eJournal of Public Affairs

Published by Ejournal of Public Affairs
Online ISSN: 2162-9161
These three TED Talks address global challenges, and how we (the world’s seven billion inhabitants), our national governments, and the international community can make the world a better, safer, more prosperous place. In this review, we will summarize each talk, offer a brief critique, and then synthesize some of the most salient points of each. We will review the talks in chronological order. Collier, Paul. (2008, March). The ‘Bottom Billion’ [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/paul_collier_shares_4_ways_to_help_the_bottom_billion Nye, Joseph. (2010, July). Global power shifts [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/joseph_nye_on_global_power_shifts Anholt, Simon. (2014, July). Which country does the most good for the world [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_anholt_which_country_does_the_most_good_for_the_world
The Global Engagement Initiative (formerly Seven Revolutions Project), part of the American Democracy Project at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), focuses on educating globally competent citizens at colleges and universities. AASCU partnered originally with The New York Times Company, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and 10 AASCU member campuses to create a faculty toolkit, a national online blended-learning course, an eBook, faculty development workshops, and a student guide. All of these products focus on the promise and peril inherent in the global challenges of population, resources, technology, information, economies, conflict, and governance. The evolution of the partnerships, the products produced, and the distinctive aspects of the initiative are explained in this article.
Why should students study abroad? The standard answer universities give cites three types of benefit: academic, cultural, and professional. We argue that this answer sells the value of study abroad short. Just as important as any of these benefits is the value study abroad has in promoting moral development. Drawing on key ideas of the seminal developmental psychologists Jean Piaget and Lawrence Kohlberg, we make the case that study abroad can facilitate moral development, whether one understands morality in utilitarian, Kantian, or sentimentalist terms. It does so by helping students take the perspective of those who are culturally different, inducing the cognitive disequilibrium that is crucial to growth in moral and empirical knowledge, and expanding the scope of feelings of empathy.
When playground bullies enter college, residence hall facilities can become their new “sandbox,” and gender-based discriminatory language is one way bullying can manifest itself. By the time sexual and/or physical abuse materializes, campus personnel often ask themselves what they could have done to prevent such actions. The author shares personal experience addressing this issue on both building-wide and individual student levels. In order to create real and meaningful change, collaborative partnerships are formed which break down barriers between student affairs and academic affairs. Addressing verbal abuse with intentional collaborative sanctioning, the author argues, serves as a positive form of both reactive and proactive assault education.
Universities regularly suggest that they are educating for global citizenship. Yet global citizenship is rarely defined with precision, and the process for encouraging global citizenship is often unclear. This article examines a pedagogical effort to encourage global citizenship through global service-learning (GSL) courses offered by a nonprofit/university partnership. A quantitative instrument examined students’ shifts in respect to global civic engagement and awareness. The study compared students in three categories: 1) a typical composition course on campus; 2) GSL courses without the global citizenship curriculum; and 3) GSL courses that include the global citizenship curriculum. The results suggest significant gains in global civic engagement and awareness occur only in the context of a carefully constructed, deliberate global citizenship curriculum in addition to exposure to community-driven GSL.
While civic engagement continues to be a buzzword in political science, there is still a lack of discussion about what practices work, and in what context. In particular, are there certain initiatives to engage that do particularly well at two-year colleges versus larger universities? What about colleges with diverse student populations? At the 2014 annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, seven scholar-teachers came together to discuss civic engagement at their respective institutions and to share ideas about what worked. Collectively, we represented a diverse group of institutions, including teaching and research universities as well as multi-campus community colleges. All of us, however, were focused on implementing practices that ameliorated American civic knowledge among students, faculty, staff, and universities as a whole. While some of us focused on global civic engagement and giving students the skills to succeed after graduation, others tailored projects on media literacy, public policy, humanitarian law, poverty, and citizenship.
