AASCU Innovations Exchange
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Civic Engagement

Advocates for College Education Success (ACES): A Program for Reentry Students San Francisco State University Project Description: The intent of this program is to improve the academic performance and retention of formerly incarcerated students enrolled at San Francisco (SF) State, through a series of general education courses designed to improve study habits and critical thinking skills. Stakeholders are: the Associated Students’ Project Rebound, a program founded in 1967 by a late SF State Sociology Professor to help formerly incarcerated individuals gain formal admittance to the University and support them through the transitional reentry and educational process, the City’s District Attorney’s Office, and numerous nonprofits that provide services to formerly incarcerated individuals. This program is housed in the Institute for Civic and Community Engagement.  Read more >>

Bingocize™: Improving Older Adults’ Physical Fitness While Engaging Students and the Community Western Kentucky University Project Description: The goals of Bingocize™ are to provide service-learning experiences for exercise science students and to create low-cost exercise programs for older adults. Led by students, Bingocize™ is a combination exercise and bingo game that can be implemented at older adult facilities such as assisted living, nursing homes, and senior community centers.  Exercises are alternated with rolls of bingo until someone wins the game and a prize. Functional fitness is assessed at the beginning and end of each semester. The course outcomes for students are evaluated using reflections and group projects. The program is funded by both internal and external grants. Read more >>

Cal Campaign Consultants (CCC) California University of Pennsylvania Project Description: Cal Campaign Consultants is a multidisciplinary organization, which teaches students the basics of professionalizing campaigns, for example: campaign strategy, graphic design, voter mobilization, and debate techniques. Faculty in political science, behavioral psychology, graphic design and art, communication studies, theater, and journalism share their expertise with students. Members use their skills to manage campaigns for student government presidential candidates. Two campus leaders laid the groundwork for the unique group, which is funded by the Student Association, Inc. Read more >>

Civic Engagement Certificate University of Alaska Anchorage Project Description: The Civic Engagement Certificate is a 30 credit academic program that students at UAA can earn along with any major. The 3 credit entry course, Introduction to Civic Engagement, satisfies a Social Sciences GER and places students in community agencies for a total of 20 hours, culminating in a "Be The Change" project proposal. A new addition this year will be a competitive internship to carry out the proposed project. This is followed by a community-based research course, an internship, and a capstone course for a total of 15 credits. The remaining 15 credits are planned from the student's discipline and supporting courseload with a community focus. The Certificate is noted on students’ transcripts, and students participate with majors in Environment & Society, Early Childhood Education, Social Work, in addition to other majors. Graduating seniors prepare an ePortfolio as an assessment of their learning and community experiences. Read more >>

Civic Engagement: A First-Year Experience Course Connecting Quantitative Reasoning for Undeclared Students Emporia State University Project Description: Motivation is an important element in student learning, and this First-Year-Experience (FYE) course centers around civic engagement with an intentional emphasis on math and quantitative reasoning for undeclared students with low ACT math scores. The idea is to cultivate leadership in civic engagement early in the undergraduate experience in campus and community activities and weave math and quantitative reasoning into what we do. For example, students created assessment of the projects. In addition, field trips where real-world applications of math and quantitative reasoning illustrate the efficacy of student learning. Read more >>

Community Engaged Classrooms: Connecting Classrooms and Community to Support Civic Engagement Illinois State University Project Description: Illinois State University’s Community Engaged Classrooms, a joint effort of academic and student affairs supported by the American Democracy Project committee, supports campus and community partnerships by providing necessary support and connections to develop projects that meet community needs and facilitate student and faculty involvement in civic engagement. Read more >>

Electronic Tracking of Student Engagement with Political Engagement Programming Richard Stockton College of New Jersey Project Description: As the Political Engagement Project (PEP) developed patterns of campus events to which we wanted to draw our students, finding out how to best engage students so that they continued their involvement after the event became a primary goal. With magnetic strip student ID cards in use, gathering data about student attendance proved to be relatively easy and very affordable. Further, once we collected the attendance data, the student information database could be easily mined for enormous amounts of relevant statistics as well. Read more >>

