Chapter 15: Partnering with Campus and Community to Promote Civic Engagement: Miami University’s Citizenship and Democracy Week
John Forren, Miami University
For political scientists already shouldering other professional responsibilities, the prospect of creating and institutionalizing a broad new civic engagement program on campus may seem quite daunting. How can a civically minded faculty member work effectively with colleagues, campus administrators and community partners to establish a high-impact program? This chapter examines one successful model of grassroots interdisciplinary collaboration – Miami University’s annual ‘Citizenship and Democracy Week’ – that offers valuable practical lessons for faculty members interested in establishing and leading such efforts at other institutions. As the chapter details, creating and maintaining the annual Miami program – which now involves dozens of separate events each year, staged at multiple community and campus venues – has required the project’s leaders to work creatively with faculty, staff and community partners to manage a range of significant organizational, logistical, political and personal challenges. Yet the results to date have been quite positive: among other things, Citizenship and Democracy Week has yielded closer “town-gown” ties, stronger on-campus relationships across disciplinary lines, deeper integration of curricular and co-curricular programming, and, most important of all, enhanced levels of civic knowledge and interest in politics among its participants.
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Teaching Civic Engagement Across the Disciplines / Copyright ©2017 by the American Political Science Association / pp: 215-229