Issue 1 – February 2012
Editor/College Coordinator: Dr. Scott F. Creamer Assistant Editor/Intern: Ileana Roque-‐Gonzalez
History, Mission, & Objectives
The Democracy Commitment is a new national civic engagement project for community colleges that aims to engage community college students in civic learning and democratic practice. The goal of the project is for every graduate of an American community college to have an education in democracy. This includes all community colleges’ students, whether they aim to transfer to a four-‐year college or university, to achieve an associate degree, or to obtain a certificate. The Democracy Commitment is modeled after the American Democracy Project (ADP), a national coalition of public, four-‐year colleges and universities committed to civic and democratic work, sponsored by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) in partnership with The New York Times. With more than 50 community colleges signed onto the Democracy Commitment, The Democracy Commitment holds an annual meeting, sponsors seven national civic engagement initiatives, and provides a national platform for faculty, staff, and students to foster informed, engaged citizens for our democracy. To learn more about The Democracy Commitment, visit thedemocracycommitment.org To see a copy of the “declaration” signed by our very own Sandy Shugart, check out thedemocracycommitment.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/legal_size_declaration_hr2.pdf. John Hancock, eat your heart out! Valencia Involvement Here at Valencia, our goal for the project is three-‐fold, ♦The expansion of democracy-‐enhancing curricula ♦Faculty and staff development in civic learning and democratic practice ♦Partnerships with local civic, non-‐profit, and governmental agencies
Thus far, Valencia College has been active in helping promote the tenets of this institutional movement in a number of ways. Last semester, Dr. Scott F. Creamer, Professor of Political Science on the Osceola campus and College Coordinator for the Democracy Commitment, conducted a civic inventory that detailed Valencia’s participation in civic engagement and leadership already and submitted it for publication on the Democracy Commitment’s website, a site that acts as a national clearinghouse of program and curricular designs for community colleges (see inventory later in this publication). In addition, Dr. Creamer attended the National Signatory Event this past November where member colleges “signed” the declaration and began the process or networking and collaborative opportunities (see photos on ensuing pages). This semester and into the summer, Valencia will keep up its steady involvement in the Democracy Commitment through a number of endeavors – ♦Monthly publication of an E-‐zine ♦Production of a video detailing Valencia’s commitment to promoting education of democratic principles and community leadership to be screened at the American Democracy Project conference this summer ♦An event on April 4th, Civic Engagement Day: Service, Participation, and the College Student, that will include speakers, panelists, food, voter registration opportunities, and Valencia students clubs promotion, and will occur on West, East, and Osceola campuses (sorry Winter Park and Lake Nona ♦Attendance at and participation in the national Democracy Commitment conference in San Antonio, Texas in June ♦Presentation at the national conference of an academic research project, "Parrotheads or Community Leaders: Alternative Spring Breaks as a Method of Fostering College Students' Civic Commitment,” by Dr. Scott F. Creamer
The Democracy Commitment (national organization) received a $360,000 grant to support faculty and curriculum development that will result in new humanities courses that teach skills and knowledge essential for responsible citizenship in a diverse and globally connected world. 12 community colleges will be selected in April, 2012 to pilot the initiative. The proposal deadline is March 15th. To learn more about the grant, please see thedemocracycommitment.org/neh-‐grant/. To learn more about the project, its requirements, and expectations, please view aacu.org/bridgingcultures/cfp.cfm. To access the application materials, please check out aacu.org/bridgingcultures/application/step1.cfm.
