Spring 2014, Volume 10

National Office News

26 Campuses Participate in Creating Cohesive Paths to Civic Engagement - Innovative Research Project

As part of Creating Cohesive Paths to Civic Engagement, 26 Periclean Colleges and Universities recently mapped and inventoried all their existing courses and co-curricular offerings with civic engagement and social responsibility components.

Campuses tackled the work with enthusiasm. Many are using it as a catalyst for deeper discussions about the organization and integration of civic engagement programming on their campuses.

"This has been a remarkable exercise.... It gives us a wealth of information for future discussion, and will be an important guide as we continue to refine our institutional civic mission," reported Cass Freedland, France-Merrick Director of Community-Based Learning and Project Pericles Co-Program Director, Goucher College.

Campuses will use the data to further enhance existing programming for civic engagement and social responsibility or to develop new courses and opportunities that address current gaps.Overall, the goal is to create clear pathways for students to integrate civic engagement and social responsibility into their courses of study.This may include developing certificate programs, formal minors, introductory seminars, concluding capstone seminars, and programs of study that meet the needs of all majors.

On July 14-17, representatives from all participating campuses will convene at the Pocantico Center of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. The convening will provide a forum to reflect on findings from the initial research, share challenges and best practices, and work to develop new and innovative approaches to promote student engagement.

Launched in 2013, this cutting edge, three-year project is supported by the Eugene M. Lang Foundation and The Teagle Foundation.

Six Winning Teams Announced in the 2014 Debating for Democracy (D4D™) Letters to an Elected Official Competition.

By Christine Martin 

This spring, student teams from Periclean colleges and universities across the country participated in the Letters to an Elected Official competition. They wrote letters proposing innovative solutions to issues ranging from African-American youth incarceration, to education finance reform, to human trafficking. These letters were sent to elected officials throughout the United States.

Project Pericles is proud of all the Periclean students on campuses throughout the country who participated in the competition.

Six winning teams will each receive a $500 award to advance their issue through advocacy and educational campaigns over the coming year. The winning letters successfully advanced practical solutions to important public policy issues.

We are working with the students to finalize their plans for the coming year.See bottom of the Newsletter for more information on the six winning teams.

About the Letter to an Elected Officials Competition:

Over the past six years, hundreds of teams from all 29 Periclean colleges and universities have participated in the Letters to an Elected Official competition. Winning teams have used their awards to take their issue and move it forward. Student leaders and activists have worked on a wide range of issues, including: fracking, education reform, the Dream Act, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), and mountaintop-removal coal mining. They have met with their elected officials and raised awareness on campus and in their communities.  

D4D on the Road Workshop at Dillard University Praised for Outstanding Contribution to Civic Engagement

On March 15, Dillard University hosted a Debating for Democracy (D4D)™ workshop facilitated by Naomi Long, a Rhodes College alumna, from Wellstone Action.

Dr. Gary Clark, Project Pericles Program Director, reported: "The D4D Project Pericles Workshop was recognized today, at a university meeting, for outstanding contribution to civic engagement. A cross-section of the university's administration, students, and faculty attended the D4D workshop. The comprehensive review is 'superlative.' Our mission [at Dillard] coupled with Project Pericles and Wellstone Action is a serious enterprise."

Held on 11 campuses this year, the D4D on the Road™ workshops provide training in leadership development, media strategy, coalition building, and developing an effective message. Using a carefully designed model, advocacy experts empower students, faculty, staff, and community members to advance their particular issue or cause. Since 2008, Project Pericles has trained more than 2,000 attendees at Periclean colleges and universities across the United States through these day-long workshops.

The 2013-2014 D4D™ on the Road workshops are made possible through the generous support of the Eugene M. Lang Foundation, The Henry Luce Foundation, and our Periclean colleges and universities.


Project Pericles Executive Director Jan R. Liss Discusses Civic Engagement on WCAP AM 980

Project Pericles Executive Director Jan R. Liss was interviewed by radio host Mara Dolan of WCAP AM 980 about the critical role of civic engagement in higher education. Liss discussed Project Pericles' unique approach that combines work in the classroom, campus, and community. She also highlighted the many successes that students have had with their Letters to Elected Officials. The interview is available on the web


Project Pericles Welcomes Incoming Presidents

Project Pericles welcomes four incoming presidents who will take up their posts this summer. We look forward to working with all of them in the years ahead. The four new Periclean presidents are:

Dr. Mary Ann Baenninger, Drew University; Dr. Baenninger currently serves as the president of the College of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph, Minnesota.

