Debating for Democracy (D4D) Students Protect the Hudson River from Oil Tankers -
('18) and Christina Thomas ('19), Pace University, won the 2017 D4D Letters to an Elected Official competition for their letter seeking to halt the use of the Hudson River as an anchorage for oil tankers, a practice the Coast Guard had proposed without consultation with local communities or developing an environmental impact study. In collaboration with Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), the Pace University D4D team ran a successful campaign to protect the Hudson River from the threat of oil spills. Thanks to the work of Christina, Rowan, and many others, the Coast Guard withdrew its proposal to permit anchorages for oil tankers. The Coast Guard appointed the students as official observers for its Port and Waterway Safety Assessment meetings held in November.
"In light of these recent and exciting developments [the withdrawal of the Coast Guard's proposal], we are left in the unexpected position of ... being able to declare victory....
We are thrilled to continue on [with] this exciting experience and appreciate your [Project Pericles'] ... support."-
, Pace University ('18)
The Reed College Team Met with Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Oregon State Senator Kathleen Taylor (D-21)
as part of their work on Federal and State Legislation to protect students from sexual assault. Leilani Ganser ('19)
spoke with Senator Merkley about the health care needs of sexual assault survivors and is working with Senator Merkley's office to introduce a bill that amends FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) to classify sexual assault as a public health issue that must be included on transcripts (the bill proposed in their letter). The team is also working with Oregon State Senator Kathleen Taylor and a representative from Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum's office to lower the state standard of evidence in Title IX investigations to a "Preponderance of the Evidence" standard.
For the D4D Letter to an Elected Official Competition Leilani Ganser ('19) and Sonya Morud ('19) wrote "A Letter in Support of the Safe Transfer Act" (would require post-secondary institutions to disclose sex offenses on students' transcripts) to Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR).
- The Debating for Democracy National Conference features a Legislative Hearing in which teams of students compete for $5,000 in prize money by presenting in front of a panel of former government officials. The teams use the awards to develop advocacy and educational campaigns focused on their issues. In 2017, a panel of three judges- Constance Berry Newman, Martha Kanter, and Ruth Messinger-selected Pace University as the winner of the D4D Letters to an Elected Official Competition. The winning team received $3,000 to move their issue forward and the finalist teams each will receive $500. In this issue, we provide updates on the Pace University and Reed College teams. Berea College, Carleton College, and Swarthmore College were the other 2017 finalists. We provided updates on Berea and Carleton in the Fall 2017 Newsletter and will highlight Swarthmore in the future.
Project Pericles Highlighted in The Chronicle of Higher Education
In his recent Chronicle of Higher Education overview of civic engagement, Michael Anft discussed the work of Project Pericles. For the piece, Anft interviewed Project Pericles Executive Director Jan R. Liss as well as Project Pericles Program Directors from Goucher College and Pitzer College.
"Project Pericles encourages colleges to map out their civic offerings and to find gaps by measuring them against those of other member institutions. 'We're getting more and more inquiries from colleges asking, 'How do we get this started?'' says Ms. Liss. 'We're really starting to get some serious traction on this.'"
"The goal isn't limited to campus activism, community work, or courses, she says. It's to tie them all together into a cohesive strategy geared to each campus."
We are pleased that The Chronicle is focusing on civic engagement. In collaboration with all of our member colleges and universities, we look forward to having a strong voice in the evolving national discussion about the critical role of civic engagement in safeguarding our democracy.
The article is available online and appeared in the January 12 print edition.
D4D on the Road™ Prepares Student Leaders for Activism
The 2017-2018 Debating for Democracy (D4D)™ workshops resumed on January 20 at Macalester College with Carleton College visiting and on January 27 at Hendrix College
with the University of Central Arkansas visiting. We are pleased to partner with Midwest Academy for 2017-2018. D4D workshops provide both novice and seasoned activists with the skills they need to develop advocacy and education campaigns through effective messaging to policymakers, community leaders, and the public. Workshops are open to students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members. During the D4D on the Road™ workshops, seasoned organizers and activists walk participants through the critical steps in running successful campaigns to win on important issues.
From the evaluations and surveys from the 2016-2017 D4D on the Road workshops, we know that our students are concerned with Climate Change, Education Access, Immigration Reform, LGBTQ Rights, Mass Incarceration,
Race and Inequality. We are using these topics to teach students tools to enable them to become more active citizen and effective advocates on issues
Following the January 20 workshop at Macalester, The Mac Weekly featured front page coverage of the workshop. "People care about lots of issues, and I think you hear [it] at the walk-in, etc.," [Macalester College Civic Engagement Center (CEC) Outreach Coordinator Derek] Johnson [said], "but how do you continue to work on these things? This is giving [students] a toolbox, a framework, and some skills."