The conservator’s dilemma is the central drama of Glenn Wharton’s The Painted King: Art, Activism, and Authenticity in Hawai’i. Grounded in professional expertise which presumes that a valued yet deteriorating object is possessed of an identifiable nature, conservators are guided by a core value to preserve objective essence through a restoration of the creator’s original expression. Success is achieved by employing the historian’s commitment to contextualized facts, a scientist’s technical skills of chemistry and engineering, and the subjective magic of the arts. Yet what if the object—in this case a 19th century sculpture of King Kamehameha I in the North Kohala district of the island of Hawai’i—has become so layered with local meaning that restoring the original appearance threatens to erase cultural heritage? Which values prevail, and who decides? This is the conflict Wharton works to resolve, and The Painted Kingdetails his efforts to balance professional ethics with the accidental activism of community purpose, illuminating a process that citizens and experts can apply to a broader range of public problems.
As members of the Campus and Community Civic Health Initiative we used National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) measures to gauge civic health on our campus. By utilizing course-embedded research project as part of a capstone class, we were able to interview student organizations, faculty, and campus offices regarding their activities in the areas covered by the indicators. Our study uncovered a strong civic campus culture but the analysis of the results seemed somewhat inconsistent with the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) results for our campus. Turning to the literature, and using our data as a case study, we argue that traditional measures of civic health need to be updated to reflect a more actualized definition utilized by young adults today.
This research examines the use of Facebook as an instructional tool in two first-year seminar courses during two consecutive years. The convergence of social media and in-class instruction throughout the semesters was examined to identify whether Facebook has positive utility in teaching and learning. The areas of convergence focused on two learning outcomes, global learning and civic awareness and engagement. In order to assess learning effectiveness and participation, student perception of the efficacy of convergence was collected using an automated response and data collection system. Additionally, pre- and post-course surveys, real-time assessment of learning goals, and a questionnaire on Facebook were used to assess Facebook utility. This research found a significant level of viability for Facebook in a first-year seminar course for students in transition. Accordingly this research offers the foundation for the use of Facebook as a pedagogical technique and how to best execute these learning opportunities. While research concerning Facebook utility appears to offer mixed assessment of value, these results are consistent with the ever-increasing evaluation that tends to offer a positive assessment of Facebook’s viability and effectiveness.
Institutions of higher learning spend considerable time linking their mission to every facet of the institution. More recently, considerable attention to sustainability has been a focus of almost every higher learning institution in the United States and many abroad. This paper is a case study exploring whether an institution with a strong, state-mandated mission in public affairs has infused sustainability into its mission or developed sustainability independent of its mission. Surveys of sustainability and public affairs curricula illustrate that curriculum based on the public affairs mission is dictated from the top, but that curriculum based on sustainability is a choice of individual faculty and academic departments. As a result, public affairs and sustainability are not linked at the curricular level. However, this case study illustrates administrative initiatives and student attitudes that indicate that a public affairs mission can move an institution “beyond sustainability.”
In 2008, Mark Bauerlein sent a shot across the bow of the Millennial generation, suggesting in The Dumbest Generation that no one in our country under the age of 30 could be trusted. Bauerlein warned that: Millennials “care about what occurred last week in the cafeteria, not what took place during the Great Depression…they heed the words of Facebook, not the Gettysburg Address.” Yet this should not be the case since the constant communication amongst their peer groups has made it so that “equipped with a Blackberry and laptop, sporting a flashy profile page and a blog…teenagers pass words and images back and forth 24/7.” In this article, I conduct a survey of Millennial college students to test their political knowledge and awareness in comparison to their understanding of pop culture. I then see how they respond to the unspoken challenge issued to them by Bauerlein.
Civic engagement depends as much on foundational skills as it does passion for citizen leadership in a democracy. As literature has found civic engagement among college students having declined significantly in the last fifty years, the reason for that decline may be skills-related instead of or in addition to motivation-related. Colleges have begun to offer civic engagement programming in their curricular and co-curricular offerings, but to what extent? To contribute to answering the skills-related portion of the civic engagement question, this article asks, “How much do higher education institutions devote to promoting the foundational skills of civic education, specifically media literacy? “ Using a survey of American Democracy Project institutions, the author finds that media literacy education at member schools is at a nascent stage, much as service learning was in the 1990’s. Most media literacy is embedded in other curricula and not expressed as media literacy per se, with co-curricular programming lagging behind. A comprehensive best-practices offering of media literacy offerings is proposed as a method of advancing media literacy education as a foundational skill for advancing student civic engagement.
