National Office News
Project Pericles Launches New Initiative on Student Voter Registration and Engagement
Project Pericles is delighted to announce a new initiative on voter registration and engagement. Through a collaboration with the Students Learn Students Vote (SLSV) Coalition, Project Pericles is developing a classroom module on voting that will be released nationwide. For use by faculty, the curriculum will illustrate why voting matters, why students should care, and will provide an overview of the registration and voting process. Designed to fit into a single class period, it will include sections on deliberative dialogue that can be customized for courses in the arts, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences. We will pilot the module(s) in partnership with our Periclean Program Directors and Periclean Faculty Leaders.
The SLSV Advisory Board and Young Invincibles selected Project Pericles to carry out this important work citing our deep relationship with faculty members and knowledge of curricula. SLSV will distribute the module to colleges and universities across the country extending our reach to public colleges and universities, as well as community colleges.
The initiative complements the work we are doing on voter registration and voter engagement through Student Choices - Student Voices (SCSV).
We appreciate the support of the Students Learn Students Vote (SLSV) Coalition and Young Invincibles. This work is also made possible by the Eugene M. Lang Foundation.
About: The Students Learn Students Vote (SLSV) Coalition is a diverse group with over 240 local, state, and national organizations dedicated to increasing student voter participation. SLSV promotes civic learning and engagement on campuses across the country by providing a series of key steps and information on best practices that institutions can use to create a more voter-friendly campus.
About: Young Invincibles (YI) is a non-profit working to expand opportunities for young Americans ages 18 to 34 and to amplify the voice of this generation in the national political conversation. Founded by and for young adults in the summer of 2009 during the debate over health care reform, YI has quickly grown into a leading voice for young people on issues including health care, higher education, and employment.
Periclean Faculty Leaders Finish Great Year of Engagement
As we wrap up our second round of the Periclean Faculty Leadership (PFL) Program, we are delighted to report tremendous success among our
Periclean Faculty Leaders (PFLs) across 13 campuses (three classes were team-taught). PFLs led their classes in extensive engagement with their local communities, modeled respectful dialogue with a diverse group of constituents, responded to problems raised by the community, and worked collaboratively on these issues in partnership with local nonprofits. PFLs also spread the impact of their work within higher education at large through presentations at national conferences and publications.
Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this program. It has helped me find new ways to incorporate civic engagement in my typical classroom setup and expanded opportunities for me and my students to reflect on the intersections of computer science and society.
- Mark Goadrich, Associate Professor of Computer Science, Hendrix College,
Earlier this year, we received final PFL portfolio materials
which included: a) course instructional materials, b) a copy of any articles published or the conference paper/project presented; and/or c) an overview of the activity developed that brought diverse campus and community members together. In addition, each PFL selected a PFL from another institution as a peer and they consulted with each other throughout the program. Partners shared their portfolios with their peer and discussed the impact of their projects, and prepared a one-page review of their partner's work.
Their courses join the many others on our website.
We are pleased to share a sampling of the PFL Program's impact (For a full list of all PFLs and their courses, please see the end of the newsletter): View PFLs and Their Courses
students mentored local high school students discussing the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and using his work to help students better understand our current political context.
Students at Goucher College, Swarthmore College, and Ursinus College provided statistical, GIS mapping, and other services to local nonprofit groups on topics including food deserts, hypertension, insurance rates, minority health disparities, and opioid use.
In partnership with local Puerto Rican communities, the Hampshire College community mobilized to support victims of Hurricane Maria and urged a more comprehensive Federal response. President Jonathan Lash, Chief Diversity Officer Diana Fernandez, and Hampshire PFL Dr.
Wilson Valentín-Escobar met with Senators Ed Markey (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (D-VT), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) in Washington, D.C. to discuss the issue.
The PFL Program promoted civil dialogue and social responsibility, nurturing critical leadership skills in students, and establishing habits of engaged citizenship.
This program has changed the way that I think about citizenship, civic engagement, and community through first-hand experiences and thought-provoking course material. I have no doubt that this program has better prepared me for my future in law and the rigorous academic challenges that face me moving forward.
