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Civic Professionalism

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Abstract

We believe that higher education has a significant role to play in the reinvigoration of American democracy. We also believe that narrow specialization of academic interests and technocratic practices throughout colleges and universities cramps the work and learning within them, while dramatically limiting the contributions of higher education to the work of democracy and the collective redress of the challenges of a new century. Overspecialization and technocracy thwart our institutions' capacities to interact in fluid and respectful ways with citizens and civic institutions outside higher education in generating the knowledge needed in a flourishing democratic society. Others outside the civic engagement movement in higher education make some similar points. For instance, in her collection of essays, The Death of Adam (1998), the novelist Marilyn Robinson notes that while we depend on universities to produce knowledge and teach future generations, "it was never intended that the universities should do the thinking, or the knowing, for the rest of us. Yet this seems to be the view that prevails now inside and outside the academy" (p. 7). Robinson goes on to accuse universities of becoming simultaneously "hermetic" and lacking in "confidence and definition," describing the issue as "something about the way we teach and learn [emphasis added] that makes it seem naïve to us to talk about these things outside of a classroom, and pointless to return to them in the course of actual life" (p. 8). We believe that the civic engagement movement has something very important to say about "the way we teach and learn" in higher education, because it seeks to redress patterns of narrow specialization and technocratic practices, especially in the humanities and social sciences, where these practices have resulted in a drift away from humanistic inquiry, understanding, and democratic engagement. The civic engagement movement has the potential to return higher education to its roots of preparing people to work with others to solve problems and build thriving communities in ways that enhance democratic capacity. In the process, those in higher education may also relearn to work with others in the broader society to generate useful and usable knowledge. Other scholars also argue for changing faculty (and sometimes staff) roles in order to realize higher education's commitment to civic engagement (Bringle, Hatcher, and Clayton 2006; Rice and O'Meara 2005; Saltmarsh 2010; Ward 2005). Our argument adds a focus on the ways that theories and practices of community organizing and attention to the public meanings and qualities of work will be central to reshaping faculty roles and identities and to infusing a robust, transformative civic mission throughout higher education.
© Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, Volume 14, Number 2, p. 67, (2010)
Civic Professionalism
Harry C. Boyte, Eric Fretz
Introduction
We believe that higher education has a signicant role
to play in the reinvigoration of American democracy.
We also believe that narrow specialization of academic
interests and technocratic practices throughout colleges and uni-
versities cramp the work and learning within them, while dramati-
cally limiting the contributions of higher education to the work of
democracy and the collective redress of the challenges of a new
century. Overspecialization and technocracy thwart our institu-
tions’ capacities to interact in uid and respectful ways with citi-
zens and civic institutions outside higher education in generating
the knowledge needed in a ourishing democratic society.
Others outside the civic engagement movement in higher edu-
cation make some similar points. For instance, in her collection of
essays, e Death of Adam (1998), the novelist Marilyn Robinson
notes that while we depend on universities to produce knowledge
and teach future generations, “it was never intended that the uni-
versities should do the thinking, or the knowing, for the rest of us.
Yet this seems to be the view that prevails now inside and outside
the academy” (p. 7). Robinson goes on to accuse universities of
becoming simultaneously “hermetic” and lacking in condence
and denition, describing the issue as something about the way
we teach and learn [emphasis added] that makes it seem naïve to
us to talk about these things outside of a classroom, and pointless
to return to them in the course of actual life(p. 8).
We believe that the civic engagement movement has something
very important to say about “the way we teach and learn” in higher
education, because it seeks to redress patterns of narrow specializa-
tion and technocratic practices, especially in the humanities and
social sciences, where these practices have resulted in a dri away
from humanistic inquiry, understanding, and democratic engage-
ment. e civic engagement movement has the potential to return
higher education to its roots of preparing people to work with
others to solve problems and build thriving communities in ways
that enhance democratic capacity. In the process, those in higher
education may also learn again to work with others in the broader
society to generate useful and usable knowledge.
68 Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement
Other scholars also argue for changing faculty (and sometimes
sta) roles in order to realize higher education’s commitment to
civic engagement (Bringle, Hatcher, & Clayton, 2006; Rice and O’Meara,
2005; Saltmarsh, in press; Ward, 2005). Our argument adds a focus on
the ways that theories and practices of community organizing and
attention to the public meanings and qualities of work will be central
to reshaping faculty roles and identities and to infusing a robust,
transformative civic mission throughout higher education.
Confronting Individualism and Isolation
Leaders in the civic movement in higher education must engage
in an ongoing critical examination of cultural practices within the
university and within the movement
itself. In our view, the civic engage-
ment movement has all too oen
been framed by and infused with a
culture of individualism, privatiza-
tion, and isolation—the very norms
and practices that organize higher
education itself. In its eorts to
mainstream itself, to institutionalize
service-learning pedagogy and other
forms of civic engagement, and to
justify the movement to suspicious
onlookers, the engagement move-
ment has ghettoized activities in dis-
crete programs or centers and, in the
case of service-learning, oentimes
isolated eorts of single faculty mem-
bers within academic departments. is model is proving unsus-
tainable. is rigidity dramatically limits the movement’s potential.
e everyday practices of higher education work against
the collaborative practices that are the heart of engaged scholar-
ship, service-learning, and reciprocal, uid, respectful partner-
ships with communities. e way faculty members are educated
and rewarded encourages working in isolation or primarily with
colleagues within their own academic disciplines, and seeing
their own knowledge as qualitatively superior to other forms of
knowledge and knowledge-making. is set of received practices
conicts with the fundamental sensibility of the engaged schol-
arship movement which, as John Saltmarsh writes, is “localized,
relational, practice-based, actively collaborative, experiential, and
reective (in press). Moreover, faculty members work in a way
“[T]he engagement
movement has ghet-
toized activities in
discrete programs
or centers and, in
the case of service-
learning, oentimes
isolated eorts of
single faculty members
within academic
departments.”
Civic Professionalism 69
which reects the larger social trends of an increasingly consumer
society, as described by writers such as Susan Faludi (1999). Public
purposes of work have been replaced to a signicant degree by
celebrity cultures and the pursuit of individual achievement and
nancial reward (Boyte, 2004).
To move forward, the civic engagement movement will need
to confront this culture of individualism, isolation, and the instru-
mentalization of work into private pursuits. Specically, institu-
tions that take their engaged mission seriously will need to employ
a number of practices and concepts that come from community
organizing and its adaptation to eorts at institutional culture
change. ese include understanding self-interests; building public
relationships across lines of dierence; working with and under-
standing power as an ability to act rather than an oppressive, unidi-
rectional force; creating free spaces for people to work with power
and condence in more public fashion; addressing questions of
work incentives and routines, as well as purposes and cultures of
work and the workplace; understanding and embracing the messi-
ness of change; and, overall, retrieving and practicing politics in
the older tradition of constructive encounter with others who are
dierent, rather than the mass mobilizing politics of the 20th cen-
tury, which treats people solely as members of limited categories
(e.g., liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat). We need a
politics of Aristotle and Ella Baker, not of George Bush and Ralph
Nader.
As we see it, the overarching task of the civic engagement
movement is to engender civic professionals who will renew a
robust sense of the public purposes of their work and will develop
and sustain a far more public culture for collaborative, visible, open
work. We all live and act in a professional and symbolic world,
so making our work public goes far beyond developing new pro-
grams, creating new courses, or writing articles for publication. e
current state of higher education can make such advances appear
dicult or even impossible. We hold a more optimistic view.
