AAC&U Awarded Seminar Grant: Civic Engagement: Recasting and Drawing Upon a Wider Net

“What do you mean this isn’t service learning?” University Mary Washington (UMW) faculty, student and community members hold a wide range of understandings about service learning and community service. Such broad understandings can often dilute the significance of service learning and can miss the mark in conveying the rich ways in which service-learning experiences support student development and civic engagement.

 The Center for Honor, Leadership, and Service (CHL & S) opening Fall, 2012 and the Center for Teaching Excellence and Innovation (CTE &I) (reconstituted summer, 2012) are forging new collaborative ground at UMW and are strategically situated to create strong partnerships across and within the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, and the College of Education and community organizations; building institutional capacity around service learning. CHL & S mission is to serve as a catalyst for meaningful experiences, which enhance and deepen student learning. Through collaboration in an active, engaging, and transformational environment students will learn best practices, educational competency, and skill sets for leadership and service grounded in the core value of honor. This unique integration sparks personal and professional growth to become committed, global citizens. CTE & I’s mission is to promote and sustain excellence in teaching, advance student learning, and explore and develop innovative pedagogy and curriculum. Our seminar will bridge the Center’s missions and serve UMW faculty, students, and community members in recasting civic engagement through service learning curricular innovations with an aim towards transformational learning.

Each year, CHL & S organizes “days of service.” These days are opportunities for large numbers of students to volunteer in the community and make a single day impact.  Immersion experiences in the fall and spring semester allow students to work with Habitat for Humanity across the region. In addition, the Center invites local agencies and all students, staff, and faculty to the Community Action Fair creating an opportunity to connect with local agencies and volunteer. COAR is a student led organization drawing upon diverse groups of students serving community needs through an active exchange of service and learning while continually striving to find solutions to problems that challenge the community. Last year UMW’s student body engaged in 10,472 service hours that consisted of civic co-curricular opportunities logged outside of university classrooms and logged 3, 255 service hours through service learning courses. Student qualitative data from university clubs and Community Outreach and Resources (COAR) captured how service learning is an engaging way to deepen and broaden student learning in authentic contexts. While students are civically engaged in service outside college programs there is limited service learning experiences tied directly into the curriculum.

Our proposed seminar will support the ‘beginning development phase’ by garnering faculty and community support for service learning to be more fully integrated into UMW’s mission, programs/coursework and is at the heart of this new university curricular initiative. Funding our seminar would be the catalyst needed to build upon existing pockets of high quality service learning and create new opportunities for faculty engagement in creating significant learning experiences (Fink, 2003) curricular innovations that integrate meaningful service learning. Seminar work would support UMW in moving through the Quality Building stage (service learning is tied loosely or informally to other important, high profile efforts on campus) and working towards the Sustained Institutionalization stage where service learning is tied formally and purposefully to other important, high profile efforts on campus (Seifer and Connors, 2007).

Building upon the work of the seminar is the desire to create a pedagogical model that integrates significant learning (Fink, 2003) into service learning experiences. Creating learning experiences that are ‘significant’ can lead to student engagement, and students who are changed for the good and who take with them the knowledge and skills they can use in their lives and work (Fink) supporting UMW liberal arts mission. Scholarly work on significant service learning can provide a rich pathway making visible the ways in which service learning enriches students’ and faculty lives; clearly connecting the value of integrating civic engagement through service learning within programs/courses and community level initiatives.

Proposed Participants and Rationale Selection.    Our proposed seminar will consist of approximately 32 participants (including 3 facilitators). During the academic year 2009-2010, UMW was reorganized into 3 colleges (College of Arts and Science, College of Business, and College of Education) all of which we would like to get involved in service learning. College Deans (3) and representatives from all colleges will be invited to attend. Three levels of faculty interest will be targeted for the seminar: 1) current faculty partners engaged in exemplary work, 2) faculty beginning formative service learning, and 3) faculty who are interested but have not yet started incorporating service learning into their curriculum and pedagogy. Academic Affairs Chair (past and present) from the Student Government Association as well a student service learning intern will provide student voices to our seminar. In addition, several community partners that have worked with UMW faculty on current service-learning projects; along with potential partners will help broaden outreach and participation in the seminar.

