Summer 2015, Volume 11

The Periclean Progress is a publication of Project Pericles, Inc., a not-for-profit organization that encourages and facilitates commitments by colleges and universities to include education for social responsibility and participatory citizenship as an essential element of their educational programs, in the classroom, on the campus, and in the community.

 

National Office News

 

Skidmore College Joins Project Pericles

Project Pericles is pleased to announce that Skidmore College is our newest member institution. "At its core, Project Pericles is about collaboration and leveraging our collective expertise in order to build stronger and more coherent curricular programs incorporating civic engagement and social responsibility. We are adding campuses that can significantly contribute to and elevate our conversations." said Jan Liss, Project Pericles' Executive Director, "Our board decided to extend an invitation to Skidmore given their demonstrated commitment to civic engagement and their interest in working with Project Pericles and its member institutions. The support of Skidmore's Board of Trustees and President Philip Glotzbach was compelling. We are extremely pleased to have them join Project Pericles."

Each member campus appoints a Project Pericles Program Director to coordinate programs on campus and serve as a liaison to the national office. We are pleased to be working with Associate Professor of History Eric Morser, Skidmore's Faculty Director of Civic Engagement. Morser is an early American historian who is especially interested in cities and in the origins of radical political protest in rural New Hampshire during the antebellum era. He is an award-winning professor who has worked extensively with public school teachers around the country. In addition to serving as Skidmore's Project Pericles Program Director, Eric will help enhance the intentionality, creativity, and vision of Skidmore's many civic engagement activities.

"For a number of years, Skidmore students have participating in our Debating for Democracy, D4D on the Road™ workshops for student activists," said Garret Batten, Project Pericles' Assistant Director, "Skidmore students are addressing pressing social problems and we are pleased to deepen our work with them."

 

The Spencer Foundation Funds the 2015-2016 D4D on the Road™ Workshops

The Spencer Foundation recently announced that Project Pericles will receive a grant supporting the ten D4D on the Road workshops organized between September 19, 2015 and March 19, 2016.

The D4D on the Road™ workshops are designed to provide novice and seasoned political activists with the tools and tactics they need to get their message across to policy makers, community leaders, and the public. Whether participants are interested in service, public policy, issue-based organizing, or advocacy campaigns, this highly effective workshop gives participants the core skills needed to start a new project or expand an existing one. They empower participants to effectively work within the democratic process to address pressing social, civic, and economic issues. Through these non-partisan workshops, Project Pericles has reached more than 3,000 students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members on campuses over the past seven years.

With ten workshops across the country this year, we will reach hundreds of participants from more than 20 college and university campuses. The workshops are led by Wellstone Action and focus on practicing concrete skills, including building an organizing team; developing problem solving strategies for community issues; crafting effective messages using the problem, solution, action, ask framework; and delivering persuasive public testimony. The trainers, Naomi LongEmily Caponetti, and John Gilbert, have extensive experience leading innovative and empowering civic engagement workshops. See final page for schedule.

Project Pericles appreciates the generous support of The Spencer Foundation and The Eugene M. Lang Foundation.

 

Student Choices - Student Voices: A Project Pericles Initiative to Boost Voter Registration and Inform the Electorate about the 2016 Elections

Eugene M. Lang founded Project Pericles in 2001 to tackle the growing political cynicism and civic disengagement among young people. In 2016, Project Pericles will celebrate its 15th anniversary, and to honor Mr. Lang's vision we are expanding a program he cherished: Student Choices - Student Voices (SCSV). SCSV is a Periclean initiative that encourages colleges and universities to develop innovative projects on campus and in the community to engage voters in the electoral process and government affairs. SCSV seeks to increase voter registration and turnout for students and community members and to inform them about pressing public policy issues.

Under SCSV, Periclean colleges and universities will hold events on campus and/or in the community that focus on the 2016 elections. SCSV encourages and facilitates thoughtful engagement of students in the political process-learning about candidates, understanding issues, and championing knowledgeable opinions. SCSV will build on the strength of our national consortium to support, share, and collaborate on exciting initiatives on all campuses.