John Dewey intimated these points many years ago, observing
that technocratic and commercial dynamics undermine the habits
of participatory and productive democracy. In response to the pre-
tensions of credentialed intellectuals and academics, Dewey made
action—not detached thought—the foundational experience of
human beings who create meaning in the world. As Alan Ryan
(1995) has put it, “One reason why Dewey was never able to accept
the orthodox argument of stimulus-response was the fact that it
made the organism whose behavior was supposed to be built up out
70 Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement
of endless stimulus-response circuits too passive, too spectatorial,
and too much a creature of the environment.” Rather, the person
“makes sense of the world for the sake of acting productively on
the world” (p. 127). is focus led Dewey to a critique of detached
intellectuals who assume the primacy of their own thought. “e
depreciation of action, of doing and making, has been cultivated
by philosophers,” Dewey wrote in 1937 (McDermott, 1981, p. 357),
his attack on the idea that inquiry can be separated from social
contexts. Dewey observed the aura of infallibility that those armed
with “expertise” could assume. “e dogma worked out practically
so as to strengthen dependence upon authority,” he wrote. “Just as
belief that a magical ceremony will regulate the growth of seeds to
full harvest sties the tendency to investigate . . . so acceptance of
dogmatic rules as bases of conduct in education, morals, and social
matters lessens the impetus to nd out about the conditions which
are involved in forming intelligent plans” (p. 382).
Yet habits—including our own—are not blind repetitions but
rather learned patterns that create predispositions for action in
unexpected circumstances. Habits can be changed and developed
through “intelligent action.is has proven a fertile theory for
educational innovation in other settings. us Deborah Meier, the
great democratic educator, founder of the Central Park East schools
in East Harlem and Mission Hill School in Boston, demonstrated
the fruitfulness of the concept of relational habits in bringing about
education for democracy. She wrote, “e real crisis we face is not
a threat to America’s economic or military dominance but the
ebbing strength of our democratic and egalitarian culture.” Meier
recalls the “traditional public function of schools: to pass on the
skills, aptitudes, and habits needed for a democratic way of life,
observing that these “are hard to come by; they are not natural
to the species. ey are as hard to teach as relativity. Democratic
culture needs citizens with very strong habits” (Meier, 2003, p. 16).
As the civic engagement movement in higher education pro-
gresses, leaders and practitioners should intentionally learn from
such civic innovators elsewhere in education and in other elds, in
order to develop and practice relational habits of democracy within
institutions of higher education. Nan Kari, describing one of the
earliest examples of adapting organizing to higher education in a
multiyear experiment at the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul,
Minnesota, observed that “civic design and institutional renewal
are rarely if ever brought together” (Kari, 1999, p. 50). But here and
there one can see examples emerging. ey oen have signicant
impact.
Civic Professionalism 71
Organizing at the College of St. Catherine
In the late 1980s, Nan Kari and her colleagues at the College
of St. Catherine joined Project Public Life (PPL), a confederation
of teams from diverse institutions that was organized as part of the
early work of civic engagement at the University of Minnesota’s
Humphrey Institute (Project Public Life was the precursor to the
Center for Democracy and Citizenship). PPL included ARC, a low-
income community group, Augustana Nursing Home, Minnesota
Cooperative Extension Service, local schools such as St. Bernard’s
in St. Paul, the Metropolitan Regional Council government group,
and others interested in experimenting with community orga-
nizing approaches to bringing about institutional change. PPL ini-
tially used the notion of citizen politics” to describe organizing
methods and concepts.
At St. Catherine’s, the Citizen Politics faculty group began
meeting each week as a strategy team, involving a mix of dierent
interests and disciplines. ey responded to long-standing institu-
tional conicts and crises: Discontent and fragmentation within
the faculty ranks created an unpleasant institutional culture that
spilled outward and aected the larger community of students,
sta, and community partners (Kari, 1999).
ey looked for strategic openings. One involved changing
the culture and practice of faculty meetings, notorious for their
unproductive, whiny qualities (the chair of the faculty senate was
a member of the Citizen Politics group). Another strategy, broader
in ambition, sought to lay groundwork for far-ranging revision of
the college’s core curriculum. For years, the faculty had sought to
create curricular change, but turf wars and disciplinary jealousies
had repeatedly stymied all previous attempts.
e Citizen Politics faculty group decided to create a molec-
ular process of relationship-building across disciplinary silos.
Kari secured external funding to develop Faculty Study Groups
(FSGs)—interdisciplinary, self-selecting groups that were designed
to examine issues of interest to all group members and to produce
a tangible public project by the end of the academic year. Over
several years, the FSGs involved a majority of the faculty in a zany
mix of projects (from writing a novel to examining the Twin Cities
as a learning text to going to Italy), and, in the process, produced
dramatic change in the culture at the institution. Because they
thought and acted like community organizers—not technocrats—
they showed how weighty, contentious projects like curriculum
revision, when approached from a community organizing and
72 Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement
civic renewal framework, hold the possibility of pulling people
together, energizing professional passions, and integrating the dis-
parate and oentimes conicting elements of institutions. omas
Ehrlich and his colleagues highlight the successes of the college in
their now-classic work in our movement, Educating Citizens (Colby,
2003)—though this account leaves out the community organizing
that brought it about!
Faculty Study Groups were founded upon community orga-
nizing principles of building public relationships across lines of
dierence, creating free spaces for people to work publicly with
others, and understanding and embracing the messiness of change.
Participating faculty were challenged to perform cultural work that
was collaborative, based in intellectual, symbolic work, and aimed
at the development of a public project. Large numbers of partici-
pants—far more than would have described themselves as “civic
renewers”—became self-directed agents of cultural change within
their institution (not passive receptors as so oen happens in task
forces and committees), greatly multiplying the available energies
and talents. e St. Catherine’s experiment was not only successful
but enjoyable to participants primarily because it pushed back pow-
erfully against pervasive privatizing tendencies of work in higher
education: self-interest was an important element in making fac-
ulty members’ work “more public.” (Indeed, St. Catherines proved
a seedbed for early development of the Center for Democracy and
Citizenship’s public work conceptual framework of citizenship
and civic action.) Faculty and sta prioritized and came to value
immensely the public dimensions of their work. As William Myers,
chair of the faculty senate and coordinator of the curriculum pro-
cess, observed, “When we make our discussions public, we can
accomplish dicult and potentially divisive goals without acri-
mony. e key is to create a spirit of openness, and constantly to
keep the common work of the whole college community in view”
(Kari, 1999, p. 42). Additionally, faculty participants engaged in the
older understanding of politics as negotiation, exchange, and delib-
eration rather than the hardscrabble and oen ideological struggle
for scarce resources that oen becomes the default mode of doing
business in higher education. Such older citizen politics” does not
do away with conict; the work at St. Catherine’s oen surfaced
conicts that had been submerged. But it allows conicts to be
addressed constructively.
Faculty were engaged around their own self-interests, rather
than pulled together by high-level administrators and exhorted to
participate in task forces or committees for an abstract “common
Civic Professionalism 73
good.Project Public Life used a working understanding of self-
interest drawn from developments in the eld of community orga-
nizing. In the language of community organizing, self-interest is
about “the self among others.Organizers know how to identify
and work with the self-interests of a large group of constituents,
and how to tie people’s immediate self-interests to salient com-
munity issues and long-term community projects or challenges.
