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Capacity-based approaches to civic engagement for colleges and universities
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Capacity-based approaches to civic engagement for colleges and universities


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  • Who am I? ICE BREAKER Small Groups - three things in common, not professional What happened? Energy level? Leadership emerge? When people share personal information in community energy is created Energy can be directed - directed to create power Common goal Shared personally Required to connect Required to contribute Or clockwise draw “6”
  • Many ways to engage with other community members to create positive change
  • Soup kitchen story How do we engage in campus/community partnerships that begin to get beyond maintenance and actually transform the community at its core? It is rare to find great inspiration in a TV commercial for a financial services or insurance company, but a recent Met Life ad focused on talking about financial planning not as establishing a “safety net” but rather as creating a “launching pad”. That is how we should think about campus-community partnerships. SO MANY of our opportunities for civic engagement fit in the “safety net” category rather than the launching pad category.
  • Theoretical framework McKnight/Kretzmann - What worked? Why? This is the core of ABCD. ABCD is not a “program” or a “system” -- it is simply work that necessarily contains these core elements. df “community” dorm, dept., campus, neighborhood, region df “development” to make better
  • Glass half-full: Not blindly optimistic (Pollyannaish), but rather an organizing strategy Break into groups -- List room’s ASSETS and DEFICITS on flipcharts Gifts of the Head - things I know something about and would enjoy talking about with others - art, history, movies, birds, organization Gifts of the Hands - things or skills I know how to do and would like to share with others - carpentry, sports, gardening, writing Gifts of the Heart - things I care deeply about - protecting the environment, children, civic life Stranger walks into the room - who are these people? Which list is more true? How do we choose to interact with people in civil society? Except the poor and most marginalized Everything that has ever been accomplished, has been done by deficient people who mobilized their capacities and ignored their deficits.
  • In general, what is the difference between the traditional (deficit) approach and a capacity-based approach?
  • 3 general categories of assets to be mobilized Assets of Individuals: elderly, youth, labeled people, newcomers, EVERYONE Info gathering, strategic thinking, intuitive skills, communication . . . Assets of Associations: non-elected, non-paid groups who come together for a common purpose – clubs, church congregations, cultural groups SOCIAL ASSETS – mutual trust, reciprocity, collective identity How might a home brewing club be mobilized to address affordable housing? Assets of Institutions – public and private – schools nonprofit agencies, businesses, hospitals, city gov’t Built Assets – housing, roads, public space Financial Assets – investment capital, tax revenue, savings, consumer spending
  • 1830 - Alexis de Toqueville 25, son of a French aristocrat Coined “association” One thing would make America the greatest country on earth and the other would destroy it (associations & racism) “ Americans of all ages, all stations in life, and all types of disposition are forever forming associations. There are not only commercial and industrial associations in which all take part, but others of a thousand different types--religious, moral, serious, futile, very general and very limited, immensely large and very minute. . . . Nothing, in my view, deserves more attention than the intellectual and moral associations in America.” SOCIAL CAPITAL: The degree to which a community or society collaborates and cooperates (through such mechanisms as networks, shared trust, norms and values) to achieve mutual benefits. 1960-1990 -- Bowling up 10% -- League Bowling down 40%
  • Operate? Do? Target? Need? The reason institutions cannot care, of course, is that they cannot love.  This is no condemnation of institutions, only a matter of fact.  They can often be condemned for acting unjustly, or for being driven by policies that exploit people and treat them unfairly, but you cannot fault a corporation for not loving its clients—or perhaps its employees either.  Caring is a function of love.  To care for someone means to act in a way that fosters their good, or serves their true interests.
  • Associations are where citizenship resides. Adopt-a-highway programs are the perfect example of associations mobilized to do something that we may think is only within the sphere of institutions.
  • CCPH Principle #3 - “The partnership builds upon identified strengths & assets, but also addresses areas that need improvement” What is the only way we know how to involve people? Asset maps = capacity inventories Organizing Strategy What are your gifts? What are your concerns? Which gift do you value most? Which concern is most on your mind? Are you motivated to act on the gift? Get the answers to these questions and then tell people “WE NEED YOU”.
  • It starts with a framework for change – a model introduced to RM by Tim Brighouse. This model is helpful in two ways: it provides a list of the pre-conditions that need to be in place if change is to be successful; it works as a diagnostic too, which can help decode why a change programme isn’t working.
  • This slide explores what happens if each of the necessary pre-conditions for change is removed.
  • EVERYBODY is a potential ally. Everyone has gifts& talents and IDEAS Welcome people at the margins. Invite them to join your work.
  • Georgia Congressman and civic rights movement activist John Lewis has written that every movement needs both firecrackers and pilot lights. We need the charismatic, articulate motivators as well as the folks who are steady, constant and vigilant.
  • Two unshared Nobel Prizes – Chemistry, Peace
  • Transcript

    • 1. Capacity-Based Approaches to Civic Engagement for Colleges and Universities John Hamerlinck, Associate Director Minnesota Campus Compact [email_address]
    • 2. Civic Engagement: Individual and collective actions designed to identify and address issues of public concern
    • 3.  
    • 4.  
    • 5.
      • Asset-Based: discovers gifts & talents in the community right now
      • Internally-Focused: Relies on community’s strengths, not on outside resources
      • Relationship-Driven: Seeks to connect local people, associations and institutions
    • 6. We all have assets and deficits .
    • 7.
      • Needs Based
        • Focus on deficiencies
        • People are consumers of services
        • Residents observe as issues are being addressed
      • Asset Based
        • Focus on effectiveness
        • People are producers
        • Residents participate and are empowered
    • 8. A capacity-based approach . . .
      • reinforces core principles of social justice and equity;
      • develops respect for community and its individuals;
      • helps shift from a charity to an investment model; and
      • shifts from research-driven and funder-driven, to community-driven outcomes.
    • 9. Assets
      • Individuals
        • Everybody!
      • Associations
        • Social Assets
      • Institutions
        • Public, private, nonprofit
      • Physical Assets
        • Buildings, natural assets
      • Exchange
        • Financial transactions and other exchanges
    • 10.  
    • 11. Associations & Institutions
      • Consensus
      • Control
      • Care
      • Production
      • Citizens
      • Consumers
      • Capacities
      • Needs
    • 13. Is Democracy the Goal? Nations with Strong Institutions & Weak Associations . . .
    • 14. What can campuses do?
      • Capacity Inventories
        • What skills, gifts, talents, etc. do individuals, associations and institutions bring to the table?
      • Connect these “assets”
        • Help to identify low hanging fruit and “strange bedfellows”
      • Support an association of associations
      • Expand civic space
      • Put a community lens on every aspect of the school’s business
    • 15. Vision Skills Incentives Resources Action Plan Change = Adapted from Knoster, T. (1991) Presentation at TASH Conference, Washington DC (Adapted by Knoster from Enterprise Group Ltd.)
    • 16. Adapted from Knoster, T. (1991) Presentation at TASH Conference, Washington DC (Adapted by Knoster from Enterprise Group Ltd.) Skills Incentives Resources Action Plan Confusion = Vision Incentives Resources Action Plan Anxiety = Vision Skills Resources Action Plan Resistance = Vision Skills Incentives Action Plan Frustration = Vision Skills Incentives Resources Treadmill =
    • 17.  
    • 18.  
    • 19.  
    • 20.
      • John Hamerlinck
      • Associate Director
      • Minnesota Campus Compact
      • [email_address]
      • Phone: 651-603-5091
      • Fax: 651-603-5093
      • Web:
      • Blog:
      • Twitter: mncompact