IA’s Scott Peters Joins Sept. 4 Panel about Higher Ed’s Role in “Shaping Our Future”

Imagining America is a partner on this project, and Scott Peters, IA co-director, will be a featured speaker at the September 4 launch event in Washington, DC.

Coalition of Colleges and Nonprofits to Conduct Hundreds of Community Forums During the Next Year

A yearlong, nationwide series of deliberative forums dialogues on how higher education could do more, or operate differently, to strengthen America’s economy, culture, and civic participation will be launched by a coalition of nonprofit and educational leaders on September 4 at 9 a.m. at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The project, Shaping Our Future: How Should Higher Education Help Us Create the Society We Want, is being led by the American Commonwealth Partnership and National Issues Forums Institute, both nonprofit, nonpartisan groups.

While there is heated discussion among education, political, and business leaders about how to address the many challenges facing higher education, this initiative will help students, faculty, and other citizens weigh different approaches to problems and seek common ground for action. The deliberative dialogues—to be held in at least 300 communities—will explore questions such as how higher education can best work to insure a highly skilled workforce to maintain the nation’s economic strength and competitiveness, promote equity by providing opportunities for all Americans, and strengthen values such as responsibility, integrity, and respect for others, as well as develop skills to seek common ground or work through differences in a civil manner.

“Preparing all students for informed, engaged participation in the civic life of our communities is not just essential, it is entirely consistent with the goals of increasing student achievement, closing achievement gaps and preparing citizens to understand their role and responsibility in our democracy,” Martha Kanter, U.S. Under Secretary of Education, said.

The September 4 panel launching this initiative will include: Martha Kanter, U.S. Under Secretary of Education; Bill Muse, president of the National Issues Forums Institute; Harry Boyte, national coordinator of the American Commonwealth Partnership; Nancy Cantor, chancellor of Syracuse University; Muriel Howard, President of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities; Bernie Ronan, chair, The Democracy Commitment; Kaylesh Ramu, president, Student Government Association, University of Maryland Baltimore County; and Scott Peters, co-director, Imagining America.

WHAT: Shaping Our Future: How Should Higher Education Help Us Create the Society We Want?

WHEN: Tuesday, September 4, 2012, 9-11 a.m.

WHERE: National Press Club, Holeman Lounge, Washington, D.C.

To RSVP, please contact Phil Lurie, at plurie@kettering.org or 202-393-4478. For additional information about Shaping Our Future, visit http://www.nifi.org/issue_books/detail.aspx?catID=6&itemID=21640.


Youth Summit Hosted by Syracuse University and White House

By Imagining America’s Timothy K. Eatman and Jamie Haft — Written for the May Issue of the American Commonwealth Partnership’s Newsletter

At the January 10 White House launch of the American Commonwealth Partnership, Syracuse University was invited to be one of 17 campuses across the country to host a youth summit as part of the “White House Young America Series.” We seized the opportunity to rally high school and college students in Central New York. The event’s framework was Syracuse University’s call for Scholarship in Action, and the national coalition Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life’s vision to realize the democratic purposes of American higher education. The program planning committee included representatives from the Central New York Chapter of Publicly Active Graduate Education, Imagining America Engagement Fellows, and the student government associations of Syracuse University and Cornell University. (more…)


At the Forefront of Change: Student Organizing Group

The May issue of the American Commonwealth Partnership’s newsletter, “At the Forefront of Change,” is also the inaugural newsletter of its Student Organizing Group. Excerpts are below. Click here to read the full newsletter. More about these and other stories can be read at DemocracyU. (more…)


ACP On the Move: Civic Summit at Winona State & Huffington Post Op-Ed

We’d like to highlight two recent posts about the American Commonwealth Partnership (ACP), the broad alliance of numerous higher education, civic, and business groups organizing to rebuild democracy’s colleges for the 21st century.