Facilitation Process and Guiding Questions.    Before the one day seminar (10am-2pm) on October 16, 2012 attendees will be asked to: 1) read seminar materials so participants will have a common base knowledge of service learning information and current resources, and 2) complete a service learning survey that will be shared during World Café. Kirlin’s (2006) Continuum of Engagement (volunteering, community service, service learning, community/civic engagement, and political engagement) will serve as a common language for talking about service related behaviors.

The facilitators will use World Café http://www.theworldcafe.com/ as the primary model to generate discussion and broaden participants’ awareness of service learning at UMW. World Café draws upon seven integrated design principles (create the context, create hospitable space, and explore questions that matter, encourage everyone’s contribution, connect diverse perspectives, listen together for patterns and insights, and share collective discoveries). Facilitators will integrate the five components (setting, welcome and introduction, small round groups, questions, and harvest) that comprise World Café providing a simple, effective, and flexible format for hosting group dialogue around five key questions: 1) What role do you think service and service-learning plays in the university?, 2) What does “active learning” mean to you? Create a service learning question that draws upon UMW’s Mission Statement, 3) What do you see as the biggest challenge to incorporating service-learning into your course(s)/program?, 4) What do you see as some of the pedagogical strengths of the university and how can we best use those to further the practice of service-learning?, and 5) What do you see as some weaknesses at the university that inhibit faculty from using service-learning? This interactive process will allow faculty to create a shared understanding of service learning and to generate ideas to more fully integrate service learning into course/programs curriculum in a more unified manner.

Four Anticipated Outcomes and Action Steps.  This seminar allows faculty and community members to identify next steps to more fully integrate service learning into the liberal arts curriculum. As a result of our seminar we anticipate the following outcomes. 1) A Cohort of participants crafting a shared language and understanding of service learning and providing curricular recommendations for next steps, 2) Interdisciplinary communication and viable connections between participants and community members to create significant service learning opportunities and curriculum openings within the context of civic engagement, and 3) the Teaching Center Advisory Committee (elected standing faculty committee) will review seminar recommendations and serve as an advocate in determining the focus of faculty professional development opportunities, and 4) CTE & I and CHL & S will co-sponsor a series of workshops on significant learning as a model for integrating service learning and civic engagement into the curriculum and provide appropriate assessment options.

 Seminar Evaluation.  Participants will: a) complete an evaluation of the seminar and processes, and b) provide a post-seminar reflective narrative focused on their understandings of service learning and ways to infuse civic engagement into their programs/courses. Qualitative analysis will guide analysis of these data sources for emergent themes. Graphic table recordings created by participants and recorders during World Café will serves as the group memory and allow the group’s collective work and findings to be shared with others through each Center’s website.

 Institutional Analysis & Effectiveness will explore assessment options for the variety of service learning approaches that could be taken in course/programs.  In addition, vetting pre-post service learning surveys to serve as a baseline and one year indicator.

Why now? The University of Mary Washington is a comprehensive regional public liberal arts university located in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The University’s mission is to support a “place where faculty, students and staff share in the creation and exploration of knowledge through freedom of inquiry, personal responsibility, and service.”[1]As a consequence of its transition from a public liberal arts college to a university, the institution has recently established a College of Education and a College of Business, expanded its mission to include broader regional engagement, increased the number of its professional graduate programs, and strengthened its profile in national and international arenas. Nevertheless, the central foundation of the University’s mission remains the liberal arts. This includes ensuring the delivery of a solid general education curriculum, fostering undergraduate research and interdisciplinary study, promoting “students’ intellectual and creative independence,” and emphasizing the importance of honor, integrity, and service within the undergraduate program.

 One outcome of this transition from a college to a University is the expectation that UMW Libraries, The Speaking Center, The Writing Center, Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies, Center for Teaching Excellence and Innovation and the Center for Honor, Leadership and Service begin to collaborate and coordinate events and faculty development in a more integrated manner; enhancing UMW’s institutional capacity in a more thoughtful and strategic manner. This act alone is a shift in the culture moving from independent centers to a more collaborative stance in approaching our collective work. For the academic year 2012-2013 consensus was reached to focus on Civic Engagement as a common theme.  Our collective aim is to not only enhance students’ understandings of civic engagement but also faculty and community members. Towards that end 5 co-sponsored events/workshops were developed for the Fall Semester (see appendix A) and opened up to the broader community. Spring Semester planning is currently underway.