A number of lessons can be drawn from the St. Catherine’s
experience: Institutional change requires open, exible, and
dynamic ways of dealing with conict; it entails a self-conscious
commitment to fostering public cultures and integrating and nego-
tiating the wide variety of self-interests that populate our institu-
tions. e focus on values, tied to
individual faculty members’ stories
and life experiences, rather than a
narrow issues focus, proved essen-
tial as an organizing method at St.
Catherine’s. Finally, the faculty mem-
bers thought deeply and eectively
about the public meanings and pos-
sibilities of their own work, bridging
the customary divide in civic theory and practice alike, which have
long seen civic engagement as a function of “o-hours” voluntary
and associational life. is is the kind of organic, pragmatic, itera-
tive, public, conceptual, and also messy process that is fundamen-
tally dierent from the technocratic practices common in our
institutions.
e successes at St. Catherine’s, however, did not simply con-
tinue to expand unaided. e organizing work depended on the
strong support of the president, Anita Pampusch. When she le,
and aer a turbulent succession ght, some of the democratic
gains were eroded, though not the core architecture of curricular
changes. But the experiences signaled strongly the importance and
potential of bringing organizing into higher education, while the
concept of public work that developed at St. Catherine’s proved a
fruitful foundation for subsequent institution-wide civic engage-
ment eorts at the University of Minnesota (Boyte, 2004, p. 145).
Community Organizing at the University of Denver
Our work at the Center for Community Engagement and
Service Learning at the University of Denver has similarly sought to
translate community organizing principles, concepts, and methods
into a higher education setting. We see community organizing as
“Institutional change
requires open, exible,
and dynamic ways of
dealing with conict.
74 Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement
occupying the middle ground between 1960s-inspired protest poli-
tics and indierence to social and political issues. is translation
includes approaches to faculty and student development. Like that
of our predecessors at the College of St. Catherine, our work is
rooted in cultural and transformative change, and the organizing
skills we teach are tools that we use to move our stakeholders into
civic action.
Our operational principles are some of the core concepts of
the community organizing model, including understanding and
working with power, practicing accountability, and understanding
self-interests. For instance, like the Faculty Study Groups at St.
Catherine’s, we design our faculty development oerings in a way
that honors and encourages the self-interests of our faculty par-
ticipants. us, our Service Learning Pods are faculty development
oerings designed to provide opportunities for faculty members
to work together in issues-based cohort groups or in disciplinary
teams identied by participants. Our Community Based Writing
group is designed to help faculty members write peer-reviewed
journal articles about their community-based work.
ese same operating principles are at work in our curric-
ular oerings. Our Spectator to Citizen three-course sequence is
designed to help University of Denver students develop a set of
public skills that will allow them to actively participate in the public
life of their communities. In this course sequence, students come
to understand community not as a homogeneous group of like-
minded people but as a heterogeneous group striving for collec-
tive self-interest in order to better their communities. In the rst
course, “Community Organizing, students learn the very same
elements of community organizing we dened at the beginning
of this piece. ey dene their self-interest and individual public
lives, build consensus across multiple perspectives, become experts
on a community issue, and develop partnerships in the commu-
nity that aim for dialogue and action. e second course, “Denver
Urban Issues and Policy, allows students to investigate impor-
tant Denver-based issues by employing a community organizing
model that includes research, immersion, and basic knowledge—of
powers, structures, and stakeholders—necessary for understanding
root causes of social problems. e third course, “School-Based
Civic Engagement,provides students opportunities to engage with
a Denver Public School (or urban youth organization) in a mean-
ingful way that challenges them to think about how our public
schools are preparing students to be eective citizens.
Civic Professionalism 75
One of the organizing techniques we frequently employ with
our faculty partners and students is e World As It Is and e
World As It Should Be. It’s a simple exercise in which a facilitator
writes “e World As It Is” on the le side of a whiteboard and “e
World As It Should Be” on right. e le side is the real world, the
things that we rub up against every day and that create friction and
problems in our lives. e right side is the ideal—it’s what we’d like
our world to look like, what we are aspiring toward. Usually, the
discussion is modied for the audience, so for a group of Greek-life
students or Resident Assistants, the discussion would be narrowed
to e World As It Is versus e World As It Should Be within
the Greek-life or Resident Assistant system. e facilitator then
asks participants to identify and talk about issues that come up
for them. Always, the facilitator probes, questions, and challenges
participants to think deeply about the issues they are generating
and to begin to take responsibility for the parts of their world they
don’t like. Our goal is to create an ethic and a mindset within our
students that allows them to work and live on the tension lines
between e World As It Is and e World As It Should Be. As
Ed Chambers notes in Roots for Radicals (2004), eective commu-
nity organizers operate on this tension line and understand that
living entirely in e World As It Is equals a life of supporting the
status quo, while living entirely in e World As It Should Be is the
equivalent of being stuck in romantic idealism (p. 22).
One of the primary ways we teach community organizing is
through Public Achievement, a youth civic engagement initiative
originally developed by the Center for Democracy and Citizenship
that trains undergraduates to act like community organizers in
schools and to engage in consequential, productive public work
that has an impact on the world. e reections below of Sarah
McCauley, a University of Denver (DU) alum and a former Public
Achievement coach, illustrate how DU students practice commu-
nity organizing.
e half-block schoolyard at Bryant Webster middle
school in Northwest Denver was a gravel eld, both
unsafe and unpleasant for students. Parents and teachers
had tried for four years to raise funds to buy playground
equipment and build athletic elds, but had failed.
When I arrived at Bryant Webster, I began working
with a group of nine seventh grade [students] who were
76 Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement
upset that they didn’t have a playground and that no one
was doing anything about it.
Our rst step was identifying our reasons for wanting a
playground. e students told me how they felt unsafe
and bored during their recesses. Next, we started to
research what had been tried to address the issue in
the past. We held interviews with students, parents
and teachers at the school. Next, the students were
ready to make an action plan. ey decided that the
Denver Public School district was the party respon-
sible for helping them to improve the condition of their
schoolyard. ey called the school board and requested
to present at their monthly public meeting. en, the
students took the information they had gathered from
their peers and teachers and created a presentation.
ey divided the presentation so that each of the sev-
enth grade students would get a chance to talk.
At the school board meeting, the students explained
why they needed the playground, why the school board
was responsible, and what they expected the board to
do for their school. ey elded questions from the
board and the other attendees gracefully. When we le,
the students were eager to know if they had succeeded.
ree weeks later, I received a call from the principal
of Bryant Webster informing me that the school board
had decided to allocate funds to the school to build a
Learning Landscape, a playground designed for edu-
cational recreation. Today this school has a functional
playground that serves both the students and the
Surrounding neighborhood (Sarah McCauley, personal
communication, March 15, 2010).
is story of students accomplishing public work through
organizing includes two especially noteworthy points. First, the
public action the students staged went beyond simple protest poli-
tics. e studentswork was done in the open. e seventh grade
students clearly articulated their concerns and their requests in a
public forum, and defended their position against critical ques-
tions. Furthermore, this story illustrates how understanding and
working with power, one of the primary techniques of community
organizers, works even in the most challenging of institutions. Most
Civic Professionalism 77
of us are afraid of power, either because it is held by the “enemy” or
because we see it as an oppressive force in our lives. Community
organizers and civic professionals redene power as “an ability to
act.Sarah helped students understand power as relational. ey
learned that ordinary people, whatever their age, race, wealth, or
formal credentials, can create trusting, public relationships with
the right people, and can generate change.
