#CLDE18 In Review

June 24, 2018

Our recent 2018 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) Meeting in Anaheim, Calif., brought together a great group of faculty, students, administrators, community partners and representatives from our national sponsor and partner organizations committed to advancing civic learning and democratic engagement through higher education. Read on for highlights of our time together.

By The Numbers

536 participants representing 181 colleges and universities as well as 52 other organizations.

  • 138 Four-year Colleges and Universities (103 public; 35 private)
  • 44 Community Colleges
  • 2 International Universities
  • 113 Students
  • 40 Sponsors/Exhibitors/Community Partners

Program Overview

The full program is available for download here (pdf).

CLDE Theory of Change

Since the publication of the A Crucible Moment report in 2012, many higher education professionals have engaged further in the CLDE field in the hopes of fulfilling the vision laid out by our colleagues to create a more socially just, civically engaged, and democratically-minded future. With this inspiration, colleagues have been engaging in the development of a framework to support our work as civic educators. This framework is based on a four question model and has been derived from work at the annual CLDE meeting and through the networks of the NASPA LEAD Initiative, AASCU’s American Democracy Project, and The Democracy Commitment. This framework builds on the components of A Crucible Moment in how are these threads -- civic ethos, civic literacy and skill building, civic inquiry, civic action, and civic agency -- actualized on our campuses and outside of the campus community. Throughout CLDE18 conference attendees explored the four question framework and how we can explore and enact a thriving democracy. For more information about the CLDE Theory of Change visit here.

Social Media Use at CLDE18

Using the social media tracking software (NUVI), Illinois State University’s Social Media Analytics Command Center (SMACC) identified the following trends associated with the 2018 CLDE conference:


  • Between June 6 and June 9, there were 1,192 social mentions using the conference hashtag #CLDE18. 1,1147 posts came from Twitter, 42 from Instagram, and 3 from Tumblr.
  •  221 unique authors contributed to the overall conversation, producing an average of 12 posts per hour for the duration of the conference.
  •  The #CLDE18 conversation was viral. Of the 1,192 mentions using the #CLDE18 hashtag, 221 were from unique authors capable of reaching a combined potential of audience of 66,050 other social media users. 608 posts were shares of from these original contributors, and spread to an additional potential audience of 735,068 social media users. Taken together, public mentions about #CLDE18 had the potential to be viewed by more than 800,000 social media users.
  • The peak of the conversation occurred on June 9, during the closing plenary (347 mentions), and included the following keywords: “free speech,” “civic engagement,” “spectator sport,” “hate speech,” and “young leaders.”

Most Active Participants

The most active social media accounts using the #CLDE18 hashtag during the conference were @TeryLynHinds (72 mentions), NASPA_Lead (67 mentions), @JenDomagalG (66 mentions), @CarahOng (35 mentions), @skhunt2 (32 mentions), @NikiMessmore (30 mentions), @TuftsIDHE (27 mentions), @WJMcKinney (25 mentions), @rspicer (25 mentions), and @DMorganPhD (24 mentions).

Top Hashtags

In addition to the official #CLDE18 conference hashtag, the next most frequently used hashtags were “#civedtalks” (74 mentions), “#digipo” (35 mentions), “#saadvocates (25 mentions), “#clde2018” (23 mentions), “#allin4democracy” (19 mentions), “#cldetheoryofchange” (19 mentions), “#daca” (14 mentions), “#voterfriendlycampus” (12 mentions), and “#sachat” (10 mentions).

Top Keywords

The keywords that were most frequently used during the conference included “civic engagement” (61 mentions), “democratic engagement” (25 mentions), “civic learning” (24 mentions), “free speech” (15 mentions), “spectator sport” (11 mentions), “plenary session” (10 mentions), “affinity groups” (9 mentions), “closing plenary” (9 mentions), “round table discussion” (9 mentions), and “web literacy” (9 mentions).

Top Locations by State

Social media users participating in the conversation represented 31 states and the District of Columbia. Of the accounts that geotagged their posts or listed a location in their profile description, 33 were from California, 19 from Washington, D.C., 9 from Pennsylvania, 8 from Florida, 8 from Illinois, 8 from Massachusetts, 8 from Maryland, 7 from Indiana, 7 from New Jersey, and 6 from Virginia.

Social Network Analysis

The following graph presents a visual representation of the #CLDE18 Twitter conversation in terms of how accounts retweeted or mentioned each other when using the conference hashtag. The map is coded as follows: colors indicate affinity groups or clusters of Twitter accounts that had a significant number of connections in common. The size of the accounts on the map correlates with the overall number of connections – the larger the node, the more connections it had. Arrows pointing to an account indicate that account was being retweeted or mentioned. Arrows originating from an account indicate that account was retweeting or mentioning another account. Thicker arrows indicate more frequent retweets or mentions between the two accounts.

This report was prepared by the Social Media Analytics Command Center (SMACC) housed in the School of Communication at Illinois State University. For more information about the SMACC contact Dr. Nathan Carpenter, Director of Convergent Media ([email protected]).

