Democracy, future of service-learning, Governor’s visit highlight annual network events
On February 9 & 10, the Civic Engagement Institute, PACE Conference, and NC Presidents Forum brought nearly 400 faculty, staff, students, community partners, and campus leaders to High Point University for sessions on democratic education, the future of service-learning, and the state of higher education in North Carolina.
The 6th annual NC Campus Compact Presidents Forum on February 10 welcomed 30 college and university presidents and chancellors, along with 20 other top campus administrators. The Forum agenda included presentations by national experts on higher education engagement, a panel of NC Presidents, and a conversation with NC Governor Pat McCrory.
Gene Chasin, chief operating officer of the national non-profit Say Yes to Education, shared his perspective on the group’s new partnership with Guilford County Schools to provide last-dollar funding for public school graduates attending college in NC. Steve Dubb, director of special projects at the Democracy Collaborative, shared his research on the role of anchor institutions. A trio of leaders – ECU Chancellor Steve Ballard, Wake Tech President Stephen Scott, and Warren Wilson College President Steven Solnick – discussed their experience institutionalizing and expanding civic and community engagement at their respective campuses.
In a conversation and Q&A moderated by High Point University President Nido Qubein, Governor McCrory discussed the crucial role higher education plays in NC’s future, as well as top priorities for the state. View photos of the conversation here.
Also on February 10, the 19th annual PACE Conference (Pathways to Achieving Civic Engagement) drew over 200 participants from 40 institutions in 9 different states to discuss the “Future of Service-Learning and Community Engagement.” The conference featured 25 workshops delivered by faculty and staff from across the region, as well as opening and closing sessions delivered by the Future Directions team, a group of scholars including Dr. Edward Zlotkowski, Dr. Patti Clayton, and Dr. Sarah Stanlick. This group is taking stock of the service-learning field now 20 years after the publication of Zlotkowski’s influential 1995 article “The Future of Service-Learning.”
The PACE Conference began with a welcome from NC Campus Compact executive director Leslie Garvin, who
celebrated the network’s civic and community engagement accomplishments. Dr. Qubein, chair of the Compact’s executive board, then presented the network’s annual Engagement Awards, recognizing a faculty member, staff members, and a campus president for outstanding civic engagement leadership and practice.
The first of the three events, the Civic Engagement Institute, took place on February 9 and explored the theme of “Democratic Education: 100 Years Beyond Dewey.” The “members-only” event – designed for interdisciplinary teams from NC Campus Compact member schools – considered how higher education could foster democratic practice – through students’ engaged learning, faculty practice in the classroom, institutional governance, and in the broader community. The centennial of John Dewey’s Democracy and Education (1916) marked a chance to re-consider how education must develop citizens, not just train workers.
Zlotkowski keynoted the event, situating our present moment in a historical context and posing essential questions about whether higher education can expand democracy when the system has become so closely linked with inequality. Citing data on rising tuition, wage stagnation, student debt, retention and other factors, Zlotkowski declared: “The numbers tell the story of a higher education system that mirrors the stratification of society.”
Within this urgent context, a slate of workshops and panel discussions yielded a day of rich discussion. Learn more about the 2016 Institute program and sessions here.
In 2017, NC Campus Compact will not host the PACE Conference or the Civic Engagement Institute. Instead, our Compact will be a partner in bringing the Gulf South Summit to North Carolina. The regional event – one of the foremost conferences on service-learning and civic engagement – will be hosted in Greensboro, NC by UNC Greensboro on March 22-25, 2017.