"Inventing the Citizen: The History of Political Action and its Limits" taught by Ulrike Krotscheck, Member of the Faculty in Archaeology and Classical Studies (Course Lead) and Bradley Proctor, Member of the Faculty in History, The Evergreen State College
Our nation's future depends on ensuring that our student leaders have the dispositions, habits, and skills to apply academic knowledge to real-world problems in ways that are meaningful, thoughtful, and that they can sustain over their lifetimes. The PFL Program with its focus on civil dialogue and civic engagement is particularly critical now. This program is cost-effective, powerful, and replicable. Our goal has always been to build a critical mass of PFLs on each campus to serve as advocates for civil discourse, civic engagement, and community-based learning. Given the current political environment and the host of divisive issues that are impacting our nation and many of our college campuses, we are delighted to announce the third round of the PFL Program in the coming months.
The Periclean Faculty Leadership (PFL) Proram™ was made possible through a grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, as well as from the Eugene M. Lang Foundation. The Teagle Foundation supported the inaugural round of the PFL Program.
D4D Letters to an Elected Official Competition
Each newsletter highlights the work of one or more of the five winning teams from the 2018 Debating for Democracy (D4D)™ Letters to an Elected Official Competition. See end of the article for more on D4D.
Pitzer's D4D Team in the Spotlight - Advocating for the Formerly Incarcerated
The five-student Pitzer College D4D team is part of one of the college's "Inside-Out" classes. They explain in their letter, "The course takes place at California Rehabilitation Center (CRC) so some of us writing this letter are incarcerated" and the others are "typical college students at Pitzer." The team wrote to Representative Nanette Barragán (D-CA) in support of Title I of Bill 3356 that would increase research on strategies to reduce recidivism among the formerly incarcerated - specifically focusing on transitional housing.
On the winning letter writing team are Marquise Brooks, Malakai Embry, Pedro Florez, and Amber Burkhart '20 and Blake Clement '20. Two of the Pitzer students currently incarcerated are Malakai Embry and Pedro Florez. They are passionate about their work on recidivism because it is something they think about every day.
Mr. Florez writes, "While this assignment was for educational purposes...it is the reality that myself and other inside classmates currently face and will need to address." The course has given the team an opportunity to articulate their thoughts on the judicial system and have their voices heard by elected officials.
Mr. Embry writes, "...thanks to Prof. Tess H. Peterson and the brilliant students that came to CRC Prison which gave me now a better perspective on life unto which I am truly thankful for. But the question is still in the forefront of my life... Where do I go?"
We thank Mr. Embry and Mr. Florez for sharing their thoughts on this deeply personal issue and their hopes for a better system to combat recidivism through transitional housing.
During the 2018-2019 academic year, the Pitzer team is planning an advocacy campaign to increase support for people released from prison. As part of their campaign, they will film testimonials from the formerly incarcerated, display them online, and share them with elected officials. We look forward to seeing the impact of the team's work.
More information about the Pitzer Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program can be found in an article published in the Chronicle of Higher Education highlighting the course: https://www.chronicle.com/article/Inmates-Are-Classmates-in-This/242166
About: The Debating for Democracy (D4D)™ Letters to an Elected Official
Competition engages students around public policy issues, the political process, and with their elected officials. Since this program began in 2008, we have received outstanding submissions from hundreds of student teams at our Periclean colleges and universities.
Writing letters that clearly ask an elected official to take specific action is an effective way to assert civic power. In 2017, The Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) released a report, Citizen-Centric Advocacy: The Untapped Power of Constituent Engagement. One of their major findings, based on nearly 1,200 responses from congressional staff, is that mass e-mail campaigns are largely ineffective. With the rise of social media and mass e-mail campaigns, congressional staffers are inundated with duplicate messages from the same campaign. A personalized, specific letter (or e-mail) is much more powerful for influencing change. For more information and to download the report,
Highlights from Macalester College's Student Choices Student Voices (SCSV) Task Force
By Omar Vera, Project Pericles
The Macalester Student Choices - Student Voices (SCSV) Task Force organized a successful forum for gubernatorial candidates this spring. The forum featured Minnesota state representative Erin Murphy (Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party) and Minnesota state auditor Rebecca Otto (DFL). In order to reach a wider audience, the SCSV Task Force partnered with neighboring St. Catherine University, whose students also attended the forum.
Students and community members had the opportunity to listen to Murphy and Otto's perspectives and to ask questions on the theme for the night, "Issues That Affect Students," as well as to register to vote. SCSV members Avik Herur-Raman '20 and Ryan Perez '20 were enthusiastic about the evening's events.
Macalester's SCSV Task Force has been active throughout the year hosting multiple voter registration tabling sessions and a discussion with a "March for Our Lives" student organizer (founded by students from Parkland and focused on ending gun violence). They also distributed valuable information on voting to members of their community. Avik and Ryan are excited to host similar events this fall, especially with the November 2018 elections only months away.