For Hannah Whipple [Macalester College] '21, [the trainer Jhatayn] Travis' experience as an activist was a major highlight of the training.
"I think my favorite part of it was seeing her real-life examples," Whipple said. "After she told us about all these strategies, she walked us through a specific campaign that she went through and then she showed us a video to succinctly wrap it up. I really appreciated that."
New Project Pericles Board Members, Lou Martarano and Jim Mullen
Please join me in welcoming Louis (Lou) A. Martarano and James (Jim) H. Mullen Jr. as Project Pericles' newest board members - Lou and Jim were elected to the Project Pericles Board of Directors at our December meeting. With their expertise, insight, and wisdom, we are very pleased to have both of them join the board. Jim, President of Allegheny College, will serve in an ex officio capacity as a representative of the Project Pericles Presidents' Council. Biographies for Lou and Jim can be found at the end.
Periclean Faculty Leaders - Changing the Civil Discourse on Campus
This fall, we launched a second round of the Periclean Faculty Leadership (PFL) Program™ on 13 campuses. The PFL Program is a leadership and course development program dedicated to incorporating civil discourse, civic engagement, and social responsibility across the undergraduate curriculum.
The Periclean Faculty Leadership (PFL) Program™ encourages faculty members in a wide range of disciplines to create and teach courses that address issues of social concern, enrich the curriculum, and enhance student engagement. Periclean Faculty Leaders (PFLs) from the first cohort are serving as mentors to the 2017-2018 PFL cohort. The PFL Program is supported by The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations and the Eugene M. Lang Foundation.
16 Periclean Faculty Leaders taught courses from a wide range of disciplines: Archaeology and Classical Studies, Business Law, Computer Science, Dance, English, Environmental Studies, History, Mathematics and Statistics, Psychology, Sociology, Theatre, and Urban Studies. Their syllabi have joined the 100 other courses incorporating civic engagement on our website.
Periclean Faculty Leaders Wow at AAC&U Annual Meeting in DC
At AAC&U, PFL Phong Le discusses a student mapping project using 911 data.
Photo by Jennifer Magee.
On January 25, four Periclean Faculty Leaders presented, "From Curriculum To Community: Encouraging Faculty and Students To Change The World" as part of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) 2018 Annual Meeting. Joining Jan R. Liss, Project Pericles Executive Director, on stage to talk about their experiences were Periclean Faculty Leaders from Goucher College, New England College, Skidmore College, and Swarthmore College.
Assistant Professor of Mathematics in the Center for Data, Mathematical and Computational Sciences, Goucher College and Lynne Steuerle Schofield, Associate Professor of Statistics, Swarthmore College, spoke about the benefits for their students of incorporating civic engagement into their math and statistics courses. Lynne also provided data on how courses with civic engagement components are attracting students who might not otherwise take math or statistics classes.
, Associate Professor of Theatre, New England College talked about what a powerful experience writing and producing an original play on current social issues had been for her students and the entire New England College community. Students used the course to channel their concerns with the current political climate by working for positive change. Picard described her course as fundamentally changing the civil discourse on campus. After class, discussions continued in the dining and residence halls.
Finally, Nurcan Atalan-Helicke, Assistant Professor in Environmental Studies and Sciences, Skidmore College discussed her students
' work to measure the college's scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions, with a focus on emissions generated by study abroad programs, and developing plans to mitigate the campus's environmental impact.
AAC&U and CIC - Project Pericles at National Meetings
Project Pericles presented at AAC&U as part of their Pre-Meeting Symposium, "The Power of Civic Engagement-Across Campus, Within Communities, Beyond Borders". Our panel was one of the "sessions highlighting our [AAC&U's] key partners." We were pleased to be a co-sponsor along with Campus Compact and Imagining America.
For our panel, "Incorporating Civic Engagement and Social Responsibility in the Classroom, on Campus, and in the Community," Project Pericles Program Directors discussed how we collaborate across the consortium and advance civic engagement. They each highlighted one of our programs, Creating Cohesive Paths to Civic Engagement, Creating Curricular Coherence, Debating for Democracy (D4D)™, and the Periclean Faculty Leadership (PFL) Program™. Presenting with Jan R. Liss, Executive Director, Project Pericles were Darby K. Ray, Director, Harward Center for Community Partnerships and Donald W. & Ann M. Harward Professor of Civic Engagement, Bates College; Karin Trail-Johnson, Associate Dean, Institute for Global Citizenship and Director, Civic Engagement Center, Macalester College; Ella Turenne, Assistant Dean for Community Engagement, Occidental College; ; and Christian Rice, Assistant Dean for Civic Engagement and Director, Bonner Leader Program and UCARE, Ursinus College.