Learning in Retirement Program University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Project Description: UW-Green Bay’s Learning in Retirement (LIR) program offers more than 230 non-credit courses annually to serve its current membership of 1,050 community retirees. The program is sponsored by the university but is administered by committees of community volunteers, with all courses taught by volunteers.  The courses cover a wide range of subjects, are selected to meet the needs and interests of  the members, and are offered in a variety of formats, including single-session lecture-hall presentations, multiple-week discussion classes, small-group seminars, and day-long field trips. Annual membership dues of $100 include on-campus parking and permit members to register for as many courses as they choose to take.  The program is intended for anyone who is retired or semi-retired with an interest in learning; there is no specific age requirement.  The program has been in existence for over 20 years and its large size—significantly larger than most LIR programs in the nation—is noteworthy because it has never actively advertised or solicited for new members; and unlike most large LIR programs, it is based not in a balmy densely-populated retirement haven but in a relatively small northern city famous mainly for its football team and its “frozen tundra” climate.  The LIR program’s continued growth and success is attributed to: (a) an extensive cadre of volunteers who serve as course presenters, course coordinators, committee members, Board members and office workers and (b) the strong support of the University, which sponsors it as an official “University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Institute for Learning in Retirement” program as part of its Division of Outreach and Adult Access, assigns a Director in that unit as Advisor to the program, provides the program with free office space, free use of two 50-seat classrooms, free Media Services assistance for those classrooms, campus parking permits to LIR members at a greatly reduced rate, and liability coverage for all on-campus LIR activities and any same-day LIR field trips.  The LIR office is staffed by one full-time person whose salary is covered by LIR membership dues, which are also used to pay for off-campus classroom rental, off-campus media equipment, publication of the catalogs and newsletters, and other costs associated with course offerings.  The program has always been financially self-sustaining and the dues are annually adjusted to assure a prudent carryover balance each year.  The program also has a modest endowment fund, intended eventually to be used for special projects and for scholarships. Read more >>

RIC ADP Partners with Local News Leader for Election Coverage Rhode Island College Project Description: The ADP at RIC teamed with NBC-10, the state’s news leader, to present a series of debates and forums to inform citizens about the issues that shaped 2010 political agendas. It was the first time that a Rhode Island college and a local TV station partnered for election coverage, which included four candidates’ debates broadcast live from the college. Also, for the first time in Rhode Island’s history, dial testing was used to display immediate audience reaction to the candidates’ statements. A representative group of voters used the handheld, wireless technology to record their reactions that were displayed on the television screen.  Read more >>

Service Learning in Dual-Credit Courses Northern Kentucky University Project Description: For the past three years, high school students enrolled in a dual-credit Social Justice course have participated in a service-learning project. Through the project, students have selected agencies in need to receive special funding through the Scripps Howard Endowment Fund. Under the direction of a tenured faculty member, students developed award criteria, interviewed potential recipients, and presented the awards to the agencies. The project allowed students to identify, evaluate and compare the needs of our community through the eyes of the participating agencies. The course has been delivered in conjunction with high schools with heavy enrollment from under-represented student populations. Read more >>

Service Sunday: Serve Where You Are Northeastern State University Project Description: Service Sundays are designed to be short projects which can be completed in an afternoon setting.  The Cherokee Nation is a major partner in this endeavor as they provide millions of dollars in scholarships with a self-help component.  Sequoyah Schools is a local school system affiliated with the Cherokee Nation and has also become a partner.  A group of individuals representing all partners determine projects for the semester with the primary aim being to return services to our native community.  The Cherokee Nation assists with materials and NSU and Sequoyah assist in providing drinks and snacks. Read more >>

Students Bringing Sustainable Change through the $100 Solution Program Western Kentucky University (WKU) Project Description:  The $100 Solution™ has entered the psyche of students, faculty, and communities across the globe.  Using this service-learning model, students are partnering with communities, asking the question, “With one hundred dollars, how can we enhance the quality of your life?” Armed with the five core principles of partnership, reciprocity, capacity building, sustainability, and reflection, students are learning to erase superiority and work alongside community partners to improve neighborhoods. As world headquarters of The $100 Solution™, the ICSR is home to service-learning courses mirroring this model. WKU students are active in creating positive change in the Bowling Green community.  Read more >>