The Problem that Cannot be Named
As it grows and develops, the civic education movement in
higher education bumps up against a set of long-standing cultural
practices that are so pervasive and deep-seated that they can hardly
be named; they are taken for granted as parts of the dominant cul-
ture. A consumerist, hypercompetitive, and privatized philosophy
governs higher education as it does much of American cultural
and institutional life. It is assumed as a matter of course that “the
best and brightest” should govern, that the most important mea-
sure of achievement is victory in competitive activities, and that
work is pursued largely for private ends rather than public ones.
is pervasive understanding and set of practices informs the way
students and faculty members do their work and play their roles in
our nation’s higher education institutions. It values an intense focus
on individual success rather than on collaborative work that adds
to our commonwealth. is approach, which might be described
as a so technocracy, renders most people not only marginal to
real decision-making, but even needy and decient. It generates
what might be called “the disease of credentialitis”—excessive
reliance on formal degrees and ocially authorized marks of rec-
ognition. It also radically devalues other forms of knowledge and
knowledge-making: knowledge gained through experience, local
knowledge, spiritual knowledge, and wisdom passed down from
elders in rooted cultural communities. is pattern of exalting one
particular approach to knowledge-making (academic) and deval-
uing others has spread so widely through the ecology of higher
education and the professional systems of our society that it can
hardly be named.
An unconscious assumption of the superiority of academic
knowledge operates among many higher education leaders who
call for reengagement with society, generating a “service” approach
that sees others as in need of rescue. us, in “Mandate for a New
Century, the David Dodds Henry Lecture at the University of
Illinois Chicago campus in 1989, Donna Shalala, then chancellor of
the University of Wisconsin, made an impassioned plea for public
78 Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement
service and social justice, for struggles against racism and sexism,
for environmentalism and peace. She called for public universities
to engage the world, and she wed these calls explicitly to meritoc-
racy. For her, “the ideal [is] a disinterested technocratic elite” red
by the moral mission of “society’s best and brightest in service to its
most needy.” e imperative is “delivering the miracles of social sci-
ence” to x society’s social problems “just as doctors cured juvenile
rickets in the past” (Shalala, 1989).
e unnamed problem we are identifying has a stultifying
eect on a wide range of actors and constituencies. Higher edu-
cation bears an important measure of responsibility for this
problem, which is among the underlying causes for many students’
feeling that they cannot signicantly aect the larger world. In
the November/December 2007 issue of Change magazine, Parker
Palmer described the weak sense of civic agency that oen results
from students’ experiences in higher education: “e hidden cur-
riculum of our culture portrays institutions as powers other than
us, over which we have marginal control at best” (p. 6). One day
while Fretz was walking across the University of Denver campus,
he overheard three undergraduates talking about their classes. “We
debate these issues in class,” one of them exclaimed, “but we don’t
do anything about it! Everything just remains the same!” is is
a common chorus among undergraduate students. It is our hope
that in the months and years to come, we will begin to overhear
conversations among students that are sparked with the energy
and wisdom of the work they are doing in communities to deepen
democratic traditions, and to open democratic possibilities.
Retrieving the Civic Populist Tradition
In the face of these very large challenges, a pressing task for
practitioners is to recover methods of practicing their cras in
public life and in public ways, using their academic skills to create
powerful public relationships, and becoming culture-workers
and facilitators of meaning-making in the public sphere. We call
this kind of work the work of civic professionals, heirs to a long-
standing tradition of community organizing in American culture,
and a less visible but vital tradition of civically engaged profession-
alism. Retrieving these traditions is crucial.
e organizing tradition, rooted in the earlier practices
of mutual aid, community action, and associational life that
Tocqueville found so remarkable in the United States, was trans-
lated into the world of big cities and large institutions in the 20th
Civic Professionalism 79
century by gures like Jane Addams at Hull House, James Weldon
Johnson in the Harlem Renaissance, and Liberty Hyde Bailey in
land-grant universities. e organizing tradition reemerged and
ourished on an enormous scale in the movements of the Great
Depression, especially among such gures as Saul Alinsky, Ella
Baker, Bayard Rustin, A. Philip Randolph, Myles Horton, and
others who reveled in the popular organizing of the time but did
not like the le-wing and Leninist distinction between scien-
tic “vanguard” and “mass.e organizing tradition resurfaced
once again in the civil rights movement through the work of the
Highlander Folk School, the Citizenship Education Program
of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Student
Nonviolent Organizing Committee, and other eorts. It continues
today through the work of the Gamaliel Foundation (Barack
Obama’s formative experience), the Industrial Areas Foundation
(IAF), and related community-organizing institutions.
e tradition of community organizing continued, albeit less
visibly, through the 1960s and gained new foundations and pro-
moters. In the early years of the decade, a group of community
organizers in the Deep South eectively began to use organizing
tactics. is story is told in Charles Payne’s I’ve Got the Light of
Freedom (1995), a book that distinguishes between the protest poli-
tics of the movement (the march on Selma, the Freedom Rides) and
the grassroots organizing approaches promoted by Septima Clark
and Ella Baker to develop the citizenship schools. Payne’s analysis
of the civil rights movement uncovers a largely ignored layer of
grassroots community organizing that developed alongside the
protest movements (the sit-ins, the protest marches, and the boy-
cotts). “If people like Amzie Moore and Medgar Evers and Aaron
Henry tested the limits of repression, people like Septima Clark
and Ella Baker and Myles Horton tested another set of limits, the
limits on the ability of the oppressed to participate in the reshaping
of their own lives” (p. 68). ousands of activists and community
leaders learned these skills at the Highlander Folk School, and later
the citizenship schools across the south. e vision, articulated in
Highlander’s statement of purpose, which, as Payne notes, was
draed by Septima Clark, was to “broaden the scope of democ-
racy to include everyone and deepening the concept to include
every relationship(quoted in Payne, p. 68). As Myles Horton noted
when he described the philosophy of citizenship education, a cru-
cial center for spreading the organizing approach during the move-
ment, “We’re into people who can help other people develop and
provide educational leadership and ideas, but at the same time,
80 Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement
bring people along” (quoted in Payne, p. 71). All had what Payne
called an “expansive” concept of democracy. As Payne summarized,
Above all else . . . they stressed a developmental style of politics,
one in which the important thing was the development of ecacy
of those most aected by a problem.” is meant that “whether a
community achieved this or that tactical objective was likely to
matter less than whether the people in it came to see themselves
as having the right and the capacity to have some say-so in their
own lives(p. 68).
In the late 1960s, key bridging gures translated the freedom
movements organizing themes into a larger politics of organizing.
Among these gures was Monsignor Geno Baroni, arguably the
most important architect of modern organizing. Son of an immi-
grant coal mining family in Pennsylvania, Baroni became a Catholic
priest in 1956, served in working-class parishes in Altoona and
Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and then was transferred to an inner-
city African American parish in Washington. He became involved
in the freedom movement, served as Catholic coordinator for the
1963 March on Washington, and led the Catholic delegation to the
1965 Selma-to-Montgomery March.
e enormous ferment among ethnic-minority Americans in
the late 1960s inspired many intellectuals to move sharply in a con-
servative direction, forming the basis for neo-conservatism. But a
key group of ethnic leaders and intellectuals forged a third way,
neither mass politics liberalism nor neo-conservatism. For these
leaders, Baroni was a pivotal gure, a courageous and inspiring
organizer of a new ethnic movement with immense democratic
potential (Vidulich, 1994).
