Democratic Engagement White Paper

Posted on February 12, 2009. Filed under: 1 |

The “Democratic Engagement White Paper” is intended to capture the cumulative “learnings” from the meeting held at the Kettering Foundation on February 26-27, 2008 on Higher Education and the Future of Engagement.

You are invited to provide responses to the “Democratic Engagement White Paper” through the blog feature on the site. (Simply use the comment box at the bottom of this page.)  Our goal is to use the meeting at Kettering and this document to continue the discussion on higher education and the future of civic engagement.

In addition to participating in this discussion through this site, we invite you to participate in a Learning Exchange at the summer conference of The Democracy Imperative – No Better Time: Promising Opportunities in Deliberative Democracy for Educators and Practitioners, July 8 – July 11, 2009, at The University of New Hampshire, Durham, N.H. Anyone interested in a discussion of Higher Education and the Future of Civic Engagement catalyzed by the White Paper is invited. You can go to The Democracy Imperative conference website www.unh.edu/democracy/conference2009/ and sign up for the Higher Education and the Future of Democratic Civic Engagement Learning Exchange.

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Posted on May 28, 2008. Filed under: 1 |

Welcome to the “Future of Engagement” website, a forum for leaders in higher education to discuss the challenges to and opportunities for advancing community engagement and democratic citizenship in American colleges and universities.


At a time when there is a sense of drift and fragmentation in the movement to promote community engagement and the formation of democratic citizenship as key institutional priorities for American colleges and universities, the New England Resource Center for Higher Education (NERCHE) and the Kettering Foundation have sponsored two forums to promote discussion about the challenges to and opportunities for advancing this important work.


The first component of this project was an Invitational Colloquium involving a representative and diverse group of 33 academic and community leaders. The Colloquium took place at the Kettering Foundation in Dayton, Ohio, February 26-27, 2008. The group met to identify problems and issues associated with reforming higher education for community engagement and democratic citizenship and to suggest ways for cultivating the next generation of engaged scholars in American higher education. The dialogue was catalyzed in part through the discussion of recent research, including the 2007 book by Lee Benson, Ira Harkavy, and John Puckett, Dewey’s Dream: Universities and Democracies in an Age of Education Reform, as well as forthcoming publications by the Kettering Foundation, including Agent of Democracy: Higher Education and the HEX Journey and Deliberation and the Work of Higher Education.


We also recognize that countless individuals have played leadership roles, both nationally and on their campuses, over the past two decades.  For this wider group of leaders and thinkers, we have established this web blog, the project’s second component, which is an expanded version of a Virtual Forum established in late January. 


This project is possible due to support from the Kettering Foundation, the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, and the Netter Center for Community Partnerships at the University of Pennsylvania and is part of NERCHE’s 20th-anniversary year events.

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    A forum for exploring community engagement and democratic citizenship in higher education


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