To become citizens of the world, students must understand with their heads, hands, and hearts the complex realities that people live within in a globalizing but nonetheless richly diverse world. A short-term study-abroad program, while brief in duration, may profoundly affect student learning and, indeed, transform life paths by providing students real experiences of cosmopolitan consciousness. The program described below and represented by the accompanying videos focuses on immersive, service-based learning in Costa Rica for the purpose of exploring sustainability in its multiple registers—social, environmental, and economic. Student reflection and commentary from our Costa Rican host institution confirm that programs such as this contribute critical insight toward the formation of globally competent citizens.
The prevalence of sexual violence on college campuses and in secondary schools requires institutional action. Yet the responsibility for preventing sexual violence does not rest on college campus communities or secondary schools alone. This study reports on one midwestern university’s efforts to develop partnerships for building institutional capacity to prevent sexual violence within colleges and universities, as well as secondary schools, in collaboration with community sexual violence prevention specialists utilizing the Mentors in Violence Prevention model. Findings from this study offer preliminary evidence that these partnerships are facilitating attitudinal change and increasing perceptions of efficacy in bystander behavior and programming potential. The findings also reveal significant differences between secondary school personnel and university personnel and community stakeholders regarding the attitudinal and self-efficacy dimensions. Such differences support the need for university-secondary school collaborative work and partnerships to increase respective institutional capacities for sexual violence education and prevention.
Feng Shui, one of the three pillars that support China’s ancient architectural theory, was the soul of Chinese traditional architecture during its five thousand year history. It advocated the harmony between mankind and nature which perfectly coincides with the concepts of modern green buildings. Feng Shui includes geomantic astronomy, geography, human information science, and other fields. Because of the lack of systemic scientific knowledge associated with Fen Shui, it has a mystical character bordering at times on superstition. This paper analyzes the culture essence of Feng Shui and explores the relationship between traditional geomantic omen and architectural aesthetics. This paper also examines the application of traditional Feng Shui in site selection—indoor and outdoor, environment controlled, and other areas. The paper aims to help absorb and inherit the essence of Feng Shui and provides the cultural foundation and methods for the development of green building.
This manuscript describes two models for promoting civil dialogue around important social and political issues on a college campus—Democracy Plaza at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and The Civil Debate Wall at the University of Florida (UF)— and examines the differing types of expression fostered by each platform, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of each platform. By doing so, it offers important insights for institutions of higher learning that seek to promote not just civil dialogue, but also a culture of civility and engagement, on their respective campuses. Whether armed with a budget of one million dollars or just one thousand dollars, campuses can and should create spaces for meaningful dialogue surrounding important issues.
Primary prevention and risk reduction strategies for reducing sexual assault on college campuses have generally been treated as distinct categories of programming, with greater emphasis placed on primary prevention in recent years. The authors propose that there is both theoretical justification and measurable benefit to synthesizing or coordinating carefully constructed primary prevention and risk reduction programming. They provide as support a summary of assessment findings from an exemplary program and discuss implications and future directions for program development and testing.
Frequency of adjectives selected to describe the service learning (SL) course.
Descriptive Statistics by Course.
Service-learning is a high-impact teaching practice that can benefit students’ mastery of course material as well as their professional and personal development. This article examines the theoretical underpinnings of service-learning along with empirical evidence suggesting the benefits of this teaching pedagogy. The authors’ own pedagogical examples are described as they pertain to Richard Cone’s (2001) six proposed models. The nuts and bolts of building and sustaining service-learning are reviewed, followed by a discussion of the challenges that exist in relation to assessment.
This paper presents the findings of a joint project in two very different political science classrooms. In both cases, traditional writing assignments were transformed to digital stories in order to increase student engagement, critical reflection, and media literacy, while still maintaining an overall emphasis on critical thinking and analysis, always important in the social sciences. The paper details the transformation of the two assignments to digital formats, presents survey data on the reception of the new assignments among students, and also discusses the strengths and weaknesses of these assignments in the college classroom. Overall, the assignments were well-received by students, and both professors felt the assignments realized all of the learning objectives. Critically, the assignments also contributed to an increase in digital literacy skills and a high level of student enthusiasm and satisfaction. Data indicates that the assignments were useful in generating early student engagement with political science and international relations majors and should be viewed as a possible tool to promote long-term student success and retention across diverse learning environments.
