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Logo: American Democracy Project American Democracy Project

Spring Academic Affairs Colloquium

New York Room, Cooper Hall
February 13, 2004

Discussion Questions

How to Participate

Unfortunately, the entire College community cannot participate at the Colloquium due to a lack of space. However, those interested in providing feedback on any of the following questions are encouraged to send their thoughts to Cynthia Boaz the American Democracy Project's Campus Coordinator, at cboaz@brockport.edu or (585) 395-5671 .

Table 1. Incorporating themes of citizenship and civic engagement in the first college year.

(Facilitator/Recorder/Reporter: Marcy Esler)

  1. How can themes of citizenship and civic engagement be built into orientation programs for first year college students?
  2. How can a summer reading program be incorporated into and strengthen the academic experience of first year students?
  3. How can first year students' course schedules be linked to create learning communities that focus on themes of citizenship and civic engagement?
  4. How can faculty who teach first year students be assisted in infusing themes of citizenship and civic engagement in courses for first year students?
  5. How can residence life and other student affairs professionals be teamed with faculty to strengthen the experience of first year students?
  6. How can extra-classroom events (e.g., speakers, arts and cultural events, etc.) be developed to reinforce and complement themes of citizenship and civic engagement during the first college year?

Table 2.  Incorporating themes of citizenship and civic engagement in General Education.

(Facilitator/Recorder/Reporter: Christopher Brennan)

  1. What student learning outcomes concerning citizenship and civic engagement are most appropriately sought via a General Education program?
  2. Do themes of citizenship and civic engagement "compete" with other goals and objectives of the General Education program?
  3. If themes of citizenship and civic engagement are embedded in General Education programs, how can these themes be carried over into the major and minor?
  4. Where would a focus on themes of citizenship and civic engagement "fit" within SUNY Trustees student learning outcomes for General Education programs?
  5. How could student learning outcomes on citizenship and civic engagement within a General Education Program be most effectively assessed?

Table 3.  Professional development programs, recognition and rewards to foster faculty interest and involvement in the goals of the American Democracy Project.

(Facilitator/Recorder/Reporter: Robert Miller)

  1. With numerous and competing demands on faculty time, how can we encourage and recruit faculty involvement in the work of the American Democracy Project?
  2. What are the most effective strategies to inform faculty about the work of the American Democracy Project and to encourage their active involvement?
  3. In what ways would a multi-campus collaboration contribute to faculty interest and involvement, or does this add a layer of complexity that discourages faculty?
  4. What role should a faculty development center (e.g., Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching) play in fostering faculty involvement in the campus ADP program? Are there more effective organizational locations for this work? (e.g., existing offices of service learning, outreach, social responsibility centers, or others).
  5. What are the most meaningful ways to recognize, celebrate and reward faculty who energetically and effectively provide leadership for this effort as well as those who directly contribute to fostering themes of citizenship and civic engagement among students?
  6. How is the concept of scholarship changing in ways that encourage greater engagement with the local community?
  7. How might the role of service by faculty be reconceptualized to include community service?

Table 4.  The 2004 presidential election and citizenship education.

(Facilitator/Recorder/Reporter: Ken O'Brien)

  1. How can we capitalize on the 2004 national election to focus students' attention on citizenship and civic engagement?
  2. What steps must be taken to insure that a focus on the election remains nonpartisan, balanced, and fair?
  3. After November 2, how can the election continue to be used to educate students about themes of citizenship and civic engagement?
  4. What special events could be developed to foster voter interest and understanding?
  5. How can civil discourse and civil listening be developed?
  6. What are the best voter education/registration strategies?

Table 5. The campus culture, citizenship, and civic engagement.

(Facilitator/Recorder/Reporter: Colleen Donaldson)

  1. What are the most direct "signs" that a campus values citizenship and civic engagement? Where are these signs to be found? (e.g., mission statement, slogans, ceremonies, other).
  2. What role and activities should the College president, provost, deans and others play to reinforce and encourage the campus focus on themes of citizenship and civic engagement
  3. What events or public gatherings best reinforce the themes of citizenship and civic engagement of the American Democracy Project? (e.g. commencement, other regular campus events, new events)?
  4. How can themes of citizenship and civic engagement be integrated in the college's student recruitment, marketing, and public relations strategies?
  5. What rewards and recognitions could be developed or redesigned to emphasize civic engagement?

Table 6.  Assessment of learning and progress in citizenship and civic engagement.

(Facilitator/Recorder/Reporter:  Michael Fox)

  1. How can a campus American Democracy Project planning committee approach the issue of assessing outcomes?
  2. What are the appropriate and relevant goals of campus involvement in the American Democracy Project? Are these goals for the institution or for its students?
  3. How are the outcomes of the American Democracy Project on any individual campus measurable?  Are these academic outcomes or something else?
  4. What might constitute observable benchmarks that can be used to chart progress in the American Democracy Project?  At what point can a campus decide whether its involvement in the American Democracy Project has been a 'success'?  What is a realistic timeframe for a campus's involvement in the work of the American Democracy Project? 
  5. What effects' of a college's focus on the themes of citizenship and civic engagement might be expected to produce 'results' in student during the undergraduate years, or after graduation?  What measures of alumni activity would indicate continuing 'success' of the project?
  6. What existing assessment measures are available to evaluate civic engagement?  What new assessment mechanisms could be used or developed for campuses?

Table 7.  Service learning and civic engagement.

(Facilitator/Recorder/Reporter: Rob DiCarlo)

  1. Where are the opportunities for service learning in the curriculum?  In the co-curriculum?  In student organizations and groups?
  2. What is the optimal structure for service learning to assure that service, learning, and civic reflection each occur?
  3. What are the best resources that can be utilized to increase an understanding of service learning in the disciplines? 
  4. What assessment strategies can be used in service learning to assure a connection to civic engagement outcomes?

Table 8.  Incorporating themes of citizenship and civic engagement in co-curricular activities and programs.

(Facilitator/Recorder/Reporter: Dan Raimondo)

  1. How can a campus's student newspaper and student government contribute to and reinforce the themes of citizenship and civic engagement?
  2. How can campus life programming be integrated with the themes of citizenship and civic engagement?
  3. How can the college's arts and cultural affairs events program be integrated with the themes of citizenship and civic engagement?
  4. What role can residence halls play in advancing the themes of citizenship and civic engagement?
  5. What roles can the athletics program as well as Greek and non-Greek student organizations play in advancing the themes of citizenship and civic engagement?

Table 9. Incorporating themes of citizenship and civic engagement through working in/with the community

(Facilitator/Recorder/Reporter: Christine Murray)

  1. What role might the community play in the design of the American Democracy Project on our campus? 
  2. What opportunities exist for engagement with the community in this project beyond service learning (e.g. a joint voter registration drive with the League of Women Voters)?
  3. What agencies or organizations might be campus partners (e.g. working with Rotary International on the world wide eradication of polio)?
  4. What characterizes a win/win situation for the campus and for the campus partner in a successful relationship that embraces civic engagement?

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