Dr. José Antonio Bowen, Goucher College; Dr. Bowen comes from Southern Methodist University's Meadows School of the Arts, where he is serving as the dean, professor of music, and the Algur H. Meadows Chair.

Dr. William M. Tsutsui, Hendrix College; Dr. Tsutsui comes from Southern Methodist University, where he is dean of the Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences and professor of history.

Dr. Tuajuanda Jordan, St. Mary's College of Maryland; Dr. Jordan comes from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, where she is dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of chemistry.


Periclean Faculty Leader and Program Director Named Interim V.P. for Academic Affairs at Rhodes College

Project Pericles congratulates Milton Moreland, Periclean Faculty Leader, Project Pericles Program Director, and Chair of the Archeology Program, on his appointment as interim Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty at Rhodes College.


Pericleans in the News


Bates Students Form Organization for Collaboration with Asylum-Seekers

By Carly Peruccio, Bates College 

Bates students Tara Humphries '17 and Carly Peruccio '16 were inspired to promote inter-community connections between Bates students and members of the Lewiston community. After months of collaboration with Pierrette Rukundo, a Lewiston resident, Experience Exchange was formed. The organization matches a Bates student with a Lewiston community member who is an asylum-seeker. Many of these residents are French or Portuguese speakers who have come to America from countries including Angola, Congo, and Rwanda.  

Humphries and Peruccio emphasize Project Pericles' driving principles of cooperation and collaboration. The relationships between Bates students and asylum-seekers are built upon the opportunity for mutual exchange and reciprocity. A Bates student, for example, might share English lessons with his or her match. In return, an asylum-seeker can offer French lessons. These exchanges also incorporate storytelling, the sharing of skills, or simply conversations.  

Experience Exchange presents a chance for participants to form reciprocal, meaningful, and sustained relationships and friendships, particularly between individuals who might not have connected otherwise. The group's co-founders view Experience Exchange's greatest benefit to be its opportunity to foster the development of cross-cultural understanding, appreciation, and respect.  


Hampshire Launches Living Learning Community Devoted to Social Change

By Ana Lua Fontes, Community Partnerships for Social Change, Hampshire College

This year, Hampshire College's Community Partnerships for Social Change launched a Living Learning Community (LLC). Co-sponsored with Hampshire's Residential Life Program, the LLC provides 12 first-year students who are passionate about social justice and social change with the opportunity to live on the same hall. Through an interactive program of workshops, field trips, and local activism, students develop skills and critical knowledge to become effective agents of change.

Dykee Gorell, a member of the LLC, who is studying African Studies, History and Philosophy says, "It's a blessing to live in that hall. It's truly beautiful.... I think there is a much stronger community on my hall because we are all doing the same thing, which is community organizing."

All first-year students spend at least 40 hours involved in collaborative, out-of-class learning projects through Hampshire's Campus Engaged Learning Requirement. The requirement, which includes a written reflection component, encourages students to make active connections between their academic pursuits and other areas of their lives, work collaboratively toward the achievement of shared goals, and contribute to the campus community in imaginative ways. These projects prepare students for the Community Engaged Learning Requirement, which asks students to address critical needs as defined by communities and organizations in and outside the college and "advance the cause of social justice and the well-being of others."


Widener's Project Pericles Program Director Receives Fellowship for Research into Civic Engagement

Widener University's Oskin Leadership Institute named James Vike, associate professor of political science and Project Pericles Program Director, as its first Trainer Faculty Fellow. The fellowship provides Vike with funding to continue his research into factors promoting vibrant, civil, political engagement in a deeply polarized and divisive era.

According to Vike, research has exposed a dilemma in contemporary American politics that links high levels of political interest and participation with high rates of partisanship and polarizing behavior in the political arena. This dilemma contributes to disaffection by many non-partisan individuals in society and has a negative effect on civil discourse across the nation.

"My research focuses on developing an enhanced citizen engagement typology and associated educational programming that can motivate people to become more politically active and engaged without simultaneously exacerbating polarization levels in society," Vike said.

