Does Dialogue Make a Difference?
Over the last semester, and really the last year, in working so closely with our students around civic learning and democratic engagement I have developed a new appreciation for dialogue as not only a way to exchange ideas, but also a way to help heal communities. Whether a conversation started by registering a student to vote for the first time or having a conversation with an undocumented student on why they aren’t eligible to vote learning and understanding happens in many different forms. It’s for these reasons I am so grateful the commitment our campus has made to keep dialogue on the forefront of our university values.
NSSE Annual Results 2016
The National Survey of Student Engagement and its companion projects serve colleges and universities committed to monitoring and improving the quality of the undergraduate experience. While participating institutions receive detailed customized reports, the Annual Results series presents noteworthy aggregate findings from the most recent administration. This report presents selected results from students at 512 U.S. institutions or subsets of that group where supplemental survey items were appended to the survey. It also reports selected results from NSSE’s two companion surveys, the Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement (BCSSE) and the Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE).
Colleges Should Engage Students Beyond Presidential Elections
Across the country colleges and universities were busy this semester registering and engaging student voters for the Presidential election. Despite such efforts, youth turnout, even in Presidential elections, is low. An estimated 50% of young people aged 18-29 voted in the 2016 general election. Turn your attention to midterm elections, and the picture is even bleaker. In the 2014 midterm elections, only about 20% voted, the lowest youth turnout rate ever recorded in a federal election. Colleges and universities have an important role to play in preparing students to be active, engaged citizens and encouraging voting in every election is a fundamental step.
OH NO! Now what?
This semester, the office of Civic Engagement and the J. Glenn Beall Institute for Public affairs at Frostburg State University completed its two-year civic engagement collaboration by hosting a diverse array of programs designed to engage students in the democratic process leading up to the Presidential election. A series of Town Hall Meetings were held that focused on domestic issues, foreign policy, and the presidential candidates to engage students in discussion of topics that resonated with their interests and personal values.
Campus Dialogues: Creating a Culture of Civility
On August 9, 2014, Michael Brown was shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, sparking protest and civil unrest around the country. Over 800 miles away in Arlington, Virginia, a group of students at Marymount University raised their voices to request a forum to discuss current events and implications. Realizing the need for this conversation and others like it, the University set out to create an intentional dialogue series to engage students, faculty, and staff in meaningful educational and conversation surrounding issues that impact the campus on a local, national, and global level.
As the director of a research institute studying higher education’s role in democracy, I have been inundated on November 9 with emails, texts, and calls. Donald Trumps’ election as the 45th President of the United States shocked people on college campuses who are worried about his messages of exclusion, hate, and fear, his disregard for facts and truth, and an anti-intellectualism that may characterize his leadership and “base.” As I have written before, his messages are antithetical to goals of truth, equal opportunity, and inclusion central to higher education’s mission.