The UCF/City of Orlando Reading Camp Program University of Central Florida Project Description: The UCF/City of Orlando Reading Camp Program is a collaborative program in which elementary school children in Orlando receive free, year-long tutoring in reading by UCF education students.  Additionally, parents receive instruction on how to teach their children to read at home. The Reading Camp operates at two community centers located in the historical African-American Parramore Neighborhood of downtown Orlando.  Partial funding is provided by the College of Education, grants, and private donations.    Read more >>

Wii the People Civic Bowling League Western Kentucky University Project Description: The ICSR will host the first Wii™ the People Bowling League; using the Nintendo Wii™ bowling game, teams will come together to foster civil discourse, find common ground with others while having fun.  Each week, teams will be given a contemporary topic to discuss while they bowl. Instead of focusing on the differences that the teams might have, the teams will cooperate to build an agreement list pertaining to the given topic. It is our hope that participants will realize that there is much more common ground between groups than may be perceived.  Read more >>

WISE GEMS: Women In Science Empowering Girls Engaged in Math and Science University of West Alabama Project Description: Women In Sciences Empowering Girls Engaged in Mathematics and Sciences (WISE GEMS) is an organization led by female faculty members in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (NSM), conceived and initiated by Dr. Venkat Sharma, Dean of the College. This project recruits undergraduate NSM student volunteers to give presentations and conduct hands-on learning activities about Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) topics at local K-12 schools. The project goals are: 1) to engage local girls and boys in STEM activities; 2) to prompt UWA students and faculty to get involved in the local community; and 3) for NSM students to learn how to teach fundamental STEM concepts.Obstacle Addressed: Rural west Alabama's Sumter County schools are characterized by a high percentage of students on the free lunch program, low expenditure per student, and low test scores. What's more, 98% of students attending schools in the UWA service area are predominantly minority living below the poverty level. The majority of these students progressing to higher education is often first generation college students and is frequently unprepared academically and socially. The myriad of tasks and course work quickly become a huge obstacle to higher education. The major problem for our area is twofold: low numbers of minority students – especially females – entering STEM professions and inadequate STEM preparation provided to elementary and secondary students in our area. These two problems, shared by much of the nation, are not independent of each other. By providing activities that motivate young learners to embrace science and mathematics from an early age, students will be more likely to pursue higher education and careers in these areas. To encourage UWA students majoring in STEM subjects to graduate and enter STEM careers, WISE GEMS recruits undergraduate NSM student leaders to give presentations and conduct hands-on participatory activities on STEM topics at local schools. The students effectively teach and learn from each other.Theory of Action: WISE GEMS bases its outreach activities on the theory of early intervention. By offering hands-on and discovery enrichment activities to children of young age, their fears and resistance of science and mathematics become less problematic for student and teacher. Simultaneously, putting college students in environments that strengthen their teaching experiences helps them understand more effective ways of approaching learners while giving them a sense of security in their own knowledge.History of Development: The WISE GEMS project began when Dr. Venkat Sharma, Dean of Natural Science and Mathematics, became dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics in the Fall of 2009. He discussed with the female faculty members of NSM his aim of getting more girls interested in science and mathematics. The idea of organizing WISE GEMS was born merging the concept of teaching experience for UWA science and mathematics majors with the need to inspire elementary and middle school students at an early age. Dr. Heather McDonald was appointed chair of the group and submitted a Service Learning grant to UWA that would become the first source of funding for the project, receiving $1,000 for outreach activities and support. All funding for WISE GEMS has been through grant support.  Read more >>

WKU’s Hill House Fosters Civic Renewal in Local Neighborhood Western Kentucky University Project Description: WKU’s Hill House provides graduate students with experiential learning opportunities to conduct applied/community-based research in various disciplines while living in the neighborhood. Through vital community partnerships, students learn the practical value of their academic training in becoming citizen professionals strengthening communities locally and beyond. Hill House students host weekly Sunday evening potluck dinners for the community, providing the neighborhood with free space to gather, discussing contemporary topics, watching documentaries, and sharing meals. The students have partnered with community leaders, neighbors, the Bowling Green Neighborhood Action offices, classmates, and professors to organize involvement in their neighborhood and the larger community.  Read more >>