Committing to Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement: Make it a Strategic Priority


Author
Moraine Valley Community College

Published
October 5, 2018


Moraine Valley Community College (MVCC) is dedicated to ensuring students gain the knowledge and skills needed to meet the demands of a changing world. MVCC’s district covers 139 square miles in the southwest suburbs of Chicago. The district has population of about 400,000 people and includes 26 communities of varying demographic and socioeconomic backgrounds. When Moraine Valley Community College (MVCC) set to work on creating its Strategic Plan for 2015-2019 one thing was certain, that to truly meet the needs of community, students, faculty, and staff there had to be a strong commitment to Civic Learning and Democratic engagement. MVCC’s 2015-2019 Strategic Plan fosters a continuous improvement environment. CLDE is embedded within its goals:

MVCC Goal SS.11: Engaging students in citizenship and democracy through both education and practical hands-on civic experiences. MVCC has thus far:

  • Created and has maintained a The Democracy Commitment (TDC) committee dedicated to supporting campus wide CLDE efforts. The TDC committee is comprised of staff from both Academic Affairs and Student Affairs divisions. The Executive Leadership Team at MVCC felt that it was essential to have joint representation of both groups to ensure CLDE programs and activities are viewed at different vantage points.
  • MVCC offers Citizenship Review courses for immigrants preparing for their Citizenship exams. MVCC invited the United States Citizens and Immigrant Services (USCIS) office to utilize the campus to host Naturalization Ceremonies and to date has now offered four ceremonies.
  • The CLDE committee sponsors voter registration and assists with campus wide events regarding elections. Student organizations as asked to assist with the registration process thus encouraging them to be active in the voting process.
  • A faculty program coordinator has been put in place and this individual has taken the lead on creating a Democracy Hour, which guides participants to practice civil discourse on a varying array of topics. The community, students, faculty and staff have been invited to attend. The Democracy Hour was created specifically because of the lack of civil dialog when discussing sensitive issues.
  • Faculty are encouraged and supported in their efforts to infuse CLDE into their curriculum. Support is offered to faculty members that have CLDE activities as part of their course work.

An area of strength for MVCC is the President and Executive Leadership Team foster the idea of CLDE on MVCC’s campus. It was through Dr. Jenkins’ direction that MVCC joined TDC and form a committee. MVCC is fortunate to have strong cooperative efforts by the Student Development and Academic Affairs offices. Being able to leverage the resources, talents, knowledge of faculty and staff has allowed the CLDE committee to bring insightful and enriching programing on campus. The CLDE committee also invites student participation. Members of the Student Government Association and Moraine Valley Political Activist Club have shared their input as to what they assess as student needs. This ensures the programing presented by TDC is truly of value to the MVCC student body.

Although MVCC has been persistent in the CLDE journey, it is still a long way from being finished. One of the goals the committee has been trying to wrap its arms around is how to collect data such as how have MVCC’s efforts influenced our students and communities viewpoints and their participation in the democratic process? The data would provide valuable information as to where to focus resources and support.

Another area for growth is collaborating with external organizations; it is through collaborations with that MVCC hopes to find new and better ways to bring CLDE events and programing to students.

MVCC has not taken the commitment to CLDE lightly and plans to continuously review its efforts to bring more thought producing programing to the community, students, faculty and staff. This will be supported by embedding the civic engagement initiatives into the next four year strategic plan for the institution.


Authors:

  • Aurora Zwick, Manager, English Language Learner Center
  • Cynthia Anderson, Dean Academic Development and Outreach

Click Here to Learn More about MVCC


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.

To comment, you can login to your preferred social network. Comments are lightly moderated and we do provide the option for users to flag a comment as inappropriate.

Posted by

Get in Touch with NASPA

×