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#LovinLouisville #7│Civic Pathways

By Jen Domagal-Goldman, ADP National Manager, AASCU

Heading to Louisville for #ADPTDC14? Over the next two weeks leading up to our June 5-7 ADP/TDC Joint National Meeting in this City of Compassion, we’ll be highlighting reasons that we’re #LovinLouisville.

Reason #7? Civic Pathways

adptdc14_fbtimelineThe theme for the 2014 ADP/TDC National Meeting is “Forging Civic Pathways for Students between Our Institutions.” This theme underscores the importance of the unique partnership between ADP and TDC,which brings together two-year and four-year public institutions of higher education committed to advancing civic learning and engagement.

Civic pathways are collaborative, intentional and articulated civic education programs (curricular and/or co-curricular) and practices that are built between cooperating two- and four-year institutions, many times in close geographic proximity to one another.

At the national meeting, you’ll notice that the civic pathway theme pops up repeatedly. It’s the topic of our opening plenary session on Thursday.

  • Thursday, June 5, 2014
    3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
    Opening Plenary
    Forging Civic Pathways on Our Campuses and in Our Communities: Helping Students Navigate and Succeed in Higher Education
    Reflecting the conference theme, this session offers a vision for the creation of a set of curricular and co-curricular civic pathways designed to help students navigate through our two- and four-year colleges and universities and their surrounding communities. Existing pathways and partnerships are introduced, and meeting participants engage in a facilitated conversation designed to envision and develop new pathways on our campuses, in our communities and across public higher education.

It’s one of the thematic strands of program sessions throughout the meeting. There’s an organizing meeting during breakfast on Friday to talk about joint ADP/TDC work that we envision based on this topic.

But why?

We believe that:

  1. Civic learning outcomes are significantly improved and more comprehensive, more articulated and more effective for all students when two- and four-year programs collaborate.
  2. Civic pathways provide opportunities for innovative programming to be tested and subsequently used in both two-year and four-year institutions. When two- and four- year programs work together, they learn from one another.  Programs are enriched, and opportunities for professional development for all faculty and staff increase.
  3. Civic pathways provide for efficiency and effectiveness in program design and delivery in an era of constrained resources.  For example, when both two- year and four- year programs collaborate with specific community partners, they can use common data systems, common forms, and common policies and practices, reducing administrative time and reducing confusion among community partners.  They can improve program design.  They can build common service learning and internship structures.
  4. Students should not have to leave their communities behind when they transfer from a two-year to a four-year school.  They should not have to sever connections to the places they have worked, done service learning or volunteered. Students have a rich understanding of their communities, deep connections to them, and those understandings and connections should be a source of strength for both students and their programs, not something that they have to abandon.
  5. In a civic pathways program, students have opportunities for progressive community participation from volunteer work to paid internships in the same organizations.

And we envision the following programmatic possibilities:

  1. Majors:  civic-infused majors which do not have community college equivalents
  2. Minors:  the best example may be the civic minor in urban education
  3. Degrees:  civic-related degrees where there can be close collaboration between two- and four-year schools
  4. Documentation:  shared documentation which might include a co-curricular transcript; jointly used community engagement or service learning forms, or other forms of community engagement documentation
  5. Shared civic projects:  community-based programs, voter registration programs and other forms of civic projects that could be joint two-year – four-year programs
  6. Shared Infrastructure:  the possibility of creating a center for community engagement that is jointly operated by a two-year and four-year institution, when those two institutions are either co-located or nearby
  7. Shared assessment tools:  two-year and four-year institutions could develop shared assessment instruments
  8. Shared community agencies:  from the perspective of community organizations, creating unified forms procedures and practices that simplify the way that agencies and organizations interact with both two-year and four-year institutions. Such sharing would increase the number resources and increase coordination, while providing greater continuity for both the community organization and for students

We hope you’ll join us in Louisville for this conversation, but, more than that, we hope that the planning that takes place there and its subsequent actions will fuel efforts to create and advance civic pathways.  We are convinced that these civic pipelines can be designed to advance student retention and success and to promote the civic health of our democracy through the preparation and graduation of informed, engaged citizens.

Civic Pathways Strand Sessions:
Note: These are denoted in the mobile app program by “(CP)” before the session title

Of particular note, the breakfast we mentioned above:

  • Friday, June 6
    7:30 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.
    Salon X
    (CP) Breakfast Session:  Civic Pathways Planning Meeting (open to all)
    A follow-up to Thursday’s opening plenary conversation, this breakfast session is intended to serve as a planning and organizing meeting for collaborative efforts between ADP and TDC to create, expand and scale-up civic pathways between our campuses.
    Facilitators:  Jennifer Domagal-Goldman, ADP National Manager; and Stephanie South, TDC National Coordinator, AASCU

You can download a Word document containing all of the (CP) Civic Pathways-themed sessions here.

eJournal of Public Affairs Call for Papers: Special Issue on “Forging Civic Pathways”

eJournal with tag line

The eJournal of Public Affairs will be including multimedia presentation submissions for a Special Issue publication. By videographing interviews and programs, the special issue will focus on the topic of “Forging Civic Pathways for Students between our Institutions.” This topic will be the focus of the American Democracy Project’s annual national meeting in Louisville, Kentucky June 5-7, 2014.

