Brigance Colloquy: Civic Engagement Workshop Tuesday February 11

While the Brigance Forum Lecture is Monday night (see previous blog post), a central, interactive component of the Brigance Colloquy on Civic Engagement and Public Discourse is a Tuesday (February 11) night workshop at 7:30 p.m. in Detchon International Hall.

The workshop will be very pragmatic, focusing on a variety of “best practices” for pursuing civic engagement in higher education with an emphasis on applying these ideas to Wabash.  You will get to participate in three, 25-minute interactive sessions of your choosing (out of a larger number available).  Each session will focus on a single topic, and each will be run by a representative from one of the five visiting colleges.  Below are brief abstracts for the workshop topics.


Brigance Colloquy on Civic Engagement and Public Discourse

Workshop Session Topics

Allegheny College

Topic #1: Annual Theme and Interdisciplinary Group Study Program

With coordination provided by the Center for Political Participation (CPP), a group of faculty and staff from a range of disciplines and programs has received funding for a two year project linked to the College’s Bicentennial.  At the center of the programming are the Allegheny Group Studies —credit-bearing interdisciplinary courses dedicated to thematic programming addressing the 50th anniversaries of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. These study groups are committed to experiencing the multiple events that comprise the celebrations together. Facilitated by faculty members and student affairs staff, the credit-bearing study groups learn from and reflect upon campus-wide programming designed to raise questions about enhancing our democracy, engaging in discussion of programming, exploring related civic engagement, internship, study abroad, and career opportunities, and producing a record of their collective work through a blog and interactive discussions on Facebook. Both years, 2013/14 and 2014/15, culminate in regional undergraduate research conferences focused on Civil Rights and Voting Rights, respectively. This programming has the potential for affecting the institution’s culture for learning by engaging in a broad, campus-wide conversation on civil rights, disenfranchisement, and inequality that will deepen and sustain students’ civic knowledge, judgment, and engagement.

Colby College

Topic #2: Supporting and Developing Civic Engagement Courses at Colby College

Developing and delivering new civic engagement courses can be daunting for time-strapped faculty.  The Goldfarb Center supports faculty developing and implementing courses in multiple ways.  This session will review what the Goldfarb Center offers to support the development of and implementation of these courses.

Topic #3: Civic Engagement Grants at Colby College

The Goldfarb Center offers competitive grants to faculty and students to support research, internships, and civic engagement courses and projects at Colby.  This session will review the types of grants offered and the administration of such grants.

Topic #4: The Goldfarb Center and the Colby Volunteer Center

The Colby Volunteer Center (CVC) is a student-led center operating under the administrative oversight and support of the Goldfarb Center.  Joined by Program Leader Matt White ’14, Director Josh Balk ’14 will discuss the CVC’s relationship to the Goldfarb Center, the structure and operation of the CVC, and how programs such as Matt’s program, Mule Prep, an SAT test preparation program, work within the Center.

Colorado State University

Topic #5: Polarity Management: Helping Groups Identify and Work through Key Tensions

Wicked problems are particularly difficult to address because of the tensions and competing values that inherently underlie them. This workshop introduces the concept of polarity management as a tool for helping groups develop mutual understanding regarding the key tensions that are connected to their issue, and begin the difficult process of developing and choosing among potential responses to those tensions.

Topic #6: The Student Role in Supporting Community Democracy: The CPD Student Associate Program

Colorado State University’s Center for Public Deliberation serves as an impartial resource for the northern Colorado community, utilizing undergraduate students as a critical aspect of their capacity. Students accepted into the year-long program are trained as small group facilitators, and then assist with the development and implementation of deliberative engagement projects. This workshop will review the development of the program and review specifics regarding its efforts.

Kalamazoo College

Topic #7: Campus Community Partnerships: Through the Lens of Food Justice

Students, faculty, and the community offer one another rich and complex learning opportunities that foster students’ intellectual, personal, and civic growth, and promote “a more just, equitable and sustainable world”  (CCE Mission Statement, 2003). Through sustained partnerships, community members shape the nature and scope of projects, emphasizing both the assets and the needs of their constituencies. We view our partners as our students’ teachers, and we believe that we all learn from one another, sharing equally in the construction of knowledge.  Kalamazoo College has been involved in food justice work for over a decade, partnering with grassroots organizations, a food co-op, government agencies, and public schools to promote access to healthy food and fair labor practices.  From working in community and school gardens to marching for farmworkers rights and advocating for government programs that address root causes of poverty, ongoing partnerships enable students — both inside and outside of courses, in internships and through research projects –to work alongside community members to make  positive change.

Topic #8: Student Leaders as Peer Project Coordinators

The Center for Civic Engagement sustains vibrant, long-term community partnerships in large part through the leadership of   25 – 30 students who hold paid positions as coordinators for programs that engage over 250 of their peers every quarter outside of service-learning courses throughout the academic year.  After a fall retreat, our Civic Engagement Scholars (CESs) recruit, train, “place,” and then continuously supervise their peers who work in ongoing weekly programs (at a minimum of three hours per week).  CESs also facilitate structured reflection, which is a requirement for all students in CCE initiative, and collaborate with our community partners to design and evaluate programming.   With staff oversight, but a great deal of autonomy, these “students as colleagues” essentially work as adjunct staff for the Center, funded by endowment, grants, and federal work study. Two CESs will lead a workshop that describes this program in more detail.

Providence College

Topic #9: Global Studies Model: Localizing Global Issues

This workshop session addresses how incorporating theories and practices from a variety of fields allows for understanding and learning about global systems, while actively engaging in community and igniting social change. Topics explored will include crossing borders, global citizenship and activism, interdisciplinary initiatives, and cross-cultural communications.

Topic #10: Global Service Learning: Immersing Responsibly

Civic engagement within communities around the world allows for direct experience of local traditions and value systems that might differ from those experienced at home. This promotes reflection upon service as a space for collective action, regardless of background, and also upon tensions that might occur as a result of global intervention in local communities. Topics explored in this workshop will include developing intercultural relationships, building sustainable partnerships, and how to integrate local and global service meaningfully.


Workshop Schedule

7:30-7:50p:      Opening introductions and organization

7:50-8:15p:      Session 1 (4 topics run simultaneously)

8:15-8:25p:      Break

8:25-8:50p:      Session 2 (4 topics run simultaneously)

8:50-9:00p:      Break

9:00-9:25p:      Session 3 (4 topics run simultaneously)

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