ACRL Leg Day Lunch Civic Engagement

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Developing Informed and Engaged Citizens: The Imperative for Higher Education The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) 1 May 2007


Civic Engagement Working to make a difference in the civic life of our communities… Developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make that difference. Promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes. Preface, page vi. Civic Responsibility and Higher Education Thomas Ehrlich, Ed., Oryx Press, 2000.


19 Measures of Civic Engagement Civic Measures Community problem solving Regular Volunteering Active Group Membership Participation in fundraising run/walk/ride Other fundraising Electoral Measures Regular Voting Persuading Others Displaying buttons, signs, stickers Campaign Contributions Volunteering for a candidate or political organization


19 Measures of Civic Engagement (cont’d) Indicators of Political Voice Contacting Officials Contacting the Print Media Contacting the Broadcast Media Protesting Signed E-mail petitions Signed Written petitions Boycotting Buycotting Canvassing


The American Democracy Project Civic engagement as student outcomes Joining the American Democracy Project means making an institutional commitment to preparing undergraduates to become knowledgeable, informed, and engaged citizens for our democracy


What Civic Engagement Isn’t Not just service learning Not only off campus Not limited to institutional engagement with community Not necessarily scholarship of engagement


We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity…


So How Are We Doing? Civic Health Index September 2006 “Steep declines over the past 30 years.” Saguaro Seminar 2000 “Without strong habits of social and political participation, (America is) at risk of losing the very norms, networks, and institutions of civic life that have made us the most emulated and respected nation in history.” National Commission on Civic Renewal 1998 “America turning into a nation of spectators.”


“The trouble…is that we have taken our democracy for granted; we have thought and acted as if our forefathers had founded it once and for all. We have forgotten that it has to be enacted anew in every generation.” John Dewey Dewey reminded us…


Why the Concern About Declining Levels of Citizenship? The global problems we confront are more ominous: global pandemics, global warming, terrorism, the viability of the nation-state The national problems we confront are more insistent: political polarization, health care, growing divide between rich and poor, role of science v. religion In a democracy, we must have an educated and engaged citizenry if we are to address these issues effectively.


Recent Threats to American Democracy Decline in social capital Increasing inequality Atomization of interests, news sources, and the pervasive focus on entertainment The role of money in politics Increasing partisanship Lack of civic understanding and civics education in K-12 and college Decline in political participation, especially among the youngest adults


Declining Social Capital: Trends over the last 25 years Attending Club Meetings Down by 58% Family dinners Down by 33% Having friends over Down by 45% Factors Contributing to Declining Social Capital Commuting (Each 10 minutes = 10% reduced participation) Television Two parents working Less Social Capital (esp. bridging social capital) = Less Democracy Studies in the United States and Italy Robert Putnam Bowling Alone A Decline in Social Capital


Disparities of income, wealth, and access to opportunity are growing more sharply in the U. S. than in many other nations. People with wealth are “roaring with a clarity and consistency that public officials readily hear and routinely follow.” Citizens “with lower or moderate incomes are speaking with a whisper.” Progress toward American ideals of democracy may have stalled, and in some arenas reversed. Increasing Inequality American Democracy in an Age of Rising Inequality, Task Force on Inequality and American Democracy, American Political Science Association, 2004,


The Economist Corporate Compensation in the U.S. 30 years ago: Average compensation, top 100 CEOs, 30 times the pay of average workers Today: 1,000 times the pay of average workers School Systems Increasingly stratified by social class in which poor children attend school with fewer resources. Universities Increasingly reinforcing rather than reducing educational inequalities. December 2004


Highest achieving low-income students attend college at same rate as lowest achieving high income students. (Data taken from Promise Abandoned, report by the Education Trust, August 2006) 52% of federal aid, $ 45 billion, not based on need. 34% of federal tuition and fee deductions go to families with incomes above $100,000. Education Trust September 2006 Reinforcing Inequality


Atomization of Interests and News Sources; Pervasive Focus on Entertainment Lobbyists: The # registered lobbyists in Washington has more than doubled since 2000 from 16,342 to 34,750. News Sources: More television channels (100 channels per household), more talk radio (repeal of FCC fairness doctrine in 1987), internet, 60 million blogs, etc. Newspaper readers: 58% in 1994, 42% today. Nightly network news watchers: 18 yr olds 18%; over 65 yrs old 56%. Entertainment: 40 million watched American Idol finale; 37 million watched 2nd Bush/Gore debate.


