Beyond Voter Registration: Teaching Students to Be Active Citizens
Registering students to vote is an important first step in engaging them in our democracy. But how do we help them gain the knowledge and skills to become active citizens? The Civic Engagement Council at Elon University is comprised of faculty, staff, and students from across campus. The Council plans and coordinates a variety of programs to help students approach their civic responsibilities on a deeper level. Programs touch on civic education; deeper dialogue; and race, ethnicity, and faith understanding.
Expanding Students Civic Participation through the DC Experience
As administrators and campus leaders, we can take these lessons learned from Leadership UMiami and apply them to our programing to better engage the future leaders of our world. However, we also must understand the importance of creating communities and space for our students to engage in dialogue and understanding around issues important to them. Providing these opportunities and spaces can further the civic participation on our campuses and create a greater sense of community.
Build It and They Will Engage – But Who Engages
Are some students purposively not taking courses with a service-learning component? Courses that are built around service-learning are unique because it places equal emphasis on enhancing student learning and meeting community needs. Research has shown that experiential education including, community service, internships and service-learning, offers students the opportunity to practice what they learn from traditional classroom teaching outside in the real world (Eyler & Giles, 1999). Students have stated: “What I have experienced and learned cannot be replicated in a traditional classroom. I’ve learned more in this class—about the criminal justice system, myself and others—than I’ve learned elsewhere. I’d take this class 10 [times] over” (Student, Criminal Justice outside the Classroom, CRMJ 431). If service-learning provides an environment of inquiry and allows students the opportunity to think and make meaning of their life and the world, then how do build a better representation in the courses.
Using Emotionally Intelligent Leadership as a Framework
The Social Change Model of Leadership (Komives & Wagner, 2017) is traditionally seen as the “go to” framework when creating programs intended for college student development with regard to civic learning and democratic engagement in a co-curricular setting. And rightly so, since the model centers on leadership being socially responsible, collaborative, a process (not a position), inclusive and accessible to all people, and values based; and it also recognizes that community involvement and service are powerful vehicles for leadership (Komives & Wagner, 2017, p.10). I’d like to suggest another model, with several similarities, through which we might also approach our CLDE work: Emotionally Intelligent Leadership.
Women’s Leadership Institute at FAU
Now, three years later, WLI has been a story of practicing civic literacy and understanding what is happening in the world. The outcomes have stayed similar, though the approach has slightly shifted. A participant from Women’s Leadership Institute shared “being a female leader does not involve ‘being as good as a man’. It is embracing your natural qualities of empathy, listening, etc. to bring a different and better perspective to the table. It can also be beneficial to harness emotion into passion, authenticity, and genuineness”.
Conversations, Classes, and Creative Opportunities about Civic Engagement
The 2018 Spring Engagement Series at UNC Greensboro (SES) featured special guest facilitator and scholar-practitioner, Dr. Nicholas (Nick) Longo. Dr. Longo currently serves as the chair of Public and Community Service Studies and as faculty in Global Studies at Providence College in Providence, RI. Dr. Longo was in Greensboro, NC recently for The 2018 Civic Engagement Institute and PACE Conference as the keynote speaker and guest facilitator. Both annual events are hosted by North Carolina Campus Compact (NCCC), and this year were held at Elon University in Elon, NC. The Civic Engagement Institute and PACE Conference took place on February 13th and 14th, also featuring co-facilitator Dr. Timothy Schaffer, an assistant professor in the Department of Community Studies and the assistant director of the Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy at Kansas State University.