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Posts tagged ‘Civic Health’

eJournal of Public Affairs: Civic and Campus Health

Congratulations to the eJournal of Public Affairs for the latest special issue — focused on Civic and Campus Health — Volume 5, No. 1 published in March 2016. It’s what we’re reading!

John Keiser

Front Matter: In memoriam: John H. Keiser (President, Missouri State University, 1993-2005)
The Editors

 

 

 

Happy volunteers in the park

Editorial: Healthy Communities / Health Colleges: Advancing Civic Health with Data and Action
Mark D. Potter, Metropolitan State University of Denver
 

 

 

Avatar people in the form of speech bubble

Articles: Public Engagement: A Vital Leadership Skill
Ashely Trim
From the earliest days of the American republic, local communities have been incubators of civic health in the United States.  While national, state and local assessments of civic health show a lack of engagement in political and social activities that were once the foundation of healthy local democracy, these first decades of the 21st Century have revealed both new challenges for local governments and new tools for engagement. As local leaders revisit the important role of engaged citizens in local programs and policies, the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership at Pepperdine’s School of Public Policy offers an example of how of public policy and public administration schools can be uniquely equipped to help with this task by preparing future local government leaders for and training current local government leaders in the vital leadership skill of engaging citizens to address public problems.
Keywords: Civic Engagement; Citizenship; Public trust; Education

Research Study Report Response Result Action Concept

Article: A Civic Health Dialogue and Deliberation: Engaging Business, Nonprofit and Public Leaders
Ellen Szarleta
Improving our understanding of the state of civic health in our nation and our communities is a critical first step to building civic and political connectedness.  Recent efforts, including those of the State of Indiana, have focused on taking the pulse of our civic activity.    These efforts highlight the importance of building civic knowledge and skills for citizens, including young upcoming civic actors.   However, another important group of civic actors has largely gone unexamined in this effort to advance our civic health – public, private, and nonprofit sector leaders at both the regional and state levels.  In this paper, we suggest that while each sector brings different qualities bring to the table, all are required to effectively advance initiatives targeting our civic health.    We then describe a method for reinvigorating our civic disposition, and building regional social capital to collectively address the negative outcomes of civic health challenges.
Keywords: Civic health; Civic disposition; Civic Leaders

Students attending seminar

Article: Taking a Closer Look at Campus Civic Health: Are We Measuring Dutiful or Actualized Citizenship on Campus?
Adam Van Liere, Jeremy Arney, and Jo Arney
As members of the Campus and Community Civic Health Initiative we used National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) measures to gauge civic health on our campus. By utilizing course-embedded research project as part of a capstone class, we were able to interview student organizations, faculty, and campus offices regarding their activities in the areas covered by the indicators. Our study uncovered a strong civic campus culture but the analysis of the results seemed somewhat inconsistent with the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) results for our campus. Turning to the literature, and using our data as a case study, we argue that traditional measures of civic health need to be updated to reflect a more actualized definition utilized by young adults today.
Keywords: Civic Engagement; Civic Health; Citizenship

College of BrockportInstruments and Reports: College at Brockport Civic Health Report
Susan Orr and Dena Levy
This report assesses the Civic Health of the Collage at Brockport. It is modeled on the national and state reports produced in cooperation with the National Conference on Citizenship and was undertaken as a part of the American Democracy Project’s Civic Health Initiative. Compilation of the report was integrated into a political science research methods course; students from the course collected compiled and analyzed data for the report in the process of learning research concepts and skills. All students in the class produced mini-reports – three students who produced particularly strong individual reports were selected to work with course faculty to produce a final comprehensive version of the report was published and made available to the college community.
Keywords: Civic Health; Services; Social Connectedness; Political Action

Senior woman signs a Petition

Instruments and Reports: Lincoln Park Survey Instrument
Mark D. Potter
In fall 2013, students in Metropolitan State University of Denver’s advanced research in social science course, under the supervision of Dr. Nicholas Recker, responded to the Campus & Community Civic Health initiative by conducting a survey of businesses in the nearby La Alma/Lincoln Park neighborhood. Businesses were selected as the study’s focus due to their important community role and their being understudied in civic engagement research.

The students designed a survey focusing on how businesses perceived their neighborhood, their level of civic involvement, and their community partnerships. The survey also assessed topics related to civic engagement such as social capital (comprised of networks, norms of reciprocity, and trust). As part of the research design, students employed a drop-off pick-up method. This particular technique was advantageous because it engaged students with the nearby community as they collected data.