The project will officially launch this fall, and we are assembling a SCSV Taskforce comprised of Project Pericles Program Directors and led by Christine Martin, Project Pericles Program Manager. We are already receiving student nominations from campuses to help register students and others, and to organize events for students and community members. Each Periclean team will be invited to choose from an array of opportunities including: informative activities, digital resources, and registration tools.

 

Bates Student Rocks the House (the Maine State House) with Testimony

Participation in the Debating for Democracy (D4D)™ Letters to an Elected Official competition led Bates College student Meghan Lynch to testify at the Maine State House in March. Appearing before the Health and Human Services and Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committees, Lynch spoke about the importance of maintaining general assistance programs for asylum-seekers while their cases are under review. Lynch spoke during the budget review process that included a proposal by Governor Paul LePage (R) to end cash assistance for asylum-seekers.

Talking about her testimony, Lynch commented, "I spoke about my experience at Catholic Charities Refugee and Immigration services, where I got to know many asylum-seekers who relied heavily on this cash assistance program during their first few months of arrival. I also spoke about our state's welcoming climate...."

Lynch and her co-authors fellow Bates students Eva Goldstein and Ali Rabideauparticipated in the 2015 Letters to an Elected Official competition. Their letter urging Governor LePage to maintain assistance for asylum-seekers was selected as one of five finalist letters. Lynch and Rabideau represented Bates at the D4D Legislative Hearing as part of the D4D National Conference in March.

"All the research that went into the Letters [to an Elected Official competition] certainly gave me the confidence to speak out," commented Lynch. "After participating in the debate [D4D Legislative Hearing] in New York, I feel more enthused and empowered to continue activism surrounding this important issue."  

 

About the Letters to an Elected Official Competition:

Over the past eight years, hundreds of teams from all 29 Periclean colleges and universities have participated in the Letters to an Elected Official competition. Teams of students write their elected officials about pressing public policy issues. Their letters are also submitted to Project Pericles and reviewed by an external panel of experts. The top five letters and teams are then selected to present at the Legislative Hearing, a highlight of the Debating for Democracy (D4D) National Conference. At this year's hearing, we had a panel of judges comprised of current and former government officials representing all three branches of government: Carol Browner, Former EPA Administrator; former U.S. Congressman Thomas J. Downey (D-NY); and the Honorable Edwina Richardson-Mendelson.

The team winning the Legislative Hearing received $3,000 and the four finalist teams each received $500. The teams use their awards to take their issue and move it forward. They design and implement an initiative that affects change on their campus and in their community. 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. 

 

Welcome to New Presidents

Seven new leaders with track records of promoting social responsibility and participatory citizenship in higher education have become presidents at Periclean institutions.

We are delighted to welcome all of the new presidents:

Philip A. Glotzbach has served as the president of Skidmore College since 2003, our newest Periclean.

Mary Schmidt Campbell is the new President of Spelman College. She is Dean Emerita,Tisch School of the Arts and Professor, Art and Public Policy at New York University.

Valerie SmithSwarthmore College's new President, comes to the college from Princeton University, where she was Dean of the College and a distinguished scholar of African American literature and culture.

Brock Blomberg is the new President of Ursinus College. Most recently he served as the Dean of the Robert Day School of Economics and Finance at Claremont McKenna College.

Thomas Poon is the interim President at Pitzer College. Poon is a professor of chemistry in the W.M. Keck Science Department, a joint department of Claremont McKenna College, Pitzer College, and Scripps College.

Stephen WilhiteWidener University's Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, will serve as the University's interim President.

Georgia Nugent, will serve as the interim President at The College of Wooster. She is a senior fellow at the Council of Independent Colleges and former president of Kenyon College.

