University Of California, Davis, Selected As Institutional Partner For Imagining America
7 June 2016 – Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life, a civic-engagement consortium of more than 100 academic institutions and cultural organizations, will move its national headquarters from Syracuse University to UC Davis in the summer of 2017. The university will serve as Imagining America’s hosting partner for a renewable, five-year term.
“Our board unanimously endorsed this partnership,” said Bruce Burgett, chair of IA’s national board and dean, School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, University of Washington Bothell. “We were extremely impressed by the breadth of community engagement and public scholarship at UC Davis, and by its deep commitment to equity and inclusion. We share these values of equity and inclusion, and we are excited to begin the next chapter of IA’s work with this partnership.”
IA is dedicated to strengthening the arts, humanities and design in higher education with approaches that foster community partnerships, public scholarship and social equity. Launched in 1999 at a White House conference on the democratic role of arts and humanities, IA was first based at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, before moving to Syracuse University in 2007. Public: A Journal of Imagining America was launched in 2013 as an online, open-access journal for public work in the cultural disciplines.
“We are delighted to be the next home of Imagining America, which has successfully acted as a bridge between scholars and community members interested in the arts, humanities and design,” said Ralph J. Hexter, acting chancellor at UC Davis. “With our mutual goals of civic engagement, we are confident IA and UC Davis will be an exemplary match for years to come.”
With Hexter, Susan Kaiser, interim dean, Division of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies Division in the College of Letters and Science at UC Davis, took the lead in pursuing IA.
“From the start, UC Davis and IA felt like a perfect fit,” Kaiser said. “IA aligns with the UC Davis way of working across boundaries. Faculty, students, administrators and community leaders were very enthusiastic, and we had productive conversations about how the partnership with Imagining America could support our ongoing local and regional efforts. We fully expect the keen interest shown during the planning to continue and grow when IA comes to campus.”
UC Davis’ public-service mission as a land-grant institution, as well as its strength in research and undergraduate education, helped cement the partnership with IA. The university’s interdisciplinary faculty strive to work across fields to facilitate new insights and approaches
to understanding the world and serving its region and state. Its student body has continually become more inclusive, with the most diverse class of students welcomed in fall 2015.
“UC Davis has a reputation as an education and research powerhouse in Northern California,” said Scott Peters, a Cornell University land-grant historian and IA faculty co- director. “During the IA team’s site visit, we were floored by the range and energy of democratic work being done at UC Davis. From administrative leaders to regional partners to engaged scholars to student activists, we saw a deep, shared commitment to public engagement as a core value of the university and a measure of its excellence.”
IA’s move to UC Davis is the culmination of a three-year transition process, which began with feedback from the consortium and across higher education about IA’s past and future. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor’s David Scobey, an IA co-founder and former board chair, led the process. More than a dozen institutions representing a range of various academic sectors and regions came forward with interest in partnering with IA.
“We are grateful for the productive ten years at Syracuse University,” said Tim Eatman, faculty co-director of IA and Syracuse University professor. “We have grown in size and national visibility and have helped strengthen public engagement in Syracuse. Now we look forward to a similarly fruitful partnership at UC Davis, to an increased presence in the west, and to strengthened capacity for national action.”
IA’s move to UC Davis will be celebrated at the consortium’s national conference, Oct. 6-8, 2016, at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.
Holly Zahn, Imagining America communications director, 315-491-1787, email@example.com
Jocelyn Anderson, UC Davis News and Media Relations, 530-752-9607, firstname.lastname@example.org
Civic Professionalism is a research project that provides a roadmap for transforming educational practice through a dual focus on faculty work and student learning. It seeks to interweave the traditional strengths of the liberal arts, the values of civic inquiry and reflection, and the practical work of sustaining and supporting our communities and ourselves.
Given the pressure higher education faces to be more pragmatic, new strategies for affirming and furthering the power of community engaged learning in the contexts of an undergraduate liberal arts education are needed. We employ the term civic professionalism to mark the intersection of formal knowledge, vocational exploration/development, and a commitment to the common good. This research is made possible through the generosity of the Teagle Foundation and is led by IA’s Engaged Undergraduate Education Research Group.