After the study was completed, MSU Denver hosted an event in the La Alma/Lincoln Park neighborhood to discuss findings and strengthen community ties. The event was well attended both by members of the university and the community. The event included opportunity for small group dialogue on themes presented from the research findings.

socail capitalInstruments and Reports: Social Capital and Civic Participation in the Ozarks: Summary of Findings from the Ozarks Regional Social Capital Survey
Mike Stout, John B Harms, and Timothy D. Knapp
This report summarizes the civic health of the Missouri Ozarks, a ten county region in Southwest Missouri. It is the first of its kind for the region and documents the health of the Ozarks’ civic sector. The report describes various indicators of civic life in Southwest Missouri. It also brings the workings of civil society into a broad discussion about what kind of institutional structure will best support democracy. Historical trends across the United States show that some forms of civic participation are declining. However, our analyses of social capital, socioeconomic status, and civic participation in Southwest Missouri show that there are foundations that can be built upon to revitalize the region’s civic health. The information in this report can be used to motivate and inform discussions of how to enliven civic participation in Southwest Missouri and strengthen the social fabric of the Show Me State.
Keywords: Social Capital; Civic Participation; Socio Economic Status

What We’re Reading: 2015 Volunteering & Civic Life in America Report

Today, the annual Volunteering and Civic Life in America research was released by NCoC and the Corporation for National & Community Service.

Follow this link to view the full report.

The research shows that the overall rate of volunteering is slightly lower than the previous year, yet remains strong and stable. Volunteering expands across all generations with 62.6 million adults (25.4%) participating in such activities – contributing a total of 7.7 billion hours.
Key demographic findings from the report include:

  • Americans 35-44 years old had the highest volunteering rate (31.3%) followed by those 45-54 years old (29.4%). One in five of “Millennials”, or those of ages 16-31, (21.7%) volunteered.
  • Older generations contributed the highest average number of volunteer hours with those 65-74 years old providing 92 hours and those 75 and older providing 90 hours.
  • The volunteer rate among young adults (ages 18-24) attending college was 26.7%, nearly double the volunteer rate of young adults not attending college (13.5%). This gap reflects the important role of colleges and universities as catalysts for service, and challenges us to do more to engage more young people not attending college in service activities.

Other civic health indicators from the report found that two in three Americans (68.5%) have dinner with family or friends frequently. Meanwhile, three in four (75.7%) see or hear from friends and family at least a few times a week, and more than a third (36.3%) are involved in a school, civic, recreational, religious, or other organizations.

At this time of heightened unease, the civic health of our country and engagement of our citizens is particularly important. All sectors of society should redouble their efforts to promote greater connections among Americans. Our civic health is strongest when citizens engage with their neighbors and government.

New NCoC Report: Latinos Civic Health Index (2015)

In the 1980’s, Latinos were described as America’s sleeping giant.

Latinos Civic Health IndexOver these decades, Latinos have gradually increased their civic aptitude and today are influencing the country’s civic life. With the release of the National Conference on Citizenship’s (NCOC) Latinos Civic Health Indexwe now have an in-depth understanding of Latino civic engagement across a wide range of indicators.

The report finds that Latino youth are at the forefront of increasing civic engagement within their communities. While overall Latino civic participation rates are lower than the rest of the population, improved educational opportunities, English language proficiency, and a higher than average rate of social media usage create increased avenues for youth engagement.

Two particularly interesting findings are that young Latino Internet users use social networking sites at higher rates (80%) than non-Latino whites (70%) and African Americans (75%).  Additionally, lower income Latino youth are more likely than their higher income Latino counterparts to use social media.  Combined, these points offer new opportunities for civic organizations and governments to focus on social media as a way to increase engagement.

The report, which is available in English and Spanish, can be found here.

Volunteering and Civic Life in America data

The National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC), in partnership with the Corporation for National and Community Service, and the U.S. Census Bureau, recently released new Volunteering and Civic Life in America (VCLA) data for 2013.

While some key indicators remain high, 16 of the 20 civic health indicators dropped compared to our most recent data collected in 2011 and 2012. Below are some of the central findings:

  • Confidence in corporations increased with 64.5% reporting they have some or a great deal of confidence, up 2.5 points from 62% in 2011.
  • 25.4% or 62 million Americans volunteered a total of 7.7 billion hours compared to 26.5% in 2012.
  • 55.8% of Americans trust most or all of the people in their neighborhood and 12.1% of Americans exchanged favors for neighbors frequently. Both decreased by .9 and 1.9 points respectively since 2011.
  • More than a third of Americans (36.3%) are involved in a school, civic, recreational, religious, or other organization, down 3 points from 2011.
  • Americans who hear from family or friends frequently saw the third biggest drop at 3.3 points since 2011.
  • Americans reporting that they had some or a great deal of confidence in the media had the biggest drop of 7 points from 62% to 55%.

Overall, the data shows Americans continue to volunteer and engage in their communities at high rates. While the data is only from two years, we should be vigilant about the challenges facing America’s civc health.

To overcome these challenges, we must all redouble our efforts in our personal and professional lives. At NCoC, we are building the Service Year exchange (SYx) to unite Americans through service and supporting our partners through the Civic Health Initiative. Learn more about these efforts and join us. Together, we can strengthen civic life in America.

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