First, we have “How Should Higher Education Help Us Create The Society We Want?” by Winona State University students. Recently, Winona State, an IA member campus, hosted the inaugural civic summit of the National Issues Forum and ACP Deliberative Dialogue Initiative. The group received special permission from the Kettering Foundation to be the first to use their issues guide. The summit was held in honor of WSU’s retiring president, Judith Ramaley, who is a tireless advocate for higher education and its civic mission.  President Ramaley serves as a member of the ACP’s President’s Council, and is a long-time supporter of IA and member of IA’s Tenure Team Initiative on Publicly Engaged Scholarship. High school and college students, university faculty and staff, community members, higher education experts, media editors and journalists, local law enforcement, and business people all participated in the successful, student-run event. Click here to read all about it.

Second, Harry Boyte (another long-time IA supporter and former board member) and Blase Scarnati have an op-ed in The Huffington Post, titled, “Building Democracy Colleges: A Different Kind of Politics.” The piece argues that the higher-education reform movement can take lessons from the freedom movements of the last century, saying, “We need changes different than incrementalism, wishful calls for ‘all of us to get along,’ or fracturing of the nation into implacably hostile camps. … Focusing on pedagogies of empowerment, or ‘civic agency,’ the citizen-centered approach to change, which animated the freedom movement a generation ago, shows signs of being a promising approach to major changes.” Boyte and Scarnati believe ACP is a driving force for this kind of change, and the op-ed highlights some “empowered pedagogies.” Click here to read the whole piece.


Weekly IA News Digest: The White House at SU, Conferences, Town Halls, and More

By Jamie Haft, IA Communications Manager

Tune in tonight! The “White House Young America Series: Live from Syracuse University” will be live-streamed this evening from 6 to 9 p.m. Eastern at http://www.syr.edu/whitehouse, with virtual exchange via Twitter at #WHatSU. The event will feature several of Imagining America’s regional publicly engaged graduate students, as well as many other young people in Central New York who will share stories, ideas, and spoken word performances about civic engagement. IA and SU will also announce a pilot video contest for students in this region.

IA conference proposals are due this Monday, April 23! Please submit on IA’s website. Also, we recently announced the PAGE Fellowship; applications are due June 1.

IA at Vanderbilt Reflection: Graduate student G. Cory Duclos wrote this blog post about Friday’s panel featuring Jan Cohen-Cruz, Bill Ivey, and Teresa Mangum.

IA at AERA: Chancellor Nancy Cantor, Timothy Eatman, Susan Sturm, and Kal Alston spoke this past Monday at the American Educational Research Association annual meeting in Vancouver on “Scholarship in Action for a New Generation.” Their remarks included a discussion of IA’s and the Center for Institutional and Social Change’s Linking Full Participation action-research project, as well as the American Commonwealth Partnership.

Town Halls at LIU & VT: IA-member campuses are collaborating with Sojourn Theater and The TEAM to host local civic dialogues as part of Town Hall Nation. Long Island University will host a dialogue on student debt in the humanities this Thursday, April 19, at 3:15 p.m. (contact Deborah Mutnick). Virginia Tech will perform a play-in-process, Whether System, April 23-25 (contact Bob Leonard).

Central New York PAGE this Friday: At Syracuse University all-day Friday, April 20, we will host the 5th annual CNY PAGE conference. Follow the Twitter exchange at #CNYPAGE.


Citizen Alum: Engaging Alumni as Doers, Not (Just) Donors

Today, the American Commonwealth Partnership released a special-issue of its newsletter, “At the Forefront of Change,” with a focus on Citizen Alum — a national listening, capacity-building, and participatory research project to make public the civic passions of alums, current students, faculty, and staff. Based at the University of Michigan, Citizen Alum is led by Julie Ellison, IA Director Emerita, with Alex Olson, 2011-12 IA PAGE Fellow. Syracuse University is one of the project’s charter members, and in the newsletter, SU’s Engagement Fellows program is mentioned as a notable example of engaging alumni.

Read the newsletter here or download the PDF.