Pillars of the Community
In each issue of this E-‐zine, a Valencia College faculty member, staff member, or community partner will be featured that has brought prominence to Valencia as a strong institution of civic engagement, education in democracy, and community leadership, along with personally demonstrating the importance of civic commitment to the positive development of a college and/or local community. This issue’s featured star is,
Rachel Allen – Professor of Humanities; Peace and Justice Initiative (PJI) Coordinator
Professor Allen has been a very strong proponent of service learning projects and experiential learning to help teach civic responsibility and to strengthen local communities. She has recently led students to south Florida to participate in Habitat for Humanity projects, leads students every semester in conducting a family festival for homeless families as part of the Coalition for the Homeless, and is the college coordinator for the Peace and Justice Initiative, a group here at Valencia dedicated to transforming the culture at Valencia into one where peace and justice for all are valued. The organization sponsors a speaker series, holds events, posts important articles on its website, and issues a newsletter that is available to the public. Thank you, Rachel, for all your hard work and service to Valencia College. It is truly appreciated.
The Democracy Commitment Featured in the New York Times!
The New York Times honored The Democracy Commitment (TDC) on Sunday, February 5th. The New York Times Knowledge Network, which is an education division of The Times, published an insert on education that reached an estimated 8,000,000 readers. The full back page of the insert recognized The Democracy Commitment and its partner, the American Democracy Project. All TDC member institutions, including Valencia College, are listed and recognized as community colleges dedicated to civic learning and democratic engagement.
Calendar of Events
February 16th – Faculty Council meeting, 2:30-‐5pm, Osceola 1-‐219B February 17th – International Education Steering Committee meeting (SAGE), 2-‐4pm February 27th – Student Affairs Leadership Team (SALT) meeting, 10am-‐12pm, West HSB-‐211 February 27th-‐April 6th – Internship application deadline March 15th – Faculty Council meeting, 2:30-‐5pm, Winter Park WPC 107
March 16th and 17th – Healing the Heart of Democracy: Faculty and Staff Workshop (PJI), 9am-‐5pm, off-‐ campus site March 26th – SALT meeting, 10am-‐12pm, East 3-‐113 April 4th – Civic Engagement Day: Service, Participation, and the College Student (Democracy Commitment), 11am-‐1pm, West, East, and Osceola campuses June 7th-‐9th – National American Democracy Project and The Democracy Commitment Annual Meeting, San Antonio, Texas Faculty Development calendar – valenciacollege.edu/calendar/calendar.cfm?catid=37 Employee Activities calendar – valenciacollege.edu/calendar/calendar.cfm?catid=41 SAGE international education events – valenciacollege.edu/international/studyabroad/staff/events.cfm Internship and Workforce Services on-‐campus recruitment dates – valenciacollege.edu/internship/jobResources/onCampusRecruitment.cfm Peace and Justice Initiative calendar – valenciacollege.edu/PJI/events/calendar.cfm
For other college calendars of events, workshops, etc., check out valenciacollege.edu/calendar
Valencia College Civic Inventory for the Democracy Commitment Dr. Scott F. Creamer, Campus Coordinator Valencia College is a comprehensive state college in Florida with branch campuses in Orlando, Kissimmee, Winter Park, and Lake Nona that offers two and four-‐year degrees while serving almost 32,000 full-‐time students (over 60,000 total headcount enrollment). Valencia College offers a wide variety of academic and occupational programs. Part of Valencia College’s philosophy is that it is a multicultural institution committed to preparing world citizens for the 21st century while recognizing that the aim of education is the development of the whole person; one who is prepared to value citizenship and to participate in a global community. Part of its mission is a commitment to institutional community involvement, community development, community service, civic leadership, civic engagement, and, of course, civic education. The following table is a summary of the internal civic inventory taken by Dr. Scott F. Creamer, Professor of Political Science at Valencia College and Campus Coordinator for the Democracy Commitment, which describes the civic engagement that is already occurring and identifies opportunities to begin work in areas where civic engagement activities could occur. • The Bill Castellano Civic Leadership Scholarship Institutional Intentionality • • • • • • • • • •
Academic Focus on Civic Engagement
Matador Model United Nations National Model United Nations Conference Civic Leadership Internship Program Southern Regional Model United Nations Conference Valencia on the Hill (civic leadership internship) Constitution Day events Veteran’s Day events Arab-‐American Day (East campus) Political debates Voter registration drives