This report assesses the Civic Health of the Collage at Brockport. It is modeled on the national and state reports produced in cooperation with the National Conference on Citizenship and was undertaken as a part of the American Democracy Project’s Civic Health Initiative. Compilation of the report was integrated into a political science research methods course; students from the course collected compiled and analyzed data for the report in the process of learning research concepts and skills. All students in the class produced mini-reports – three students who produced particularly strong individual reports were selected to work with course faculty to produce a final comprehensive version of the report was published and made available to the college community.
Improving our understanding of the state of civic health in our nation and our communities is a critical first step to building civic and political connectedness. Recent efforts, including those of the State of Indiana, have focused on taking the pulse of our civic activity. These efforts highlight the importance of building civic knowledge and skills for citizens, including young upcoming civic actors. However, another important group of civic actors has largely gone unexamined in this effort to advance our civic health – public, private, and nonprofit sector leaders at both the regional and state levels. In this paper, we suggest that while each sector brings different qualities bring to the table, all are required to effectively advance initiatives targeting our civic health. We then describe a method for reinvigorating our civic disposition, and building regional social capital to collectively address the negative outcomes of civic health challenges.
Internationalizing on-campus courses is a key part of creating globally engaged students. An internationalized course should provide students with the opportunity to: (1) openly engage and value new perspectives; (2) develop skills for critical analysis of the knowledge and perspectives encountered during the course; and (3) observe, participate in, and reflect on the information gained. This article presents a four-step transformational model for internationalizing on-campus courses and curricula.
This study examined the impact that a service-learning component in a disability and culture course had on the views of diversity for teacher candidates at a Midwestern university. A group of 96 students took either a treatment course with an additional service-learning component or a control course without the additional component. Diversity scales and qualitative accounts were used as pre- and post-measures to determine the impact of the students’ service-learning experience. The study found substantial differences in the changes in views on diversity between the two groups, especially in relation to views on gender opportunity and teacher expectations.
This report summarizes the civic health of the Missouri Ozarks, a ten county region in Southwest Missouri. It is the first of its kind for the region and documents the health of the Ozarks’ civic sector. The report describes various indicators of civic life in Southwest Missouri. It also brings the workings of civil society into a broad discussion about what kind of institutional structure will best support democracy. Historical trends across the United States show that some forms of civic participation are declining. However, our analyses of social capital, socioeconomic status, and civic participation in Southwest Missouri show that there are foundations that can be built upon to revitalize the region’s civic health. The information in this report can be used to motivate and inform discussions of how to enliven civic participation in Southwest Missouri and strengthen the social fabric of the Show Me State.
In a keynote address at the American Democracy Project conference in June of 2012, Byron P. White argued that despite good intentions, there are powerful forces within institutions that “challenge our best efforts at democratic engagement.” He described a series of disconnects between communities and institutions that must be overcome to fulfill the promise of a university that cares about the community in which it is embedded. Because of the importance and timeliness of the address, the editors chose to publish the speech almost as it was given without peer review.
This article describes the work of faculty members and administrators at California State University, Fresno to create courses in the General Education (GE) program taught around the Global Challenges framework developed by members of AASCU’s Global Engagement Initiative. The first course, H102, was developed in 2008 for the upper division GE program and was designed specifically and exclusively for the Smittcamp Family Honors College. Two new courses were developed in 2013, one that fulfills a lower division GE requirement in critical thinking, and an upper division GE course that fulfills the Multicultural/International requirement. The authors (developers and instructors of the courses) describe experiences teaching the courses, including how resources are selected, strong and weak assignments, pre- and post-semester survey results, developing the course as part of the GE program, and the unique experience of teaching an interdisciplinary course with the ultimate goal of creating more globally engaged students.
