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The American Democracy Project For Civic Engagement American Association of State Colleges and Universities New York Times San José State University 2003.

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Presentation on theme: "The American Democracy Project For Civic Engagement American Association of State Colleges and Universities New York Times San José State University 2003."— Presentation transcript:

1 The American Democracy Project For Civic Engagement American Association of State Colleges and Universities New York Times San José State University 2003

2 The American Democracy Project seeks to increase the number of undergraduate students who understand and are committed to engaging in meaningful civic actions. The project grows out of a concern about decreasing rates of participation in the civic life of America in voting, in advocacy, in volunteerism in local grassroots associations, and in other forms of civic engagement that are necessary for the vitality of our democracy. Increasing Student Involvement in Public Life AASCU ADP website,

3 What is Civic Engagement? "Civic engagement means working to make a difference in the civic life of our communities and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make that difference. It means promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes." (Preface, page vi). “A morally and civically responsible individual recognizes himself or herself as a member of a larger social fabric and therefore considers social problems to be at least partly his or her own; such an individual is willing to see the moral and civic dimensions of issues, to make and justify informed moral and civic judgments, and to take action when appropriate." (Introduction, page xxvi). Civic Responsibility and Higher Education, edited by Thomas Ehrlich, American Council on Education: Oryx Press, 2000.

4 Project Goals Increase the number of undergraduate students who understand and are committed to engaging in meaningful civic actions by asking participating institutions to review and restructure academic programs and processes, extracurricular programs and activities, and the institutional culture. Focus the attention of policy makers and opinion leaders on the civic value of the college experience.

5 The Project Seeks To … … create a national conversation among many campuses about the theory and practice of civic engagement. … develop institutional commitment by involving senior administrators, faculty, staff and students; by addressing core institutional mission and purpose; and by focusing on civic engagement as a learning outcome for undergraduates. … initiate new projects, courses and teaching strategies, extracurricular programs, and other programs to increase civic engagement, supported by the national project office. … measure the civic engagement outcomes of undergraduates on participating campuses, and assess the impact of this project in contributing to greater civic engagement outcomes. … disseminate the models that result to a wide audience of higher education institutions, individuals, and policy makers.

6 Project Overview Participants: 146 (and growing) public colleges and universities that are members of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). Core text: Educating Citizens: Preparing America's Undergraduates for Lives of Moral and Civic Responsibility. Anne Colby, Thomas Ehrlich, Elizabeth Beaumont, and Jason Stephens. San Francisco, Jossey-Bass, Published by the Carnegie Foundation.

7 Project Sponsors American Association of State Colleges and Universities

8 Project Philosophy of Civic Engagement in Education “We are convinced that it is not possible to create a value-neutral environment, so it is preferable for colleges and universities to examine the values they stand for and make conscious and deliberate choices about what they want to convey to students. More important, we believe that there are some basic moral principles, ideals, and virtues that can form a common ground to guide institutions of higher education in their work, including the work of educating citizens in a democracy.” Educating Citizens: Preparing America’s Undergraduates for Lives of Moral and Civic Responsibility, Colby, et.al., San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, Should colleges stand for particular moral values or ideals (i.e., common ground) … or should they call for clarity and consistency in moral beliefs (values clarification)? While no two universities are identical, each should “stand for values that are fundamental to their highest sense of purpose.”

9 Major Themes for Moral and Civic Education Community ConnectionsConnections with and service to particular communities are central to institutional identity. Moral and Civic VirtueSpecial focus on distinctive core values or virtues of the individual. Social JusticePromote greater social justice in the U.S. and the world by contributing to social change and public policies. Theme (Approach)Description Educating Citizens: Preparing America’s Undergraduates for Lives of Moral and Civic Responsibility, Colby, et.al., San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2003.

10 Campus Implementation – Best Practices Tie to what’s already happening on campus. Link to accrediting agencies and processes. Engage all student organizations, including student government. Recognition, recognition, recognition. e.g., “co-curricular transcripts.” Publicize and promote. Executive leadership: President, Provost, Senate, Student Government. “Value-added” academic activity for faculty buy-in. Grants office involvement for leads and opportunities. Focus on core values, including alumni relations. Conference Summary Panel Discussion, 2003 AASCU National Meeting, Snowbird Utah, August 2003.

11 Campus Implementation – Key Principles for Success Include staff. Visualize benchmarks early. Non-partisan emphasis – “educated citizen” goal. Take your time (vs. urgency) – focus on well, not fast. Start with current inventory of activities. Model the behavior. Cross-divisional planning. Brief the leaders. Conference Summary Panel Discussion, 2003 AASCU National Meeting, Snowbird Utah, August 2003.

12 Campus Implementation – Key Participants Executive Leadership. Academic Senate and Faculty Leadership. Student Government. Center for Service Learning. Center for Faculty Development and Support. Undergraduate Studies, Curriculum Committees, GE Leadership. Student Advisors, Counselors, Career Center. Local Community, Press, and Political Leadership. Public Affairs and Governmental Relations.

13 Campus Implementation – Next Steps Dialogue, Dialogue, Dialogue. - CSL Summit, August 29, Umunhum Room - Senate Brown-Bag Series, Fall 2003, IRC Informal meetings and conversations Inventory of Current Campus Activities. Identify & Engage Additional Interested Participants. Status Update, AASCU National Meeting, February 2004.


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