To facilitate the integration of civic professionalism into arts and humanities undergraduate teaching and learning, the group seeks to develop the following products:
A shared knowledge base and vocabulary that enables effective collaboration and evidence-based decision-making.
An array of course, program, and project models, including models focused on faculty work as the driver of student learning, that are compelling to the variety of institutions participating in the research and by extension, to a larger constituency of undergraduate educators.
A shared set of criteria for selecting proposed models for implementation that includes impact on faculty work and student learning.
A shared basis for evaluating success and ensuring effective collaboration in the implementation stages of the project.
Civic professionalism engages the larger issue of how to build capacity to educate civic-minded graduates by engaging the follow questions: What constitutes civic learning outcomes and how can these outcomes be assessed? What practices can faculty use to reach these outcomes? What are the challenges to deploying these practices and what strategies should be used to overcome them?
Imagining America, 2014 National Conference, Atlanta GA
Civic Professionalism: Developing an Action Plan for Your Campus, Thursday, October 9, 2014
Civic Professionalism: Innovative Driver of Change or Impossible Dream?, Saturday, October 11, 2014
Association of American Colleges and University, 2014 Annual Meeting, Washington D.C.
Faculty Roles in Developing Civic-Minded Graduates and Professionals: Promising Practices and Structural Challenges
September 2013 Status Report
Engaged Undergraduate Education Collaboratory’s Working Paper, “Civic Professionalism: A New Paradigm for Undergraduate Liberal Arts Education”
Amy Koritz, founding director, Center for Civic Engagement, Drew University
Paul Schadewald, associate director, Civic Engagement Center, Macalester College
Robin Bachin, History, American Studies, University of Miami
Brigitta R. Brunner, Communication and Journalism, Auburn University
Giovanna Summerfield, College of Liberal Arts Associate Dean, Auburn University
Catherine Gerard, Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration, Syracuse University
Kenneth Townsend, Office of the President, Millsaps College
Amanda Suniti Niskode-Dossett
Civic Science is a method of inquiry into important contemporary issues that enriches democracy by bringing citizens from all backgrounds and disciplines – not just scientists – together in shared projects that analyze current conditions, envision a better future, and devise a pathway to that future.
Civic science is both an approach to generating knowledge and a democratic practice. In civic science, scientists express democratic citizenship through their scientific work: they engage in democratic world-building efforts as scientists. Such efforts include democratic projects in which broad-based civic groups are working to impact complex problems in, for instance, agriculture, education, and health care, the three areas emphasized below. By linking scientific work to these democratic efforts, scientific inquiry expands, taking a crucial civic role.
The fundamental scientific question of “how does the world work” is situated in the context of democratic inquiry into a critical question—“What should we do in the face of complex problems?” Civic science, thus, integrates its work closely with the disciplines of arts, humanities, and design, which ask fundamental questions about what is good and just, encouraging us to envision and debate ways of relating and living as civic agents.
Civic science is like “transdisciplinary” science (e.g., NRC 2014), but expands and enriches such frameworks by closely linking the practice of science to democracy and to other ways of knowing and learning from arts, humanities and design traditions and fields. Similarly, Civic Science is like community based participatory research (CBPR) and social movement-based “citizen science” in that it focuses on complex, pressing, real-world problems, and values diverse ways of knowing. However, in ways that usefully challenge theory and practice in CBPR, civic science intentionally and explicitly aims to promote democracy by framing scientific inquiry as an opportunity for participants to develop their capacity to work across differences, create common resources, and negotiate a shared democratic way of life.
As a democratic and scientific practice, we argue civic science has the unique potential to advance public deliberation, collective action, and public policy on pressing issues like energy security, climate change, sustainable agriculture, poverty, and health care. These and other “wicked problems,” require not only the insights of numerous academic disciplines and situated knowledge, but also approaches to governance that are not paralyzed by uncertainty and can adapt to new information as it emerges. Effective approaches to wicked problems must also explicitly engage purposive questions such as “what should we do?” to work through political stalemate. Civic science’s combination of knowledge production and democratic practice is thus clearly called for.