Pre-Conference highlights:

  • The 2017 CLDE Meeting opened with seven pre-conference sessions that engaged participants in a variety of important civic learning and democratic engagement topics. Participants were invited to take part in one or both of a pair of popular Educational Testing Service (ETS)- sponsored Civic Engagement Assessment Pre-Conference Workshops focused on planning for institution-wide data collection and measuring civic outcomes during college, respectively titled Making Assessment Work for You: Strategies to Bring Meaning to your Civic Engagement Efforts and Civic Engagement Assessment: From Mission Statements to Meanings and Measures.
  • Other pre-conference workshops included a set of half-day workshops including: "Reacting to Democracy": Immersive Civic Learning Through Historical Role-Playing Games; Voter Friendly Campus Meeting; Advancing Online Civic Literacy: New Skills for Citizens; Politics 365 - Preparing for Political Engagement.
  • The Student Pre-Conference Workshop was organized for students, by students. Led by the 2018 CLDE Student Intern Team (Vera Barcega-Ramirez, student, College of the Canyons (Calif.); Hannah Jackson, student, University of Nevada, Reno (Nev.); Collin Sullivan, student, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (Md), the session introduced students to #CLDEStudents / @CLDEStudents and provided a space to discuss issues focused on being an active participant in local and national communities, and introduced students tools to be effective activists in their communities.

Some of the more than 100 students that participated in #CLDE18

Opening Plenary & First Day highlights:

Participants had the opportunity to participate in a sponsored lunch, Ace the Midterms: TurboVote’s 2018 Voter Engagement Symposium, organized by our friends at TurboVote, provided an interactive symposium on what it takes to engaged student voters in not one, but all of their elections.

  • George L. Mehaffy, Vice President for Academic Leadership and Change, AASCU welcomed participants to Anaheim and reminded us that the most important office in our democracy is that of citizen. Three CivEd talks then kicked off Thursday afternoon’s opening plenary session. These three, short, dynamic and fast-paced presentations by members of the civic learning and democratic engagement community  inspired and challenged our collective imagination and thinking. The talks were given by: Clare Cady, Director of Community Engagement, Temple University (Pa.) & Founder/Director, College and University Food Bank Alliance, Sian Proctor, Geology Professor, South Mountain Community College (Az.), and Joel Pérez, Vice President and Dean of Students/Title IX Coordinator, Whittier College (Calif.).

Friday highlights:

Friday morning participants started their day with a A Roadtrip to Civic Engagement.  This session -- offered in conjunction with our friends at the Roadtrip Nation -- explored their storytelling model and how it can be utilized to explore our own civic pathways. This fireside chat included a discussion between Kevin Kruger, president, NASPA,  Verdis L. Robinson, national director, The Democracy Commitment, AASCU, and  Mike Marriner, co-founder, Roadtrip Nation.

A message from Roadtrip Nation:

Roadtrip Nation was thrilled to be part of the CLDE conference in Anaheim.  

As we increase our efforts into supporting Higher Education at the institutional level, Roadtrip Nation is currently identifying a core group of institutions to partner with, particularly around licensing our archive of thousands of career exploration interviews to benefit student, and our unique alumni engagement platform.

If you are interested in an introductory conversation, please reach out to John Holdcroft at [email protected].

We gave you a glimpse of our latest documentary at the conference, Beating the Odds.  You can now watch the entire film online: http://roadtripnation.com/roadtrip/beating-the-odds.

Friday also included a set of four popular featured sessions three of which dove deeper into the topics introduced in the opening plenary’s CivEdTalks; the fourth covered online media literacy.

    PRESENTERS: Melissa Baker-Boosamra, associate director of student life for civic engagement and assessment, Grand Valley State University (Mich.); Helen-Margaret Nasser, director, student union & intercultural center, CUNY Kingsborough Community College (N.Y.); Joel Pérez, vice president and dean of students/title IX coordinator, Whittier College (Calif.);  Patricia D. Robinson, faculty director, civic and community engagement initiatives, College of the Canyons (Calif.); Hugo Romero, alum, University of California, Los Angeles; and Kent Wong, director of the UCLA Labor Center, University of California, Los Angeles
  • DEMOCRATIC ACTION TO ADDRESS FOOD AND HOUSING INSECURITY ON CAMPUS PRESENTERS: Clare Cady, director of research application and dissemination, Temple University (Pa.) & founder/director, College and University Food Bank Alliance Sesley Lewis, coordinator, food and housing security, California State University, Los Angeles; Jennifer Miller, dean of students, California State University, Los Angeles; Michael Willard, faculty director of service learning, California State University, Los Angeles
    PRESENTERS: Chris Hutchison, assistant dean of students, Chapman University (Calif.); Sian Proctor, geology professor, South Mountain Community College (Ariz.); Aurora Lugo, professor and lead faculty, biology/environmental sciences, Lone Star College – CyFair (Texas); Thomas Williams, chief sustainability officer, Maricopa County Community College District (Ariz.); Chris Jensen,  director, civic engagement and social responsibility, Towson University (Md.); Justin Koppelman, associate director of student engagement, Chapman University (Calif.); Matt Yurko, program manager, Project Grow, a non-profit project of the California Coastal Commission and the Tides Center; MacKenzie Crigger, energy conservation and sustainability manager, facilities management and faculty; Schmid College of Science and Technology, Chapman University (Calif.); and Clayton Heard, Field Representative for U.S. Representative, Alan Lowenthal, CA-47
    PRESENTERS: Michael Caulfield, director of blended and networked learning, Washington State University – Vancouver; Gregg Grenier, director of community engagement, Mount Ida College (Mass.)

