Presentation on theme: "Students with a Conscience: Civic Learning and Engaged Student Communities Michael S. Miller, Vice President for Student Affairs, Rockford College Keegan."— Presentation transcript:
Students with a Conscience: Civic Learning and Engaged Student Communities Michael S. Miller, Vice President for Student Affairs, Rockford College Keegan David, Associate Dean for Student Success, Rockford College
Outline OverviewPurposes Learning Outcomes of the Session (4) Rockford College –General –Strategic Vision –Commitments to the Strategic Vision (5) –Campus Life Alignment Next Steps, Questions, Discussion and Suggestions
Overview This presentation describes our vision for a campus life program that is aligned with our institution’s vision and mission. –The process we used to identify and develop our vision for campus life. –The ways that vision is being “incrementally” being practiced.
Overview In essence, we want to describe to you: –Who we are. –What we are attempting to foster in our students. –How we are building a culture of engagement that is focused on civic engagement in the broadest sense. –How we assess what we are doing.
Overview We have all heard the challenges and questions for our institutions to better prepare students to use what they learn to benefit society as actively engaged citizens. –How can we as professionals in higher education respond to these challenges? –How best can we transcend traditional boundaries within our institutions to effectively promote democratic values such as action, advocacy, dialogue, and service?
Overview The campus life program at Rockford College has pursued these questions by intentionally aligning itself with the college’s vision: –“To make a difference in the world by linking learning and citizenship through collective action.”
Overview Alignment – A Major Change Effort –Successes, Challenges, and Actions –Students’ perspectives –Discussion, Ideas, and Suggestions
Outcomes for this Session 1. Consider characteristics for effective civic engagement-related activities, which involves: A.Process Team B.Culture Change
Outcomes for this Session 2.Understand competencies for effectively promoting civic engagement activities between academic affairs, campus life, and the broader community.
Outcomes for this Session 3.Learn about ways CIRP data and focus group research can be used to enhance and promote student subcultures on campus.
Outcomes for this Session 4.Learn about students’ perceptions of social and community activism as it relates to civic learning.
Founded in 1847, RC exists to make a difference in the world through linking learning and citizenship. Jane Addams – founder of Chicago’s Hull- House and 1931 Nobel Peace Prize winner. RC is a community that is actively curious, creative, compassionate, and connected. An independent, coeducational, liberal arts college, RC is honored to have a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s leading advocate for the liberal arts and sciences at the undergraduate level.
Strategic Vision To advance the ideals of Rockford College through the study and practice of citizenship, service, and life- long learning.
Mission-based Principles Practical education, which promotes engaging one’s self in the entire collegiate experience and taking advantage of opportunities to expand one’s ability to think critically and to act on one’s personal convictions.
Mission-based Principles Civic engagement, which involves joining, students, staff, and faculty in dialogue and action in the democratic arts of service, social activism, and political advocacy.
Mission-based Principles Agile and accountable, which means learning to adapt and respond to both problems and opportunities, while holding firm to abiding principles such as integrity and responsiveness.
Commitments to the Strategic Vision There are four commitments or principles embedded in our pursuit of a mission-driven campus life program.
Commitments to the Strategic Vision 1.To serve the campus and broader community through: –The Jane Addams Center for Civic Engagement at Rockford College. 2. To pursue responsible actions through: –Civic engagement in the broadest sense. –A campus culture of social activism & community outreach (See Astin). –Developing & promoting students dedicated to civic and social responsibility.
Commitments to the Strategic Vision 3. Alignment - To intentional actions for effectively promoting civic engagement activities between: –academic affairs –campus life –the broader community 4. To use assessment to guide commitments to responsible action and campus cultures.
The Jane Addams Center for Civic Engagement The Jane Addams Center for Civic Engagement at Rockford College exists to make a difference in the world by linking learning and citizenship.
The Jane Addams Center for Civic Engagement Jane Addams Conference – An International Conference on Higher Learning and Democracy. –Institutional teams seeking to design and implement civic engagement-related practices. –Student-led dialogues on democracy Plunge – Annual off- campus service project conducted during freshmen orientation.
