Your Dean Favors Experiential Liberal Arts: Now What?

The following is an op-ed from Jack Dougherty and Megan Faver Hartline from Trinity College.  Imagine this not-so-hypothetical scenario: You’re a newer faculty member at a liberal arts college, and your dean has published an op-ed essay calling for “experiential” liberal arts “to break down the barrier between classroom learning and everyday life.” But what exactly does “experiential” mean, especially in academic disciplines without established traditions in laboratories, studios, or field work? Is this a meaningful foundational shift — or yet another higher education fad? How should newer faculty respond to this tension between philosophical aspirations of what liberal arts…

Help a Young Person Find Their Voice

Today’s national political climate has driven countless individuals to protest, get involved in elections, and contact their elected officials. On the other hand, high levels of polarization have caused many to retreat from political dialogue altogether – avoiding discussions because of their potential to offend, and choosing “keeping the peace” over discussing the critical issues of the day. The latter approach – while tempting to many – could have a detrimental effect on youth political engagement. Rather than teaching young people to avoid controversial subjects, we should be teaching them how to look these issues in the eye thoughtfully and…

Deliberative Dialogue Blog: Part One

The following is part one of a three-part blog series by Sharyn Lowenstein, Ed.D., Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Community-Based Learning at Lasell College. What is deliberative dialogue? Deliberative dialogue is a structured discussion on pressing social issues in which participants explore the prevalence, severity, and parameters of an issue and then explore ways of addressing it through three or more options. The goal is to learn together, understand one’s own personal stake, look at the issue and its possible treatment from multiple perspectives, weigh the pros and cons of each option, and, if possible, come to a…

Resources: Student Housing Security VISTA at Campus Compact

Campus Compact in conjunction with the CCSNE AmeriCorps VISTA program, launched the Student Housing Insecurity Initiative to assist member institutions in building the capacity to support their students that face housing insecurity and homelessness. Campus Compact is dedicated to creating and equitable and accessible educational opportunities for all students. Today we know that students struggle to afford their basic needs, such as housing, when pursuing postsecondary educational opportunities. As part of this initiative, Campus Compact has curated the resources and developed materials for institutions to use when creating action plans to address and adequately support students facing housing insecurity and homelessness. The…

Discussing Gun Violence

The recent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida is a horrific tragedy that has become all too familiar to us all.  Previous incidents in Orlando, Charleston, Virginia Tech and, of course, Newtown continue to shape us as people and as a country. As a non-profit organization, Campus Compact must be non-partisan, but as an organization dedicated to educating citizens and building communities, we are not values-neutral.  Any loss of life in a school shooting is unacceptable and requires all of us to engage in deep reflection, dialogue with others, and action to create safer schools and…

On Writing a Civic Action Plan

Reflections from Fitchburg State:  As half-time faculty coordinator of Fitchburg State University’s Crocker Center for Civic Engagement, I was tasked by my provost in the fall of 2016 to put together the university’s Civic Action Plan (CAP)—a plan which integrated both curricular and co-curricular activities, and one which incorporated as many facets of the campus community as possible, including Housing, Financial Services, Capital Planning, Student Affairs, and the various academic disciplines.  Having just attended Campus Compact’s Civic Action Planning Institute with my dean and director of assessment, I felt as prepared as I was ever going to be for the…

Recommitting to Our Compact: Blog by President Don Farish

As you are all aware, the state-based chapters of Campus Compact in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut merged into a single organization on 1 July 2017. This transition was underway for more than a year, and accomplishing the merger took a lot of work and an abundance of good will. While the formation of Campus Compact for Southern New England better positions the Compact to achieve its critical mission, it also occurs at a unique point of in the history of higher education.We all understand that campus priorities change over time, and most of us remain under very serious budget…

Unpacking Our History and Rebuilding for the Future

Over the past few months, the staff of the Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island Campus Compacts have been actively working on our new organizational structure: Campus Compact for Southern New England.  The transition work has varied from high-level systems thinking to the more menial scanning, shredding, and packing of our state-based offices.  Although I am grateful for the multiple hands helping with this process, I am even more grateful that I’ve had time to review the physical and electronic files, artifacts, and memorabilia of our three states. As I open boxes and sort through our files, I am quickly reminded…

VISTA Voices: Jessica Grant

A VISTA Perspective on the Power of Representation in STEM By: Jessica Grant The unexpected chill of an early April morning greeted STEM Ambassadors Melanie and Ariel on their last day of presentations at Somerville High School. The early start time of 7:55 am translated into lethargic students slowly trickling into the fluorescently lit chemistry class. However, unlike previous classes this one was composed mainly of students in the Structured English Immersion (SEI) system. For many of the highly impressive students, English was their second, third (or even fourth) language; serving as a connection point for many of the 2016-17…

VISTA Voices: Marie Dillivan

Marie Dillivan is a second year AmeriCorps VISTA member who will be serving with Campus Compact for Southern New England to build capacity in addressing food insecurity on campuses.  As an AmeriCorps VISTA serving with Massachusetts Campus Compact, I’ve spent the last year focusing my work on food insecurity in higher education. The issue of food insecurity on campus has been receiving increasing attention from campus administrators, students, national organizations, the media, and policy makers in recent years, and we wanted to figure out how we could support our member campuses in addressing this problem and supporting student retention. During…

A Message Regarding Campus Compact for Southern New England Updates

Less than a year ago, we began the process of merging the Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island Campus Compacts into Campus Compact for Southern New England (CCSNE) as of July 1, 2017.  Our first priority has been to continue to deliver resources and supports that are aligned with the needs of our member institutions while also developing a new model for transformative impact across state lines and across sectors. We have started by bringing together a team of committed, passionate colleagues who are ready for new and innovative ways of coalition building. Our staff will include six professional positions. This…

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