In addition, UMW holds a rich tradition of civic engagement through a variety of civic engagement opportunities and service learning at the community, region, and international level (see Appendix B). The Center for Honor, Leadership, and Service recently added two new directors to develop Leadership and Honor components for the UMW community as a means to support, expand, and strengthen civic education through leadership, honor, and service learning. For example a new learning and living community “VISION!” addresses students psychosocial well being and engagement designed to help students mold their individual leadership skills through participation in interactive programs, workshops, team building exercises, and projects. These two new components (Honor, Leadership) to this Center add richness to the ways in which we think about the psychosocial well-being of students and are poised to address institutional building capacity.

 What should be addressed?  UMW Mission Statement (adopted November, 2010).   The University of Mary Washington is one of Virginia’s outstanding public liberal arts universities, providing a superior education that inspires and enables our students to make positive changes in the world. The University is a place where faculty, students, and staff share in the creation and exploration of knowledge through freedom of inquiry, personal responsibility, and service. UMW regards the provision of high-quality instruction as its most important function.  The University offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs focusing on both disciplinary and interdisciplinary studies.  These academic programs afford students opportunities to integrate and apply their knowledge within broad educational experiences, to develop their professional interests, and to practice the habits of mind necessary for life-long learning.  Through a professionally engaged faculty, the University supports ongoing research appropriate to the development of student abilities and faculty interests.  It especially encourages the participation of undergraduates in research. http://www.umw.edu/about/mission/

Freedom of inquiry, personal responsibility, service, and high quality instruction are at the heart of UMW’s mission to promote life-long learning (psychosocial well-being) and civic engagement (civic engagement and development, and engaged learning) through a liberal arts education.  Our civic mission rests upon the core liberal arts values to support an informed and engaged citizenry who can make a positive difference in the world. Citizens, who are informed and thoughtful, participate in their communities (local, national, internationally), act politically and enact moral and civic virtues.

Through what policies, practices, programs, opportunities, and actions do we realize that mission?   The University of Mary Washington has as a core of our mission the goal of engagement with our community. This value is enshrined in our strategic plan and implemented throughout our organization. At the highest level, our Center for Regional Development takes as its mission the connection of our students with community organizations and businesses. A highlight of their work is La Ceiba, a student-run, client-centered micro-finance institution serving Honduras’ poorest regions. Within our curriculum, our undergraduates are required to participate in experiential learning. A substantial portion of them complete internships, study abroad, and community service learning projects, engaging them in communities both near and far from Fredericksburg.

UMW has been named to The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Role for the second consecutive year. Civic education at UMW is enacted at the local, national, and international levels through a variety of means. UMW contributes to civic education on a global scale ranking number one in the nation among top producing small universities for alumni now serving as Peace Corps volunteers. The recent creation of the Center for Honor, Leadership, & Service is a conscious effort to place community engagement at the center of the Mary Washington experience. This Center takes as its mission the preparation of Mary Washington students to be effective community leaders.  The Center is intended to reach students in all three colleges, graduate and undergraduate and help them consider their role as community members.  We currently have individual program, center, university initiatives that support civic education but is lacking a cohesive understanding of civic education and development.

In what ways could we achieve more?      In order to strengthen UMW’s mission our seminar would bring together faculty, students, and community partners to begin the discussion on civic engagement and how it supports UMW’s mission.  Some anticipated possible outcomes of the seminars:

  • A core definition of civic engagement at UMW that aligns with UMW’s broader mission of a liberal arts education.
  • Development of a core civic mission statement using our 2009-2014 Strategic Plan as a foundation to begin building institutional capacity.
  • Formally add service-learning to the experiential requirement (General Education Committee)
  • Integrate Civic Education into the Freshmen Seminar Courses
  • Creation of Ethnographic Research Center for students to actively engage in civic engagement through community/global interactions. PhotoVoice, participatory photography for social change, aligned with digital storytelling will support students’ 21st century literacy skills.
  • Faculty development on significant learning curriculum
  • Service-learning recognized in the Academic Handbook as a course designation.
  • Development of service-learning projects that address long-term solutions to critical community problems.
  • Identification and integration of appropriate assessment tools in programs/courses to investigate the role of civic engagement in student development.

Our overriding goal is for UMW faculty, students, and community partners to make a thriving network that makes civic engagement a sustainable practice.  Bring the various constituents together around the common purpose is the first step.   Your support through this seminar grant is key in moving us forward in a more holistic mission of civic engagement.

