Announcing the Campus & Community Civic Health Initiative,
a new 10th anniversary signature program of the American Democracy Project
A Civic Engagement in Action Series Initiative
in Partnership with
the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC)
CALL FOR PARTICIPATION
Civic health data have become an increasingly central component of the national dialogue on civic life. NCoC produces the national civic health assessment, “Civic Life in America”, on an annual basis in partnership with the Corporation for National and Community Service. NCoC also partners with 25 communities nationwide to use this data to produce reports and initiatives that drive sustainable civic strategies. These civic health initiatives are based on a variety of civic indicators – including how often citizens report discussing politics, involvement in community groups, addressing local issues with neighbors, participation in volunteer and service activities, political action and other measures of social connection and community engagement.
This is a call for participation. The American Democracy Project (ADP) seeks 20 institutions to join us in a two-year initiative with the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) designed to identify and develop campus and community civic health assessments and tools, as well as action plans that respond to the findings. Participating institutions will work together to study the civic health of our campuses and communities. We want to discover how our campuses support and facilitate civic health. Our goal is to provide insights into and strategies for measuring civic health on campus and off campus. This initiative will launch with an inaugural Campus & Community Civic Health Initiative Summit – a pre-conference workshop – at the American Democracy Project national meeting on June 7, 2012 in San Antonio, Texas. Participation in the initiative is open to any AASCU-member institution, with preference given to current ADP members. Institutions that are not already participating members of ADP will be automatically enrolled in the American Democracy Project if they are selected for participation in this initiative. This initiative is also open to our community college colleagues who are members of ADP’s sister organization, The Democracy Commitment (TDC). TDC participation is encouraged especially where there are opportunities for regional collaboration with other two-year or four-year institutions.
- Develop tools for assessing the civic health of campuses and communities;
- Expand our understanding of the current state of civic health on college campuses and in local communities;
- Identify and share ways that a college or university – in partnership with a local community – can improve the civic health of the campus and/or community; and
- Explore the interplay between campus and community civic health.
For more details, see attached Campus & Community Health Initiative Description.
Expectations of Participating Campuses
Each campus selected to participate in this initiative will have five specific expectations:
- Participating campuses will be asked to create a campus team that will oversee the development of campus activities and projects. For operational purposes, most campuses will identify a campus team leader to provide leadership for the campus work. The project will greatly benefit from the inclusion of students. While it is not a formal requirement, we encourage participation by undergraduate students on the campus team.
- Send at least one faculty member to the ADP National Meeting for the June 7, 2012 Campus & Community Civic Health Initiative Summit, a pre-conference workshop, for the convening meeting of this initiative. This meeting will provide an orientation to the project, and establish the design and development phase of a set of tools and processes with which to begin to assess the civic health of our campuses and the communities in which they are situated.
- Serve as a pilot site to develop and test these civic health assessment strategies and tools. Each campus will have wide latitude to focus aspects of civic health specific to their institutional circumstances and what makes sense in their own local context. Some campuses may focus primarily on assessing campus civic health. Others may focus on both the health of their campus and the community in which it is situated. Focus may also be put on campus/community partnerships and their effects on campus and/or community civic health.
- Share project results at the national American Democracy Project meeting in June 2013 in Denver and at the June 2014 meeting in Louisville. In a pre-conference session of these conferences, provide NCoC and ADP with electronic copies of all materials developed and used in the pilot phase for distribution to ADP member institutions. Campuses will also be asked to provide general feedback on the successes and failures of this initiative. In addition, each campus will be asked to make a presentation during the conference about the experiences of the past year.
- Campuses will also be asked to engage in a follow-up discussion of their assessment results with appropriate campus and community stakeholders. Action plans to improve campus and community civic health should be developed and undertaken. Subsequent reports about these phases of the initiative should also be shared with NCoC and ADP, and should be presented at a subsequent ADP meeting.
Benefits for Participating Campuses
This initiative offers a number of significant opportunities for campuses and individuals including:
Opportunities for Faculty, Staff, and Students:
- To become involved in an innovative national civic engagement project
- To collaborate with individuals on other campuses
- To create opportunities for presentations and publications
- To engage students in community-engaged research and civic action about civic health
Opportunities for Campuses:
- To gain national visibility as part of a research effort that reflects our roles as Stewards of Place
- Opportunity to measure actual student voter turnout for 2008, 2010 and 2012 elections via partnership with CIRCLE
- Opportunity to partner with NCoC on producing state and city-level Civic Health Index reports
- Opportunity to track campus civic work using Lyon Software’s Community Benefit Inventory for Social Accountability for duration of this project
- To develop relationships with other civic leaders and key stakeholders in the community focused around a civic health agenda
How much will it cost to participate?
