Members of the campus community joined together to rekindle an examination of the roles, opportunities, tensions, and tools to foster civic learning and democratic community engagement in higher education.
As a nation, we find ourselves in a historical moment where our beliefs about what binds us together as a democratic society are under threat. Education plays a critical role in preparing us for the work of democracy—not just at the ballot box, but in our homes, neighborhoods, classrooms, and workplaces.
Democracy has to be born anew every generation, and education is its midwife.
John Dewey, Democracy and Education
How effectively are we playing our role as handmaids of democracy?
What’s working well across campus, where are the gaps, and what do we want to dream and build together?
How are other campuses and communities tackling these issues?
And, what are small changes that we can make individually and collectively in our work to make civic learning and democratic community engagement visible?
Previous offerings and workshops
Date: February 20, 2020
Time: 12:00–1:00 p.m.
Civic learning is a form of integrative learning that supports students, as citizens and professionals, for lives of informed and active participation in society. Arguably, civic learning is a pervasive element of much of the teaching we do in universities. However, it often lies dormant inside many of our most common learning goals such as critical thinking, communication, and quantitative reasoning skills. Making our courses “civic-rich” can help students explore and examine their experiences in light of larger public purposes, adding relevance to concepts that can feel abstract. In addition, civic learning can be cultivated using a variety of high-impact practices. In this webinar, participants were introduced to civic learning frameworks and strategies to make it visible in their disciplinary and general education courses.
Date: March 2, 2020
Time: 3:30–4:45 p.m.
Facilitators: Dr. Patti Clayton and Dr. Mary Price
We don’t often think of assessment as part of democratic practice. Not surprisingly, the experience of assessment often produces a sense of alienation among many of us and can work against our larger goals—including our aspirations for equity, inclusion, and social change—by contradicting our intent or interfering with the trust and respect that engaged work depends on. Democratically Engaged Assessment (DEA) is a research-based framework that puts the values of democratic engagement front and center by calling for full participation and co-inquiry among stakeholders in designing, implementing, and making meaning of assessment.
In this session, we explored the question of how we can make assessment be less hierarchical and more about partnership. We shared tools and resources aligned with DEA as well as tap the wisdom of the room to enhance our collective work. Whether you have an interest in assessing student learning, community change, partnership quality, institutional impact, or your own growth, please come be part of the ongoing development of this empowering and potentially transformative body of work.
Date: March 3, 2020
Time: 9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Facilitators: Dr. Patti Clayton and Morgan Studer
High-impact practices, while engaging and experiential in nature, require more than just experience to deepen student learning. A key tenet of HIPs done well is well-designed critical reflection to help fulfill the practices’ potential to generate learning, support inquiry, guide action, and lead to change. Perhaps you have been using HIPs for some time now and bring an understanding and practice of critical reflection into your work. Perhaps you are newer to HIPs and are trying to wrap your mind around the role of and best practices for critical reflection. Perhaps you are just curious whether your practice of reflection is the best it can be.
No matter where you land in terms of experience with and knowledge of critical reflection best practices, this session was a valuable learning opportunity to deepen practice alongside other colleagues engaging in HIPs work. In this interactive, hands-on workshop, we explored very concretely the why, what, and how of critical reflection. Facilitators Patti Clayton (longtime Senior Scholar with the IUPUI Center for Service and Learning and internationally renowned experiential learning scholar) and Morgan Studer (director of faculty and community resources with CSL) introduced a conceptual framework for critical reflection and a particular approach—the DEAL Model—that can be used with any learners, in any context, to generate and to provide evidence of learning. We examined sample critical reflection assignments, a tool for giving feedback, and two types of rubrics, leaving the session with concrete, practical, and research-grounded ideas for critical reflection. Participants had the opportunity to share a reflection assignment for feedback during the workshop if desired and to joined a follow-up remote working session with Patti and Morgan in April.
Date: Thursday, March, 26
Time: 11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
Location: Hine Hall 234D
Facilitators: Dr. Mary Price and Morgan Studer
Civic Soup is a reading and discussion meet-up where we address timely issues in civic engagement as well as engagement and engaged scholarship. Oh, and of course there will be soup!
This month’s topic: at this meet up, we discussed issues and recommendations issued by the National Taskforce on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement in their 2012 landmark report, A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy’s Future. As we looked toward the 2020 election and the increased polarization in our classrooms, businesses, neighborhoods, and abroad, we raisied the question of public higher education’s role in animating democracy. We discussed questions raised in this report, in particular, the case for making civic literacy and civic inquiry core expectations for learning across the disciplines. Given the state of our democracy, what is higher education’s role in supporting a healthy democratic culture? What matters to you about this issue as an educator, advocate, or scholar? How are you responding to the calls to action issued in the report to:
Foster civic ethos across all parts of campus and educational culture
Make civic literacy a core expectation for all students
Practice civic inquiry across all fields of study
Advance civic action through transformative partnerships, at home and school
In light of competing priorities, where do you see opportunities in existing work to make civic learning and democratic engagement a more visible priority to students and colleagues?