Cultural Organizing Institutes advance democratic change within and beyond higher education is an ongoing organizing project. IA’s Cultural Organizing Institutes offer opportunities for teams of people representing community-campus partnerships to learn, share, and practice key organizing concepts and strategies. Institutes are held every June in the city where the annual conference is to be held. Working with IA leadership, members are welcome to propose and host additional institutes for specific geographical regions and/or purposes. For information about upcoming opportunities or ideas for additional institutes, please contact email@example.com.
The Publicly Engaged Scholars (PES) Study illuminates the graduate school experiences and career aspirations and decisions of students and early career faculty and staff. The study is organized around a two-fold aim: to deepen our understanding about the career arc for publicly engaged scholarship and practice and to evaluate the impact of IA’s Publicly Active Graduate Education (PAGE) program since its first cohort in 2003.
The study addresses how publicly engaged scholars develop, including the motivations and identities that contribute to an interest in engaged scholarship, and how the practice of engaged scholarship relates to the graduate school experience. The study also explores what emerging engaged scholars view as viable career pathways. Focus groups, conventional measures from related studies, and a national committee informed the study’s mixed methods design, which includes a survey instrument and interview protocols.
The study is directed by IA’s Co-Director Timothy K. Eatman, and a team of graduate student researchers. A committee of national leaders in graduate education advises the project.
Extension Reconsidered is concerned with the work of building a democratic culture that is grounded in an ethic of full participation, where all people have opportunities to learn and grow and contribute to public life, requires support from all types of institutions. While few are aware of it, there is a rich and deep legacy of this kind of public engagement in the Cooperative Extension system within land-grant colleges and universities. And it continues today, though it is both undervalued and endangered.
Extension Reconsidered was a year-long, national Imagining America initiative that sought to highlight Extension’s legacy of public engagement while encouraging new partnerships and leaders to move that legacy forward. The initiative engaged Cooperative Extension partners from 13 states in constructive and critical deliberation about the role of Extension in public life. In particular, each state team pursued partnerships between Extension and the arts, humanities, and design fields to widen the appeal and reach of the deliberative activities.
The initiative was timed for 2014 to mark the centennial of the Smith-Lever Act of 1914, the federal legislation that established the national Cooperative Extension System. Extension Reconsidered was a partnership between 13 land-grant universities, Imagining America, the Charles F. Kettering Foundation, the Engagement Scholarship Consortium, Community-Campus Partnerships for Health (CCPH), and the Art of the Rural.
The Linking Full Participation research project brings together strategically placed higher education institutions and communities that are working to figure out how to locate public problem-solving at the intersection of research, teaching, and engagement, and how to do so in a way that engages the full participation of diverse communities, particularly those historically left out of this discussion.
Now more than ever, colleges and universities are crucial institutions for building societies’ capacity to realize democratic values and address the complex problems facing our communities. There has been considerable mobilization to make higher education’s public mission more central; however, despite increased attention paid to enhancing higher education’s diversity and public engagement responsibilities, that aspiration frequently operates at the periphery.
The Center for Institutional and Social Change (the Center) has developed a research collaboration with Syracuse University (SU), University of Southern California (USC), and IA that proceeds from a shared vision: to build higher education institutions that enable people from all communities, backgrounds, and identities to participate fully, and in the process, to build collective knowledge and capacity needed to solve difficult public problems, a dual agenda we refer to as “institutional citizenship” (Sturm 2006). Consistent with this vision, the project uses collaborative inquiry to advance three linked goals:
This project undertakes a mixed-method, action research approach combining in-depth institutional inquiry, cross-institutional knowledge sharing, and comprehensive information pooling. Specifically, it will map, systematically document, learn from, build upon, and network across innovations within and between a set of strategically placed higher education institutions and their constituent communities. The work builds on IA’s collaboratories and national institutional network to provide a baseline understanding of best practices, encourage cross-institutional learning and knowledge sharing, and catalyze a national dialogue on these issues.
