Fall 2013, Volume 10

National Office News

D4D on the Road Workshop Kicks Off to Rave Reviews

On Saturday, October 19, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) hosted the first Debating for Democracy (D4D)™ workshop of the 2013-14 year. Participants gave the workshop facilitator, Naomi Long (Rhodes '02) of Wellstone Action, excellent reviews, with many asking for an additional day.

"I love how interactive the activities are and how useful all the information is," wrote one student.

"I gained something from each part of the program," said another student.

D4D workshops provide participants with skills and strategies to advance issues they are passionate about. This year's workshop focuses on techniques for developing and delivering well-crafted messages based on careful analysis of potential supporters, allies, and opponents.

RPI students were joined by students from Castleton State College and Skidmore College. This is the third year that both colleges have sent students to D4D at RPI and we were delighted to welcome them back.

Project Pericles will hold D4D on the Road workshops at ten additional Periclean colleges and universities across the country. Please visit www.projectpericles.org for the schedule.

Project Pericles appreciates the generous support of the Eugene M. Lang Foundation, The Henry Luce Foundation, and our Periclean colleges and universities. 

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

AAC&U Selects Project Pericles' Creating Cohesive Paths for Panel Presentation at Annual Conference

Project Pericles was selected to present a panel discussion, "Creating Cohesive Paths to Civic Engagement: Mapping the Curricular and Co-Curricular Offerings on 26 Campuses," at the 2014 annual meeting of the Association of American Colleges and Universities. The panel focuses on Project Pericles' groundbreaking three-year project designed to enhance the delivery of Civic Engagement and Social Responsibility (CESR) opportunities to students. With support from the Eugene M. Lang Foundation and The Teagle Foundation, our member colleges and universities are inventorying, mapping, strengthening, and developing more cohesive and integrated civic engagement programs. Creating Cohesive Paths gives us the opportunity to document the depth, breadth, and innovative nature of work on our campuses and to share best practices with the wider higher education community.

Work commenced this summer on the project with Project Pericles staff along with a group of Program Directors and our consultant, Barbara Holland, developing survey materials designed to capture the curricular and co-curricular CESR opportunities on our campuses. This fall, teams on each campus started the data collection process. Panelists at the AAC&U conference will discuss preliminary findings from this research project. 

Participating in the discussion will be Chad Berry, Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty, Berea College; Linda C. DeMeritt, Provost and Dean of the College, Allegheny College; Christy Hanson, Dean of the Institute for Global Citizenship, Macalester College; Jan R. Liss, Executive Director, Project Pericles; and Lily D. McNair, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Wagner College.

CIC Invites Project Pericles to Present on Creating Cohesive Paths at Annual Conference

The Council of Independent Colleges invited Project Pericles to present on Creating Cohesive Paths to Civic Engagement at their annual conference in January. Periclean Presidents will discuss what role presidents can play to increase student awareness of and participation in opportunities for civic engagement. They will also discuss preliminary insights gained from the recently completed first phase of the Creating Cohesive Paths project and emerging practices for fully integrating civic engagement across the curriculum, campus, and community.

Michele D. Perkins, President, New England College; Sanford J. Ungar, President, Goucher College; John S. Wilson, Jr., President, Morehouse College; and Jan R. Liss will participate in the panel.

Pericleans in the News

Bates D4D Team Uses Award to Continue Fight Against Tar Sands in Maine  

Jessica Nichols and Kate Paladin are rallying their fellow Bates students against the dangers of transporting Canadian tar sands through Maine using the Portland-Montreal Pipeline. The pair have been recruiting students to work on the issue and recently sent a letter opposing tar sands transport with over 150 signatures to Governor Paul LePage. They are also collaborating with campus environmental groups to bring Phil Aroneanu, co-founder of 350.org, to campus to raise awareness about the issue. Nichols and Paladin were inspired by Aroneanu's presentation at the 2013 Debating for Democracy (D4D) National Conference, where they were finalists in the 2013 Letters to an Elected Official Competition for their work on the subject. Read the letter

Widener's Significant Engagement in Community Recognized by HUD Study

Widener University's civic engagement efforts in the city of Chester have been recognized by publications such as Newsweek and Washington Monthly, but now the federal government is using Widener as a case study on the positive impact colleges and universities can have in stabilizing and improving the nation's struggling communities.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Office of University Partnership recently released a report titled Building Resiliency: The Role of Anchor Institutions in Sustaining Community Economic Development. The report is based on a day-long conference of the same title held at Widener last November and sponsored by the university, HUD, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. At the event, participants from the private sector, government, academia, and nonprofits discussed how to create collaborations and partnerships using Widener as a case study.

"Our hope is that other colleges and universities and other cities will use this report to establish the types of partnerships that we have been so fortunate to build in the city of Chester," Widener President Jim Harris said. "The most valuable message that this case study offers is that you don't have to have deep pockets or have a huge endowment as an institution to have an impact in your community. You have to be dedicated to improving your community and be willing to create democratic partnerships to find creative solutions to problems."

The report chronicles Widener's transformation into one of the nation's leading civic engagement institutions in just ten years. It highlights such initiatives as the Widener Partnership Charter School, the growth of the university's service-learning courses, the university's strong relationship with city government, the university's role as an anchor institution in the Strong Cities, Strong Communities initiative, and the role that faculty - especially in the School of Human Service Professions - have played in promoting civic engagement. 

The report is available here.   

Bates Students Learn Community Organizing from Alums and Community Allies
By Melinda Plastas

This summer as part of the Bates Short Term, politics professor Leslie Hill and women and gender studies professor Melinda Plastas turned their courses into learning labs on civic leadership and social justice. Hill and Plastas brought on board 2006 Bates alums Ali Vander Zanden and Jenna Vendil as Learning Associates. Over five weeks, the Learning Associates led skill-building workshops with students and hosted panels with community organizers from around the state. In addition, students in Plastas' Feminisms of the 1970s and 1980s course and Hills' Global Flows: Work, Sex and Care course were required to participate in a wide range of community organizing work and design a final project related to community engagement and gender. Bates' Harward Center provided key support through a faculty discretionary grant and general guidance. This model of shared pedagogy enriched student learning and advanced their understanding of and contribution to participatory democracy. 

Vander Zanden and Vendil inspired students by sharing with them the knowledge, wisdom, and skills they had developed as young Maine civic leaders. As Political Director of EqualityMaine, Vander Zanden stewarded the successful landmark 2012 passage of Maine's marriage equality referendum. Vendil was elected a member of the Portland School Board in 2009 and in 2011 was named as one of "Maine's Forty Under Forty Leaders" for her work to advance access to health care, education, and the political process. 

Students participated in roundtable discussions with Maine leaders from the Immigrant Legal Assistance Program; Maine American Civil Liberties Union; Outright Lewiston/Auburn; Planned Parenthood Federation of America; United Somali Women of Maine; the Maine AFL-CIO; and the Maine People's Alliance.

As part of their courses, students were also required to participate in community organizing. Students phone banked on immigration reform and LGBT issues. They helped organize the annual Stand Against Racism forum sponsored by the local YWCA. They travelled to the state house and lobbied representatives. They utilized their new civic engagement skills to raise awareness on campus about a range of issues including sexual health, racial diversity, gender representation in the media, and feminism.

By bringing Maine leaders into the classroom and requiring Bates students to participate in community organizing, Hill and Plastas honored the knowledge of community partners while engaging in a form of social justice grounded in reciprocity and alliance building.  

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To submit Periclean-related information for publication, email us at garret.batten@projectpericles.org.

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

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