Colloquium Follow-Up

Virtual Forum
This Virtual Forum (hosted on the blogging site WordPress) is an online venue for conversation and idea sharing around the issues and topics catalyzed by the Colloquium and other aspects of the “Future of Engagement” project.

White Paper
The “Democratic Engagement White Paper” captures the substance of the meeting at the Kettering Foundation and provides analysis of the themes and strategies discussed during the meeting.

Book Project
An edited volume with chapters written by participants at the Kettering Foundation meeting will be published in 2009 (see this site for more information about the book project).

Connecting the Forum to Student Engagement
John Saltmarsh and Nick Longo are exploring connections between the outcomes of the meeting and forum and a national symposium on Leadership Education and the Revitalization of Public Life, an invitation-only conversation on the role of colleges and universities in developing student leadership through civic engagement. The symposium is co-sponsored by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), the Harry T. Wilks Leadership Institute at Miami University, Illinois Campus Compact, and Public Allies. The conference is being supported with funding from the McCormick Tribune Foundation. The symposium will be held at and hosted by Miami University in Ohio from May 28 – May 30, 2008.

UMass Boston – Higher Education Administration Doctoral Program
John Saltmarsh and Dwight Giles, both faculty in the program and participants at the Kettering meeting, will host a conversation involving graduate students that explores the outcomes form the Kettering Foundation meeting and the implications for civic engagement in higher education.


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One Response to “Colloquium Follow-Up”

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Hopefully, some of the people involved in this project have recognized that the Facebook phenomenon has evolved beyond the college campus. Now it is being used in all manner of social-networking.

As such, people with a similar interest can gather themselves together, and share information so, collectively, they are smarter than any one.

So, if things seem a bit “stalled” with academia’s take on the future of civic engagement, perhaps it is because they have yet to recognize that they are still stuck in the silo of the academic mind-set where all necessary knowledge need only come from within.

In other words, the rest of the world is discovering new ways to engage the public, but you guys are holding academic colloqiums (by-invitation-only)and thinking deep thoughts amongst yourselves, and then writing white papers and books about your deep thoughts.

Now, I do believe that brainstorming in private is great, but at some point the thinking can become incestuous if innovative ideas are not proposed to interested people outside of the ivory tower.

However, a few of the academics do already understand this, as evidenced by the creation of the Virtual Forum and also this blog for commenting by people who are interested in this topic but (gasp) who do not have academic “credentials” for face-to-face meetings.

Email and blogs still have value, but social-networking allows “peer-to-peer” sharing and review of ideas *without* high standards for entrance. (Even commenting on this blog first required me to sign up for an account at WordPress.)

If you want a good example of how even government bureuacrats are using social-networking to reach out to their peers in other agencys, then go check out

If government bureaucrats from low-risk cultures can learn to colloborate by breaking out of their silos, then academics can do it, too. (Especially when the subject is how to engage people in public collaboration!)

If anyone wants to brainstorm with me and others about how to set up something similar, then please feel free to contact me through my blog (no sign-up needed) at

Thank you for this opportunity to comment, and for your attention.

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