Susan Sturm, the George M. Jaffin Professor of Law and Social Responsibility and the Center’s Founding Director
Nancy Cantor, SU’s Chancellor and President
Tim Eatman, co-PI, IA Co-Director and SU Assistant Professor of Higher Education
George Sanchez, USC’s Vice Dean of Diversity and Strategic Initiatives, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences
Adam Bush, Founding Provost, College Unbound
Full Participation: Building the Architecture for Diversity and Community Engagement in Higher Education, by Susan Sturm, Tim Eatman, John Saltmarsh, and Adam Bush
Scholarship in Public: Knowledge Creation and Tenure Policy in the Engaged University, by Julie Ellison and Tim Eatman
The Tangled Web of Diversity and Democracy, by George Sanchez
Institutional Citizenship, by Susan Sturm
Reimagining and reclaiming the democratic potential of assessment
As members of Imagining America’s Assessing the Practices of Public Scholarship (APPS) research group, we have asked ourselves and many others these and similar questions over the past five years. Our answers have led us to read, to think, to write, to ask more questions, and to talk with yet more colleagues.
What drives APPS as a collective is our desire to bridge the gap we and others too often encounter between assessment as bureaucratic management and assessment as a transformative process that involves all stakeholders in values-engaged exploration of the processes, relationships, and results of collaborative work. We want to reclaim assessment. We want to empower ourselves and our colleagues in communities and on campuses to stand in this gap and help close it with integrity, confidence, and a sense of agency.
A Democratically Engaged Assessment (Read our White Paper.)
DEA is an orientation to and framework for assessment that is explicitly grounded in, informed by, and in dialogue with the contested values and commitments of democratic civic engagement.
APPS is motivated to explore and develop DEA by a desire to bridge the gap between assessment as it is too often experienced — a managerial imposition, an expert-driven process, a perfunctory afterthought, to name a few — and assessment as what we think it can and should be — a transformative process that involves all stakeholders in values-engaged exploration of the processes, relationships, and results of their collaborative work to reshape and renew public life. In short, we are compelled by this question:
How might assessment be an empowering process that enables us to create our path forward together, helps us “walk the talk” of our highest values, and allows us to share the story of our work in ways that are not only accurate but also a form of democratic practice?
We welcome you to join us on this journey.
DEA offers an approach to assessment not merely as measuring, documenting, and reporting outcomes but also as a way to explore shared realities and co-create new possibilities. We regard a democratic and justice-oriented transformation of assessment methods and the community engagement efforts they support to be the overarching ideals — the ends — that motivate DEA. We see the following six core values, interdependent and in some ways overlapping, as comprising the heart of democratic community engagement and DEA: full participation, co-creation, generativity, rigor, practicability, and resilience.
DEA is rooted in the commitments of Democratic Civic Engagement (DCE). DCE’s purpose, as described by Saltmarsh, Hartley & Clayton in their Democratic Engagement White Paper, “refers specifically to enhancing a public culture of democracy… and alleviating public problems” (2009, p. 9). More than just an attention to ends, it also attends to a process of community engagement that “seeks the public good with the public and not merely for the public” (2009 p. 9), one committed to inquiry and practice that is co-creative, inclusive, and empowering of all voices in creating a more just and democratic public culture.
Approached this way, assessment contributes to transformative processes and outcomes of community engagement and public scholarship. The process of assessment mirrors the ideals of democratization by creating possibilities — new ways of being — arising from new relationships and the knowledge they produce.
For a more expansive introduction to DEA — its history, development, nuances, tensions, stories and cases, as well as many tools for its application — please see the APPS White Paper: Democratically Engaged Assessment: Reimagining the Purposes and Practices of Assessment in Community Engagement.
Performing Our Future will demonstrate how the assets of local culture enacted through theater can enable communities to imagine, construct, and own their civic and economic future. Our claim is that culture and artistic expression are fundamental to the development of a democratic culture because of the way they shape individual and collective identities; bound or expand imagination; and influence micro- and macro-economic incentives and behavior.
Bringing together the expertise of theater artists, economists, and scholars, Performing Our Future will generate and share new knowledge about three related challenges:
In this two-year action-research project, three communities in different geographic locations will create original theater in order to support, and in some instances initiate, equitable community development. To enrich learning, ensure national impact, and develop and disseminate findings, the three local projects will interface with each other and with a national team of scholars.
Action-research participants will include three teams representing three communities and their local colleges as well as a national research team of artists, scholars, and economists. Other community and college teams will be invited to shadow the process in preparation for future projects in their home communities.
Funders include the National Endowment for the Arts, ArtPlace America, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Imagining America, Lafayette College, and Appalshop.