 

Bates College to Host Annual Program Directors' Conference

Bates College President Clayton Spencer and Program Directors Darby Ray and Kristen Cloutier and the entire Bates College community are graciously hosting our 2015 Project Pericles Program Directors meeting at their campus in Lewiston Maine on November 10-11. The annual two-day meeting is an opportunity for program directors to collaborate on intercampus projects and exchange best practices and ideas to strengthen civic engagement and social responsibility on their campus. We are looking forward to learning about civic engagement and social responsibility programs at Bates. The group will learning about the Harward Center for Community Programming, hear from Emily Kane, Bates' Periclean Faculty Leader and Professor of Sociology, visit with community partners, go on a Downtown Walkabout, and meet with Bates alumni who hold elected office.

Campuses will also provide updates on enhancements they have made as part of Creating Cohesive Paths to Civic Engagement in which they mapped all curricular and co-curricular civic engagement opportunities on their campuses. Other topics for discussion will include certificate programs, civic professionalism, effective assessment models and tools, and Student Choices - Student Voices.

 

Project Pericles Presents at Teagle Convening

Project Pericles was one of four grantees invited by The Teagle Foundation to present at "A Larger Vision for Student Learning: Education for Civic and Moral Responsibility" - Teagle's national convening of grantees on April 9-10. Jan Liss discussed Creating Cohesive Paths to Civic Engagement. Liss presented finding from this national project that includes inventorying/ mapping all civic engagement courses and co-curricular activities on the 26 participating campuses.

Representing the participating campuses were five of the campus leaders responsible for the mapping work. We were pleased to be joined by:

Allegheny College - Terry Bensel, Associate Provost & Director of the Allegheny Gateway, Professor of Environmental Science, and Project Pericles Program Director

Carleton College - Adrienne Falcón, Director of Academic Civic Engagement, Lecturer in Sociology, and Project Pericles Program Director

Hampshire College - Laura Wenk, Dean of Curriculum and Assessment & Associate Professor of Cognition and Education (Dean of Faculty/School of Cognitive Science)

Hendrix College - Jay Barth, M.E. and Ima Graves Peace Distinguished Professor of Politics, Director of Civic Engagement Projects, and Project Pericles Program Director

Occidental College - Ella Turenne, Assistant Dean for Community Engagement, and Project Pericles Program Director

Neil Grabois, Board Chair, Project Pericles and Garret Batten, Assistant Director, Project Pericles were also in attendance.

Creating Cohesive Paths to Civic Engagement is a three-year project to reconceptualize the organization and integration of programming for civic engagement and social responsibility (CESR) within higher education. With support from the Eugene M. Lang Foundation andThe Teagle Foundation, our member colleges and universities are inventorying, mapping, strengthening, and developing more cohesive and integrated curricular programs to enable students in all disciplines to incorporate civic engagement into their courses of study.

 

Pericleans in the News  

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Announcing
Pell Grants for Incarcerated Students

 

Pell Eligibility for Incarcerated Students Announced by Arne Duncan, Loretta Lynch, and Broderick Johnson while Visiting Goucher Prison Education Partnership

On Friday, July 31, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne DuncanAttorney General Loretta LynchU.S. Cabinet Secretary Broderick JohnsonSen. Ben Cardin (D-MD),Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD), Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) traveled to the Goucher Prison Education Partnership (GPEP) to make a historic announcement: A new pilot program will again make Pell grants available to some incarcerated men and women.

Secretary Duncan and others repeatedly praised Goucher College for being a leader in student transformation and social justice. They highlighted GPEP as a model for other colleges and universities to emulate in making higher education accessible to women and men in prison.

For three years, Goucher's innovative prison partnership has provided a transformative Goucher education to incarcerated men and women. This is important because research shows educational opportunities help individuals live fuller and more engaged lives, as well as reducing recidivism.

GPEP students receive this education at no cost to them, and it is currently entirely funded through private support. Goucher is committed to transforming the lives of our students, who, in turn, go out and make the world a better place.

