Civic Engagement Institute

Launched in 2007, the Civic Engagement Institute deeply explores one civic engagement topic during a day-long gathering. Only campuses that are part of the NC Campus Compact network may attend. Participants from each campus typically include an interdisciplinary team of faculty, staff, administrators, and community partners who share a particular interest or expertise in the selected topic. Starting in 2018 the event changed from annual to biennial (on even-dated years). 

2020 Civic Engagement Institute
February 11, 2020 at Elon University
“Engagement 2.0: Civics, Civility, and Civil Discourse”

Registration closed on January 24. If you  have any questions regarding registration please contact nccc {at} elon(.)edu .


8:00 a.m.                       Check-in and continental breakfast

9:00 a.m.                        Opening Session

10:00 a.m.                     Immersion Workshops

12:30 p.m.                     Lunch

1:30 p.m.                      Immersion Workshops

4:00 p.m.                     Afternoon Break

4:15 p.m.                     Team Planning and reports

4:50 p.m.                      Closing Remarks & Resource Giveaway

A copy of the CEI 2020 Program Booklet is available for review. We will provide a hard copy to all registered participants, so no need to print.

Keynote Speaker

Clark D. Olson is a professor in the Hugh Downs School of Human  Communication at Arizona State University where he has taught for 35 years. He incorporates Civil Dialogue into his argumentation and public speaking classes and has presented Civil Dialogue at conferences nationwide and is a co-author of the book Hot Topics, Cool Heads: A Handbook for Civil Dialogue published in 2018. For 15 years he was the Director of Forensics at ASU, where he coached a nationally successful debate team. From that experience, he articulated the value of Civil Dialogue as distinct from debate, acknowledging a wide variety of opinions instead of arguing polar opposites. He is a founding director of the Institute for Civil Dialogue and currently serves as its president. Clark has published over 40 articles and book chapters and was recognized with the Golden Monograph award in 2005 from the National Communication Association for the best article in the discipline of communication and just last November was recognized for a second time winning the same award for the best article in 2018.

Driving, Parking, and Walking Instructions

Parking is in the McMichael Science Center parking lot – east side only. Please print the temporary parking permit for display in your car once you arrive. If you are also participating in the PACE Conference on the 12th, it is valid for both days.

The parking lot is directly to the right of #9 on the map. Download the campus map here. GPS: 314 N. O’Kelly Avenue, Elon, NC. The Institute will begin in McKinnon Hall in the Moseley Center #30 on the map.

The Moseley Center is across the street from the parking lot. (#30 on the attached map) It is between the Belk Library and the Inman Admissions & Welcome Center. Walking instructions are included in the attachment. Please note that the walk from the parking lot is about 5 minutes.


  “Democracy is not merely a form of government. It is primarily a mode of associated living, of conjoint communicated experience. It is essentially an attitude of respect and reverence towards fellow men. “
R. Ambedkar, Indian social reformer

 By most accounts, polarization and mistrust are threatening our democracy.  A June 2019 Pew Research poll found that a large majority of respondents (85%) believe the tone and nature of political debate in the United States has become more negative in recent years – as well as less respectful, less fact-based and less substantive.  Another study by the group More in Common, in partnership with YouGov, which released their findings the same month, explored perceptions that Americans hold of opposing political views. One striking finding is that Democrats and Republicans believe that almost twice as many people on the other side hold extreme views than really do.  A 2016 USC study found that political polarization was at its worst since the Civil War. One can only imagine what the data would show three years later.  Finally, a 2016 study published in the Annals of American Association of Geographers found that the political divide extends to geography. It appears that Americans are increasingly sorting themselves or “self-segregating” based on politics. One summary of the study put it this way “one the one hand, like-minded people cluster together or with other like-minded people, and on the other, such clustering together makes people more like-minded. Read or download the full overview.

Role of the Team Leader 

  • Assemble a team (up to 7 individuals per institution)
  • Facilitate team registration
  • Disseminate pre-Institute materials/readings
  • Convene team in advance of the Institute to discuss campus goals for the event
  • Convene the team after the Institute to debrief learning and continue the conversation


You should have received information about pre-work from your campus team leader.  We provided three pre-readings from the recent Higher Education Exchange published by the Kettering Foundation in October 2019. While the entire issue, which is dedicated to Leadership and Democracy, is insightful and compelling, we offered just a few to spark conversations in advance of the event.

