Winter 2016, Volume 12

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

 

Project Pericles Holds Convening to Discuss Approaches to Civic Engagement within Higher Education

Project Pericles held a convening focused on our three-year examination of civic engagement on 26 campuses. On January 20, representatives from Periclean colleges and universities met at the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) in Washington, D.C. Joining the group were Jane Lang, Acting Chair of the Eugene M. Lang Foundation; Neil Grabois, Project Pericles Board Chair; Bill Sullivan, External Evaluator for The Teagle Foundation's Larger Vision Initiative; and Rich Ekman, CIC President and Project Pericles Board Vice Chair.

We had a full day of engaging conversation with delegates reflecting on their progress over the last three years, sharing what they have learned, and brainstorming about how to further this work. We met with the dual purpose to wrap-up activities of the 2013-2016 grant period while also listening as we refine next steps for Creating Cohesive Pathways. Much of the conversation focused on next steps and how we can leverage the expertise on Periclean campuses to advance civic engagement work among consortium members and in higher education more generally. Participants expressed interest in forming working groups focusing on substantive topics such as food security, local refugee populations, and sustainability. There was also interest in working on best practices for collaborating with community partners and developing certificate programs, civic scholars programs, pathways models, requirements, and student reflection. Innovative technological strategies for advising students and for tracking students' participation currently being developed by campuses were also discussed.

We thank The Teagle Foundation for supporting the convening and Rich Ekman and CIC for hosting us.

About - Creating Cohesive Paths to Civic Engagement is a three-year effort to reconceptualize the organization and integration of programming for civic engagement and social responsibility within higher education. With support from the Eugene M. Lang Foundation and The Teagle Foundation, our member colleges and universities have inventoried, mapped, strengthened, and developed more cohesive and integrated civic engagement programs to enable students in all disciplines to incorporate civic engagement into their course of study.

Project Pericles to Receive First Installment of $3 Million Endowment from the Eugene M. Lang Foundation

Project Pericles will receive the first half of a $3 million endowment from the Eugene M. Lang Foundation this year. The Lang Foundation has made a $4.325 million commitment to Project Pericles, including the endowment and annual contributions (2015-2021). The support of the Lang Foundation for the work of Project Pericles ensures that we will continue to thrive for years to come, and we are grateful to the foundation for its support. This substantial gift is an important investment in Eugene M. Lang's vision and in Project Pericles' mission of championing civic engagement in the classroom, on the campus, and in the community.

We thank the Eugene M. Lang Foundation for this generous gift and for many years of support.

Project Pericles Kicked off the New Year with a Panel at the CIC Presidents Institute

Project Pericles started the year with a panel presentation at the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) Presidents Institute. Our panel, "Creating Cohesive Paths to Civic Engagement," with Periclean Presidents MaryAnn Baenninger, Drew University; Jonathan Lash, Hampshire College; and James Mullen, Jr., Allegheny College; and Jan Liss, Project Pericles was well attended with a lively Q&A period. The panelists talked about the benefits of conducting a comprehensive survey of courses with civic engagement components on their campuses and how they had used this information to strengthen their approaches to civic engagement.

Project Pericles Presents at AAC&U

On January 21 (before the blizzard), Project Pericles gave a presentation at AAC&U's (Association of American Colleges and Universities) annual meeting in Washington, D.C. The panel, "Expanding our Reach: Innovative Approaches for Increasing Impact and Exposing Diverse Students to Curricular and Co-Curricular Programming Incorporating Civic Engagement" highlighted many of the successes from the work including collaborations between Periclean institutions, community-based research, faculty development workshops, enhanced advising, and new certificate programs. Presenting were Kristen Cloutier, Bates College; Cass Freedland, Goucher College; Jan Liss, Project Pericles; Ella Turenne, Occidental College; and Marcine Pickron-Davis, Widener University.