Along with videography, the special issue will include scholarly essays, which address the ways we foster and build more coherent civic learning and engagement experiences for students on university campuses. We urge you to submit your subjects and essays to be included in this effort.

The eJournal of Public Affairs is a peer-reviewed, multidisciplinary, open-access electronic journal published by Missouri State University in partnership with the American Democracy Project. For this special issue, the eJournal requests submissions that report on projects and approaches that foster and build more coherent civic learning and engagement experiences for students on university campuses.

Submissions should focus on describing best practices or successful models, or present quantitative and/or qualitative results of Civic Pathway initiatives. Topics of interest include:

1)      Innovative study abroad programs in terms of institutional civic learning and engagement;

2)      Programs or initiatives that facilitate institutional civic learning and engagement through communications technology;

3)      non-Western efforts to promote student civic learning and engagement; and

4)      Efforts to conceptualize, teach, and assess institutional civic learning and engagement at all levels; e.g. assignments, courses, programs, campuses, and systems.

How to Submit:

Deadline to submit is July 15, 2014 (earlier submissions appreciated) and should follow the format outlined on the eJournal of Public Affairs website at

Learn more here ADP Call Flyer!

Democratic Education and Engagement in Teacher Education

 Democracy has to be born anew in every generation,
and education is its midwife.
-John Dewey

ADP and TDC are pleased to announce a new teacher education effort and strand at their national meeting established to forge and strengthen democratic education and civic engagement in teacher preparation at two- and four-year member institutions.

Educators are the primary stewards of democracy. Since the birth of the republic, we have charged schools with preparing students for lives of democratic citizenship. This charge has regrettably devolved into the “mechanics” of citizenship, and even this narrow approach is increasingly crowded out of the classroom by accountability mandates. Nonetheless, citizenship is more than elections. Democracy, as Dewey stated, is first and foremost a form of associational life, not a system of government. Teaching and learning in our schools must address this rich vision.

This challenge is exacerbated by the way future teachers are taught. The “science” of teaching, advanced by Thorndike and others, has come to dominate the American classroom, undermining a more learning-centered, developmental paradigm advanced by Dewey. The relentless quest for accountability drives Teacher Education programs, just as it dominates American classrooms.

A unique opportunity to ameliorate these trends can be found in two national civic engagement projects: The Democracy Commitment (TDC) of community colleges and the American Democracy Project (ADP) of state colleges and universities. These two sectors of American higher education are making a concerted re-commitment to democratic education and civic engagement. This commitment must be pursued in Teacher Education. State comprehensive colleges are the largest providers of trained teachers for American classrooms, and fully half of their graduates transfer into their programs from their local community college. Currently, at least 50% of teachers have taken courses at community colleges.

An alliance between teacher educators in these two systems can help to recalibrate the way classroom teachers are educated in this country, with great promise for reinvigorating democracy in our classrooms, and in our communities. Four domains are ripe for organizing, and for projects and interactions among the partners:

  • Programs: lower division and upper division Teacher Education programs in local communities can collaborate to provide rich engagement experiences for the pre-service teachers they share in serving
  • Partnerships: articulation agreements and field training partnerships with PK-12 districts can foster and enhance teacher education for democracy
  • Pipelines: recruiting and mentoring prospective candidates from local communities, especially minority populations who increasingly represent the majority in the locales served by state colleges and community colleges, can create a pipeline through which future teachers can successfully pass
  • Policies: the two sectors can link arms in addressing federal, state and local policies that mitigate against the vision of educating P-12 students and their prospective teachers for lives of democratic engagement

We are seeking faculty and staff in ADP and TDC institutions who will join in this work.  Two levels of involvement are requested:  participation in a national dialogue on these issues, including participation in an ongoing workgroup and in the annual ADP/TDC meeting and partnership development at the local level through 2+2  interactions.


2014 American Democracy Project and The Democracy Commitment Joint National Meeting Thursday, June 5 to Saturday, June 7, 2014

Marriott Louisville Downtown, Louisville, Kentucky.
Theme: “Forging Civic Pathways for Students between Our Institutions.”

This theme is made for us! We invite teacher education faculty and staff at TDC and ADP institutions to join us in Louisville. Better yet! We invite teacher education faculty and staff to submit presentation proposals that address any of the Teacher Education Joint Initiative four domains: programs, partnerships, pipelines, and policies.

Information about the meeting theme, call for proposals and logistics and other information go here.

Note: The deadline for presentation proposal submissions is Sunday, February 16, 2014 at 11:59 PM Eastern.

We would be happy to talk with you about this exciting new initiative, to learn about your work and ideas and how you might join us in this work.

Please be in touch, and see you in Louisville!

Jolanda Westerhof, Ph.D.
Director of Teacher Education
American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU)

Bernie Ronan, Ph.D.
Associate Vice Chancellor, Public Affairs, Maricopa Community Colleges
Co-Founder, The Democracy Commitment

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