Saturday highlights:

Our final plenary session on Saturday, Free Speech or Hate Speech? A Cross-Campus Dialogue on Community, Faculty, and Student Activism, which engaged attendees in a timely dialogue about free speech, academic freedom, and inclusive campus environments. The discussion was moderated by Nancy Thomas, Director, Institute for Democracy & Higher Education (IDHE), Jonathan M. Tisch College for Civic Life at Tufts University (Mass.) while responses were given by Jonathan Alger, President, James Madison University (Va.); Stefan Bradley, Associate Professor and Chair of African American Studies, Loyola Marymount University (Calif.); and  Hannah Jackson, CLDE 2018 intern and student, University of Nevada Reno.


The 2018 CLDE Meeting in Anaheim, Calif. could not have been a success without the continued support from our sponsors. They have shown an unwavering commitment to securing an effective method of fostering democracy. Our sponsors’ contributions were  instrumental in creating meaningful dialogue that helped set the agenda for future goals, initiatives and partnerships. We would like to thank the following:

ADP, TDC, and NASPA have deep admiration and gratitude for each organization and the support they provided to the 2018 CLDE Meeting. We look forward to future collaborations

CLDE 2019 Committee

We’re looking for a few volunteers—maybe you?—to serve as thought leaders and planners as we wrestle with how best to convene a meeting intended to generate ideas and energy for tackling some of the biggest issues we face as a democratic society: social and economic injustice; bitter partisanship in our elections and governance; and diminishing funding for higher education, just to name a few.  If interested, send your resume and statement of interest to Stephanie King at [email protected].

CLDE18 Conference Pins

We sold out of the 200 pins designed by Chapman University graphic design student Genevieve Geller ‘20. Proceeds from the beautiful and popular pin will be donated to Project Grow to fund their programs that educate the community about their local environment through hands-on ecological restoration programs.  Project Grow is a program of the Tides Center and both are community partners of Chapman University, located near the CLDE18 conference site.

The design of the pin bears the shape of California, the third largest state in the country. The text, Anaheim, CA CLDE 2018, is situated toward Southern California, acknowledging the conference location. The poppies adorning the top of the pin celebrate the California state flower. The blue and green colors of the CLDE conference are complemented by the vibrant orange color of poppy blooms that exist throughout the State.   

eJournal of Public Affairs Publication Opportunity
The eJournal of Public Affairs will publish a special issue relating to the 2018 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) meeting. The issue will include selected articles based on scholarship presented at the conference. Papers given at the conference or manuscripts developed later based on program presentations may be submitted for consideration. View the call for submissions for this special issue here. The eJournal of Public Affairs is a peer-reviewed, multidisciplinary, open-access journal published by Missouri State University and affiliated with the American Democracy Project. ADP, TDC and NASPA are delighted to partner with the eJournal on this special CLDE issue. For more information, visit http://eJournal.missouristate.edu or email us at [email protected], or [email protected].

Program and Conference Handouts
If a presenter uploaded their materials they can be found in the mobile app and online at http://apps.naspa.org/engage/arch_search.cfm under the 2018 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Meeting. Please email [email protected] with any additional materials you’d like uploaded into the app.

Finally, to see more pictures from the meeting, visit the ADP Facebook Page (CLDE18 album); please send any photos you took to [email protected] so that we can upload them to Facebook/Twitter/Instagram.

Stay in Touch - Contact Information Changes

Stay up-to-date with the CLDE18 conference organizers and organizations.

American Democracy Project (ADP)
ADP is currently searching for an Executive Director and emails in the meantime should be directed at [email protected].

Jen Domagal-Goldman (formerly national manager of AASCU’s American Democracy Project)
Associate Director
ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge
[email protected] | 321.249.2749

NASPA LEAD Initiative is currently accepting applications for the 2018-2019 year. All interested campuses should apply by June 30, 2018. Application is available here.

Stephanie King
Assistant Director of Civic Engagement, Knowledge Community, and Social Justice Initiatives
[email protected] | 202.719.1193 

The Democracy commitment (TDC)
As of July 1, 2018, TDC will be an initiative of Campus Compact.  Emails for TDC should be directed to Verdis L. Robinson at [email protected]

Opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of NASPA. If you agree or disagree with the content of this post, we encourage you to dialogue in the comment section below. NASPA reserves the right to remove any blog that is inaccurate or offensive.

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