Baroni and others sought to develop a larger political project,
called the new populism, that could bring together Blacks, and
other ethnic minorities, through organizing. Baroni saw the new
populism as an alternative to both “universalist liberalism” and
neo-conservatism. In this politics, the values of diversity, equality,
and justice combine with a deep commitment to people’s agency
and appreciation of the immense particularity of American
communities.
New populism represents a clear alternative to the “mobilizing
politics that perceives the citizen largely as a consumer—a view
now ourishing in higher educations redenition of the student
as customer. Mass politics, which has roots dating from the early
20th century, emphasizes universal claims, distributive justice, a
consumer view of the citizen, and individual rights. It is organized
Civic Professionalism 81
around a conception of the person as concerned primarily with
individual, material acquisition and fulllment of needs, not with
questions of purpose or civic contribution. As the philosopher
Michael Sandel (1996) has put it, “A politics based on consumer
identities . . . asks how best—most fully, or fairly, or eciently to
satisfy [needs and wants]” (p. 225).
Mass politics, operating within the world as it is, has won
substantial gains for poor and marginal groups against enormous
concentrations of wealth and power.
However, it is important to recog-
nize the sharp distinction between
organizing and the mass politics of
a consumer society. e conception
of the person as an immensely com-
plex, dynamic, and generative agent
of one’s own life, and a shaper of
ones environments, is at the heart of
organizing, a dramatically dierent
conception from the citizen as an
uprooted consumer.
In some respects, civically en-
gaged work at the university thus func-
tions more as a reclamation project
than a trendy and ephemeral movement within higher education.
In order to perform this work, we need not only methods and con-
cepts of organizing in order to make the changes required in our
cultures, but also a bold, theoretically grounded, and deeply public
conception of our work in the world. For this, it is important to sur-
face a work tradition that melds powerfully with, and is informed
by, the community organizing tradition: the history, concept, and
practice of civic professionalism.
Civic Professionalism
omas Bender (1993) has detailed an older university culture,
which was open to engagement with a variety of publics, and which
cultivated the rise of “civic” (not mainly “disciplinary”) profession-
alism among students. “Before the rise of modern professionalism,
Bender argues, “there were identiable audiences that judged and
aected the work of American thinkers” (p. 4). e emergence in
the early twentieth century of a discipline-based academic pro-
fessionalism was, in many ways, the result of the early academic
freedom struggles inspired by industry, government, and religious
“[W]e need not only
methods and concepts
of organizing in
order to make the
changes required in
our cultures, but also
a bold, theoretically
grounded, and deeply
public conception of
our work in the world.
82 Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement
pressure to use academic knowledge for ideological and market-
driven purposes. is dynamic, while providing a relatively safe
space for faculty members to accomplish their research agendas
free from public inuence, also paved the way for the intellectually
isolated, jargon-ridden, and unpublic-minded academic depart-
ments of the 21st century. In other words, the academy responded
to legitimate threats posed by demands to create knowledge that
served private and selsh interests by folding in on itself, creating
structures, products, and texts that were impenetrable to outsiders,
and creating an intellectual culture that isolated and barred entry
to a large sector of the population.1 Bender is not nostalgic for a
past where intellectual inquiry and public needs were in peaceful
harmony. A healthy tension, rather than a great divide, between the
pursuits of the academy and the needs of publics, may be a useful
way of thinking about how universities in the 21st century will
relate to their publics. We all know the stories of fringe legislators
and right-wing ideologues set on privatizing higher education by
portraying the academy’s esoteric knowledge and identity politics
as outside the mainstream of American thought. Intentional and
strategic attempts to include a variety of publics in the processes of
American higher education would serve to demystify an academic
culture that has related to increasingly narrow audiences.
e philosophical foundations of civic professionalism found
early expression in the work of John Dewey (McDermott, 1981), who
stressed—against the grain of conventional democratic political
theory traceable to ancient Greece—the educative dimensions of
“all callings [and] occupations” (p. 334). He especially focused on
professions, doubtless having in mind the examples of popular citi-
zenship education and educators such as Jane Addams and others
at Hull House, who saw their work as catalytic and energizing.
us, professionals, he said, needed to become more conscious of
their educative roles and responsibilities. “e professions . . . not
merely require education in those who practice them but help to
form the attitudes and understanding of those who consult their
practitioners,” Dewey wrote. “As far as science is humanized, it edu-
cates all the laymen. Artists, painters, musicians, architects, and
writers are also an immense educative force,” in potential, though
“at the present time . . . this educative function is hampered and
distorted” (p. 336, p. 334).
For Dewey, education should be practiced as a dynamic
engagement with the world, its problems, and its work. Education
for democracy—educations highest and most important goal—had
self-consciously to cultivate the habits that once were generated
Civic Professionalism 83
through young people’s involvement in the life and work of fami-
lies and communities. “ere was always something which really
needed to be done, and a real necessity that each member of the
household should do his own part faithfully in co-operation with
others,Dewey argued. Everyday work taught habits of coopera-
tion, responsibility, and productive outlook. It also meant a deep
connection with the world; or, as Dewey wrote, “We cannot over-
look the importance for educational purposes of the close and inti-
mate acquaintance got with nature at rst hand.Everyday work
had once connected young people “with real things and materials,
with the actual processes of their manipulation and the knowledge
of their social necessities and uses. In all this there was continual
training of observation, of ingenuity, constructive imagination, of
logical thought, and of the sense of reality acquired through rst-
hand contact with actualities(p. 457).
Scholars such as William Sullivan (2004) and Albert Dzur
(2008) have recently further developed the concept of civic profes-
sionalism. Sullivan, for instance, charts the historical trajectory of
the American professional from the colonial period to the 20th
century and concludes by identifying one of the central tensions of
professionalism in the United States:
e most constant tension, as we have seen, has been
between a technical emphasis which stresses special-
ization—broadly linked to a utilitarian conception of
society as a project for enhancing eciency and indi-
vidual satisfaction—and a sense of professional mission
which has insisted upon the prominence of the ethical
and civic dimension of the enterprise. (p. 28)
In contrast to practitioners applying a technical emphasis,
civic professionals are those who work with citizens, rather than
acting on them. Our collaborator, Bill Doherty (Doherty, Mendenhall,
& Berge, in press), and his students and colleagues at the Citizen
Professional Center have pioneered in showing what this can mean.
ey have drawn on the theory of public work and the experi-
ences at the College of St. Catherine in a series of initiatives that
show how public work can be translated into a powerful wellspring
of democratic change in which family and health professionals
function as catalysts and coaches rather than as service providers.
In the Families and Democracy initiatives associated with their
Center, professionals work as citizen professionals with families on
a host of issues to tame the forces of a degraded, hypercompetitive,
84 Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement
hyperindividualistic culture that tend to overwhelm families. eir
citizen professional model recognizes that solving the complex
problems we face today requires many sources and kinds of knowl-
edge. e families and communities themselves are the main source
of energy and action.
is methodology is in sharp contrast with the dominant pro-
fessional development approach, which teaches professionals to
look at people in terms of their deciencies rather than their assets,
and to be detached from the civic life of communities. Here are the
central premise and core principles that the Citizen Professional
Center oers in contrast to dominant approaches:
Central premise: e greatest untapped resource for
improving health and social well being is the knowl-
edge, wisdom, and energy of individuals, families, and
communities who face challenging issues in their
everyday lives.
