The Periclean Progress E-Newsletter
Fall 2011, Volume 8 Issue 1
National Office News:
Project Pericles at the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U)
Project Pericles will present at the AAC&U Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. Our panel of Periclean Faculty Leaders will discuss "Developing Innovative Curricula to Prepare Students for Successful Lives of Global Civic Engagement." Panelists will focus on innovative pedagogical techniques and speak about the intercampus peer review process in which faculty share best practices and evaluate each other's work.
Jan Liss, Executive Director, Project Pericles, will moderate and provide an overview of the Periclean Faculty Leadership (PFL) Program™.
The Periclean Faculty Leadership Program™ is funded by the Eugene M. Lang Foundation and The Teagle Foundation.
Project Pericles to Host Reception at AAC&U
The national office will host a reception for Pericleans on Thursday, January 26 from 5:45-7:00 PM. Please RSVP to Garret Batten (firstname.lastname@example.org) by January 17 if you are able to join us for this informal discussion about Project Pericles activities on our campuses.
Periclean Presidents Convene at the Ford Foundation
The Ford Foundation hosted the Presidents' Council's annual meeting on November 9, 2011. Jeannie Oakes, Director of the Foundation's Educational Opportunity and Scholarship Unit, welcomed the presidents and spoke about the need for systemic policy reforms designed to promote greater access and success in higher education for students from marginalized groups. Program Officer Douglas Wood joined the presidents for a luncheon discussion of the recent work of the Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement National Task Force. How to promote greater collaboration between Periclean institutions also received considerable attention.
Program Directors Visit Hendrix College and Little Rock
On November 2-4, Hendrix College hosted the Program Directors' annual meeting. The Program Directors expressed great interest in exploring new ways to increase partnerships and to sustain dialogue with each other between meetings. They elected to form committees for technology, assessment, and the D4D National Conference in order to continue the momentum generated by the meeting. After three days of discussion with their colleagues, participants reported leaving with new ideas and renewed energy for pursuing civic engagement work on their campuses.
Swarthmore and Local Community Discuss Machine Politics in Delaware County
By Ben Berger
Sunday, October 30 marked the capstone event of my Periclean faculty leader tenure at Swarthmore College: a community-wide lecture and discussion about local political history, current political dilemmas, and possible political strategies. John Morrison McLarnon, Associate Professor of History at Millersville University (Lancaster County, PA) spoke about his book Ruling Suburbia: John J. McLure and the Republican Machine in Delaware County, PA. The event drew 120 people, overflowing the normal seating capacity of capacious Kohlberg Hall with one of the most diverse crowds I have seen on campus. Residents from many local communities, representing an extremely wide age range, joined Swarthmore students, faculty and staff for a fascinating lecture, discussion and testimonials. The crowd kept McLarnon long past his two hour commitment, and would have kept him late into the evening if not for his long drive home.
For several years I have used McLarnon's research in my community-based learning course "Political Science 19: Democratic Theory and Practice." In that class students read normative theories about what democracy ought to entail and empirical scholarship about what contemporary American democracy actually does entail. We also engage with the local communities of Swarthmore and Chester, two neighboring towns with widely divergent fortunes, to understand more fully the ways in which economic and educational resources can affect citizens' experience of democracy. We read extensively about local history, we meet with the mayors and tour each community with local residents, and we undertake a variety of grass-roots projects that enable us to see how democracy works (or doesn't work) on the ground. Recent projects have included volunteer service with local political campaigns of the students' choosing, non-partisan voter registration drives, educational reform activism with local parents, internships with local government, and a Youth Court program in Chester high schools developed by local activist Gregg Volz.
In my recent book Attention Deficit Democracy: the paradox of civic engagement, I discuss the role that higher education can play in promoting long-term habits of political engagement. If educators care about the ideals of fair and equitable political voice, we should partner with local communities fairly and equitably, with an emphasis on "doing with" rather than "doing for." When students work alongside local residents, as they do in my and many other Periclean community-based learning courses, they not only gain insights about social and political life, but also learn to listen to their fellow citizens and to practice the democratic virtue of cooperation. Educational and political ideals prosper together.