There is no fee for participation in the project; overall costs should be minimal. There is no external funding for this project but we will try to keep any costs as low as possible. Some fundraising may be required for participation in specific research initiatives, such as partnership on a statewide Civic Health Index report. The only fixed expenses will be to send a representative to the national American Democracy Project meeting for the next three years — in San Antonio in June 2012, in Denver in June 2013, and in Louisville in June 2014 – where each campus will be expected to participate in a pre-conference workshop, as well as make a presentation about the project outcomes during the conference.
How do we apply?
Institutions interested in this project do not have to be participants in the American Democracy Project; the only requirement is that they are AASCU-member institutions or members of The Democracy Commitment. To apply, the chief academic officer (CAO) should send an email to Jennifer Domagal-Goldman, the ADP National Manager at AASCU (email@example.com), with a brief statement about why your institution is interested in this initiative.
The deadline for applications is May 25, 2012. Campuses will be notified of their selection on a rolling basis, and by no later than June 1, 2012. To apply to be one of the institutions participating in this initiative, please include the following information in your email, along with a statement about why your institution is interested in this initiative.
Name of Institution: ________________________________________________________
We would like to apply to be participants in the Campus Civic Health Initiative.
Name of the Chief Academic Officer: ____________________________________________________________
Signature, Chief Academic Officer: ______________________________________________ Date: ___________
Campus Civic Health Initiative Campus Coordinator: ________________________________________________
(Please appoint a point person for this project on your campus.)
Please send to:
Jen Domagal-Goldman, ADP National Manager, AASCU, 1307 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20005; fax to (202) 296-5819; or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can reach Jen by phone at (202) 478-7833.
Organizations Involved in This Project
American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) | www.aascu.org/programs/ADP
The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) is a nonprofit consortium of over 400 public colleges and universities, representing 3.7 million students, throughout the United States. AASCU institutions pride themselves on being “Stewards of Place,” committed to strengthening the role of state colleges and universities through support of their teaching-learning, research and service missions. In 2003, AASCU, in partnership with The New York Times, created the American Democracy Project (ADP), a civic engagement initiative now involving more than 240 AASCU institutions. The American Democracy Project and participating institutions are committed to preparing the next generation of informed, engaged citizens for our democracy.
National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) | www.ncoc.net
At the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC), we believe everyone has the power to make a difference in how their community and country thrive. NCoC is a dynamic, non-partisan nonprofit working at the forefront of our nation’s civic life. We continuously explore what shapes today’s citizenry, define the evolving role of the individual in our democracy, and uncover ways to motivate greater participation. Through our events, research, and reports, NCoC expands our nation’s contemporary understanding of what it means to be a citizen. We seek new ideas and approaches for creating greater civic health and vitality throughout the United States. NCoC was chartered by Congress in 1953 to harness the patriotic energy and national civic involvement surrounding World War II, and we’ve been invigorated by this charge ever since. In 2009, Congress recognized the importance of our role once again and expanded our Civic Health Assessment to become the nation’s largest and most definitive measure of civic engagement. Today, we continue to discover and share best practices in civic engagement.
The Democracy Commitment | TheDemocracyCommitment.org
The Democracy Commitment (TDC) is a national initiative providing a platform for the development and expansion of community college programs, projects and curricula aiming at engaging students in civic learning and democratic practice across the country. The goal of TDC is that every graduate of an American community college shall have had an education in democracy. This includes all of our students, whether they aim to transfer to university, achieve an associate degree or obtain a certificate. Through national initiatives and partnerships TDC membership institutions will enhance the democratic engagement on their campuses, in their communities and local governments.
CIRCLE | www.civicyouth.org/
CIRCLE (The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement) conducts research on civic education in schools, colleges, and community settings and on young Americans’ voting and political participation, service, activism, media use, and other forms of civic engagement. It is based at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts University.
Lyon Software | www.lyonsoftware.com/products/education.php
Lyon’s Community Benefit Inventory for Social Accountability (CBISA™) is a comprehensive way for colleges and universities to measure their impact on the communities they serve and to institutionalize community engagement and service learning. CBISA streamlines reporting to a variety of stakeholders including the President’s Honor Roll and Carnegie Community Engagement Classification.