Core Principles
1. See all personal problems as public ones too: the I and
the We.
2. Look to family and community resources rst.
3. See families and communities as producers, not just cli-
ents or consumers.
4. See professionals as citizens and partners, not just
providers.
5. Let citizens drive programs rather than programs service
citizens.
6. Make sure every initiative reects the local culture.
7. Grow leaders, then more leaders.
8. Make all decisions democratically.
9. Go deep before taking action.
10. ink big, act practically, and let your light shine (Doherty
et al., in press).
e partnerships of the Citizen Professional Center are diverse
and wide-ranging, suggesting the immense civic energy and power
waiting to be “unlocked” by professionals who shi from substi-
tuting their own agency for broader civic agency. ey include,
among others, several suburban movements of families seeking
to tame overscheduled, hypercompetitive, consumerist lives; an
Civic Professionalism 85
African American Citizens Father Project seeking to foster posi-
tive fathering models and practices; a new project with Hennepin
County to change civil service practice into public work; a pilot
with Health Partners Como Clinic, called the Citizen Health Care
Home, which stresses personal and family responsibility for one’s
own health care, and opportunities for patient leadership devel-
opment and coresponsibility for the health mission of the clinic;
and FEDS (Families, Education and Diabetes Series), a project that
engages low-income, urban American Indians and their families
to improve the health and well-being of American Indian people
through diabetes education, fellowship, and support in a manner
that embraces their heritage, values, and culture.
Democratic professionals in this vein are facilitators of the cre-
ation of public knowledge. ey seek out common interests that link
professional inquiry and local knowledge, and they work to develop
systems of communication and knowledge production that involve
laypeople in the solution of public
problems. As Dzur (2008) observes,
democratic or citizen professionals
refuse to “dominate discussion” and
are capable of “stepping back and
allowing laypeople the chance to
take up responsibilities(p. 41).
Civic professionalism directly
challenges higher educations domi-
nant credentialing practices, which
are embodied in conventional pro-
motion and tenure guidelines. Across
the ecology of higher education,
these guidelines reect the posi-
tivist assumptions of research uni-
versities, a pattern that remains in place despite a rapidly growing
body of theory—beginning with Ernest Boyer’s (1991) landmark
Scholarship Reconsidered, and most recently detailed in Imagining
Americas Scholarship in Public (Ellison & Eatman, 2008)—which
has demonstrated the impoverishment of knowledge-creation that
results. An organizing perspective points to the need for a broad
campaign across our institutions to challenge and diversify the cur-
rent privatized, self-referential credentialing norms and practices
that hold sway. Faculty, as well as students, sta, and the larger
public environment, have much to gain from such a campaign by
“breaking our chains,” the technocratic standards that now have us
all in thrall.
An organizing
perspective points to
the need for a broad
campaign across our
institutions to chal-
lenge and diversify the
current privatized,
self-referential creden-
tialing norms and prac-
tices that hold sway.”
86 Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement
Lessons from the Field
Citizen professionals as well as community organizers acknowl-
edge their own interests in creating a good society. ey develop
unique styles grounded in local civic cultures. ey learn respect
for the insights of those without formal credentials. ey recognize
that they have much to learn from communities where populist
values of cultural roots, community vitality, and equality are alive.
ey also build collaborative public work skills that help energize
and activate broad civic energies. Where do these skills come from?
What do they look like? How are they practiced?
We conclude with an example of a citizen professional in the
world beyond higher education, since we are convinced that higher
education and organizing approaches have an enormous amount
to learn from others outside the university’s walls.
Mike Kromrey has served for the past 25 years as the executive
director of Metro Organizations for People (MOP), a Denver orga-
nization that strives to engage ordinary people in the democratic
process to ght for living wages; to secure health care for children
and the working poor; to work toward educational reform; and to
ght for the rights of immigrants. For Kromrey, the key component
of the practice of civic professionalism is rooted in the iron rule of
community organizing: Never do for others what they can do for
themselves (Mike Kromrey, interview by Eric Fretz, April 10, 2009).
Indeed, the iron rule is MOP’s “truth barometer.When it is
being practiced, Kromrey believes, MOP is forwarding its mission
of “teaching ordinary people to do extraordinary things.” But when
the iron rule is violated—that is, when Kromrey and his MOP col-
leagues speak, write, or do for their constituents what they could
very well do on their own—Kromrey believes their mission and
function as organizers are compromised.
e question that hangs over Kromrey’s head every day is not
how he and his sta can help the working poor and their metro
Denver constituents, but how they can nd ways to help these
people develop skills to engage in the democratic process—using
their own voices, personal skills, and capacities. “Most other pro-
fessionals don’t have to worry about this,” he notes. Activists, mobi-
lizers, groups engaged in protest politics, and advocacy groups
ground their professional stance in their expert knowledge to
speak and do for others. is certainly has its place in society. Yet
as Kromrey says, “e unique quality of what we try to do well is
to teach other people how to think on their feet and how to engage
Civic Professionalism 87
the democratic process in a meaningful and powerful way” (Mike
Kromrey, interview by Eric Fretz, April 10, 2009).
Kromrey draws bold lines between the community organizing
work of MOP and advocacy groups that speak for others. “No one
is losing sleep over whether they have volunteer leaders in the com-
munity prepared to lead the way. Most of the time it’s paid sta
speaking for others.” e culture that MOP and other community
organizing groups develop is one that is constantly reecting on the
roles that the experts” are playing and attempting to perform. For
Kromrey, an eective organizer works in the background, training,
encouraging, and even exhorting ordinary people to develop their
public voices, develop powerful public relationships, and bring
about change with a broad base of constituents (Mike Kromrey, inter-
view by Eric Fretz, April 10, 2009).
Practicing this style of professionalism takes a lot of work.
Hours and hours of education, practice, dialogue, and analysis go
into every MOP-trained citizen who engages in the democratic
process—whether those activities involve speaking at a public
meeting, writing a letter to a city ocial, or participating in a press
conference.
For Kromrey, technocracy threatens the essence of a demo-
cratic culture because it is constantly violating the iron rule of
organizing. When professionals and experts consistently set them-
selves up as the solution to our problems, the problem-solving,
asset-based culture of ordinary people doing extraordinary things
gets whittled away. Kromrey names John McKnight’s e Careless
Society as an important text about the detrimental eects of meri-
tocracy in a democracy. “My experience with professionals who
work in communities—health care clinics, schools, medical pro-
fessionals, teachers, social workers, clergy—is that they view the
community as a client to be fed and that engaging ordinary people
to come up with their own conclusions and use their own skills is a
foreign concept. It’s just easier to speak for others, or write a check
or give advice.” Kromrey notes that this notion is so deeply perva-
sive in the culture of professionalism in America that it is hard to
talk about, and identify it. He describes his work as “liing up this
way of thinking” of ordinary people as agents of change in com-
munities. “Its shocking to me that this way of practicing my pro-
fession is radical. To me, it’s deep, it’s the way I was taught, and it’s
hard to do because its scary—I have to let go of the control in these
relationships(Mike Kromrey, interview by Eric Fretz, April 10, 2009).