Project Pericles and its member institutions espouse those same ideals. However, ideals require resources for enactment, and Project Pericles and its members have put their money where their mouths are. They have provided funds that Periclean faculty leaders can employ to develop pedagogical innovations and worthwhile campus-community collaborations. For two years, I have appreciated that investment and my students have reaped the benefits. On October 30, a packed room of concerned citizens from inside and outside Swarthmore College had reason to express their thanks as well.
Ben Berger is Associate Professor of Political Science at Swarthmore College, Periclean Faculty Leader, and director of Swarthmore's Engaging Democracy Project. He recently published Attention Deficit Democracy: the paradox of civic engagement (Princeton University Press, 2011) and is co-authoring with Executive Director Jan R. Liss a White Paper on the Periclean Faculty Leadership Program™.
Thoughts on my Periclean Faculty Leader Course
By Seong-Jae Min
If my Periclean course taught me one thing, it was that, given the proper tools, every student can become actively engaged in civic life. Teaching the course, "Thinking Through Democracy: Citizen Journalism and Deliberation," renewed my commitment to my students and to the democratic process.
I designed the course to incorporate "citizen journalism," a new movement in which the public plays a much more active role in reporting the news. This combined with the active deliberation of public issues formed an important tool for empowering my students to think through the choices they face as citizens. Each student in the class took three key roles: citizen journalist, forum moderator, and discussant. Throughout the semester, the students reported on key issues in their school and communities. They then shared their news reports with each other by posting them on a citizen journalism website developed for the course.
In addition, each student journalist presided over a class forum on his or her issue. For example, one student wrote a series of articles on campus safety and then presided over a deliberation forum on how we could work together to improve campus safety. The issues the students chose to cover were diverse and included social networking, gay rights, the education crisis, and mandatory community service.
Reporting on campus and community issues that the students selected themselves generated a great deal of interest. As a result, the students enjoyed both gathering news and writing. They also appreciated the opportunity to express and share their opinions. Their newly acquired knowledge led to an increased interest in civic engagement with some students returning to volunteer in the communities they had reported on.
During deliberations in the class, students engaged in dialogue to work through the difficulties inherent in any public issue. I asked students to take a community perspective on divisive issues and to think from other viewpoints. I was very pleased to hear the students' community-spirited comments about sharing the same future despite the differences among them.
I was pleased by the degree of openness students displayed during the deliberations. The issues included controversial and emotional subjects such as abortion, domestic violence, hate crimes, racial prejudice, and religious freedom. As the semester progressed and their interpersonal relationships grew, even the shy students opened up. They were not afraid to talk about their inner feelings and even discussed their personal experiences, which required a great amount of courage and candidness. The process was not an easy one, but it was very rewarding.
My primary goal for this course was to teach students that democracy is not just an abstract concept. Given the tenor of current political discourse, many young people are alienated from public life. The students in my Periclean course had the opportunity to participate in genuine deliberation about real issues. It is my hope that their new experiences and skills will help them become civically engaged leaders in their own communities.
Seong-Jae Min is Assistant Professor of Communication Studies and Periclean Faculty Leader at Pace University.
Debating for Democracy (D4D) on the Road™ Paves the Way to Social Activism at the College of Wooster
By Libby Fackler, College of Wooster '13
Becoming effective political activists with the skills to bring about meaningful change in society was the focus of the recent D4D on the Road™ workshop hosted by The College of Wooster and its Center for Diversity and Global Engagement. Project Pericles sponsored the workshop, which was led by Mandara Meyers of The Center for Progressive Leadership.
"The interaction among the participants was exciting," said Tom Tierney, the Program Director for Project Pericles at Wooster . "They maintained their enthusiasm throughout the day, and their evaluations of the program were overwhelmingly positive. They indicated that they learned how to effectively frame social and political issues in a manner that fosters democratic engagement among individuals of diverse backgrounds."
Periclean students from Earlham College, along with graduate students from the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center and members of the Wooster community, joined undergraduates from The College of Wooster for the daylong event.
In his opening remarks, Grant Cornwell, Wooster's President, said that it is part of the college's mission to develop leaders of character and influence in an interdependent global community. "In a democracy", he said, "influence is achieved through language - through talking and listening, through writing and reading." He urged participants to think of the workshop as a way to develop the tools for influence in a democracy, and added that these types of endeavors are at the heart of the College's commitment to "civic and social responsibility."