I. Curricular Focus on Civic Engagement 1. A focus on civic engagement in General Education courses -‐one of the pursued student learning outcomes is ethical responsibility – the demonstration of awareness of personal responsibility in one’s civic, social, and academic life 2. A focus on civic engagement in Florida
community colleges’ General Education requirements -‐Student learning outcome of global socio-‐ cultural responsibility – actively participate as an informed citizen in social, cultural, global, and environmental matters 3. Content of POS 2041 U.S. Government (required course for all Associate of Art degrees), POS 2112 State and Local Government, POS 2232 Government and the Media, and POS 2940 Internship in Civic Leadership (faculty as supervisor) courses -‐explore foundations of democracy, core principles of American democracy, key founding documents, contemporary issues in American life, etc. II. Teaching and Learning 1. Democratic teaching styles (encouraging critical thinking, taking independent positions and supporting them, not simply agreeing with the faculty member’s point of view, providing opportunities to challenge others in respectful ways) -‐critical thinking as student learning outcome – effectively analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and apply information and ideas from diverse sources and disciplines 2. Diversity -‐Faculty, as part of their required faculty learning outcomes, need to achieve a competency in diversity by designing learning opportunities that acknowledge, draw upon, and are enriched by student diversity. An atmosphere of inclusion and understanding is promoted in all learning environments. 3. Civic Leadership Programs -‐civic leadership internship for students interested in a career in public service or in seeking political office -‐intern with public policy agencies and elected officials at federal, state, and local levels while being supervised by a political science faculty member
-‐upon completion of internship and classroom presentation, students receive a $500 Presidential Scholarship -‐68 students since 2004 have been placed in internships -‐In 2011, internships included those with U.S. senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio; Florida senator Andy Gardiner; representatives Corrine Brown, Eric Einsnaugle, and Darren Soto; Girl Scouts of America; CourtWatch Florida; the Orlando Police Department -‐Bill Castellano Civic Leadership Scholarship 4. Service Learning – experiential learning that benefits the community and enhances student engagement with course content -‐faculty development course Service Learning Across the Curriculum (LCTS 3213) through the Office of faculty Development III. Student Experiential Learning 1. Service Learning course SLS 2940 -‐students earn college credit while responding to needs in the community and applying knowledge from their courses with guidance from a faculty supervisor -‐2011 projects have included taking students to the Dominican Republic (Kevin Mulholland and Christie Pickeral) to host a science camp for children, Habitat for Humanity projects (supervised by Ann Farrell, Rachel Allen, and Andy Ray), Coalition for the Homeless projects (Rachel Allen), and involvement in Give Kids the World (Deb Hall) 2. Service Learning Components of Courses -‐projects include web design for the non-‐ profit agency Greyhound Pets of America (supervised by Colin Archibald), created videos to advocate for various non-‐profit groups (Linda Anthon), volunteer at and research project on various non-‐profit agencies (Erin O’Brien), service at Second Harvest Food Bank (Ellen Pastorino), planning and managing donation drives for Orlando-‐based non-‐profit
organizations (Nicole Valentino) 3. Internships (aforementioned)
Co-‐Curricular and Extra Curricular Focus on Civic Engagement
IV. Divisions and Departments 1. As part of the General Education requirements, there is a special focus on civic engagement college-‐wide. Explicit examples include health related departments and their course content, in addition to the course components of the political science department (e.g. POS 2041 U.S. Government is a required course where there is extensive teaching of democratic principles in the U.S. and discussion and critical analysis of one’s place within this system and republican society). 2. Study Abroad and Global Experiences (SAGE) program’s goal of creating a more global student citizenry through workshops, short and long-‐term study abroad programs, and active committee work on internationalizing the curriculum 3. Peace and Justice Initiative (PJI) is a faculty and staff led initiative that aims to transform the culture at Valencia into one where peace and justice for all are valued, and conflict is viewed as an opportunity for growth and transformation. They sponsor speakers and events, promote articles and texts, and issue a newsletter. V. Leadership Programs 1. Leadership Symposium -‐educates students on the importance of networking, professionalism, and communication skills during an annual spring term event 2. Leadership Speaker Series 3. The Next Dimension Leadership Program (East campus) -‐lectures by motivational speakers and life coaches on topics like human diversity, leadership, finances, team building, and life skills 4. Skillshops I. Student Groups • Student Government Association • Student Leader Team • Valencia Volunteers