 How can it be achieved?  Our funded seminar would bring a wide-range of constituents together to identify specific steps that would help deepen and organize UMW mission around civic engagement. The Center for Teaching Excellence and Innovation, The Center for Honor, Leadership, and Service along with Dr. John Broome (College of Education) would be collaboratively responsible for organizing the seminar and for moving civic engagement to the forefront of UMW. Working within the new faculty governance system would move civic engagement from the sidelines to a more integrated vision that includes the UMW and broader community.

Faculty development closely tied to significant learning and interactive civics could support the creation of a civic engagement model that supports civic learning (closely connected to community involvement), 21st century literacy, and transformational learning. Community service is one proven practice at UMW however, there will now be a focus on high quality service -earning linked to the formal curriculum and classroom instruction.

One initiative sponsored by the Center for Teaching Excellence and Innovation would be the creation of an Ethnographic Research Center whose mission would be to critically explore topics related to civic education and democracy. Faculty created and student-led projects would be funded by the Center for Teaching Excellence and Innovation and the Center for Honor, Leadership, and Service.  Community involvement would move civic learning in isolation to a more broad social responsibility. PhotoVoice would be infused into the Ethnographic Research Center.  “PhotoVoice’s vision is for a world in which no one is denied the opportunity to speak out and be heard.  PhotoVoice’s mission is to build skills within disadvantaged and marginalized communities using innovative participatory photography and digital storytelling methods so that they have the opportunity to represent themselves and create tools for advocacy and communications to achieve positive social change.

Working in partnerships with other charities, NGOs and community organizations PhotoVoice designs and delivers tailor-made participatory photography, digital storytelling and self-advocacy projects for socially excluded groups. Our pioneering approach brings together the arts, media, development and social change agendas to work with hard-to-reach groups on projects that give voice, build skills, provide platforms for advocacy and work towards sustainable change.” http://ctb.ku.edu/en/tablecontents/chapter3_section20_main.aspx

Seminar Connection to Emphasis Areas

“Civic engagement” is when students participate in public work—such as, but not restricted to—social and political action, community organizing, issue advocacy, and other activities, which contribute to actual changes. Community service or service learning by themselves are not necessarily forms of engagement, but they might become such when linked to learning, reflection and action that produce changes.

While UMW has a rich tradition of civic engagement, there are curricular and co-curricular areas that could strengthened to ensure that students are involved in experience a fully integrated and scaffold learning experiences that make explicit connections to civic education and their psycho-social well-being.  Some examples include:

The Community Outreach and Resources (COAR) office, which is student led organizes four alternative break trips (Fall, Spring) every year in which students travel regionally to build with Habitat for Humanity.

  • Various faculty members organize service-learning components into courses and programs.
  • Two Dollar Challenge and Poverty Action Conference are spearheaded by the Economics Department to take students who are passionate about ending poverty and grow them into effective leaders trained to break the self-perpetuating cycle of poverty.
  • Division of Student Affairs mission is to create an out-of-class learning experience for students that complement the academic program by integrating educational and out of classroom engagement components. UMW’s experiential program is build upon three pillars:
    • To provide experiential opportunities for students to develop, learn or improve upon leadership skills. (Experience-based leadership opportunities are essential in the promotion of student self- governance and post-graduate success in the global market place.)
    • To provide experiential opportunities for students to develop, learn or improve upon citizenship and   interpersonal skills.  (Experience-based opportunities that promote development of citizenship and interpersonal skills are essential for responsible civic participation.)
    • To provide experiential opportunities for students to develop, learn or improve upon wellness-related skills.  (Experience-based opportunities that promote development of wellness and self-care skills are essential to maintaining health across the lifespan.)

This is not an exclusive list but rather a brief overview of the many opportunities for faculty, students, and community members to deepen civic knowledge, develop participatory skills and engage in civic participation. While one could easily assume that our civic mission is alive and well at present there is no organized structure or framework to hold these opportunities together in a coherent manner to provide a strong civic education strand to our university mission.

“Civic development” refers to indicators and measures of civic outcomes, such as civic knowledge and skills, civic dispositions, caring for others and community, and personal and social responsibility.

 This provocation is perhaps our weakest in terms of indicators/measures/outcomes of civic development. UMW does not currently have in place a systematic process and methodology to explore civic development domains.  However some program(s)/faculty include a reflective narrative to allow students an opportunity to write about the impact and meaningfulness of their various civic experiences that draw upon students civic knowledge, intellectual and participatory skills, and civic participation.