The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) invited Project Pericles to present at their 2017 Institute for Chief Academic and Chief Student Affairs Officers in San Antonio, Texas. We discussed our work as part of Creating Cohesive Paths to Civic Engagement, the three-year initiative that spurred member institutions to inventory, map, and strengthen civic engagement across the curriculum. Joining Jan R. Liss on the panel were
Chad Berry, Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty, Berea College; Yolanda Williams Page, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dillard University; and Jenna Templeton, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Chatham University. The session was chaired by Mark Schneider, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean, Ursinus College.
Creating Cohesive Paths to Civic Engagement was a project to reconceptualize the organization and integration of programming for civic engagement and social responsibility on 26 Periclean campuses. With support from the Eugene M. Lang Foundation and The Teagle Foundation, member colleges and universities inventoried, mapped, strengthened, and developed more cohesive and integrated civic engagement programs to enable students in all disciplines to incorporate civic engagement into their courses of study. In our 2017 White Paper Creating Cohesive Paths to Civic Engagement: Five Approaches to Institutionalizing Civic Engagement by Garret S. Batten, Project Pericles; Adrienne Falcón, Carleton College; and Jan R. Liss, Project Pericles we discuss insights from this multi-campus project.
Campus Pursue Greater Institutionalization of Civic Engagement Through Collaboration
Representatives of the three campuses (Macalester College, Morehouse College, and Widener University) participating in Creating Curricular Coherence through Inquiry-Based and Thematic Pathways (2017-2020) and Project Pericles met in Washington, D.C. in conjunction with AAC&U's 2018 Annual Meeting. All three teams reported making considerable progress on their projects which are exploring different but allied approaches to creating greater coherence in the undergraduate curriculum.
Macalester College has held a series of meetings and workshops with the History and Geography departments, including a "Deep Dive" where the departments met together, as they work to further integrate civic engagement and community-based learning into the departments' approaches to instruction using a pathway or scaffolded approach.
Morehouse recently passed significant changes to its general education requirements. As part of Creating Curricular Coherence, Morehouse held a series of faculty development workshops to assist faculty as they redesign courses.
Widener solicited proposals for redesigned courses that will be included in its new, inter-disciplinary sustainability pathway and made 14 mini-grants to support faculty course development.
Creating Curricular Coherence is a faculty-led initiative that involves comprehensive reviews of the curriculum. These are ambitious undertakings that will redefine undergraduate education at each institution for years to come. Funded by a $225,000 grant from The Teagle Foundation and with support from the Eugene M. Lang Foundation, three institutions are streamlining their curricula using civic engagement and community-based learning as catalysts in their efforts. Macalester is piloting pathways in Geography and History with plans to expand their efforts. Morehouse and Widener are redesigning their curriculum with an emphasis on inquiry-based learning. Morehouse is using questions about the African diaspora to help shape its work while Widener is focusing on sustainability. In 2019, all Periclean campuses will be invited to a convening where we will discuss insights and best practices on curricular organization, streamlining, and institutional change.
Building Campus-based Student Task Forces
Comprised of student-led task forces on our member campuses, Student Choices - Student Voices (SCSV) encourages civic participation by hosting an array of events and activities about national issues for students and community members.
SCSV activities on campus are in full swing. Wagner College held a political film screening and voter registration event featuring films exclusively produced by Wagner students. Each film included a Q&A with the audience and filmmakers which initiated valuable conversations about current events. At Ursinus College, a student moderated an election panel on campus and reported "a great turnout and the students were very engaged." Macalester College students assisted with voter registration at the Civic Engagement Center and are now collaborating with BallotReady to collect information to support the 2018 election.
This fall, we released a SCSV guidebook and regular newsletter for student task forces working on voter registration and political engagement.
Project Pericles would like to extend a warm welcome to our new Pericleans Presidents and Provosts.
Hubert L. Grimes, Interim President, Bethune-Cookman University
David A. Thomas, President, Morehouse College
Interim Provost, Goucher College
Crystal Dea Moore, Interim Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic
Affairs, Skidmore College
Fred Akl, Provost, Widener University
New Members of the Project Pericles Presidents' Council Executive Committee
Please join us in congratulating the following on their recent appointment:
President José Antonio Bowen, Goucher College
President Valerie Smith, Swarthmore College