As a contributing partner to the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ (AASCU’s) Global Engagement Initiative, President’s Emerging Global Scholars (PEGS) program at Kennesaw State University uses the nationally recognized, researched-based, Global Challenges concept to provide a foundation for its three-year leadership program targeting high-achieving undergraduate students. Delivered through KSU’s Tomorrow’s World Today course, this content provides a futurist’s look toward the year 2030 by examining key drivers of change such as economics, technology, security, governance, population, and resource management. Through classroom study and an international experience in Salvador, Brazil, the PEGS program partners with UNIFACS University, a Laureate institution. Students, faculty, and administrators from both institutions utilize undergraduate research in concert with intercultural relationship development as tools to better understand the geopolitical, social, academic, and economic challenges that face our world today and, more importantly, tomorrow.
This article considers undergraduate pre-service teachers’ perceptions and likelihood of integrating Project Citizen into future middle and high school curricula after completing Project Citizen as part of a required undergraduate “Programs in Social Education” course. The study further considers pre-service teachers’ own sense of their role as citizens in a democracy and examines whether and how these attitudes impact pre-service teachers’ desires and expectations of integrating civic education experiences into their social studies curricula. The results suggest that assigning Project Citizen to pre-service social studies teachers has limited benefits in impacting pre-service teachers’ plans to incorporate civic education in future classes and in how they perceive themselves as citizens in a democracy.
In 1973, Horst W. J. Rittel and Melvin M. Webber published an influential article on the nature of social problems. Titled “Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning,” the article focused upon the difficulty of solving what the authors called “wicked problems,” and it triggered an ongoing scholarly discussion about the nature of such problems and the differences between efforts to craft social policies and the “tamer,” more linear approaches appropriate to the solution of scientific problems. Given the robust literature documenting U.S. citizens’ persistent deficit of civic knowledge, it is reasonable to ask whether low civic literacy should be categorized as a “wicked problem” and approached from that perspective. This article considers this question and the implications of such a categorization.
In 2014, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) produced a sequel monograph, Stewards of Place II, which followed up on and extended the learnings about community engagement from the preceding report—Stepping Forward as Stewards of Place—published over a decade earlier. This article examines some of AASCU’s learnings over the past 10 years about the important role of colleges and universities as stewards of place. Specifically, the authors contend that dialogue and deliberation are key approaches for strengthening the position of colleges and universities as stewards of place. The article defines dialogue and deliberation, discusses five main reasons the authors believe dialogue and deliberation can strengthen colleges and universities’ function as stewards of place, highlights four case studies that illustrate how dialogue and deliberation are currently being utilized on campuses, and considers further implications of this work.
In 2012, Georgia College and Kennesaw State University partnered with Soliya, a Washington, DC-based non-profit organization, to bring their students a unique international education experience: the opportunity to engage “virtually” in dialogue, via video-conferencing technology, with students around the world about Islam and the relationship between Western countries and Muslim-majority countries. In this article, the authors compare their respective approaches, examining course objectives, student learning outcomes, course structure, students’ experience with Soliya, and student learning outcomes assessment. The authors conclude with some observations about Soliya and, by implication, other virtual international education experiences as alternatives and/or complements to traditional study-abroad programs in educating globally competent students and citizens.
Community voice, alongside academic voice, is essential to the core community engagement principle of reciprocity—the seeking, recognizing, respecting, and incorporating the knowledge, perspectives, and resources that each partner brings to a collaboration. Increasing the extent to which academic conferences honor reciprocity with community members is important for many reasons. For example, community perspectives often enhance knowledge generation and potentially transform scholarship, practice, and outcomes for all stakeholders. However, community presence and participation at academic conferences tends to be thin despite best intentions and resources generated to support community partner travel. This article relates the author’s experience in organizing an academic conference and explores the differences between community member presence and truly reciprocal university partnerships between local and academic communities.
Top-cited authors
Carly Smith
  • Penn State Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine
Marina Rosenthal
  • Saint Mary's University of Minnesota
Jennifer M. Gómez
  • Boston University
Jennifer Freyd
  • University of Oregon
Eric Hartman
  • Haverford College, Haverford, PA, United States