Summer Institute At Appalshop, Whitesburg, KY
July 14-18, 2016
Join artists, scholars, and community leaders from across the country for a 5-day hands-on institute at Appalshop. We will examine the culture hub being built in Letcher County, Kentucky, in the sickest and poorest congressional district in the nation, where the assets of arts and culture are being mobilized into new forms of value creation. During the Institute, participants will explore what’s taking place in Letcher County and create an arts- and culture-based development plan to take back home.
The Commission on Publicly Engaged Design (CoPED) is a new initiative of Imagining America. The purpose of CoPED is to ascertain the leading edges of publicly engaged design, and develop an agenda regarding what IA can do to leverage our member consortium to maximize breakthroughs and innovations, but to also meet continuing challenges and barriers.
Scholars and artists within IA have long been engaged in exploring the power of publicly engaged design for knowledge creation and institutional transformation. Members of Imagining America’s network believe that it is now time for IA to consider the state of the field in more strategic ways. Working across disciplines and campuses, the commission will identify, engage, and convene design leaders in an ongoing exploration of the ways in which IA can facilitate and support publicly engaged design.
The planning team officially launched CoPED at the 2014 Imagining America national conference in Atlanta, Georgia. In a roundtable session, design leaders throughout IA’s network reviewed the state of public interest in design and considered ways IA can advance such work at member campuses across the country. Click here to read the commission’s notes from this productive session.
Ultimately, this initiative hopes to gather together the potent synergy around publicly engaged design in a research agenda, which collects and analyzes best practices, past and present, as a means of developing innovative strategies for engagement.
CoPED is co-chaired by Sekou Cooke, Assistant Professor in the School of Architecture at Syracuse University, and Brett Snyder, Associate Professor of Design at Syracuse University.
The Tenure Team Initiative on Public Scholarship (TTI) seeks to change campus policies related to tenure and promotion to recognize publicly engaged art and scholarship as legitimate scholarly and creative activity, and to ensure faculty, administrators, and students are free to take up this work. The TTI advances the democratization of higher education by working toward the full participation of diverse faculty and diverse students and by strengthening the public and civic mission of colleges and universities.
In 2005, under the direction of co-chairs Nancy Cantor and Steven Lavine, two advisory groups were convened to draw on their experience and expertise: the Tenure Team, composed of key campus and disciplinary-association leaders, and consulting scholars and artists.
Over a two-year period, principal investigators Julie Ellison and Timothy Eatman surveyed the growing literature on this topic, conducted original research, presented and sought feedback at numerous conferences, and published a substantive background study. From these activities, a set of core questions were posed to Tenure Team members in a series of interviews.
In May 2008, Imagining America (IA) released the report based on this extensive research, “Scholarship in Public: Knowledge Creation and Tenure Policy in the Engaged University,” by Ellison and Eatman. The report includes 12 recommendations for expanding promotion and tenure guidelines so public scholarship can receive appropriate institutional recognition.
IA conducted a series of Regional Meetings from 2008-2010 to disseminate the report’s findings and to encourage local action related to expanding tenure and promotion policies.
“Scholarship in Public” is organized around the idea of a continuum of knowledge and knowledge-making practices. The continuum contains four domains:
The TTI Research Group (TTI-RG) is documenting changes in faculty rewards policies at a wide variety of colleges and universities; mapping the impact of the Scholarship in Public report on efforts by higher education and disciplinary associations to value publicly engaged scholarship; and creating capacity for ongoing change by making findings from the impact study broadly available.
The TTI-RG aims to present evidence-based recommendations and a plan for more ambitious multi-institutional efforts aimed at connecting different communities of effort around these issues. Download Scholarship in Action below:
Engaged Scholarship and Faculty Rewards: A National Conversation, by Timothy K. Eatman in AAC&U’s Diversity & Democracy
Colleges Should Change Policies to Encourage Scholarship Devoted to the Public Good, by Audrey Williams in The Chronicle of Higher Education
Taking Public Scholarship Seriously, by Nancy Cantor and Steven D. Lavine in The Chronicle of Higher Education
The TTI Knowledge Base, includes influential publications, web resources, presentations, speeches, and case studies.