88 Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement
Conclusion
Today, higher education is caught in a cycle of complaint and
apathy regarding civic engagement, our students, our own lives,
and the state of our democracy. ose faculty who advocate for
change nonetheless oen complain about students’ and citizens
lack of civic imagination and involvement in a way that puts us
outside the problem being addressed. We also fail to provide our
students with meaningful and sustained opportunities to develop
the very civic skills that will foster a strong democracy. To break
out of this cycle, those invested in the civic mission of higher edu-
cation will need to reconstitute and shi received roles, and learn
to practice their profession as a crathat engages public life on
multiple fronts and in myriad ways. e stories from St. Catherine,
the Public Achievement initiative at the University of Denver, and
the partnerships of the Citizen Professional Center all suggest the
growing, but still largely untapped, potentials of translating orga-
nizing methods and concepts, and public-work approaches into the
higher education civic engagement movement.
We are convinced that faculty and sta, like our students, will
need to practice community organizing, both on campus and in
their surrounding communities, if they are to see much change.
Higher education professionals will also need to make their
work more public, in multiple ways—more interactive with and
respectful toward those outside higher education, more open and
visible, more infused with robust democratic and public purposes.
Faculty members, sta, and students will need to engage with the
community as equals and pursue solutions to community issues,
not as a theoretical exercise, but as a path to becoming agents and
architects of a ourishing democracy.
Acknowledgment
e authors are indebted to Sarah McCauley for her editorial
work on this paper.
Endnote
1. For a full treatment of the early history of tenure and the forma-
tion of the American Association of University Professors, see
Louis Menand, e Metaphysical Club (New York: Farrar, Straus &
Giroux, 2001), chapter 15.
Civic Professionalism 89
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About the Authors
Harry Boyte is founder and co-director of the Center for
Democracy and Citizenship, now at Augsburg College, and a
senior fellow at the Humphrey Institute of Public Aairs.
Eric Fretz is assistant professor of peace and justice studies
at Regis University in Denver, Colorado.
... Implica, por otro lado, comprometer al egresado, en tanto ciudadano, con la mejora de la comunidad propia y ajena, a través de estrategias educativas que lo pongan en contacto con las necesidades y problemas sociales. Esto significa dotarlos de habilidades y hábitos democráticos que les permitan resolver conflictos, establecer acuerdos, generar relaciones constructivas y de cocreación con personas de diversa procedencia económica, cultural, política o social (Boyte, 2010(Boyte, , 2011; e incluso, estimular el deseo de llevar a cabo acciones que supongan una verdadera transformación social. ...
... Frente a la desafección ciudadana y el individualismo, son muchas las voces que en el ámbito universitario advierten sobre la importancia de que los futuros profesionales vivan experiencias de aprendizaje necesarias para contribuir al fortalecimiento de una democracia sana. Dichas experiencias de aprendizaje deben promover la toma de consciencia del propósito público de su profesión, y que se vean a sí mismos como agentes que distribuyen derechos y oportunidades, que están llamados a ser socialmente responsables, que tienen la capacidad para crear conocimiento público a través de relaciones de cocreación en el marco de contextos comunitarios y que pueden llegar a incidir en asuntos relacionados con la organización social y política de su entorno (Boyte, 2010; The National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement, 2012). ...
... La competencia de compromiso ético y ciudadano se desarrolla a lo largo del currículum y la vida estudiantil a través de cuatro dimensiones progresivas de carácter recursivo: la sensibilización, donde el estudiante identifica e interpreta problemas humanos y morales; la comprensión, vinculada al desarrollo de la capacidad para reflexionar, analizar problemas éticos y argumentar sobre la justicia e injusticia de una acción; la motivación, relacionada con la capacidad para priorizar valores a la hora de tomar decisiones de carácter moral o ciudadano; y, la acción, que tiene que ver con el diseño y desarrollo de proyectos basados en principios éticos y en los derechos humanos, que promueven procesos participativos, actividades de cocreación y, en algunos casos, acciones socialmente responsables o de transformación social (Rest, 1994;Rest y Narvaez, 1994;Boyte, 2010;Levine y Soltan 2009 En el plano curricular dichas dimensiones asociadas al sentido humano se desplegarán a través de: ...
Book
Documento guía para el desarrollo de competencias transversales con base en un modelo educativo.
... As a historical and rather neglected concept, civic professionalism stems back to John Dewey's (1916) call for education professionals to be in dynamic interaction with society. It highlights the need for professionals to increase their capacity to take action alongside their fellow citizens and civic institutions to promote a more democratic society, instead of lifting themselves above "the real world" through narrow and technical overspecialisation (Boyte & Fretz, 2010). Whilst contemporary discussion of civic professionalism mainly focuses on higher education in colleges and universities, similar issues of narrow specialisation versus social responsibility and technocratic versus participatory dynamics (Boyte & Fretz, 2010) can be addressed in music schools (see e.g. ...
... It highlights the need for professionals to increase their capacity to take action alongside their fellow citizens and civic institutions to promote a more democratic society, instead of lifting themselves above "the real world" through narrow and technical overspecialisation (Boyte & Fretz, 2010). Whilst contemporary discussion of civic professionalism mainly focuses on higher education in colleges and universities, similar issues of narrow specialisation versus social responsibility and technocratic versus participatory dynamics (Boyte & Fretz, 2010) can be addressed in music schools (see e.g. Björk, 2016;Westerlund et al., 2019). ...
... As a historical and rather neglected concept, civic professionalism stems back to John Dewey's (1916) call for education professionals to be in dynamic interaction with society. It highlights the need for professionals to increase their capacity to take action alongside their fellow citizens and civic institutions to promote a more democratic society, instead of lifting themselves above "the real world" through narrow and technical overspecialisation (Boyte & Fretz, 2010). Whilst contemporary discussion of civic professionalism mainly focuses on higher education in colleges and universities, similar issues of narrow specialisation versus social responsibility and technocratic versus participatory dynamics (Boyte & Fretz, 2010) can be addressed in music schools (see e.g. ...
... It highlights the need for professionals to increase their capacity to take action alongside their fellow citizens and civic institutions to promote a more democratic society, instead of lifting themselves above "the real world" through narrow and technical overspecialisation (Boyte & Fretz, 2010). Whilst contemporary discussion of civic professionalism mainly focuses on higher education in colleges and universities, similar issues of narrow specialisation versus social responsibility and technocratic versus participatory dynamics (Boyte & Fretz, 2010) can be addressed in music schools (see e.g. Björk, 2016;Westerlund et al., 2019). ...
... As a historical and rather neglected concept, civic professionalism stems back to John Dewey's (1916) call for education professionals to be in dynamic interaction with society. It highlights the need for professionals to increase their capacity to take action alongside their fellow citizens and civic institutions to promote a more democratic society, instead of lifting themselves above "the real world" through narrow and technical overspecialisation (Boyte & Fretz, 2010). Whilst contemporary discussion of civic professionalism mainly focuses on higher education in colleges and universities, similar issues of narrow specialisation versus social responsibility and technocratic versus participatory dynamics (Boyte & Fretz, 2010) can be addressed in music schools (see e.g. ...