“Engaged learning” is when students are active participants in “deep” rather than “surface” learning. There are various curricular and co-curricular approaches that contribute to engaged learning, in addition to the usual lectures and seminars that characterize most curricula. Such learning raises expectations of students, enables them to consider how their learning affects and is affected by its application, and enhances the educational process by increasing their involvement in learning. Authentic engagement can contribute to civic development and promote psychosocial well-being of students.

Fink’s significant Learning theory, and civic engagement will serve as the foundational building blocks for curricular/program development and reform. Fink, (2003)“ (Association of American Colleges and Universities/ http://www.aacu.org) recently asked a major set of civic and corporate leaders what kinds of learning they thought were essential today.  They identified, among others: Information literacy, teamwork and problem solving abilities, intercultural knowledge and competence, ethical reasoning, integrative learning, preparing for lifelong learning.  These are similar to the kinds of learning in my taxonomy of significant learning. The problem is that most professors are so focused on communicating the content of their discipline, that they do not even see these additional, possible kinds of learning.  Our students, though, are going to live their lives in the 21st Century, and it is already quite clear that life in this century is going to require more than just “knowledge of the various disciplines.” What exactly is significant learning?  Fink, “significant learning, as I use that term, refers to learning that meets two criteria:  (1) learning that lasts beyond the end of the course, i.e., students retain the learning, and (2) learning that has an impact on their personal, professional, social or civic life, i.e., it changes how they think, feel, or act in their lives.”  http://hetl.org/2011/10/03/significant-learning-experiences” This theory will drive the creation of curricular/program/university civic education experiences.

“Psychosocial well-being” refers, at a minimum, to the presence of characteristics that typify positive mental health, such as a sense of direction, personal growth and fulfillment, social development, empathy, perspective taking, resilience, mindfulness, and psychological flourishing.

UMW’s leadership strand in our mission statement (see Appendix C) and in a variety of programs conveys our awareness of and need for a wide range of opportunities for students to engage in meaningful learning that supports their development and engagement in civic participation.

“Building institutional capacity” is about institutional sustainability, rather than one-time events. We support strategies for institutional change. Although we normally invest in institutions, we also are open to proposals that build capacity among clusters of institutions, such as the creation of a regional network of colleges and universities.

 UMW is still transitioning from a College to a University model. Culturally and typically UMW operates as a one-college view – with little coordination and collaboration between and within our three colleges. Bringing together our three colleges and various Centers around the broad theme of civic engagement could strengthen institutional capacity by identifying key initiatives (tied closely to civic engagement) that would bring to light.

Readings: Include Civic Provocations Monograph. World Café questions would now include guiding civic seminar questions that include: How will it be achieved?

Addition of a second student seminar:

Students that are involved in the first (faculty, community, student) seminar will serve as student co-leaders for a second UMW Civic Education seminar for students. UMW has an active student population and Student Government Association will be invited to participate. Providing students with an opportunity to talk about civic engagement among peers could provide a safe space to share their experiences and ideas on meaningful ways to engage students in civic education.  World Café will be used to provide students with an opportunity to discuss key questions (used in first seminar) in a small group setting.

 

Appendix A

Integrated Center Fall 2012 Events/Workshop

Political Debates and Civic Engagement Faculty Workshop

Join us for a discussion of strategies and best practices to make use of political debates and civic engagement in your class. Gwen Hale (Writing Intensive Program Director), Mary Kayler (Center for Teaching Excellence and Innovation Director), and Anand Rao (Speaking Intensive Program Director) will talk about speaking and writing assignments along with resources to effectively support civic engagement across the disciplines. In addition, we will include ideas specific to the Virginia First Congressional District Candidates Debate that will be held at UMW later in October along with other upcoming Center events.

Date: Thursday, October 4, 2012

Time and Place: 4:00-5:00pm, Red Room, Woodard Campus Center

Sponsored by the Speaking Center, Writing Center, Center for Teaching Excellence & Innovation, UMW Libraries and Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies.

In Politics, Words Matter: Using Debates to Inform our Politics

Join your friends, classmates, and Drs. Chad Murphy (Political Science) and John Morello (Associate Provost, former UMW Debate Coach) for an hour of fascinating multimedia conversation about political debate.  We’ll watch classic moments in political debates, discuss them, and use them to better understand the current elections. Bring a web-surfing device like a tablet or laptop!