 

About GPEP:

GPEP is a division of Goucher College and gives men and women incarcerated in Maryland the opportunity to pursue college educations. GPEP offer Goucher College courses to 70 students at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women and the Maryland Correctional Institution - Jessup. GPEP also provide college preparatory courses for prospective Goucher students at the prisons needing additional support to be ready for college coursework. Courses are taught on site by Goucher College faculty as well as by professors from nearby colleges and universities (Excerpted from GPEP website).

   

Pitzer Prepares for Expanded Social Justice Requirement

By Tessa Hicks Peterson, Assistant Vice President, Community Engagement and Project Pericles Co-Program Director, Pitzer College

Using a mini-grant from Project Pericles, Pitzer College is helping faculty prepare to teach a new two-course Social Justice Requirement. Pitzer is running a series of four workshops for faculty to support course development for the requirement. As part of these efforts, Pitzer invited Barbara Holland to campus for a consultation on the school's comprehensive social responsibility and community engagement efforts. Holland is an internationally recognized expert in organizational change in higher education with a special emphasis on the institutionalization and assessment of community engagement and has published and consulted widely on these topics. She was a featured presenter at Project Pericles' July 2014 convening for Creating Cohesive Paths to Civic Engagement held at The Pocantico Center of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

Holland bolstered existing conversations on campus about how to value community engagement and social responsibility work on the part of our faculty. She facilitated a workshop open to all faculty and administrators to explore how community engagement can fit into and provide significant contributions in the trifecta of scholarship, teaching, and service in faculty tenure and promotion reviews. She shared national trends in academia around the place of community engagement scholarship and teaching, along with indicators reviewers can use to assess quality scholarly work and teaching outcomes.

Holland held a meeting with members of the Appointments, Promotions, and Tenure committee, to further dissect the importance of evaluating community-based efforts in the arena of research and teaching, and not keeping it siloed into the "service" arena alone. Holland's knowledge and experience in this area provided critical guidance in this process and spurred important questions, debates, and opportunities for learning as we continue to collectively map a multitude of cohesive pathways for civic engagement and social responsibility at Pitzer. We are grateful to Project Pericles and The Teagle Foundation for not only connecting us to Barbara Holland as part of their 2014 convening, but also for the funds they contributed to her visit through the Creating Cohesive Pathways to Civic Engagement mini-grant.

 

Widener Faculty and Students Publish Anthology of Prisoners' Writings

Jayne Thompson, a senior lecturer in English and Service-Learning Faculty Fellow at Widener University and Emily DeFreitas, a senior English/creative writing major from Kendall Park, New Jersey collaborated to edit a new book, Letters to My Younger Self: An Anthology of Writings by Incarcerated Men at S.C.I. Graterford and a Writing Workbook. Since 2011, Thompson has been volunteering for the Prison Literacy Project to teach creative writing to men at the prison, many of whom are serving life sentences. DeFreitas is a member of Widener University's Presidential Service Corps, a group of high-achieving students who dedicate 300 hours per year to socially responsible leadership projects. She is a junior creative writing and English major and writes both poetry and fiction.

In this anthology, published in 2014, incarcerated men in the Prison Literacy Project contributed pieces about regretful decisions made or painful experiences in their youth, fearlessly exposing their vulnerability. The project began with Graterford students writing letters to their younger selves, their parents, or their children. Others wrote pieces discussing formative moments in their youth telling of their struggles growing up in difficult circumstances.

According to Thompson, the stories remind us all about choices, consequences, and caring for others.

"In assigning the Graterford men to write to and about their younger selves, I had a plan. I wanted them to use narrative to create an object, with the younger self as the subject. I hoped the men, in polishing the object, could step outside of themselves and look at the subject-finding empathy for the young men in the story, for themselves. Along the way, my students and I agreed to turn the assignment into a book. They understood that they would get no recognition, no monetary compensation for contributing to this anthology. All profits would go toward printing copies to be given to young people at risk. The men, in essence, were doing social work from behind bars. They told their stories as acts of love."

