Citizenship Under Siege:
The US Constitution’s preamble speaks of “We the People”—but who is considered part of that sacred circle, and how has this group varied over time? When national identity is hotly contested, what does it mean to experience citizenship as partial, denied, or fully acknowledged? How can the humanities illuminate differing narratives and open up space for understanding, connections, and shared visions of the future?
The Association of American Colleges and Universities and The Democracy Commitment invite faculty, staff, students, and campus community partners to join in one or all of three FREE webinars. These events are designed to expand campus expertise on how to hold constructive conversations about contentious issues and how to institute practices in and out of the classroom that foster engagement across differences.
More information is available here.
A Three-Part Series
From Fractious Differences to Engaged Dialogues (October 13, 2016)
Income Inequality and the Cost of Citizenship (October 27, 2016)
I Want My Country Back: Immigration, Race, and Citizenship (November 3, 2016)
Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and hosted by the Association of American Colleges and Universities and The Democracy Commitment.
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in these webinars do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Posts tagged ‘citizenship’
University of Wisconsin La Crosse political science faculty member Jo Arney has a new book out — Wilderness and the Common Good: A New Ethic of Citizenship (Fulcrum, 2015). Arney is one of the ADP faculty members leading our Stewardship of Public Lands 2015 faculty seminar as well as curating the emerging Stewardship of Public Lands AASCU National Blended Course. Be sure to check out her new book which emerges from this work as well as her recent sabbatical in Yellowstone National Park — it’s certainly what we’re reading!
“Weaving together her personal story, her teaching experiences, and insightful political analysis, Jo Arney has created a thoughtful study of the relationship between citizenship and wilderness. Throughout her study, she makes an eloquent plea for a quest for common ground, rejecting the bitter divisiveness and polarization that characterizes so much of our national political life today. On the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Wilderness Act, Wilderness and the Common Good is a fitting and illuminating tribute.”
— George L. Mehaffy, Vice President, American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU)
Why should we save America’s wilderness areas? True and lasting protection for the environment, political science professor Jo Arney (University of Wisconsin, La Crosse) argues, will be borne of a shared understanding of the answer to this question. Wilderness and the Common Good attempts to provide an answer by examining how wilderness and its preservation enriches human lives.
Pre-order your copy of the book from Fulcrum and receive 20% off in the month of June.
By Mary Sorenson, Graduate Instructor, Department of Communication, University of Missouri (and former ADP student from Illinois State University)
During Tuesday evening’s State of the Union Address by President Obama, a multitude of topics were covered and a political agenda was set. Among the discussions of minimum wage, education, healthcare, gun control, and foreign policy, Obama emphasized the “spirit of citizenship,” and further defined what it means to be an American citizen by stating:
- “Citizenship means standing up for everyone’s right to vote.”
- “Citizenship means standing up for the lives that gun violence steals from us each day.”
- “Citizenship demands a sense of common cause; participation in the hard work of self-government; an obligation to serve our communities.”
While this annual speech addresses major political issues and sets the stage for the future of our country, Obama’s unique conception of the spirit of citizenship opens up a door for many; a door that allows for political participation and civic engagement to take on many forms, including that of online involvement.
You see, President Obama did not define the spirit of citizenship as strictly casting a vote, but as the defense of our right to vote. He did not advocate for all citizens to march into the office of an elected official and demand certain gun laws, but to support those who have been impacted by gun violence. In order to achieve commonality, participate, and serve, the President did not instruct specific action, but encouraged all citizens to engage with one another. Through these definitions of citizenship, President Obama presented ideas and actions to uphold without indicating that there may be a right or wrong way to engage with one another.
It is important to recognize that the spirit of citizenship can exist on the Internet, where millions of users impact the lives of one another each day. The question must then be asked, what is the spirit of eCitizenship? Is this type of citizenship different from others? According to the way our President defined it, there is room in politics for citizens to engage and participate in unique ways.
During the #ADPTDCsotu tweet-up, faculty members and students representing multiple institutions around the country shared their political voice with one another. While discussing issues of education, gun control, minimum wage and more, eCitizenship was thriving throughout the President’s address. Citizens who may have otherwise not participated in this event were given a platform to practice the spirit of citizenship and the opportunity to engage with and support one another. The tweets in this conversation illustrate a desire to find a common cause as citizens who are strangers beyond the Internet were able to interact with one another and develop a community. Replies, retweets, and favorites may appear to be minimal acts but in the social media world, these acts are signs of connection and support. As the President stated, our job as citizens is to stand up for and support one another. Just as much as we can engage in these acts face-to-face, we can engage from behind a screen.
As educators and students it may be difficult to conceptualize and discuss what it means to enact the spirit of citizenship. I challenge each of you to define what citizenship means to you; to get at the core of what it means to be a citizen, even if you lack confidence in your political knowledge. I challenge you to engage in conversation with others about how you participate in the political process and how you might discover your own political voice. The spirit of eCitizenship is growing each day and needs each of us to fuel its fire.
