The Power of Civic Engagement—Across Campus, Within Communities, Beyond Borders

Wednesday, January 24
8:30 AM–4:15 PM


Resources pertaining to the Symposium are posted below (e.g., links to PowerPoints, handouts, websites, etc.).  This page is updated as additional information is received from Symposium speakers, so we encourage you to check back.  Thank you for your interest.


Throughout the year and across the nation, we have experienced unprecedented levels of active citizenship as people exercise their democratic rights and exert their collective power as community members, citizens, and consumers. 

These expressions of trust or mistrust of public institutions, displays of pleasure or displeasure with the political direction of our nation, and efforts to ensure equal rights for groups who have been marginalized demonstrate the need to examine how higher education can prepare students to be engaged in civic action now and throughout their lives.

AAC&U is pleased to present this Symposium with our key national partners in Civic Engagement.



Mutually Beneficial Democratic Engagement Between Universities and Their Communities

Nancy CantorNancy Cantor—Chancellor of Rutgers University–Newark—is recognized nationally and internationally as an advocate for re-emphasizing the public mission of colleges and universities, both public and private, viewing them not as traditional "ivory towers," but as anchor institutions that collaborate with partners from all sectors of the economy to fulfill higher education’s promise as an engine of discovery, innovation, and social mobility. 

Plenary PPT



Multiple Perspectives on Meaningful Civic Engagement 

Timothy EatmanTimothy Eatman, Dean of the Honors Living-Learning Community and Associate Professor of Urban Education, Rutgers University–Newark


Eduardo OchoaEduardo Ochoa, President, California State University–Monterey Bay



Debra SchultzDebra Schultz, Assistant Professor of History, Kingsborough Community College, City University of New York


Andrew SeligsohnAndrew Seligsohn, President, Campus Compact



Richard GuarasciModerator: Richard Guarasci, President, Wagner College, and Chair of the Board of Directors, Campus Compact



11:00 AM–12:00 PM


Service-Learning and Community Engagement:
Promising Practices for High-Impact Faculty Engagement within Student-Learning


The need for educators to prepare students to be globally-minded civic problem solvers committed to local and global change is stronger now than ever before. Service-learning and community engagement are evidence-based educational practices that serve as key drivers in the liberal education of students. Faculty teaching, scholarship, and learning are often transformed by engagement within these pedagogies and practices. While a growing body of research has examined a broad range of opportunities and issues pertaining to service-learning, knowledge gaps regarding promising practices for faculty development within service-learning/community engagement exist. What models of practice emerge at the intersection of faculty development and service-learning /community engagement? How can institutions remain committed to creating supportive conditions for faculty to engage in service-learning and community engagement? Session facilitators will focus on creating space for dialogue on raising consciousness around service-learning/community engagement as it relates to faculty development, scholarship, and student-learning.

Micki Meyer, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Community, Rollins College; Becca Berkey, Director of Service-Learning, Center of Community Service, Northeastern University; Cara Meixner, Executive Director, Center for Faculty Innovation, James Madison University

Session PPT

Handout 1

Handout 2


Who Votes in College?
Student Voter Turnout and Implications for Higher Education's Role in Strengthening Democracy

The preparation of students to serve as civically engaged actors is a key goal of higher education and the health of our democracy depends on it, but how well are higher education institutions achieving this and how can they do better? One direct measure of active citizenship and political participation is voting. We present trends in college student voting and registration rates in the 2012 and 2016 US presidential elections and how the demographic makeup of college student voters changed across the two elections. We analyze data from the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE), a first-of-its-kind database containing de-identified student enrollment and publicly available voting records. Participants will engage in a discussion about ideas for how institutions can create opportunities for political learning and engagement.

Inger Bergom, Senior Researcher, Adam Gismondi, Program Administrator, and Nancy Thomas, Director—all of Tufts University’s Institute for Democracy and Higher Education

Presentation PPT


Shifting the Paradigm:
Reconceptualizing Civic Engagement to Promote Equitable, Sustainable Partnerships and Student Growth

The term service-learning has become problematic as it invokes inequitable power dynamics that inherently privilege one group over another. This session discusses a paradigm shift at Salem State University to enhance community-university partnerships and connect to outcomes that cultivate engaged 21st century citizens who are prepared for democratic life. Through professional development workshops faculty learn how to create authentic community partnerships that incorporate equity, a shared vision and authority for knowledge creation, and are sustainable. Additionally, faculty discover how to engage students in reflexive learning experiences that prompt continuous reflection, which helps shape their own understanding of their civic engagement experiences as well as themselves as civic agents. Using a case-study of a deep, sustainable partnership that is bearing fruit at the academic, community, and city levels, participants will discuss how this approach could be applied at their own institution.

Cynthia Lynch, Director, Center for Civic Engagement, Sara Moore, Assistant Professor of Sociology, and Cindy Vincent, Assistant Professor of Communications—all of Salem State University

Session PPT


AUx: The Need, Development, and Impact of a Unique First-Year Experience Course

In fall 2018, every American University (AU) first-year student will complete a full-year general education course designed to ensure that diversity, inclusion, free speech, and freedom of expression are part of the core curriculum of the university. This presentation shares the powerful call to action by AU students, staff, and faculty that led to the design of the course, reports assessment from a 2016 research project that randomly assigned students to the course, and shares the road map for how AU plans to roll out the course to nearly 1,800 students. Attendees will learn insights into what it takes to make the case for, and ultimately create and implement, a course designed to help students transition to college and become part of a community of learners whose members come from a variety of backgrounds and bring with them a range of experiences.