TTI Research Group Lays Groundwork for Impact Study

By Julie Ellison, Professor of American Culture, English, and Art and Design, University of Michigan, and Timothy K. Eatman, Research Director, Imagining America

The TTI Research Group (TTI-RG) builds on the work of Imagining America’s Tenure Team Initiative on Public Scholarship (TTI). Specifically it is committed to understanding the reverberations of the 2008 report, Scholarship in Public: Knowledge Creation and Tenure Policy in the Engaged University. 

 We aim to:

  • document changes in faculty rewards policies at a wide variety of colleges and universities;
  • map the impact of the report on efforts by higher education and disciplinary associations to value publicly engaged scholarship; and
  • create capacity for ongoing change by making findings from the impact study broadly available. (more…)

Materials and Videos from “For Democracy’s Future: Education Reclaims Our Civic Mission”

By Jamie Haft, Communications Manager, Imagining America

Thank you to everyone from Imagining America who attended or watched the live stream of yesterday’s White House event, “For Democracy’s Future: Education Reclaims Our Civic Mission.”

Here is the event program, as well as the discussion guide prepared for virtual participants.

The event marked the public launch of the American Commonwealth Partnership, which aims to bring together thousands of universities, colleges, community colleges, schools, and other civic partners to promote civic education, civic mission, and civic identity throughout all of education in the U.S.

The AAC&U released a major report on civic learning and democratic engagement, “A Crucible Moment: College Learning & Democracy’s Future.” Additionally, the U.S. Department of Education released a “Road Map” outlining the nine next steps it will take to advance citizenship education for all Americans across the country. In related news, last October, the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools released a report for K-12 schools.

The Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Action Network and The American Commonwealth Partnership collected civic commitments from more than 70 national organizations, local organizations, higher education institutions, scholars, practitioners, and philanthropists, including Imagining America and Syracuse University. (more…)


Syracuse University Joins Yearlong Initiative to Promote Higher Education as Agent of Democracy

By SU News Services • (315) 443-3784

Chancellor Cantor to moderate Jan. 10 White House panel on public scholarship

Syracuse University will join with the White House Office of Public Engagement, the U.S. Department of Education and other civic and educational groups tomorrow, Jan. 10, for a White House event to publicly launch the American Commonwealth Partnership (ACP), a yearlong initiative to promote higher education as an agent of democracy and a force for public good. As part of the launch event, SU Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor will moderate a panel discussion about promoting and facilitating public scholarship.

The ACP initiative coincides with the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act, which established land-grant colleges and universities throughout the United States to promote access to higher education across social classes and equip students with the relevant skills and knowledge to address the important needs of the day.

A broad alliance of educational, civic, philanthropic and business groups, the ACP includes, among others, Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life, a national consortium based at SU and dedicated to advancing public scholarship through the humanities, arts and design; the Association of American Colleges and Universities; the American Democracy Project; Campus Compact; and other K-12 schools, colleges and universities. (more…)


Jan. 10 White House Event to be Streamed on the Internet

By Jan Cohen-Cruz, Director, and Timothy K. Eatman, Research Director, Imagining America

On Tuesday, January 10, from 2-6 p.m. EST, Imagining America and Syracuse University will be part of a White House event to launch the American Commonwealth Partnership (ACP), a yearlong initiative to promote higher education as an agent of democracy and a force for public good. The ACP coincides with the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act, which established land-grant colleges and universities throughout the U.S. to promote access to higher education across social classes and equip students with the relevant skills and knowledge to address the important needs of the day. For more information about the ACP, see IA Research Director Timothy Eatman’s post on the Imagining America Blog.

The event will be streamed live on the internet on Tuesday, January 10, from 2-6 p.m. EST: http://www.whitehouse.gov/live.

The ACP also has an active social media campaign, DemocracyU. All are invited to contribute to their blog (http://democracyu.wordpress.com/), and to interact on Facebook (www.facebook.com/democracyu) and Twitter (@democracyu).

We hope you will consider tuning into this important event. We are honored to be participating in this national effort to promote higher education’s civic mission.