagination and thinking. The talks were given by: Jane Coaston, political reporter, MTV News, Martín Carcasson, founder and director, Center for Public Deliberation, Colorado State University, and Eric Liu, CEO, Citizen University. Attendees also participated in a Sworn Again citizen ceremony lead by Eric Liu.
- Participants were each given a copy of Eric Liu’s new 2017 book You’re More Powerful Than You Think: A Citizen’s Guide to Making Change Happen and had the opportunity to have Eric sign their books during our networking reception. They were also able to learn from poster presenters and the campus showcase tables.
- Friday morning participants started their day with a Dialogue and Deliberation Forum: Safety and Justice: How Should Communities Reduce Violence? This session — offered in conjunction with our friends at the National Issues Forums Institute — explored the increasing violence in U.S. communities, law enforcement, and race and how this violence undermines national ideals of safety and justice for all citizens. Attendees used briefing materials prepared by the Kettering Foundation to participate in deliberations promoted by the National Issues Forums Institute and spent time considering the difficult choices the nation must face in order to make progress. Over 50 CLDE attendees graciously volunteered to serve as table moderators to over 400 participants. The forum concluded with a panel discussing the applications of these forums in classrooms, campuses, and communities, and discussed why this civic skill is so critical now more than ever before. Panelists included: Adam Thompson, junior, Winona State University (Minn.); John Dedrick, Vice-President, Kettering Foundation; Emily Bowling, Assistant Director of Student Leadership & Involvement for Civic Engagement and Sustainability, Oregon State University; and John J. Theis, Executive Director, Center for Civic Engagement, Lone Star College (Texas). Participants left the forum with a hands-on, interactive experience in deliberative democracy that can be applied across higher education.
Our final plenary session on Saturday, June 10th, The Theory of Our Work – Today and Tomorrow: What’s Next?, focused on our emergent theory of change. Participants engaged in conversations about the emerging theory of change for our conference and work, based on elements from A Crucible Moment and on our four guiding questions. The guiding questions are:
- Vision question: What are the key features of a thriving democracy we aspire to enact and support through our work?
- Learning Outcomes question: What knowledge, skills, and dispositions do people need in order to help create and contribute to a thriving democracy?
- Pedagogy question: How can we best foster the acquisition and development of the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary for a thriving democracy?
- Strategy question: How can we build the institutional culture, infrastructure, and relationships needed to support learning that enables a thriving democracy?
Responses to each were given by: Manisha Vepa, undergraduate student, and David Hoffman, assistant director, student life, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC); Sandy Rodriguez, director, ASUN Center for Student Engagement, University of Nevada, Reno; and Helen-Margaret Nasser, associate director, honors program, CUNY Kingsborough Community College (NY).
We considered what a thriving democracy looks like and higher education’s role in cultivating this democracy. View the full theory of change in the images below:
THANK YOU TO ALL OUR SPONSORS
The 2017 CLDE Meeting in Baltimore, MD. could not have been a success without the continued support from our sponsors. They have shown an unwavering commitment to securing an effective method of fostering democracy. Our sponsors’ contributions were instrumental in creating meaningful dialogue that helped set the agenda for future goals, initiatives and partnerships. We would like to thank the following:
ADP, TDC, and NASPA have deep admiration and gratitude for each organization and the support they provided to the 2017 CLDE Meeting. We look forward to future collaborations
We hope to see you in Anaheim, California, from June 6-9, 2018, for the next CLDE Meeting where we will continue our important work of preparing informed, engaged citizens for our democracy.
PowerPoints and other handouts from the meeting are available through the meeting’s mobile app. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any additional materials you’d like uploaded into the app.
Finally, to see more pictures from the meeting, visit the ADP Facebook Page (CLDE17 album); please send any photos you took to email@example.com so that we can upload them to Facebook/Twitter/Instagram.