Date: Monday, October 22, 2012

Time and Place: 7:30pm, Chandler 102

Sponsored by the Center for Honor, Leadership, and Service and Speaking Center/SI Program.

Admission is free

 Virginia First Congressional District Candidates Debate

The University of Mary Washington will host a debate between Republican incumbent Rep. Rob Wittman, Democratic candidate Adam Cook, and Independent candidate Gail Parker, candidates for the First Congressional District in Virginia. Prof. Stephen Farnsworth (Political Science), will moderate the program. For more information, contact Stephen Farnsworth at sfarnswo@umw.edu.

Date: Monday, October 29, 2012

Time and Place: 7:30-9:00pm, Dodd Auditorium

Sponsored by the Legislation Action Committee of UMW’s Student Government Association; the UMW chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the political science scholastic honorary society; the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce, The Free Lance-Star and University of Mary Washington Center of Leadership and Media Studies, Speaking Center, Writing Center, Center for Teaching Excellence & Innovation, Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies, Center for Honor, Leadership, and Service, and UMW Libraries.

Up to Us – A Documentary Film from OUR TIME & Generation18

UMW’s Center for Honor, Leadership, & Service, the Center for Teaching Excellence and Innovation and Comcast Cable are proud to present a debut screening of the documentary film, Up to Us.  The film shows an optimistic, non-partisan solution for young America’s economic future, one that envisions an expansion of national service to grow economic opportunity.  Following the film will be a panel discussion with the filmmakers about ways that college-age Americans can make a difference in their country and communities.

Date: November 1, 2012

Time and Place: 7:30-9:30pm, Monroe 116

 Sponsored by the Center for Honor, Leadership, and Service, the Center for Teaching Excellence & Innovation and the Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies.

Admission is free, but seating is limited.

Open Dialogue Panel – “Domain of One’s Own”

Join the Center for Teaching Excellence and Innovation and the Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies for the inaugural kick-off Open Dialogue Panel Series designed to explore emergent issues, topics and themes related to teaching and learning.

Featured Speakers: Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies and UMW Faculty Involved in the Pilot

 Date: November 7, 2012

Time and Place: 4:00-5:30pm, Red Room

Sponsored by the Center for Teaching Excellence & Innovation, and Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies.


Appendix B

Some Additional UMW Programs that Incorporate Civic Education

Honors Program.     As appropriate to a small liberal arts university with strong traditions of individualized attention, honor, and strong community connections, the Honors Program at the University of Mary Washington will enhance students’ intellectual growth by engaging them in rigorous honors designated coursework, interdisciplinary seminars, strong internship experiences, extended research and creative projects, and community service that develops a community of learners. The program will seek students whose performance and intellectual abilities demonstrate that they have the range of talents and skills to thrive in diverse communities.

 Living and Learning Community – VISION!

What is “VISION!?”     Throughout history one thing has set great leaders apart from the rest, VISION!  Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream for equality, Ghandi lead a movement for independence, JFK sent us to the moon.  Leadership is both art and science; leaders are not born, but rather molded by their experiences.  Members of the VISION! living and learning community will participate in interactive programs, workshops, team building exercises, and projects designed to help them mold their individual leadership skills and create their unique VISION!

Debate Program.     A co-curricular activity that supports the College’s mission of providing undergraduates with a broad liberal education as preparation for citizenship and career. As an educational enterprise, debate has been central to the pursuit of excellence in liberal learning for more than twenty-five hundred years. A debate education hones the skills of civic engagement and democratic participation, by enhancing communication skills, generating critical thought and reflection on the significant public issues of the day, and promoting in-depth study and rigorous research on a wide variety of complex subjects. The Debate Program at UMW provides undergraduate students with an opportunity to enhance their educational experience by participating in a wide variety of debating activities including intercollegiate debate competitions and public debate exhibitions.

University of Mary Washington senior Charles S. Reed Jr. is the sole Virginia student—and one of only 40 U.S. college students—chosen through a nationwide competition to retrace the historic route of the original 1961 Freedom Rides that challenged segregated bus travel in the South.  http://www.umw.edu/news/2011/04/07/umw-senior-only-virginia-student-selected-for-2011-freedom-ride/

Division of Student Affairs mission is to create an out-of-class learning experience for student that complements the academic program by integrating educational and entertainment components.  Experiential program is build upon three pillars:

  •  To provide experiential opportunities for students to develop, learn or improve upon leadership skills. (Experience-based leadership opportunities are essential in the promotion of student self- governance and post-graduate success in the global market place.)
  • To provide experiential opportunities for students to develop, learn or improve upon citizenship and   interpersonal skills.  (Experience-based opportunities that promote development of citizenship and interpersonal skills are essential for responsible civic participation.)

