Brett Bruner, National CLDE KC Co-Chair

March 29, 2017

At the December meeting of the Board of Directors, NASPA officially approved the new Civic Learning & Democratic Engagement (CLDE) Knowledge Community. Student Affairs practitioners within NASPA and several other civic organizations, including The American Democracy Project, Campus Compact, The Democracy Commitment, and TurboVote, worked collaboratively to invision this KC. The focus is to create scholarship, engage in discussion, and provide professional development related to civic education and public service.  

CLDE is a growing field within higher education. In 2012, The National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement published A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy’s Future, which urges colleges and universities to renew civic education as a central goal of higher education. In response, institutions of higher education have focused attention on increasing programs that teach civic literacy, encourage civic inquiry and action, and create campus environments that foster civic ethos. NASPA launched the Lead Initiative on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (Lead Initiative) for the 2012-2013 academic year.  The Lead Initiative engages a network of 74 NASPA member colleges and universities committed to encouraging and highlighting the work of student affairs in making civic learning and democratic engagement a part of every student’s college education. 

Collectively, Student Affairs practitioners engaged in CLDE work are well-poised to launch a knowledge community for idea generation, scholarship, professional development, and dialogue at all levels within an organization. The CLDE KC differs from the Lead Initiative in that it engages graduate students, entry-level professionals, mid-level professionals within the same institution, and members of several civic organizations outside of NASPA in order to advance the work of civic learning and democratic engagement. 

The CLDE KC aims to increase awareness, scholarship, and national dialogue related to civic learning and democratic engagement. This KC strives to share and create resources to further educate individuals within the field and engage professionals at every level within their organizations.  The CLDE KC is a space for professional development, idea generation, scholarship, and discussion related to the field of civic education and public service. It supports student affairs professionals as they promote engaged citizenship and student development, encourage democratic participation in their communities, respect and appreciate diversity, and advocate applied learning and social responsibility. 

The CLDE KC founding leadership team developed a series of primary goals to guide the work of the CLDE KC over the next two years. Goals include the following:

  • Promote collaboration between organizations and individuals that increases civic learning and democratic engagement initiatives on campuses across the country.
  • Build pathways for engaging professionals at all levels within organizations and mentor graduate students in the field of civic learning and democratic engagement.
  • Broaden participation in and support for the annual NASPA Civic Learning & Democratic Engagement Meeting.
  • Foster collaboration amongst other organizations active in higher education civic engagement endeavors including, but not limited to, The American Democracy Project, Campus Compact, The

Democracy Commitment, and TurboVote.

  • Build clear and tangible civic learning and democratic engagement outcomes into Student Affairs divisional strategic goals and student learning outcomes at universities and colleges.
  • Collect and report data on the efficacy of campus efforts using tools that measure gains in civic learning and democratic engagement.
  • Produce scholarship related to civic learning and democratic engagement.

Several members of NASPA Region IV-West were instrumental in the development of this new KC.  Mary Skinner, Director of Student Activities at the University of Arkansas, is serving as the Region IV-West CLDE KC Representative.  Other CLDE KC Leadership Team members from Region IV-West include the following:

  • National Co-Chair:  Brett Bruner, Director of Transition & Student Conduct – Fort Hays State University
  • Member Engagement Coordinator:  Alma Hidalgo, Coordinator of Orientation Programs – Kansas State University
  • Awards Coordinator:  Brittney Squire, Coordinator of Student Involvement – Fort Hays State University
  • Undocumented Immigrants & Allies Knowledge Community Liaison:  Jacob Patrick, Coordinator of Orientation & Community Engagement – Northeastern State University
  • Research Co-Coordinator:  Katherine Nordyke, Director of Citizenship & Service-Learning – Missouri State University

 To find out about how you can get more involved with the new CLDE KC, please contact Mary Skinner, Region IV-West CLDE KC Representative, at [email protected] or Brett Bruner, National CLDE KC Co-Chair, at [email protected]

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