Money and Politics Presidential elections 2000 Total = $ 327 million 2004 Total = $ 545 Million 60 % increase in 4 years .09 % of population gives at least $ 1,000 to political campaigns, 55% of funds raised 1/4 of Congress are millionaires; 1% of U.S. “The sad thing is that in America today if it’s going to take $2 million to win, then normal people can’t run anymore. You either have to be very, very wealthy or very, very bought.” Janice Bowling, Republican Nominee from Tennessee


Increased Levels of Partisanship Creates a climate of us versus them Contrasts drawn in black and white More focus on extreme positions Lack of a focus on shared solutions More of a focus on winning / losing Makes politics increasingly bitter Makes compromise increasingly difficult Example: Distrust in others is rising yet voter participation is increasing. Are we voting only to protect personal interests? Where is the WE in “We, the People…”


Partisanship Most Believable News Sources* * Percentage who believe all or most of what the organization reports. Pew Research Center for the People and the Press: “News Audiences Increasingly Politicized” 2004


So who will we turn to make sure these issues of democracy get addressed? The 18-25 year olds… the net generation.


Lack of Civic Knowledge “Young Americans are strikingly uninformed or misinformed about important aspects of politics and current events.” NAEP 1998 Test of Civics 23% of 4th graders, 23% of 8th graders, and 26% of 12th graders scored at or above proficient. CIRCLE Survey 2,232 people aged 15-25 found that: 53% don’t know that only citizens can vote only 30% can name a single member of the Cabinet National Civic and Health Survey, 2006


Lack of Civic Understanding John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Survey 112,003 high school students in 2004: 36% believe that newspapers should get “government approval” of stories before publishing. National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) Fewer than half of persons 15-26 years old think that communicating with elected officials, volunteering, or donating money to help others are qualities of a good citizen. Citizenship: A Challenge for All Generations, NCSL, 2003


National Geographic 2006 Survey of 18-24 year olds After 3 years of war, more than 60% couldn’t find Iraq on a map 88% can’t find Afghanistan on a map of Asia 70% can’t find North Korea on a map Six months after the Katrina disaster, 33% could not locate Louisiana on a map 56% could not find New York state National Geographic-Roper Public Affairs 2006 Geographic Literacy Study


Decline in Trust The youngest generation of voters has the greatest distrust of others Source: The Civic and Political Health of the Nation, A Generational Portrait, 2002.


Source: Current Population Survey (CPS), November Supplement, calculated using CIRCLE method. The youngest voters have the lowest participation in presidential elections


But do we really want them involved? Do we really want them to vote? More than 50% of students at 4 year colleges do not score at the “proficient level of literacy.” That means that they cannot compare credit card offers with different interest rates or summarize the arguments in newspaper editorials. AIR/Pew Study, January 2006


So whose job is it to prepare the next generation of Americans to be active, informed, and engaged citizens?


Someone has to do something, and it’s just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us. Jerry Garcia


What Are The Strategies We Are Using To Address Declining Civic Engagement?


Two Questions: How Do Campus Leaders At All Levels Organize and Align the Campus and its Resources to Achieve Specific Institutional Outcomes? How Do We Create A National Movement to Support Campuses? A Focus on Institutional Intentionality


ACCOMPLISHMENTS FIRST THREE YEARS American Democracy Project 224 institutions, 1.7+ million students


Campus audits Campus conversations Voter education/registration projects Curriculum revision projects Library projects First year projects, capstone courses Fine arts projects, graduation pledges Speaker series, democracy day Recognition and award programs Hundreds of Campus Projects A recent Google search = 82,000 entries for term “American Democracy Project”


Opportunities For Action General Education First Year Programs Voter Registration Education Faculty Development Service Learning Campus Culture Assessment Co-Curriculum Libraries Teacher Education Capstone Courses


5 Initiatives Currently Underway Stewardship of Public Lands Political Engagement Project Jury Service Electoral Voices 7 Revolutions A New Series Civic Engagement in Action


Issue: How are controversies over public lands resolved in a democracy? What roles can/do citizens play? How do universities create programs that educate, inform, and engage students? Partner: Activities: 2005 Wolf Reintroduction The Stewardship of Public Lands 2006: Politics and the Yellowstone Ecosystem. 8 states, 14 campuses


Issue: How can political engagement be fostered and encouraged in colleges and universities? How can campuses develop civic knowledge and understanding, active involvement, an increased sense of political efficacy and identity, and skills of democratic participation? Partner: Activities: 8 campuses have been selected to work with Tom Ehrlich and his colleagues at Carnegie Monograph: The New York Times and First Year Center will produce a monograph in 2008 Political Engagement Project: Campus Phase