Three Commitments to Responsible Action Civic Engagement Social Activism and Community Orientation Civic Responsibility
Civic Engagement Involves individual and collective actions designed to identify & address issues of public concern. Many forms, from individual voluntarism to organizational involvement to electoral participation. Examples: –working in a soup kitchen, –serving on a neighborhood association, –writing a letter to an elected official, & –Voting. (The Pew Charitable Trusts)
Social Activism and Community Orientation (Astin, 1993) The extent to which an institution is perceived as concerning itself with producing student leaders who will become social change agents. –Teach students how to change society. –Develop leadership ability among students. –Help solve major social and environmental problems. –Facilitate involvement in community service activities.
Civic Responsibility (Outcomes) “The sense of personal responsibility individuals should feel to uphold their obligation as a part of any community” (Komives, Lucas, & McMahon, 1998)
Civic Responsibility (Outcomes) Understandings of ethical and social issues from multiple perspectives. Willingness to take responsibility for personal actions. Commitment to contribute to society. Appreciation of cultural pluralism and global interdependence. (Colby, Ehrlich, Beaumont, & Stephens, 2003)
Civic Responsibility (Outcomes) Voting Political Participation “beyond the vote” Campaign volunteering Attending a political rally of meeting Contributing money to a political campaign Writing a letter to a public official Civic volunteerism Community Service Public Service (Nie & Hillygus, 2001)
Civic Responsibility (Outcomes) Themes in the Higher Education Literature: –Knowledge and support of democratic values, systems, and processes –Desire to act beneficially in community for its members –Use of knowledge and skills for societal benefits –Appreciation for and interest in those unlike self –Personal accountability ( Thornton & Jaeger, 2006)
Campus Life Alignment A commitment to intentional actions for effectively promoting civic engagement activities between academic affairs, campus life, and the broader community (mission-driven alignment).
Campus Life Alignment 3 key strategies for creating mass change –Vision (College and Campus Life) –Implementers –Recipients Lessons
Campus Life Alignment Primary Lessons of Strategic Change (MSM) –Must pay attention to more than the vision Ownership and identities Lead others to lead through a network of leaders and volunteers, connecting the initiative to structures such as pre- enrollment communications, orientation, first-year advising –Ethics – Balance institutional demands with those of the students, some of whom embrace, others who feel something else other than what they enrolled for is happening, which in turn may lead to further institutional demands related to retention.
Campus Life Alignment Vision (College and Campus Life) –Emerge incrementally, with the idea of trying to realize a tipping point. –Create a network of interactions, beginning with a campus life team. Charge Primary Outcome Primary Actions
Campus Life Alignment Campus Life Team –Faculty, staff, students –Specific charge –Time frame –Identity group leader and note taker –Establish rules for operating –Consider assessment data and research literature –Management of psychological boundaries
Campus Life Alignment Psychological Boundaries –Task: Who does what? –Authority: Who’s in charge of what? –Identity: How do we take pride in our efforts? –Political: What’s in it for us? (Hirshhorn, 1992)
Campus Life Alignment Charge –Strategically reposition campus life to be consistent with the college’s strategic vision and the research literature on civic engagement, and campus cultures that promote civically-engaged students. Define outcomes Pursue intentional actions that link campus life to the academic life of students
Campus Life Alignment Primary Lessons of Implementation –To keep focus through intentional engagement meetings with students and staff.
Campus Life Alignment Primary outcome: students as engaged “Citizens of the Campus” –Intentionally seeks to make the campus a better place (e.g., increase in students taking personal responsibility for enforcing the honor code, student- driven alcohol task force) –Intentionally seeks to realize ideals such as inclusion, participation, tolerance, reason, and respect (e.g., student driven responses to community needs – homeless and hurricane).
