Fostering Campus Climates for Political Learning & Engagement

CLOSING PLENARY: Fostering Campus Climates for Political Learning & Engagement
Saturday, June 4, 2016 | 8:45 a.m. – 10 a.m.
Democratic learning is not just an issue for the 2016 U.S. presidential election cycle; campuses have a responsibility to support a robust campus climate for nonpartisan political learning and engagement in our democracy 365 days a year. The Institute for Democracy and Higher Education (IDHE) is a new research center at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts University (Mass.). Its signature initiative, the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE) provides colleges and universities with data on their students’ registration and voting rates. With over 800 colleges and universities nationally in the study – including 214 ADP/TDC/NASPA Lead campuses – and a database of 7.5 million students, NSLVE researchers have completed an analysis of voting based on a broad range of institutional and individual characteristics. This research has been augmented with qualitative studies at campuses to determine the unique norms, structures, and student experiences that create a strong climate for political learning. For this plenary session, the IDHE researchers will share NSLVE data on college and university student voting. They will also provide a brief overview of IDHE’s research focusing on campuses with robust campus climates for political learning and engagement in democracy. Faculty, staff and students from campuses representing ADP, the NASPA Lead Initiative, and TDC will share their experiences and promising practices for student political learning and engagement. While each campus is unique, all of the presenters will share programs and practices easily replicated on other campuses hoping to deepen their political climate.


Nancy ThomasNancy Thomas, directs the Institute for Democracy and Higher Education at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts University. The Institute is dedicated to shifting college and university priorities, practices, and culture to strengthen college student political learning and engagement in democracy and to advance social and political equity in public life. The National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement is the Institute’s signature initiative. Her work and scholarship center on higher education’s democratic mission, college student political engagement, free speech and academic freedom, and deliberative democracy on campuses and in communities. She is the author of multiple book chapters, articles, and the monograph, Educating for Deliberative Democracy, an issue of Jossey Bass’ New Directions for Higher Education series. She is an associate editor of the Journal of Public Deliberation and a senior associate with Everyday Democracy. She received her bachelor’s degree in government from St. Lawrence University, a law degree from Case Western Reserve University, and a doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. For more about Nancy.


GoldbergAbraham Goldberg, Director of the Office of Service-Learning and Community Engagement (OSLCE) and an Associate Professor of Political Science at theUniversity of South Carolina Upstate. The OSLCE strives to eliminate barriers between the campus and region by cultivating reciprocal and sustainable partnerships between USC Upstate students, faculty, and community organizations. He authored the South Carolina Civic Health Index and has published numerous academic articles about the relationship between the built environment of cities, social connectivity, and resident quality of life. Abe regularly supervises undergraduate research projects and teaches courses in urban planning and policy, public administration, civic engagement and American politics. He earned his doctorate from West Virginia University and resides in Greenville, South Carolina with his wife and two children.

BodaryDavid L Bodary, Professor of Communication at Sinclair Community College (Ohio). He holds degrees in Communication from Eastern Michigan University and Wayne State University. He has facilitated numerous National Issues Forum discussions in the Dayton region and coordinates the Service Learning program for Sinclair Community College.

Ishara Casellas Connors, Associate Director, Institute for Democracy and Higher Education. Ishara Casellas Connors manages the IsharaInstitutes signature initiative, The National Study for Learning Voting and Engagement (NSLVE). NSLVE provides participating campuses with data on their students’ registration and voting rates. In addition, NSLVE works to create resources for campuses interested in advancing political learning and engagement in democracy, with a focus on advancing social and political equity. Ishara has worked across all types of higher education institutions, in both policy, program, and development roles. Throughout this work and scholarship Ishara has focused on issues of access and diversity within higher education. Ishara holds a MA in Higher & Postsecondary Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.

John LockeJohn Locke was a two term student body president of the University of Houston-Downtown (Texas). He has received certificates of recognition from Houston’s City Council members, Mayor of Houston and Congress. He also has been recognized as Student of the Year Award, at the Circle of Change Leadership Conference in Los Angeles, CA. John also received an honorary degree from the International Education Parliament in 2016 for his commitment to improving higher education and his presentation on best practices.

MeyerMichele “Micki” Meyer serves as the Lord Family Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs at Rollins College (Fla.). She holds an Endowed Chair position funded by the DHL and RNR Foundations to build capacity around engaged scholarship, high impact learning, and student engagement. She oversees areas of campus that work directly with leadership education, civic engagement, service-learning, diversity and inclusion, student involvement, and college access. For more about Micki.

#CLDE16 | CLOSING PLENARY: Fostering Campus Climates for Political Learning & Engagement