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Evaluations of Civic Engagement
Critical Analysis and Recommendations
-‐runs and sponsors fundraisers such as those for Alzheimer’s research and supporting troops in the U.S. military through events like barbeques, pizza sales, Adopt an Angel drive, etc. -‐works with over 200 community agencies in Central Florida African-‐American Cultural Society American Arab Culture Club Amnesty International Campus Crusade for Christ Caribbean Student Association Gay/Straight Alliance Latin American Student Organization Muslim Student Association Republican Club Secular Student Alliance Valencia Haitian Student Association Valencia Intercultural Association Valencia International Club Model United Nations (U.N.) Valencia Students for Change
II. Individual and Independent Civic Projects • e.g. Faculty Association President Dr. Robert Gessner’s presentation for an anti-‐ smoking campaign • Student evaluations of faculty • Use of Community College Survey on Student Engagement (CCSSE) for measuring student engagement Valencia College has done a commendable job developing and expanding academic, professional, and service programs and projects aimed at engaging community college students in civic learning and democratic practice. The goal of being a member of the Democracy Commitment organization as a signatory institution is to educate every graduate in democracy, and Valencia has accomplished this task already to a large extent considering its focus on teaching democratic methods and principles campus-‐wide and strong community service learning and internship
programs. After review of other institutions and their programs, those of Valencia are not standard on major campuses and is demonstrative of just how progressive Valencia College is in many academic and professional areas, including promoting civic engagement. However, there is always room for improvement. The following are some recommendations given either current needs for improvement or areas not considered previously for civic involvement: • Make CCSSE results more accessible to the public by putting the data on the Valencia College website (Assessment & Institutional Effectiveness website or otherwise) • Weekly or monthly updates provided by the campus coordinator keeping faculty and students aware and excited by upcoming civic-‐related events • A small online magazine, or e-‐zine, written and distributed college-‐wide by the campus coordinator that celebrates service learning and civic engagement • Expand student and youth leadership programs -‐annual leadership conference that connects high school and college students to community-‐based youth and student organizations and features workshops on topics like financing college education, community building, and social and cultural activism -‐intensive training program for Valencia College students interested in gaining practical skills in political action. This “camp” would focus on subjects like electoral campaigns, citizen activism, and grassroots advocacy and organization • Draw upon more legislators, community partners, and public policy groups for internships through elevated marketing of the program • Civic and Community Engagement Certificate
-‐Many colleges and universities, such as Northwestern University, The University of Connecticut, Johns Hopkins University, and many others, along with community colleges like De Anza College have certificate programs (or similarly in social policy) that engage students in leadership development and community based or service learning. A certificate would also add an additional qualification for those seeking public policy or political advocacy work in the future. • Collaboration and joint events with The University of Central Florida on projects and programs -‐UCF attends the American Democracy Conference every year -‐Campus coordinator would maintain regular contact with Dr. Thomas Bryer, Professor of Public Administration at UCF, to coordinate joint, collaborative efforts • Campus coordinator would encourage faculty and students to form a delegation to attend the Democracy Commitment annual conference (campus coordinator will attend this conference), along with possibly attending other political science, public administration, social policy, and civic leadership conferences • Utilize additional campus/district civic engagement assessment instruments regularly throughout the academic year