To provide experiential opportunities for students to develop, learn or improve upon wellness-related skills.  (Experience-based opportunities that promote development of wellness and self-care skills are essential to maintaining health across the lifespan.)

 Peace Corps Involvement.  Mary Washington has been named to the Peace Corps list of 25 top producing small schools for the ninth consecutive year. In 2011, the university placed No. 1 among small schools or institutions with less than 5,000 undergraduates, with 32 alumni serving in the Peace Corps. In 2010, UMW ranked No. 2 in the same category, with 23 alumni volunteering for the Peace Corps.

http://www.umw.edu/news/2012/01/20/peace-corps-again-ranks-umw-first-in-nation-among-top-producing-small-colleges/

History and American Studies http://cas.umw.edu/historyamericanstudies/2012/05/19/ella-baker-internship-program-2012/

The Ella Baker Interns Program will accept and train about fifty young community organizers who will work and learn from June 1st until at least August 15th. Applications are due by May 23, 2012. Early applications are encouraged. Late applications may be considered but only if slots and funding are still available.

Ella Baker Interns will attend seminars with some of the best scholars, leaders, activists, and artists in North Carolina while they register voters, mobilize volunteers, organize events, make friends, develop skills, establish credentials, and document their own experiences.

The executive director of the Ella Baker Interns Program is Jennifer Dixon-McKnight, currently a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The faculty includes Dr. Timothy B. Tyson, Senior Research Scholar at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University and a historian of the African American freedom movement in North Carolina. Questions should be directed to her at ojdixon@gmail.com and copied to Dr. Tyson at timothy.tyson@duke.edu.

The Ella Baker Interns experience offers:
• Community organizing work to increase registration and turnout and change the course of the region’s history.
• Seminars on North Carolina history; community economic development; African American and Southern religious, cultural and political traditions.
• Long hours, hard work, new friends and personal growth.

Sorensen Institute Program http://eagleeye.umw.edu/2012/04/25/three-students-selected-for-sorensen-institute-program/ University of Mary Washington students’ Brendan Oudekerk, Meghan Hobbs and Sean Simons are among 18 college and university students selected for the summer 2012 College Leaders Program at the Sorensen Institute of Political Leadership. Hobbs and Oudekerk are senior international affairs and political science and economics and political science majors, respectively, and Simons is a junior political science and political communication major.

The College Leaders Program (CLP) gives students the practical skills and political knowledge to become effective advocates in government and business. CLP curriculum is focused on energizing youth leaders, promoting civic engagement and preparing future leaders to be ethical and responsible citizens in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The four-week course is held over the summer on the University of Virginia grounds.

The Sorensen Institute was founded as the Virginia Institute of Political Leadership in 1993 in hopes it would identify and bring together Virginia’s emerging political leaders. More than 1,200 Virginian students have graduated from the Institute.

 

Appendix C

UMW Mission Statement (adopted November, 2010)

 The University of Mary Washington is one of Virginia’s outstanding public liberal arts universities, providing a superior education that inspires and enables our students to make positive changes in the world. The University is a place where faculty, students, and staff share in the creation and exploration of knowledge through freedom of inquiry, personal responsibility, and service. UMW regards the provision of high-quality instruction as its most important function.  The University offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs focusing on both disciplinary and interdisciplinary studies.  These academic programs afford students opportunities to integrate and apply their knowledge within broad educational experiences, to develop their professional interests, and to practice the habits of mind necessary for life-long learning.  Through a professionally engaged faculty, the University supports ongoing research appropriate to the development of student abilities and faculty interests.  It especially encourages the participation of undergraduates in research. http://www.umw.edu/about/mission/

Freedom of inquiry, personal responsibility, service, and high quality instruction are at the heart of UMW’s mission to promote life-long learning (psychosocial well-being) and civic engagement (civic engagement and development, and engaged learning) through a liberal arts education.  Our civic mission rests upon the core liberal arts values to support an informed and engaged citizenry who can make a positive difference in the world. Citizens, who are informed and thoughtful, participate in their communities (local, national, internationally), act politically and enact moral and civic virtues.