Institutionalization of American Democracy Project


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Presented by Larry Gould, Provost
Philadelphia, June 2007

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Institutionalization of American Democracy Project

  1. 1. The American Democracy Project (ADP) at Fort Hays State University (FHSU): Emergence, Evolution and Institutionalization Larry Gould Chapman Rackaway Mark Colwell“Developing Informed and Engaged Citizens,” The Annual Meeting of the ADP, June 7-9, Philadelphia, PA, American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU)
  2. 2. Stage One: Gaining Commitment, Making Decisions about Leadership and Developing a Sense of Need• Commitment from the President, Provost’s Council, Faculty Senate, Student Government and Classified Senate (a reminder about one of the most important purposes of a state comprehensive university)• Looking for Level 5 Leadership: Getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off and the right people in the key seats BEFORE deciding direction and outcomes* (do you have the fire in the belly?)• Confront the brutal facts: Developing a sense of need with a campus audit, identifying existing agents and structure, resources and “pockets of greatness”• Avoid obsessing on your constraints/instead, focus on the need
  3. 3. Stage Two: Create a Guiding Coalition• Established a Coordinating Entity: The ADP Vision Team (positioning for symbolic politics)• Established the Position of ADP Coordinator reporting to the Office of the Provost• Developed ADP Champions, Partnerships and a Sense of Ownership with On- and Off-campus Stakeholders (e.g. Departments of Leadership Studies, Political Science, English and so on, service learning committee, Center for Civic Leadership, Docking Institute of Public Affairs, University Relations, general education committee, Tigers in Service, Kansas Youth Leadership Academy, and so on.
  4. 4. Stage Three: Vision and Strategy• The Vision: An institution where civic education would be “routine, widespread, legitimized, expected, supported, permanent and resilient” (embedding ADP into the DNA of FHSU)• The Strategy: At FHSU, ADP became its own strategy. It has become an integrative strategy for teaching and learning about civic responsibility, reasoning, problem solving, critical inquiry, information literacy and the implications and imperatives of digital democracy.• ADP also has an “internal” deployment table of goals, strategies and responsibilities to drive its activities and initiatives
  5. 5. Stage Three: Vision and Strategy (continued)• The idea of the FHSU ADP initiative was to move from “project” and “program” defined as a set of activities, events, and an ideology to a “tool for intentionality and integration” (to move from nominal and marginalized initiatives to an essential component of a coherent and comprehensive teaching and learning process)• Equally important, we have intentionally defined competence at FHSU as something that goes beyond voluntarism, participation and service learning to what Harry C. Boyte calls “everyday politics” whereby students are urged to co-creators of democracy while developing an appreciation for the productivity of politics (permits use of shared governance mechanisms as a learning environment)
  6. 6. Stage Four: Communicating and Using the ADP Vision• The task has been to communicate that in many ways, FHSU’s ADP program goes beyond the institution’s civic competencies goal by facilitating the realization of other goals, e.g. institutional outreach, knowledge about America’s and Kansas’ engagement in international affairs, interdisciplinary education, faculty enhancement, a sensitivity to living in a more diverse society, an appreciation for racial tolerance and community development
  7. 7. Communicating and Using the ADP Vision (continued)• The idea has been to “customize” from specific ADP initiatives to servicing of larger institutional intentionalities, goals and purposes (e.g. use of “organizational alignment” and integration with the Kansas Board of Regents Performance Agreements, the HLC’s Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP), the FHSU Strategic Plan and making it a part of department/program initiatives such as the Year of the Department (YOTD is a 12-18 month academic audit of learning outcomes))• ADP Web Site• ADP Events Calendar• ADP Videos• ADP Newsletter• ADP Brochure• ADP Weblog Forum
  8. 8. Stage Five: Empowering Participants• Money (internal financing of the “flywheel” is essential/external sources are the supplement)• Shaping Belief Systems: rewards and incentives for tenure, promotion and merit, inclusion of student government and organizations, presenting leadership challenges and generating interest across campus by including FHSU’s other two divisions
  9. 9. Stage Six: Generate Early Progress Wins• Examples of Early Progress Wins: Times Talk, readership program, service learning approaches, voter registration/education drives, service projects, e.g. make a difference day, national youth service day, Tigers in service in the community, speaker series and forums, and many, many more• General Education course review• Year of the Department: Going Where Faculty Live
  10. 10. Stage Seven: Using Gains to Institutionalize and Advance ADP• Combine “hard” tactics with “soft” tactics• Continue to develop and support special tactical and continuing activities to link to new participants and interested parties such as Times Talk/NYTimes readership program with Department of Philosophy Hays Public Library colloquium on controversial issues, Political Science certificate program in Civic Leadership with university pledge, Seven Revolutions with First Year Experience, student programming with Habitat for Humanity and so on.
  11. 11. Stage Eight: Anchor ADP Spin-offs and Gains in the Institutional Culture• Add value and enhance the quality of institutional efforts through ADP assessment-generated improvements (NSSE), direct and indirect measures of learning and expansion of community outreach• Use ADP as foundation for discussion of “second generation” issues and initiatives, e.g. broadening the use of what is defined as scholarship, creativity contracts for faculty, academic citizen of the year award, provost’s service learning fellows, inclusion of international students, etc.
  12. 12. The End• Thanks• Questions?• Presentation available at or
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