Andrea Brenner, Director, American University Experience (AUx) and Assistant Professor, Sociology, and Jimmy Ellis, Director of Student Success and Assessment—both of American University

Session PPT


Open Discussions on Civic Engagement

Participants are welcome to gather to discuss topics raised during the morning sessions in round tables with leaders from the field of civic engagement.



Liberating Service Learning and the Rest of Higher Education Civic Engagement

Randy StoeckerRandy Stoecker, Professor of Community & Environmental Sociology, University of Wisconsin–Madison



1:45 PM–2:45 PM
Concurrent Sessions

Envisioning a Strategy to Create the Higher Education Sector Our Democracy Needs

Campus Compact's work is motivated by our belief that colleges and universities have both an obligation and an opportunity to contribute to the revitalization of democracy in the United States. We view ourselves as one building block in a movement to re-orient higher education toward its public purposes. This session will be a space to think together about what it will take to build a movement that can succeed. We will share Campus Compact's strategy for maximizing our own effectiveness in that movement and invite a conversation about how individuals, institutions, and organizations can work together to effect the change we need.

Andrew Seligsohn, President, and Maggie Grove, Vice President for Strategy and Operations—both of Campus Compact

This session is presented by Campus Compact


Incorporating Civic Engagement and Social Responsibility in the Classroom, on Campus, and in the Community

Project Pericles is at the forefront of incorporating civic engagement and social responsibility in the classroom, on the campus, and in the community in areas of focus including faculty and curriculum development, research into best practices, and student empowerment and engagement. Through multi-year projects in partnership with member institutions, Project Pericles enables more comprehensive curricular and co-curricular programs incorporating civic engagement to address pressing economic, political, and social issues. Audience and panelists will share replicable best practices, challenges, and solutions.

Jan R. Liss, Executive Director, Project Pericles; Darby K. Ray, Director, Harward Center for Community Partnerships; Donald W. & Ann M. Harward Professor of Civic Engagement, Bates College; Christian Rice, Assistant Dean for Civic Engagement and Director, Bonner Leader Program and UCARE, Ursinus 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

This session is presented by Project Pericles

Session PPT

Session Handout


Preparing for the 2020 Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement

This session is designed to assist campuses preparing for the Carnegie Community Engagement classification. It will address preparation for both first-time applicants and campuses that are reclassifying (those classified in 2010). The workshop will address an orientation to both the classification and reclassification frameworks; an overview of the 2020 process; additions and changes to the documentation framework; and strategies that have been effective for successful application.

John Saltmarsh, Professor of Higher Education, University of Massachusetts, Boston, Distinguished Engaged Scholar at the Howard R. Swearer Center for Public Service, Brown University, and Visiting Scholar, College Unbound


Fueling the Civic Imagination:
Exercising the Values of Democratic Civic Engagement in Assessment Work

This session will open with a discussion of the urgent imperative to (re) imagine America in a time of political division on campuses and in communities.  Participants will then engage with Imagining America’s research group on “Assessing the Practices of Public Scholarship” (APPS).  Assessment is always undergirded by values, but which values and who determines them? Do we default to or let ourselves be pressured into alignment with them, or deliberately choose them? And what might be possible if the values that drive our civic engagement also drove our assessment?  The research group will introduce a framework that uses the lens of democratic civic engagement to imagine and amplify assessment practices that are in dialogue with at least six core (and contested) values: full participation, co-creation, intellectual and ethical rigor, generativity, practicability, and resilience. Participants will use the framework in relation to a real case that demonstrates the possibilities and challenges of walking the talk of the values of democratic engagement in assessment practice.

Erica Kohl-Arenas, Faculty Director, Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life, and Associate Professor, American Studies, University of California, Davis; Timothy Eatman, Dean of the Honors Living-Learning Community, Rutgers University–Newark; Anna Sims Bartel, Associate Director for Community-Engaged Curricula and Practice, Cornell University; Sylvia Gale, Director, Bonner Center for Civic Engagement, University of Richmond; Mary F. Price, Director of Faculty Development, Center for Service and Learning, Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis

This session is presented by Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life


3:00 PM–4:00 PM

Roundtable Discussions and Case Studies
Participants will have an opportunity to reflect on presentations and topics discussed in the plenary, panel, and concurrent sessions.  We thank members of the Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) Network for serving as roundtable leaders and for their contributions to the Symposium.

The CLDE Network includes thirteen leading civic learning organizations that are committed to making civic inquiry and engagement expected rather than elective for all college students.


4:00 PM–4:15 PM

Closing Remarks
By Richard Guarasci, President, Wagner College


Co-Sponsoring Organizations

Campus Compact

Campus Compact advances the public purposes of colleges and universities by deepening their ability to improve community life and to educate students for civic and social responsibility. Campus Compact envisions colleges and universities as vital agents and architects of a diverse democracy, committed to educating students for responsible citizenship in ways that both deepen their education and improve the quality of community life.

Imagining America

Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life is a national consortium of university and cultural partners who advance public scholarship, community building and campus change through the arts, humanities, and design. Imagining America seeks to catalyze change on campuses and build partnerships among public scholars, artists, students, designers and cultural organizations who are addressing the most pressing issues of our time. We do this work through our annual conference, regional organizing institutes, collaborative research and action initiatives, student fellowship programs and online journal, PUBLIC.

Project Pericles

Project Pericles is a vibrant consortium of colleges and universities that promotes civic engagement within higher education. Building on the innovative vision of Eugene M. Lang, Project Pericles works in the classroom, on the campus, and in the community, encouraging faculty to incorporate civic engagement and social responsibility into the curriculum, and to empower students as effective advocates and leaders.