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Launching the Democracy Commitment First-year initiatives at Delta College
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  1. Launching the Democracy CommitmentFirst-year initiatives at Delta College Kimberly Klein, Assistant professor of political science Lisa Lawrason, Associate professor of political science

  2. 70% of students who dropped out of school said they did not see the real-world applications of their schoolwork (Bridgeland, Dilulio and Morison, 2006) • More than 80% of students noted that their chances of graduating would increase if schools provided opportunities for real-world learning such as service-learning (ibid) • 9 out of 10 youths reported that as a result of service-learning activities which involved college students, they have a better understanding how how a college education can help their future (Cress, Stokamer and Drummond Hays, 2010) • 79% of African American youths strongly agreed that they were now more likely to go to college in the future Keeping kids in school & getting them into college

  3. Strategies for the launch • Appeal to college administration • Emphasize skill sets for careers that demand them • Emphasize a culture of civic engagement, not episodic events • Emphasize bridge-building to the community • Set up core team • Include leadership across the college • Invitation sent by president • Institutionalizing civic engagement • Apply for funding • Include in college strategic plan • Seek visibility • Create success stories in the first year Delta College President Dr. Jean Goodnow signed The Democracy Commitment in 2011

  4. The Active Citizen Continuum ACTIVE CITIZEN MEMBER VOLUNTEER CONSCIENTIOUS CITIZEN Concerned with discovering root causes; asks why? Community becomes a priority in values and life choices. Not concerned with his/her role in social problems. Well-intentioned, but not well educated about social issues. Note: One single course or experience won’t move students across the entire continuum. Thus, civic engagement must be built into the culture of the college. Source: Hunt, S. and Zompetti, J. Guide to Integrating Political Engagement through the Curriculum. Presented at the American Democracy Project National Meeting in Orland, Fla. June 2-4, 2011.

  5. Democracy In Motion • A physical space for students to engage in current political events • Built by students in Cabinetry class • Stationed in a high-traffic location • Topics generated by students • Kick-off event with flash mob, student speakers in the Commons

  6. Public Achievement • Five stages of Public Achievement • Why this initiative in the first year? Tangible benefits: • Strengthens bridge to the community and pipeline to college • Relevancy of course material and deep student learning • Cultivates tools for civic empowerment • Demonstrates being a “college of the community” by addressing a great community need • Culminated with a presentation to superintendent and School Board members; also attended by Delta College administrators

  7. Questions/dialogue • What strategies can we pursue to incorporate civic engagement into the culture of a college/university? • How can we move students along the active citizen continuum, recognizing that it will take a combination of experiences to transform students in to active citizens? • How can The Democracy Commitment provide support for such efforts?