About: Student Choices - Student Voices (SCSV)-
Comprised of student-led Task Forces on our member campuses, SCSV encourages civic participation by hosting an array of events and activities about national issues for students and community members.
Pericleans Present to Packed House at Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Meeting
On June 8, three Periclean Program Directors and Executive Director Jan Liss presented, "Creating Cohesive Paths: Five Approaches to Institutionalizing Civic Engagement" to an overflow crowd. The presentation was part of the Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) Meeting in Anaheim, California. The group discussed how the three-year initiative sought to reconceptualize the organization and integration of programming for civic engagement and social responsibility (CESR) on 26 Periclean campuses.
Mary Morrison, Assistant Dean of Campus Life/Director of the Kernodle Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement, Elon University, was in the audience and reported:
I was impressed with the depth and breadth of the civic engagement work that was taking place at Carleton College, Occidental College, and Pitzer College. Each campus was identifying the needs of their students and working collaboratively with campus partners to address those needs. The goal was to integrate civic engagement throughout the curriculum, but each campus found a unique and creative way to reach that goal. As one on presenter put it, "We want to move the work of our Center to the center of the campus life."
Joining Jan on the panel were Project Pericles Program Directors Amel Gorani, Director of the Center for Community and Civic Engagement, Carleton College; Tessa Hicks Peterson, Associate Professor of Urban Studies and Assistant Vice President of Community Engagement, Pitzer College; and Ella Turenne, Assistant Dean for Community Engagement, Occidental College.
The CLDE meeting is a project of The American Democracy Project (ADP), The Democracy Commitment (TDC), and Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA). Project Pericles is co-sponsor.
The Creating Cohesive Paths to Civic Engagement initiative was made possible by support from the Eugene M. Lang Foundation and The Teagle Foundation. Our White Paper, Creating Cohesive Paths to Civic Engagement: Five Approaches to Institutionalizing Civic Engagement is available on the Project Pericles website.
Summer Intern Brings Youth Perspective, Pluck, and Purpose to Project Pericles
This summer, we are joined by rising Columbia University sophomore Omar Vera. Omar is working with us on a variety of programs, especially those directly related to students, where he provides useful feedback on what resonates with current college students. In addition, he is conducting research for our new voter registration and engagement initiative, updating web content, and writing for the newsletter. Omar is a tremendous asset to the organization.
Omar comes to us through Prep for Prep, a rigorous program devoted to providing underprivileged New York City students of color with the opportunity to attend private schools. Through the program, Omar attended The Hill School, a private boarding school located outside of Philadelphia. He is currently planning on majoring in Political Science at Columbia. Omar's previous experience includes internships at Bloomberg L.P., the Center for Popular Democracy, and Make the Road NY. This internship is supported by FJC, A Foundation of Philanthropic Funds.
Project Pericles National Board of Advisors Member, David M. Scobey, Appointed BTtoP Project Director
In Fall 2017, Bringing Theory to Practice (BTtoP) announced that after fifteen years of service, Donald W. Harward, director and cofounder of the project, would be stepping down in summer 2018. Following a successful search, BTtoP announced that David M. Scobey is the new Director.
Scobey is widely respected as a scholar and author, with experience as executive dean at The New School, director of the Harward Center for Community Partnerships at Bates College, and multiple professorships at the University of Michigan and Bates. Scobey also served as the Project Pericles Program Director at Bates College and was a member of the team that designed our Debating for Democracy (D4D) Program™.
Over the years, Project Pericles has enjoyed close collaboration with BTtoP. Most recently, Project Pericles received support for a "Multicampus Research Project on Student Well-Being and Civic Engagement" as part of BTtoP's Well-Being Research Initiative.
For their leadership, vision, and tireless work in support of civic engagement Project Pericles salutes Donald W. Harward, director and cofounder of the BTtoP; and Sally Engelhard Pingree, cofounder of BTtoP. And we congratulate David Scobey on his new appointment.
Project Pericles Assistant Director Featured as Alumni of the Month by The Hotchkiss School
Project Pericles Assistant Director Garret Batten was recently featured as June alum of the month by The Hotchkiss School (1989). Hotchkiss recognized Batten's long-term commitment to civic and democratic engagement and social justice, all of which have been common themes throughout much of his work. The article describes Batten's educational journey, highlighting his undergraduate experience at Kenyon College, where he graduated magna cum laude in Sociology and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. After receiving an M.A. in Sociology from NYU, Batten made his way to The Ford Foundation, where he consulted for the Vice President for Knowledge, Creativity & Freedom, the late, great Alison Bernstein, who was also Treasurer and an original Member of the Board of Project Pericles.