Vike joined the faculty of the Widener College of Arts and Sciences in 1998 and has also served as associate dean of the Social Science Division and director of the Master of Public Administration Program.

The Trainer Faculty Fellows program is named for Nicholas P. Trainer, the current chair of the Widener Board of Trustees and a 1964 graduate.  The mission of the Oskin Leadership Institute is to perpetuate the Widener University tradition of inspiring students to be strategic leaders and responsible citizens who possess the character, courage, and competencies to affect positive change throughout the world.


Letters to an Elected Official (continued from first section):

The six winning teams and their letters are:

Hendrix College "A Letter to State Senator Joyce A. Elliott (D-AR) Concerning the Establishment of an Arkansas State Bank" by Steven Hulsey and Chirag Lala. The pair propose a state bank in Arkansas modeled on the Bank of North Dakota. The bank could loan funds at a low interest rate for development projects in areas such as school, water, or energy infrastructure.

Macalester College "A Letter to Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR) in support of the Television Consumer Freedom Act of 2013 (S. 912)" by Myles Ambrose, Ben Haltmaier, and Eliza Ramsey. The letter advocates for the passage of the Television Consumer Freedom Act of 2013, a bill that addresses the ills of cable bundling by introducing a system of a la carte programming. The writers assert that channel bundling in the cable television market forces consumers to overpay for channels and content they do not wish to view.

New England College "A Letter to U. S. Representative Ann M. Kuster (D-NH) in Support of Providing Resources Early for Kids Act of 2013 (H.R. 1041)" by Martina Cohran and Mariel Rheingold. In their letter, the two advocate for national standards for early childhood education, including lowering class sizes, improving student-teacher ratios, and raising qualifications for teachers. 

Pitzer College "A Letter to U.S. Representative Judy Chu (D-CA) in support of the Safe Schools Improvement Act" by Eli Erlick and Nicholas LaCivita. The authors encourage Representative Chu to publicly advocate for the Safe Schools Improvement Act, which would mandate anti-bullying policies for LGBTQ students and create guidelines to collect data on bullying in educational institutions. This bill would be a first of its kind and protect at-risk youth from victimization.

Swarthmore College "A Letter to Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) concerning Human Rights Considerations and Effectiveness of U.S. Sponsored Coca Fumigation in Colombia" by Jason Mendoza and Mackenzie Welch. The pair argue for a change in U.S. drug eradication policy in Colombia from aerial fumigation to manual eradication. The authors believe that aerial fumigation causes human rights violations, is not cost-efficient, and exacerbates rural displacement in Colombia.

Wagner College "A Letter to State Senator Diane J. Savino (D-NY) concerning the impact of hydraulic fracking in New York" by Adrienne Datta and Nada Metwally. The authors express concern about hydraulic fracturing in New York State and propose greater regulation of the industry. The pair argue that fracking poses potential environmental and health risks from contaminated groundwater.


Project Pericles Needs Your Support!

Please consider making a generous donation today to Project Pericles so that we can continue our work preparing tomorrow's engaged citizens. Donations can now be made directly through our website by clicking donate in the upper right corner. 

The Periclean Progress is issued during the academic year.


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Periclean Colleges & Universities
Allegheny College * Bates College * Berea College * Bethune-Cookman University     
Carleton College * Chatham University * Dillard University * Drew University 
Earlham College * Elon University * Goucher College * Hampshire College 
Hendrix College * Macalester College * Morehouse College *New England College     
             The New School * Occidental College * Pace University * Pitzer College            
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute * Rhodes College  * St. Mary's College of Maryland    
Spelman College * Swarthmore College * Ursinus College 
Wagner College * Widener University * The College of Wooster
National Office
 Executive Director: Jan R. Liss, jan.liss@projectpericles.org

Board of Directors
Chair: Eugene M. Lang
Vice-Chair: Neil R. Grabois 
Presidents' Council
Chair: Rebecca S. Chopp, Swarthmore College
Vice-Chair: Richard Guarasci, Wagner College
National Board of Advisors
 Co-Chairs: Sen. Nancy Kassebaum Baker & Hon. Kurt L. Schmoke

The title "Project Pericles®" and its embodiment in the Logo are registered service marks of Project Pericles, Inc.  All rights are reserved.