Project Pericles to Collaborate on Study of Wellness with Four Campuses


This fall, Bringing Theory to Practice (BTtoP) awarded Project Pericles a grant to study the impact of participation in courses with a civic component on student well-being. We are pleased to announce that Bates, Goucher, Hendrix, and Pitzer Colleges will be collaborating with us on this project. This grant will allow us to study the impact of incorporating civic engagement in the curricula on the well-being of college students. We will compare the impact of different approaches to civic engagement on student well-being and look at variations among student populations. We will examine a number of high impact practices including first-year seminars and community-based learning courses and assess their impact on well-being. In addition, close attention will be paid to the impact of programs on Pell-eligible and first-generation students.

D4D on the Road Rocks Macalester and Carleton

D4D on the Road™ continues to have a strong showing. At the January 23 workshop at Macalester College, over 50 attendees participated including students from Carleton College


During this day-long D4D workshop, a trainer empowers students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members to advance their particular issue or cause. Participants learn advocacy skills that can be applied to a variety of issues and situations, including stakeholder identification, pending legislation analysis, and strategic planning. Participants identify new strategies for making change, practice developing and delivering an effective advocacy message, and build relationships to support and sustain their work.

This year D4D will reach several hundred students on over 20 Periclean campuses across the country. In addition to their own students and staff, hosting Periclean campuses welcome students from other local colleges and universities as well as community members. 

 

Thank you to The Spencer Foundation for supporting the 2015-2016 workshops.

Student Choices - Student Voices (SCSV) is in Full Motion

Program Directors have been extremely supportive of the program and their students. They have recruited students across the country to participate in the SCSV Taskforce. The Project Pericles National Office designed a survey for students nominated to join the SCSV Taskforce asking them about their interests and involvement in the Presidential election process. The survey responders listed more than 14 topics they would like to see addressed by candidates and provided many innovative ideas of activities to get voters interested. Based on the submission we received, students were grouped together and encouraged to work on shared issues of interest. A document listing relevant resources and organizations linked to each topics was created and students can add to it as they discover more resources. The objective is to provide students with the tools to engage at the national level on issues they are passionate about.

The taskforce has received a reference document listing activities and websites that help generate enthusiasm for the elections and also inform registered voters in the community and on campus about candidates and specific issues. We shared a comprehensive primaries calendar by state as well as educational games to use during debate watching events. We will continue to involve the taskforce by sharing ideas, ongoing activities, and suggestions with our Periclean campuses. For example, the latest email update highlighted the work of Pitzer College to register voters and inform students and community partners by debunking issues important to the Claremont, California community. We look forward to hearing from all our campuses about their efforts to engage in the election process!

Project Pericles Welcomes New Civic Engagement Intern

Project Pericles is pleased to welcome Taryn Volpe as its new Civic Engagement Intern. Volpe is a Sociology and Education major at Wagner College. At Wagner, she is a member of the Bonner Leaders Program, IMPACT Scholars Civic Network, Habitat for Humanity, and Disability Awareness Club. Volpe is an aspiring first grade teacher with a passion for politics and civic engagement. 


Volpe is part of the Student Choices - Student Voices (SCSV) Taskforce and she participated in the Letters to an Elected Official competition last year and attended the 2015 D4D National Conference. She has also attended D4D on the Road workshops. Her involvement in our programs make her a great addition to the National Office and we look forward to sharing her accomplishments with you all!

PERICLEANS IN THE NEWS:

 

Thoughts on Pericles from Afar
By Adrienne Falcón, Director of Academic Civic Engagement, Center for Community and Civic Engagement and Project Pericles Program Director, Carleton College. Falcón is currently on a Fulbright in Ecuador.


Once a campus has been invited to join, Project Pericles requires a statement from their Board of Trustees indicating a commitment to the ideals of the Pericles program namely that the college prepare "students for socially responsible and participatory citizenship as an essential part of its educational agenda." (Liazos and Liss, 2009 Project Pericles White Paper Civic Engagement in the Classroom: Strategies for Incorporating Education for Civic and Social Responsibility in the Undergraduate Curriculum). For many of the colleges, obtaining this board participation shifts or strengthens their institutions to a new level of commitment. This fall I have been learning about the implementation of an even more intensive commitment that institutions of higher education in Ecuador have to fulfill.