... It highlights the need for professionals to increase their capacity to take action alongside their fellow citizens and civic institutions to promote a more democratic society, instead of lifting themselves above "the real world" through narrow and technical overspecialisation (Boyte & Fretz, 2010). Whilst contemporary discussion of civic professionalism mainly focuses on higher education in colleges and universities, similar issues of narrow specialisation versus social responsibility and technocratic versus participatory dynamics (Boyte & Fretz, 2010) can be addressed in music schools (see e.g. Björk, 2016;Westerlund et al., 2019). ...
... The collectives in our model can be understood as vehicles for this process of what Bennett (Bennett and Segerberg, 2013) has called actualisation: citizens and professionals organising themselves around issues which they are intrinsically motivated to address. Many have pointed out that this form of organising also makes it hard to maintain a sharp distinction between citizens and professionals, as in many cases citizens bring their professional knowledge and skills to their cause, or professionals engage laypeople actively in the process (Boyte and Fretz, 2010). ...
Book
The Routledge Companion to Smart Cities explores the question of what it means for a city to be ‘smart’, raises some of the tensions emerging in smart city developments and considers the implications for future ways of inhabiting and understanding the urban condition. The volume draws together a critical and cross-disciplinary overview of the emerging topic of smart cities and explores it from a range of theoretical and empirical viewpoints. This timely book brings together key thinkers and projects from a wide range of fields and perspectives into one volume to provide a valuable resource that would enable the reader to take their own critical position within the topic. To situate the topic of the smart city for the reader and establish key concepts, the volume sets out the various interpretations and aspects of what constitutes and defines smart cities. It investigates and considers the range of factors that shape the characteristics of smart cities and draws together different disciplinary perspectives. The consideration of what shapes the smart city is explored through discussing three broad ‘parts’ – issues of governance, the nature of urban development and how visions are realised – and includes chapters that draw on empirical studies to frame the discussion with an understanding not just of the nature of the smart city but also how it is studied, understood and reflected upon. The Companion will appeal to academics and advanced undergraduates and postgraduates from across many disciplines including Urban Studies, Geography, Urban Planning, Sociology and Architecture, by providing state of the art reviews of key themes by leading scholars in the field, arranged under clearly themed sections.
... 13). In addition, to engage democratically with employers and clients in the workplace nurtures students' civic professionalism and strengthens their practice capabilities (Boyte & Fretz, 2012). This type of learning requires that academics provide formally structured activities as well as mechanisms and flexible structures for students to learn on-the-go and in-the-moment. ...
Chapter
Workplace learning (WPL) is an educational partnership between students, university and industry or community where learning and working are blended and occur across boundaries between academia and work. To better understand the ways in which WPL can be most productive for all stakeholders involved (and this includes students, workplace learning educators and academics), this chapter builds on the ideas in Chap. 1 conceptualising WPL as a hybrid space. Initially, it discusses theoretical ideas of hybridity and its characteristics. It offers a way of thinking of WPL as a space where something new can be created emerging from the in-between space of academia and work. Then, it considers the many aspects of WPL that become hybrid including professional roles and identities. The chapter then focuses on WPL as a hybrid pedagogy, characterised by collaborative, agentic and participatory learning that leads to active integration of formal university learning with formal, non-formal and informal learning in professional settings. The chapter concludes that WPL as a hybrid space is a useful concept to meaningfully bring together binaries of curriculum and pedagogy, theory and practice, thinking and doing, and structure and agency.
... The condition gives a picture that career is not everything, but the integrity of teacher will strengthen the will of students in work. Thus, teacher can be considered professional because the civic professionals are those who work with citizens (Boyte and Fretz 2010) and because the teacher already has "understanding of service users" (Ngai and Cheung 2009). Therefore, the study delves deeper into the matter of teacher competence and its influence on classroom as a laboratory of democracy. ...
... Building on Sullivan's work, numerous scholars have examined the role of civic professionalism in undergraduate education and faculty development (Bender, 2001;Boyte & Fretz, 2011;Peters, 2003;Koritz, Schadewald, & Hubert, 2016), and Sullivan (2016) recently explored the benefits of incorporating civic professionalism into graduate education at the master's level, specifically in professional fields such as pharmacy and engineering. 7 But core concepts from this theoretical framework -particularly the idea that an "apprenticeship of professionalism and purpose" should accompany disciplinary and practical training (Colby & Sullivan, 2008, p. 410) -also resonate with recent efforts to shift away from the disciplinary guild model of graduate education and toward asset-based models of graduate professional development that affirm the "complex commitments" and diverse goals students bring with them to advanced study (Bartha & Burgett, 2014, p. 39). ...
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This article centers on defining child-centered education within the dominant paradigms and practices of curriculum-centered education. Furthermore, it provides frames for resistance for child-centered educators who wish to continue teaching in a manner that is not part of the dominant framework.
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Increasingly a spectator sport, electoral politics have become bitterly polarized by professional consultants and lobbyists and have been boiled down to the distributive mantra of "who gets what." In Everyday Politics, Harry Boyte transcends partisan politics to offer an alternative. He demonstrates how community-rooted activities reconnect citizens to engaged, responsible public life, and not just on election day but throughout the year. Boyte demonstrates that this type of activism has a rich history and strong philosophical foundation. It rests on the stubborn faith that the talents and insights of ordinary citizens-from nursery school to nursing home-are crucial elements in public life. Drawing on concrete examples of successful public work projects accomplished by diverse groups of people across the nation, Boyte demonstrates how citizens can master essential political skills, such as understanding issues in public terms, mapping complex issues of institutional power to create alliances, raising funds, communicating, and negotiating across lines of difference. He describes how these skills can be used to address the larger challenges of our time, thereby advancing a renewed vision of democratic society and freedom in the twenty-first century.
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Bringing expert knowledge to bear in an open and deliberative way to help solve pressing social problems is a major concern today, when technocratic and bureaucratic decision making often occurs with little or no input from the general public. Albert Dzur proposes an approach he calls democratic professionalism to build bridges between specialists in domains like law, medicine, and journalism and the lay public in such a way as to enable and enhance broader public engagement with and deliberation about major social issues. Sparking a critical and constructive dialogue among social theories of the professions, professional ethics, and political theories of deliberative democracy, Dzur reveals interests, motivations, strengths, and vulnerabilities in conventional professional roles that provide guideposts for this new approach. He then applies it in examining three practical arenas in which experiments in collaboration and power-sharing between professionals and citizens have been undertaken: public journalism, restorative justice, and the bioethics movement. Finally, he draws lessons from these cases to refine this innovative theory and identify the kinds of challenges practitioners face in being both democratic and professional.
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* Introduction Professionalism * John Deere and the Bereavement Counselor * The Professional Problem * The Need for Oldness * Professionalized Service and Disabling Help Medicine * The Medicalization of Politics * Well-Being: The New Threshold to the Old Medicine * Diagnosis and the Health of Community * Politicizing Health Care Human Service Systems * A Nation of Clients? * Do No Harm * Redefining Community * A Reconsideration of the Crisis of the Welfare State The Criminal Justice System * Thinking About Crime, Sacrifice, and Community * Rethinking Our National Incarceration Policy On Community * Community Organizing in the Eighties: Toward a Post-Alinsky Agenda with John Kretzmann * Regenerating a Community Christian Service * On theBackwardness of Prophets
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This momentous work offers a groundbreaking history of the early civil rights movement in the South with new material that situates the book in the context of subsequent movement literature.