In the session on effective communication, Meyers discussed the importance of storytelling. She made the point that it takes more than just feeding people information to get them to act. Instead, she emphasized that persuasive communication comes from an emotional level rather than an intellectual one. Other sessions focused on values-based leadership, meant to help students "distinguish between values and issues," and methods and tactics for making change. In the final session, participants addressed ways to set realistic goals and developed action plans to accomplish them.
This article is excerpted from a piece that originally appeared on the College of Wooster website.
Debating for Democracy (D4D)™ on the Road Workshops will be held on 12 Periclean campuses through February 2012. Please visit projectpericles.org to attend one in your area.
These workshops are made possible by the generous support of The Henry Luce Foundation.
Pericleans in the News
New Book on Civic Engagement Features Widener
Widener University's President James T. Harris, III, Co-Program Director Marcine Pickron-Davis, and other members of the Widener community contributed to a new book entitled: Civic Engagement and Service Learning in a Metropolitan University: Multiple Approaches and Perspectives, which examines the involvement of Widener faculty and students through service learning courses, internships, and other academic programs. The chapters include initiatives such as the Widener Partnership Charter School, Social Work Counseling Services, the Chester Community Physical Therapy Clinic, and the Widener Center for Violence Prevention to illustrate the university's role as an anchor institution in the city of Chester. The book serves as a case study of Widener's adoption, implementation, and assessment of its civic engagement efforts and its collaboration with Chester.
Bates Students Take on Oral History Project
Bates students enrolled in Dr. Mara Tieken's "Race, Cultural Pluralism, and Equality in American Education" are turning to oral history to better understand their town's current educational system. The students are partnering with Museum L/A to collect the oral histories of ten alumni of Lewiston's Catholic parish schools, first generation French Canadian or Irish immigrants. After interviewing the alumni, students will share these stories and honor the participants through a reception at the Museum. The oral histories, the first effort to collect narratives focused on Lewiston's schools, will play a critical role in helping Bates students understand Lewiston's political dynamics and its current educational system. Students will also have the opportunity to draw parallels between the experiences of these French Canadian and Irish immigrants and those of Lewiston's most recent immigrants-Somali and Somali Bantu families.
Bethune-Cookman Students Contemplate Meaning of Democracy
On November 23, 1939, Mary McLeod Bethune joined a panel of four speakers on the public affairs national radio program America's Town Meeting of the Air. Her speech answered the question, "What Does American Democracy Mean to Me?" This fall, Bethune-Cookman University Freshmen Seminar students will commemorate the 72nd anniversary of the important speech. The Leadership Communication students will participate in a discussion of civic engagement, the importance of voting, and the 2012 election process. Students will also write reflection pieces on Dr. Bethune's democracy speech and the meaning of democracy for them. Dr. Bethune's speech can be found at:www.americanradioworks.publicradio.org.
Project Pericles Meetings and Workshops
Debating for Democracy (D4D)™ National Conference
March 22-23, 2012
Eugene Lang College
The New School for Liberal Arts
New York, New York
The Debating for Democracy (D4D)™ National Conference will bring together student leaders from Periclean campuses for a series of workshops, keynote addresses, and panel discussions with leading figures in civic engagement. We will be joined by college presidents, faculty, and foundation, government, and community leaders. Project Pericles thanks The New School for hosting this conference.
Upcoming 2011-2012 D4D on the Road™ Workshops
Saturday, December 3
Bates College (with New England College)
Saturday, January 21
Rhodes College (with Hendrix College)
Saturday, January 21
Widener University (with St. Mary's College of Maryland and Swarthmore College)
Saturday, January 28
Macalester College (with Carleton College)
St. Paul, MN
Saturday, February 4
Occidental College (with Pitzer College)
Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, February 4
Spelman College (with Morehouse College)
The Periclean Progress is issued during the academic year and is posted on the Project Pericles website.
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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
Executive Director: Jan R. Liss, email@example.com
Board of Directors
Chair: Eugene M. Lang
Vice-Chair: Neil R. Grabois
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.