National boards and initiatives

Below are brief descriptions of my service on several national boards and initiatives, largely focused on strengthening civic engagement and undergraduate education.  They have provided context and support for my own work with the Arts of Citizenship Program (University of Michigan), the Harward Center for Community Partnerships (Bates College), and the New School for Public Engagement (The New School).  They have also offered welcome opportunities to speak and write about educational change and the public mission of higher education.

My vita contains a full listing of my national service and leadership work.

Imagining America: Artists and scholars in public life

Imagining America (IA) is a national consortium of nearly one hundred academic institutions and cultural organizations, dedicated to the public role of the arts, humanities, and design.  It is the leading voice in higher education for civic engagement in the cultural and creative disciplines and a leading advocate for the value of public scholarship and cultural partnerships.  IA's annual meeting is an indispensable gathering artists, scholars, and cultural practitioners concerned with these issues.

Imagining America began at the University of Michigan in 1999.  Its founder, Professor Julie Ellison, was a crucial ally of my Arts of Citizenship Program, and I've been an active supporter of the IA consortium.  I served as a member of the National Advisory Board in 1999-2008 and as Chair from 2005 to 2008, during which time Julie and I guided IA's relocation to Syracuse University.  I returned to the board in 2014 to lead the Transition Working Group that oversaw IA's move to the University of California, Davis ten years later.

Imagining America has been a welcome platform for several writing projects.  My essay, "Civic Engagement and the Copernican Moment," was given as a keynote at the 2011 meeting (see left) and published as a pamphlet in IA's Foreseeable Futures series.  My article, "The Invitation," came out in Public, its digital journal of public scholarship.

Bringing Theory To Practice

Bringing Theory to Practice is a national initiative dedicated to educational innovation that advances (and weaves together) students' academic, civic, and personal development.  Since its start in 2003, it has given grants to more than three hundred institutions in support of four "guiding purposes" of undergraduate education: engaged learning and discovery, civic development, personal well-being, and preparation for meaningful work and life.  It supports research, conferences, and publications through which a diverse community of scholars, practitioners, and students explore these issues and the academy's effectiveness in pursuing them.

Bringing Theory To Practice is unique in its melding of experimental practice, collective reflection, and a fierce commitment to the core traditions of undergraduate education.  I've been lucky to serve co-founders Don Harward and Sally Engelhard Pingree as an advisor, to take part in many of its projects and conferences (see interview at right), and to contribute to its publications.  My essay, "A Copernican Moment," was published in the collection Transforming Undergraduate Education.  A shorter version of the argument--"Why Now? Because This Is a Copernican Moment"--appeared in the first monograph of its Civic Series.  And its important volume, Well-Being and Higher Education, included my essay on nontraditional undergraduates,

As described in Current Work, I succeeded Don Harward as Director of Bringing Theory To Practice in summer of 2018.

Crucible Moment title page.jpg

Project Pericles

Project Pericles was founded in 2001 by the late educational philanthropist Eugene Lang to strengthen citizenship education in liberal education.  A consortium of over thirty institutions, it's led the way in fostering civic engagement curricula and democratic deliberation on liberal-arts campuses.  I'm a member of the National Advisory Board, and served as Bates College' Program Director when it joined the consortium in 2008.

National Task Force On Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement

In 2010, the U.S. Department of Education invited the Association of American Colleges and Universities to convene a task force to assess the state of education for democracy in higher education and issue a call to action for strengthening civic and democratic learning.  Led by AACU Vice-President Caryn McTighe Musil, the task force held stakeholder meetings in 2011 and helped Caryn draft the final report, issued at a White House conference in January, 2012.  A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy's Future represented the culmination of a quarter-century of activism for civic engagement in higher education.  I think that it offers the most significant argument for the importance of civic and democratic learning to American higher education since the Truman Commission in 1947.  I was honored to be a member of the National Task Force.


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