Campus Life Alignment Primary actions –Introduce students, before they enroll, to the idea that they can create their own community through self governance. –Governance involves structured dialogue where students, led by faculty/staff members and student leaders, consider questions such as: What type of community do we want to be, related to our vision? How do we support and help each other succeed? What do we expect from each other? What does tolerance mean to our community and how do we pursue actions that are just, respectful and thoughtful? How do we hold each other accountable for inappropriate behavior (i.e., alcohol, vandalism, etc.)?
Student Organizations Rockford College Regent Players –Reading programs at a local grade school. – Theater workshops for high school and middle school students. Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition (NESI) –Movie showings for children. –Food and money drives for the homeless.
Campus Life Alignment Recipients –Intentional Actions Assessment Data –CIRP –Focus Groups Interpretations
Assessment A commitment to use assessment data to guide commitments to responsible action and campus cultures.
Assessment Collection (Exploratory Analysis) –Secondary Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) Freshmen Survey College Student Survey (CSS) –Primary Focus Groups Preliminary Data –Focus Groups - initial groups to pilot –CIRP – tracking data for alignment purposes –CSS – N/A
Assessment Questions What is happening to students (cognitively, behaviorally, & affectively) when they participate in civic engagement activities? In what ways might we structure students’ educational experiences so as to promote the kinds of outcomes associated with civic responsibility or citizenship?
Assessment Questions How do we promote student learning through participation in civic engagement activities? How does our campus culture influence the civic behavior of our students & graduates?
Summary, CIRP Data Gaps in scores between RC students and students at private institutions on most items in 2003 when we began. –Changes, many to the positive over three years. Gains, not necessarily reflective of what is happening within the environment, but it is more than just recruiting “different” students (the profile of incoming students is relatively the same). Focus group data suggests how enrolled students who participated, and some student affairs staff, see their experience.
Attitude-Based Measure (CIRP) for Entering Freshmen
Behavior-Based Measure (CIRP) for Entering Freshmen
Value-Based Measure (CIRP) for Entering Freshmen
Behavior-Based Measure (CIRP) for Entering Freshmen
What do we Know so far about Civic Engagement, Student Learning, & Civic Responsibility at RC Focus Groups (Empathy and Personal) –“I think you can learn a lot from different types of people and just getting to know a diverse group of people and putting yourself into their situation – I think you learn a lot not only about yourself, but about your community and your environment and how important it is to be educated.” –“You get the warm and fuzzies.”
What do we Know so far about Civic Engagement, Student Learning, & Civic Responsibility at RC Focus groups (Career Opportunities) –“I was volunteering in the clinic for awhile in high school and that was one of the main reasons that really focused my energy towards medicine.” –“It [volunteering] looks good on a resume.”
What do we Know so far about Civic Engagement, Student Learning, & Civic Responsibility at RC Focus Groups (Learning experience) –“It’s more like social learning – it helps break down stereotypes because when you don’t deal with people, you just kind of assume certain stereotypes for certain groups of people – kind of what you see on TV or hear from other people who have that view when you talk to them you realize they don’t have those stereotypes.”
What do we Know so far about Civic Engagement, Student Learning, & Civic Responsibility at RC Focus Groups –We have not seen evidence of influencing the social or political structures, which is consistent with the research. –We have not seen any motivation to create a more equitable society. –Mentoring and the peer culture were more influential than the JACCE.
What do we Know so far about Civic Engagement, Student Learning, & Civic Responsibility at RC Scope –Staff – Broader perspective –Students – volunteer Connections (Structural vs. Relational) –Staff – set programs (structures) –Students – mentoring
What’s Next? Help students make intentional and meaningful connections between what they are studying and relevant social, political, economic, and environmental issues. Become scholars of the student experience, as it related to civic engagement and citizenship, and as they relate to learning and development.
What’s Next? Promote the practice of citizen leaders (students) who see the campus as not only a place to develop civic responsibility, but a place where students are citizens, taking responsibility for the social well-being of their classmates and the institution.”
What’s Next In other words –students taking responsibility for their own academic and personal development –students taking responsibility for their actions Honor system Theme housing Persist and finish