Letters to My Younger Self has been selected as the common reading for the incoming first-year class at Widener. In addition to her prison literacy project, Thompson runs a writing center in Chester, Pennsylvania for high school students.

 

Bates Students Conclude Community-Engaged Research Fellowships

By Holly Lasagna, Associate Director, Community-Engaged Learning Program, Bates College

The Harward Center for Community Partnerships at Bates College sponsors the Community-Engaged Research Fellows program to support students' pursuits of significant research projects with the off-campus community. Among this year's Fellows was senior Martha Schnee, who used methods as diverse as historic discourse analysis, cultural ethnography, creative nonfiction, and photography to investigate the small desert town of Marfa, Texas. She examined how a burgeoning arts community created by an "outsider" links past narratives of "going west" to present day experiences in the region. Reflecting on the program, Schnee commented, "The Community- Engaged Research Fellowship is one of the best academic resources I have experienced in my time at Bates. My year-long honors thesis project was an incredibly challenging project, and this seminar allowed me to feel heard and nurtured throughout the process."

Senior Jess Nichols, who represented Bates at the 2013 Debating for Democracy (D4D)™ National Conference, researched the process of building and sustaining mutually beneficial campus-community partnerships through interviews with community partners and students. Nichols concluded that a deep understanding of local context, thoughtfully cultivated, reciprocal relationships, and structural supports are essential to building and sustaining effective partnerships.

 

Hendrix Students Serve Pine Ridge Reservation

Ten Hendrix College students spent an eye-opening week in July serving the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.  The trip was sponsored by the Miller Center for Vocation, Ethics, and Calling which partners with Project Pericles on the Hendrix campus in providing civic engagement and social responsibility opportunities for Hendrix students inside and outside the classroom.

Working with the nonprofit organization Re-Member, students installed safe steps, ramps, and landings at numerous homes on the reservation and installed skirting around trailer homes to save families up to 40% on heating costs. The four inches of snow that fell while the students were in South Dakota made the value of skirting very clear. Other tasks included building and installing outhouses, and building 75 sets of bunk beds for children on the reservation. Re-Member has nearly 300 Lakota families on its waiting list for aid in the form of building improvements, outhouses, and bunk beds. 

 "The Pine Ridge mission trip opened my eyes to a beautiful and tortured part of our nation's past and present. We devoted a week to service and understanding of one of the most historically significant and gorgeous cultures of the United States," said MiMi Spjut, a senior from Cypress, Texas, and current president of the Hendrix Student Senate. "Whether listening to wisdom from the Lakota elders or serving the reservation through a variety of construction projects, I know that I am not alone in saying that the Pine Ridge mission trip provided me with a truly rewarding way to learn while giving back."

The group visited Wounded Knee cemetery and massacre site, Red Cloud Indian School,Oglala Lakota College and several other sites of historical significance and future hope for the Lakota People.


D4D on the Road™ 2015-2016 Schedule

The D4D on the Road™ workshops are part of Debating for Democracy (D4D)™, a Project Pericles program. This year the workshops are supported by The Spencer Foundation and facilitated by Wellstone Action. Please let us know if you would like to attend.


September 19         Hendrix College (visiting campus: Rhodes College), Conway, AR

 

October 17             Drew University, Madison, NJ


 

November 7           Occidental College (visiting campus: Pitzer College), Los Angeles, CA

 

November 14         Chatham University (visiting campuses: Allegheny College and

                               The College of Wooster), Pittsburgh, PA

 

December 5            Berea College, Berea, KY

 

December 5            New England College (visiting campuses: Bates College and Hampshire College), Henniker, NH

 

January 23              Macalester College (visiting campus: Carleton College), St. Paul, MN

 

February 19            Pace University (visiting campuses: The New School and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), New York, NY

 

February 26            Wagner College, Staten Island, NY

 

March 19                 Ursinus College (visiting campuses: Goucher College, St. Mary's College of Maryland, Swarthmore College,                                       and Widener University), Collegeville, PA

 

 
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 www.projectpericles.org by clicking donate in the upper right corner.