American Democracy Project Regional Conference at the University of Central Oklahoma, April 18, 2012
By Janelle Grellner, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology and Assistant Director of the American Democracy Project, University of Central Oklahoma
As part of an inspiring week of campus wide celebrations and presentations celebrating the inauguration of President Don Betz as UCO’s 20th president, the American Democracy Project hosted a regional conference, “Democracy and Civic Engagement: Continuing the Civic Work,” and welcomed the campus and community to engage in civic conversations. The American Democracy Project is a national initiative at public colleges and universities focusing on the development of civic skills and civic engagement of college students. President Betz served as a founding member of the steering committee that guided the development of the American Democracy Project in 2003. The University of Central Oklahoma played a key role as a charter member of ADP and hosted the first regional conference in 2004. Featured speakers included: George Mehaffy, Vice President for Academic Leadership and Change at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and founder of the American Democracy Project; Michael Slackman, Deputy Foreign Editor of The New York Times; Debbie Terlip, Assistant Director of Oklahoma Campus Compact; President Don Betz; Provost William J. Radke; and Jean Hendrickson, Executive Director of Oklahoma A+ Schools.
The day started with a luncheon for all conference participants and many campus dignitaries to kick off the conference. Provost Radke provided a welcome that included a review of the past ten years and a vision for the future of ADP and civic engagement on our campus. Mehaffy congratulated UCO for sustained involvement in the civic work of the American Democracy Project, with Dr. Patti Loughlin serving as the campus director since 2007 and unwavering support from Provost Radke.
The luncheon was followed by a student poster contest sponsored by The New York Times. Students competed with posters that reflected civic engagement as it applies to their specific disciplines. Business, economics, psychology,
teacher education and student groups were among those who entered. The first place winner was Cody Brown, a student seeking a master’s degree in psychology, who created a poster to highlight a recent political act on campus that involved a questionable ethical procedure and the subsequent legislation passed by UCO’s student senate to rectify the policies for future votes. Second place went to four students in Advanced Developmental Psychology, Maime Ball, Lauren Craig, Deni Napier, and Jenna Sinclair, who created an electronic messaging system to keep new mothers abreast of their child’s developmental level and facilitative parenting activities. Third place went to members of the UCO Skeptics student organization who highlighted their peaceful protest of psychic John Edwards when he came to Oklahoma City recently. They presented their poster to promote science based knowledge and object to pseudo-scientific propaganda, especially when consumers are misled for the financial benefit of others.
The next session, “Continuing the Civic Work: Statewide Collaborations and Partnerships,” was an opportunity for campuses across the region to share current civic engagement projects, such as the Oklahoma Civic Health Index, Oklahoma Campus Compact’s voter registration contest, and Fort Hays State University’s Global Challenges, and create partnerships for future projects.
George Mehaffy delivered the keynote address, “The Citizenship Imperative of the 21stCentury,” at 4:00 p.m. in Constitution Hall. Following the presentation, Jean Hendrickson, Executive Director of Oklahoma A+ Schools, joined
Mehaffy for a discussion that focused on how to ignite the passion for civic mindedness in our K-12 schools. Following the keynote address, conference attendees gathered for a reception honoring President Betz sponsored by The New York Times, Oklahoma A+ Schools, Educators’ Leadership Academy, and the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame.
In addition, we value our partnership with The New York Times readership program, offering free copies of The New York Times on campus, and bringing journalists from The New York Times to campus to meet with students. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and Oklahoma City native Anthony Shadid visited campus in 2009 and 2010 as part of readership program.
This year Michael Slackman, Deputy Foreign Editor of The New York Times, joined the special inauguration programming for presentations with students during the day and an evening presentation at 6:00 p.m. in Constitution Hall on the topic of “Arab Spring: The Call for Change.” Following the presentation, President Betz, a specialist on the Middle East and the question of Palestine, joined Slackman for dialogue. In 2011, Betz attended the Fulbright-Hays Seminar on higher education in transition in Oman and Jordan with six other university presidents.
What was the response from the campus community? Two professors who served on the ADP conference planning committee reflected on their experiences at the conference. Elizabeth Overman, Associate Professor of Political Science, said, “I was reminded of the aphorism attributed to John Dewey: ‘Democracy is a conversation.’ Certainly it was a day of heightened civic engagement and a reminder that we bear both the legacy of a democratic republic and the responsibility to expand democratic frameworks in truly meaningful ways.” For Mary Carver, Assistant Professor of Mass Communication, her favorite part of the day was the student poster session. “What amazing ideas, incredible dedication, and truly transformative projects students presented that day. I left the session inspired. More importantly, I really knew in my heart that the next generation was ready to go out and not just be engaged in their communities, but ready to transform their communities.”
ADP at UCO participates in many national civic initiatives including: the Oklahoma Civic Health Index, a state report analyzing the civic health of our state in partnership with the National Conference on Citizenship, voter registration in partnership with Oklahoma Campus Compact (UCO has won the statewide college voter registration contest two years in a row – 2010 and 2011), deliberative polling initiative, and measuring voter turnout initiative.
For more information, please visit www.uco.edu/adp.