Virtual Forum

NERCHE issued an invitation in mid-January for participation in a “virtual forum” that took place beginning January 22, 2008.  Input from the virtual forum helped inform the in-person Invitational Colloquium held at the Kettering Foundation on February 26-27.

From January through April, 49 individuals registered on the Virtual Forum website.  Many more visited the site (as “guests”). Twelve individuals posted entries to the site, three on multiple occasions. The topics on the sight were viewed a total of 1,413 times.

Critical issues and significant feedback was shared through the virtual forum. Below is a summary of the feedback:

  1. Keep the discussion grounded in practice.
  2. Name the “it” – many different terms are being used to name the civic work of higher education but it is not clear that there is alignment across frameworks and approaches. 
  3. The state of the movement is an open question. In some quarters it is alive and well in the vibrant and varied practices of faculty in range of disciplines and in the work of certain initiatives. What’s important is how we can support and cultivate such work.
  4. We need to stay attuned to student voices and their motivation in shaping and advancing civic engagement in communities and on campus.
  5. What is needed from this meeting is not any great declaration or manifesto, but strategies for continuing to create space like the space here for deep exploration and improvement of the civic engagement work underway. 
  6.  We need to make explicit ways to change and perhaps even confront the academic cultures of our institutions. As George Mehaffy noted, “essentially this is a set of questions about the culture of higher education, about what is honored, rewarded, and recognized as legitimate work….and how to get the civic engagement agenda made more prominent among the many competing priorities of the academy.”
  7. It is vitally important that we stay focused on strategies, solutions, and priorities – What is to be done?

To view the content of the former Virtual Forum, click here.  This content and will continue to be used on this blog site to catalyze discussion.


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


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