Derek W. M. Barker and Alex Lovit

An Interview with Katrina S. Rogers and Keith Melville

David Mathews

Featured Methods


Contact Leslie Garvin, Executive Director.

Past Institutes

2019 — The Institute was on hiatus as we shift to a biennial event. 

2018 — Education for Democracy: Promoting Civility and Problem Solving through Deliberative Pedagogy

Held at Elon University. Speakers: Dr. Timothy Shaffer, Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies and Assistant Director of the Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy at Kansas State University; and Dr. Nicholas Longo, chair of Public and Community Service Studies and professor of Global Studies, Providence College, co-authors of “Deliberative Pedagogy: Teaching and Learning for Democratic Engagement” (July 2017, MSU Press).

2017 — Social Innovation and Community Engagement in Higher Education: Sharing Lessons, Cultivating Collaborations

Held in partnership with Duke University. Featured Speaker: Dr. David Scobey, University of Michigan. Click here for highlights.

2016 — Democratic Education: 100 Years Beyond Dewey

Held at High Point Univeristy. Speakers: Dr. Edward Zlotkowski, Professor Emeritus of English and Media Studies, Bentley University; Dr. Steve Dubb, Director of Special Projects and Senior Advisor to the President, The Democracy Collaborative. Click here for highlights.

2015 — A Common Agenda for Collective Impact: Campus, Community, Compact

The 2015 Civic Engagement Institute was cancelled due to inclement weather. The event was replaced by a 7-part “Collective Impact Webinar Series.” Learn more about the series at the 2015 Civic Engagement Institute website.

2014 — Anchoring Community Vitality: Linking Campus Community Engagement and Economic Development

Held at UNC Wilmington. Featured Speaker: Dr. Richard Guarasci, Wagner College. Click here for highlights. Click here for the 2014 CEI Follow-Up Recommendations.

2013 — Becoming Citizens, Becoming Community

Held at Elon University. Featured Speakers: Dr. Peter Levine, Tufts University/ CIRCLE; Dr. Judith Ramaley, Portland State University. Click here for highlights.

2012 — Intensifying Impact:  Engagement Matters

Held at UNC Chapel Hill. To celebrate our Compact’s 10th anniversary, the Institute and PACE Conference were combined to a single event. Featured Speakers: Dr. Caryn McTighe Musil, AAC&U; Chancellor Nancy Cantor, Syracuse University; President Mark Gearan, Hobart and William Smith Colleges;
Chancellor Philip Dubois, UNC Charlotte; President Carol Quillen, Davidson College; President R. Scott Ralls, NC Community College System

2011 — A Deep Commitment to Our Communities: Anchor Institutions, Engagement and Collaboration

Held at Elon University. Featured Speakers: Dr. Cathy Burack, Brandeis University; Hillary Kane, PHENND; Dr. David Maurrasse, Marga Incorporated

2010 — Civic Engagement Through Social Entrepreneurship

Dr. Brett Smith, Miami University; Al Delia, Senior Advisor to NC Governor Bev Perdue; Dan Gerlach, President of the Golden Leaf Foundation; Judith Cone, UNC Chapel Hill, Special Assistant to the Chancellor for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

2009 — Next Generation Success: Retention and Civic Engagement

Featured Speakers: Dr. James H. Johnson,William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship and Director of the Urban Investment Strategies Center, UNC Chapel Hill; Wayne Meisel, President of the Corella and Bertram F. Bonner Foundation; Robyn Hadley, Executive Director of “What’s After High School?”

2008 — Community Partners as Co-Educators

Featured Speakers: Dr. Kenneth Reardon, Cornell University; Dr. Tania Mitchell, Stanford University

2007 — Developing and Expanding International Service-Learning on Your Campus

Featured Speakers: Dr. Barbara Holland, Director of the National Service-Learning Clearinghouse; Dr. Richard Kiely, Cornell University; Dr. Maureen Porter, University of Pittsburgh; Dr. Kalyan Ray, International Partnership for Service-Learning and Leadership; Dr. Humphrey Tonkin, University Professor of the Humanities and President Emeritus of the University of Hartford