Much of the current literature in the United States on civic engagement and higher education examines the experiences of US students who travel abroad and participate in some form of service learning. Instead, with the support of the Fulbright Foundation, I have been in Ecuador for the past five months researching the implementation of the 2010 Organic Law of Higher Education (LOES). LOES mandated "Vinculación con la Sociedad" (aka linkages with society or in other words community/civic engagement) for all institutions of higher education. This transformative law put vinculación into the center of each university and technical college's policy and practice by stating that the three core principles of all institutions are teaching, research, and vinculación

 
According to the LOES, higher education must be relevant for students and for the nation. As the law states: "The principal of relevance means that higher education responds to the expectations and needs of the society and of the national development plan; to the potential global development of the sciences, humanities, and technology, as well as cultural diversity. For this, institutions of higher education will link their teaching, research, and vinculación con la sociedad offerings to the academic demands, to the local, regional, and national development needs, to the innovation and diversification of professions and academic levels, to the characteristics of the local, regional, and national labor markets, to the local, regional, and provincial demographic trends, to connections with the current economic structure and to the potential development of the province and region and the national policies for science and technology" (Ley Organica de Educacion Superior Title 6, Chapter 1, Article 107).

In order to implement this vision, over the past five years, the national higher education regulating institutions have developed new graduation requirements and policies for all institutions of higher education. These requirements include that all students must complete 160 hours of vinculación or service to the community as well as 240 hours of pre-professional practice (similar to internships) for a total of 400 hours. Students are also required to complete 60 hours of academic service at the University as a way of paying back the university for the educational opportunity they have received since there is no tuition at public universities. The government offices of higher education have included assessment of these new programs as part of their accreditation criteria through which they evaluate all institutions of higher education and give them a grade as well as recognize them as valid institutions.

For the past five months I have been researching the implementation of the law at one site, the University of Cuenca, a comprehensive public university that has approximately 12,000 students studying in 12 schools from medicine to social sciences and economics; hospitality, gastronomy, and tourism; the humanities; agriculture; and architecture. Faculty are given work time dedicated to develop and supervise vinculación projects and participating students. The faculty and student hours are coordinated through their academic departments and are linked to their fields of study. Each school has a coordinator of vinculación who also teaches. All of the coordinators meet monthly to try to develop integrated programs under the guidance of an overall institutional vinculación coordinator. Through these meetings, observations, and conversations, I have learned about accomplishments but also challenges. These echo many of those I hear at the annual Project Pericles Program Directors meetings: lack of time, resources, space, as well as feelings of commitment and satisfaction about the meaningfulness of this work and the potential impact on all involved, students, faculty, and community partners (continued).

Rhodes D4D Students Organize Get Out the Vote Event with Tennessee's Secretary of State Tre Hargett

Rhodes College Students Samuel Holder and Jolie-Grace Wareham with Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett.

 

In January, Rhodes College students Samuel Holder ('17), one of the winners of the 2015 D4D Legislative Hearing, and Jolie-Grace Wareham ('17), organized a voter registration event. Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett (Rep.) discussed the importance of civic engagement and voting with Rhodes students and fielded questions about the registration process. Hargett also discussed online voter registration which is currently under consideration in Tennessee. State Senator Reginald Tate (Dem.) attended as well.
Holder and Wareham are using the D4D Legislative Hearing award received by Rhodes College to raise awareness about the need for broadband internet access in rural communities in Tennessee.

Students at Carleton Organize Screenings on Campus to discuss the complexity of relationships with Iran

 

Hannah Nayowith ('16) and Reilly Simon ('16) organized screenings of Iranium and Iran Is Not the Problem on February 17 and 18 at Carleton College. The screenings explored both sides of the current approach to Iran's nuclear capabilities and explained the complexity of the relationship between the U.S. and Iran over time. Attendees discussed the issues addressed in the documentaries and gained a more comprehensive understanding of the factors involved.

 

Nayowith and Simon were finalists in the 2015 Letters to an Elected Official Competition and presented their argument at the Legislative Hearing, which is part of our D4D National Conference. Their topic was the P5+1 negotiations about Iran's nuclear capability. Since an agreement was reached shortly after their presentation, they have been advocating for a greater understanding of this topic among students and they have collaborated with numerous organizations on campus to increase their reach.

