Mark your calendars! We’re looking forward to seeing everyone for the 2015 American Democracy Project/The Democracy Commitment National Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana from June 4-6, 2016!
Please note: The meeting schedule will be a bit different this year — we’ll start sessions bright and early on the morning of Thursday, June 4th and will finish by 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 6th. Make plans accordingly! Everyone will want to schedule their flights to arrive by the evening of Wednesday, June 3rd in order to attend the full program.
We’ll be ending the program with a closing plenary session featuring Danielle Allen speaking about her book Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality (2014) -you won’t want to miss it! So schedule your flights to leave after 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 6th. However, the room rate will be available through Saturday evening.
Also, stay tuned for the call for proposals in early October — proposals will be due by the end of the calendar year in December.
2015 ADP/TDC Meeting Theme
Each year we choose a meeting theme around which a variety of speakers and sessions are dedicated. Please note, however, that while we seek proposals that address the meeting theme, we also welcome all proposals related to broader civic learning and democratic engagement topics.
The 2015 meeting theme is “Stewardship of Place: A Civic Mission of Higher Education.”
Public higher education has a number of distinct yet overlapping civic missions, including: creating informed, engaged citizens; engaging in research on topics such as civic learning and development; serving as spaces for democratic dialogue and deliberation; and identifying and addressing community needs in partnership with other community members and organizations (The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and CIRCLE, 2006).
Each of these civic missions involves the “place” where our institutions operate, and our meeting theme this year focuses on this: What role does place play in public higher education? How are our institutions involved in the multi-layered communities in which they are situated? How are our colleges and communities dependent on each other? What does it mean to act as stewards of these places, in teaching, research and service? How do we teach students to serve as stewards of their current and future communities?
The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU)—ADP’s parent organization and host of TDC’s national office—defines its member institutions as Stewards of Place, framing the work of these institutions as inexorably linked to the well-being of the communities, regions and states in which these colleges and universities are situated (AASCU, 2002). In a recent publication, AASCU asked its member institutions to consider their work as stewards of their communities in four distinct yet overlapping areas—economic and community development, k-12 education, internationalization, and—most relevant to our ADP and TDC work—civic learning and engagement (AASCU, 2014 – available soon!). Likewise, TDC’s member institutions, for which community is not just part of their title but their legacy, share a similar commitment to stewardship.
As we come together in June 2015 in New Orleans, we cannot think of a better location in which to explore this definition and focus on our work collectively and in alignment with this civic mission. Both the American Democracy Project (ADP) and The Democracy Commitment (TDC) share a deep commitment to ensuring that our institutions and our students are thoughtfully and meaningfully engaged in our often overlapping communities. As we join the people of New Orleans in commemorating the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act and the 50th anniversary of the Higher Education Act, we will explore our individual and institutional responsibilities and contributions to our democracy both in New Orleans and in the communities in which our institutions reside.
Potential topics based on the meeting theme might include:
- Role of place in public higher education
- Campus/community partnerships
- Examples of mission-driven community-based work
- Community-based learning and research
- Economic and community development efforts
- Ways of mapping and measuring community impact
- Shared institution/community events and spaces
Join us in New Orleans as we consider the meaning of place in public higher education and our role(s) as stewards of the spaces and places with which our campuses are so deeply entwined.
We look forward to seeing you there!