At Ford, Batten worked on the design and implementation of the Difficult Dialogues Initiative, a $5 million effort to support scholarship, teaching, and civil dialogue about difficult political, religious, racial, and LGBTQ issues in undergraduate education. Batten co-wrote and edited the Foundation's statement in support of academic freedom that was disseminated to more than 3,000 college and university presidents. "Post 9/11, Difficult Dialogues, was, in part, started to address reports of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia on college campuses. We have made some progress, but a lot remains to be done. Unfortunately, the issues addressed by Difficult Dialogues continue to be just as relevant in today's political climate."
Batten joined Project Pericles as Assistant Director in 2011 and has played a significant role in its programs, especially in its national initiatives on integrating civic engagement into the curriculum such as Creating Cohesive Paths to Civic Engagement, where he was the lead author on the White Paper that outlines five approaches to institutionalizing civic engagement.
Pericleans in the News
Bates Students Take on Food Insecurity and Tobacco Use in the Local Community
For more than a decade, teams of Bates College students have been spending their Sunday mornings preparing and eating brunch with the residents of Blake Street Towers, a low-income independent living facility for seniors and the differently-abled. As the Lewiston Housing Authority's Director of Resident Services at Blake Street, Carla Harris has been a stalwart partner to Bates, and the collaborations she has shepherded have exemplified mutually beneficial community-engagement. For Bates students, the brunch program offers an opportunity to form a meaningful connection with community members, as well as a deeper and more personal understanding of the experience of poverty and aging. For community members, the brunches offer both human connection and a much-needed source of food. During this spring's five-week Short Term, Bates students built on the successful partnership with Blake Street through a combination of hands-on work and research into the root causes of the challenges facing residents.
The scale of food insecurity at Blake Street stood out to a group of four students in Professor Heidi Taylor's Life Course and Aging sociology class, who continued the brunches this Short Term. To supplement lectures and discussions about theories of aging, groups of students from the course participated in two hours of community-engaged learning at local senior programs each week, doing everything from recording life stories to playing card games. At the conclusion of the course, each team shared reflections about their experiences during final presentations and a full-group discussion. When the Blake Street group compared the circumstances they had seen with the comforts their peers described at other, more costly senior-living facilities, they noted that the residents they worked with were so focused on getting food that they were much less inclined to socialize with one another. How, they wondered, does the stress of worrying about where their next meal will come from impact their mental health, their sense of community, and their experience of aging?
of food has long been a problem for Blake Street residents and for the dedicated staff who support them. The Bates Sunday brunches help, but by no means meet all of the residents' dietary needs. As Carla Harris explained to Harward Center staff when discussing potential projects, regulations for Section 8 housing require residents to pay a third of their monthly income towards their rent, leaving them with only a few hundred dollars from their social security checks to pay for food, medicine, transportation, and other essentials. By the end of the month, many are left to scrape together snack food or a few canned goods from the nearby convenience store. To seek out solutions, Sophia Thayer '18, a student from our Short Term Action Research Team (STA/RT), analyzed options for getting affordable, local food from community partners to Blake Street. One immediate benefit of her work is that the Good Food Bus of the St. Mary's Nutrition Center will now be making regular stops at Blake Street to sell fresh local produce and other goods, making accessing food easier for those with disabilities and transportation issues. Sophia also developed a network of other local food pantries and grocery stores to make regular food donations.
Along with the challenges that food insecurity poses, high rates of tobacco use at Blake Street cause additional health problems; smoking rates among residents align with elevated national levels for individuals living in poverty. Students in Melinda Plastas' Gender and Tobacco Short Term conducted interviews with smokers and former smokers at Blake Street to learn about their reasons for smoking, their views on the effect tobacco has on health, and any previous efforts they had made to quit. They used their findings to inform recommendations to Carla and her staff about best practices for supporting tobacco cessation efforts without stigmatizing or alienating smokers. Along with Sophia Thayer's work on food insecurity, the students' research on tobacco cessation this Short Term will provide a foundation for future collaborations between Bates students and Blake Street staff. While much work remains, it's always inspiring to see what a few groups of energetic students can accomplish in the span of a five-week Short Term when they have a great partner and a cause that inspires them to give their best efforts.
By Sam Boss, Assistant Director of the Community-Engaged Learning and Research Program, Harward Center, Bates College
Periclean Faculty Leadership (PFL) Courses by Discipline