Issue: How can colleges and universities support federal and state court systems in encouraging jury participation? Partner: National Center for State Courts; Council for Court Excellence Jury Service as Democratic Participation Activities: 2005-2006: Activities underway on 11 campuses


Issue: What are the best strategies for campuses to use to encourage voter registration, voter information, and voter participation ? Partners: ADP member institutions, the Graduate School of Political Management at The George Washington University, and Pew Charitable Trusts Activities: Monograph Electoral Voices: Engaging College Students in Elections published in September 2006 Young Voter Strategies project underway, seeking to register 50,000 new voters for the November 2006 elections. Electoral Voice: Organizing for Voting


Issue: How can we prepare undergraduates to be knowledgeable and engaged citizens about global issues? Partner: Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Washington, DC (a strategic think tank founded in 1962) and The New York Times Activities: Creation of materials and curriculum objects for use on campus, converting materials designed for policy makers to use on campuses. Revolutions Initiative


Institutional Intention (leadership, culture, policies) Programs and Activities (curriculum,co-curriculum) Measuring Results (institutional and course/ program results, using NSSE, Carnegie, HERI tools) What does it take to create civically-engaged graduates? 3 Critical Features:


Leadership: at many different levels Culture: reflecting widely-shared beliefs Statements: Mission statements Accreditation and promotional documents Materials, etc. Policies Administrative structures Budget Rewards and recognition Institutional Intentionality


Knowledge: Teaching democratic values, traditions, history of democracies, U.S. history. Skills: Teaching communications, critical thinking, collective decision-making, organizational skills, etc. Experiences: Designing campus and community experiences for knowledge and application. Reflection: Creating explicit connections between experiences and civic obligations. Programs and Activities


Knowledge History of the United States What is the history of the U.S. that all under-graduates need to know? What are the themes and issues? What would you use as a measure of completion? Principles of Democracy What are the core principles of democracy that all undergraduates must understand? What is the irreducible list of books that must be read? What would you use as a test of democratic principles?


Communications: writing, speaking, etc. Critical thinking: analyzing, evaluating, synthesizing, etc. Collective decision-making: deliberating, listening, working as a team, making collective decisions, compromising, identifying and solving public problems Organization: organizing, planning projects, influencing policy decisions, implementing policy decisions, taking collective actions Skills


Experiences What are the experiences on and off campus that could be designed to foster citizenship understanding? What might be involved? Group work, experiences with diversity, community, leadership, compromise, struggle, imperfect conclusions, other?


Reflection How could reflection be built into the curriculum to foster deeper understanding, self-awareness, and greater conviction? Who would be involved? Faculty, other students, community members, others?


What are the metrics you would use to assess civic engagement in undergraduates? At least three sets of measures: Knowledge and understanding Activities and behaviors Attitudes and perceptions Types of measures: National and local tests Self report data on behaviors Political efficacy scales Other tools Measuring Results


Where do libraries fit into this discussion?


The New “Library” 250 desktop computers 75 laptops available for checkout wireless Internet access computer labs software suites a multimedia studio computer help desk and repair shop café but no books The last books being carted out of the UT Austin Undergraduate Library, August 2005 Where does learning occur?


A peer-reviewed study found that among 42 science entries tested in both encyclopedias: V. 4 serious errors found in Wikipedia articles Average science entry in Wikipedia contained 4 inaccuracies 4 serious errors found in Britannica articles Average science entry in Britannica contained 3 inaccuracies, 2005 What is expertise?


Where Are Books? Google to scan books from major libraries Dec 14, 2004   SAN FRANCISCO - Google Inc. is trying to establish an online reading room for five major libraries by scanning stacks of hard-to-find books into its widely used Internet search engine. In Challenge to Google, Yahoo Will Scan Books October 3, 2005   An unusual alliance of corporations, nonprofit groups and universities plans to announce today an ambitious plan to digitize hundreds of thousands of books over the next several years and put them on the Internet, with the full text accessible to anyone.


New Images of Libraries From reading room to front porch From managing collections to managing a community space Library as the public space of the community, the commons of the 21st century What will happen to libraries?


Library as Citizenship Center Create sense of community Model civic behavior Provide civic information Teach civic skills Bring together diverse groups Offer forums and debates


Special Civic Opportunities Constitution Day Elections Major national issues Community concerns What others?

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