 

Widener Receives Grant for Culture and Arts Corridor Running to City Hall

 

Widener University has received a 2015 Catalyst Fund from the Barra Foundation to support a Boundaries and Bridges initiative, which aims to strengthen and support arts collaboration in the city of Chester and realize the planned Culture and Arts Corridor from Widener University to Chester's City Hall. The $211,000 grant will allow for a range of collaborative arts and creative place-making activities over the course of the next year. Members from Widener and the greater Chester community will work with artists to identify boundaries that may be obstructions to deeper trust and stronger collaborations between the university and community. Workshops will be offered to catalyze and encourage new collaborative possibilities, and funds will be available for artistic interventions that strengthen or build new bridges.

Seeds of Change Grow Engagement at Wagner College
By Theresa Reed (Wagner '17)

At Wagner College, we believe that the best way to engage communities is through deliberative dialogue and intentional relationship building. In order to create cohesive pathways of civic engagement, the Wagner Project Pericles team has supported the enhancement of community building through community theater efforts in collaboration with Imagining America and the Wagner College Center for Leadership and Community Engagement. 

 

This past fall, Seeds of Change Theatre Company continued to build upon their original show, Every Time You See Me. The show was created to address issues of race and class in 21st century America and draws on the personal stories and experiences of members of diverse Staten Island communities All of the scenes were written and inspired by the casts' own experiences regarding race and identities. Some of the scenes from the hour long show included a spoken word piece on what it is to be black in America, a Mexican dance number, and personal accounts of situations in which a person's race affected the outcome of an interaction.

 

In the powerful final scene, inspired by the death of Eric Garner at the hands of the New York Police Department, the cast lines the stage in pairs with one cast member putting the other in a chokehold. As the cast members in the chokehold begin to say the words "See Me", the person choking them responds "Every Time" and begins to release the chokehold and create a loving embrace around them. The scene ends with heavy breathing and the words "I can breathe."

 

Thoughts on Pericles from Afar (continued)

 

In addition to the relevance of board commitment vs. national regulation in terms of institutionalizing civic engagement, the LOES and Ecuadorian approach to civic engagement social responsibility has two parts that seem relevant to Pericleans as we all explore various versions of pathway models: 1) What does it mean for pathways and what does it make possible when such a level of institutional commitment is required? 2) What does it mean to connect the goals of the University to the national, regional, and local development goals? Obviously in many ways Ecuador is very different from the United States, with its own culture, history, demographics, and economic sector as well as its current's president's mission to create a nation living with and by principles of wellbeing (buenvivir). Still, by committing to vinculación as a core principal of higher education, the current system in Ecuador offers another model for us all to consider.

 

My thoughts here are not evaluative, nor do I provide examples of programs or student experiences. Instead I plan to analyze the data that I have gathered during my Fulbright intercultural exchange for future presentations. Given the fundamentally different mindset towards institutionalizing civic engagement, as well as exchange and learning from other campuses, both core principles to Project Pericles, I seek to offer another way of conceptualizing the role and mission of civic engagement from a cross-national perspective.

 

Upcoming Events:

March 21

Project Pericles presentation, "Creating Cohesive Paths to Civic Engagement:  Intentionality in the Organization and Integration of Programming for Civic  Engagement and Social Responsibility" at Campus Compact 30th Anniversary Conference, Boston, MA. Panel: Jan R. Liss, Executive Director, Project Pericles; Karin Trail-Johnson, Associate Dean Institute for Global Citizenship & Director, Civic Engagement Center, Macalester College; Marcine Pickron-Davis, Chief Community Engagement and Diversity Officer, Widener University.


Debating for Democracy-D4D On the Road: 2016 Schedule


We invite you to attend either of the two remaining D4D workshops. Please let us know what will work for you.

March 19          

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

 

March 30            

New England College, Concord, NH (visiting campuses: Bates College and Hampshire College)

 

 

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.