Dialogue and Deliberation
In student affairs, progress is often measured observationally and anecdotally. For instance, student affairs staff might say: “That student is really engaged” or “20 people attended our programming!” But what if student affairs work was observed more frequently through a scientific and quantitative lens? What if skills learned in academic classrooms were applied to work in student affairs, truly embracing the concept of an integrated educational experience inherent to the liberal arts? The purpose of this project was twofold: (1) to create and validate two scales, (2) administer the scales to student affairs student leaders and provide feedback to student affairs professional staff.
Students Embracing Democracy: Democratic Engagement and Difficult Dialogues at GVSU
Throughout 2016, Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan, saw a robust, campus-wide voter engagement effort take shape. The GVSU Votes! campaign led by GVSU Student Senate, the Division of Student Services and the Division of Inclusion & Equity included a broad and coordinated voter registration campaign resulting in the registration of nearly 3,000 new voters. Other programs included Student Civic Assembly Week, a Rock the Vote! concert, Debate Watch parties and GVSU Voter Vans –which provided more than 800 students with transportation to the local polls. Ella Fritzemeier, Student Senate President says “It was inspiring to see the number of students who turned out to vote, many for their first time”.
When the political becomes personal: Using dialogue and deliberation to foster action.
When the political becomes personal, deliberate dialogue is a fundamental tool that can be used to “dispel stereotypes, build trust, and enable people to be exposed to perspectives that are different from their own” (Heierbacher, p.g 103, n.d). Some of the efforts that Seminole State College of Florida has made to increase dialogue on campus includes our annual Social Justice week, and our recent efforts to create a space to discuss the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election amongst others. Future efforts include a democracy wall that asks students what advice they would give to the next POTUS, political potlucks that allow students to discuss current events, and service learning projects that will continue to keep students engaged in discussion and action around topics that are important to them beyond the inauguration of the 45th president.
Be a part of something bigger than you. Register Now for #CLDE17
As we start a new year, two poignant facts ring true for many higher education faculty and practitioners as they ponder the current state of higher education: our students and communities are too often struggling, and engaging in democracy is more important than ever.
Going from “Why Do I Have To?” to “Wow, It Does Matter!”
From my own childhood growing up in a low income ethnic background on the receiving end of volunteerism, I was also taught to never hesitate to help anyone outside of our family be it neighbors, friends, church members, victims of disasters, etc. (No matter how much my family struggled week to week). This continued through my adult life, where I have participated in a wide variety of food, clothing, fund drives, giving blood, building and repairing homes, picking trash, cooking and serving meals, and even positively protesting for action to better a situation for those in need. My real life personal experiences helped me understand how civic learning and democratic engagement enhances a person's growth as an individual, as a participant within a group and as a member of a community.
Realizing a Dream: The Democracy Wall at Kennesaw State University
As one might expect, especially on the heels of a contentious national election, there were many questions and concerns. Most importantly, how do we honor the free expression that is paramount when creating this space yet balance that with the desired safe space we strive to create for all members of our community?