Bridging the Divides, Including All Students:  
Diversity, Equity, and High-Impact Civic Learning Pathways

Monday, February 6

2:00 PM - 2:10 PM (EST)
Welcome & Forum Overview

Martha Kanter, CEO, College Promise—a CLDE Coalition Lead Partner

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2:10 PM - 3:10 PM (EST)
Rising to the Challenge: Civic and Democratic Learning for a Polarized World

Chair: Ron Crutcher, President Emeritus of University of Richmond

  • For a Sustainable Democracy, Engaging Students with the Challenges of Our Time
    Melody C. Barnes, Executive Director of the UVA Karsh Institute of Democracy
  • Preparing US Students to Build for the Future
    Eboo Patel, Founder and President of Interfaith America
  • Engaging the Deep Inequities—Within and Beyond the Academy
    David Scobey, Director of Bringing Theory to Practice
View Session
3:15 PM - 4:15 PM (EST)
Engaging Students with Democracy’s Contested Meanings: The Pros, Cons, and Possibilities of a College Civics Requirement

Ten states now make a college civics course required for all students in public postsecondary institutions. Influential national leaders and institutions have joined a chorus of support for this idea. In this session, panelists will examine the debates about whether such courses “work,” and what they should help students learn. Four panelists will provide different examples of civic courses that explore fundamental concepts, founding and freedom documents, free inquiry, and other proposed components of a required civics course.

Chair:  Brian Pusser, Associate Professor of Higher Education, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia


  • Sandra Kelly, Vice Provost, Director of Global Carolina, and Dean of Undergraduate Studies, University of South Carolina
  • Roosevelt Montás, Director and Faculty Member, Freedom and Citizenship Program and Interim Director, American Studies, Columbia University
  • Trygve Thronveit, Director of Strategic Partnership, Minnesota Humanities Center and Founding Director, Institute for Public Life and Work
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4:30 PM - 5:30 PM (EST)
Exploring Identity, Fostering Agency, Discovering How Students Benefit

“Democracy is . . . an acquired habit. Like most habits, democratic behavior develops slowly over time, through constant repetition.” Yoni Appelbaum, The Atlantic.

These concurrent sessions examine ways that higher education can foster the habits of civic inquiry, engagement, and problem-solving across students’ entire educational experience.

Political Dialogue on College Campuses: Research and TeachingView Session
Teaching Students the Arts of Bridge-building, Across the Educational ExperienceView Session
Connecting Civic and Democratic Learning with Majors and Students’ CareersView Session
Building Community-Based Civic Projects into Degree PathwaysView Session
Setting the Stage for Robust Viewpoint Engagement in College ClassroomsView Session
Exploring Identity, Fostering Agency, Discovering How Students BenefitView Session

Tuesday, February 7

2:00 PM - 2:05 PM (EST)
Welcome & Forum Overview

Rob Anderson, President, State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO)—a CLDE Coalition Lead Partner

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2:05 PM - 2:55 PM (EST)
Toward a Shared Framework for Civic and Democratic Learning in College

Participants in this session will examine the CLDE Coalition’s Draft Frame for College Civic and Democratic Learning and consider ways that a shared framework can be used across national and state system efforts to make civic learning in college a widely shared priority.

Chair:  Yolanda Watson Spiva, President, Complete College America, a CLDE Coalition Lead Partner.


  • Carol Geary Schneider, President Emerita, AAC&U and Senior Advisor, CLDE Coalition
  • Marisol Morales, Director, Carnegie Elective Classification, American Council for Education 
  • Nancy Shapiro, Associate Vice Chancellor, University System of Maryland, and Co-Chair, the Multi-State Collaborative for Civic Learning and Democracy Engagement
  • Elaine Ikeda, Executive Director, LEAD California
View Session
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM (EST)
Overcoming the Obstacles, Including All Students: Practical Advice From Institutions Where Civic Learning is Now a Signature

Each of the concurrent sessions listed below features institutions that already make civic learning a degree requirement. But no institution makes this decision overnight; each progresses on a continuum from civic learning as optional only to internal discussions, pilot efforts, recalibrated community partnerships, and, eventually, strategies and funding for full inclusion and ongoing program improvement. Campus leaders will share the strategies that worked to build internal support, external alliances that helped, and the stages and phases of making civic learning inclusive.

State Systems and their Member Institutions

This session explores “work-in-progress:” the formation of a new Multi-State Collaborative on College Civic and Democratic Learning.  Led by SHEEO and NASH, in concert with the CLDE Coalition, the Collaborative promotes robust state-level policies and programs to accelerate civic learning for an engaged democracy among all levels of public higher education systems.  Forum participants are invited to contribute their own thoughts on how state level support can strengthen campus civic learning and help US education revitalize its engagement with democracy and the public good. 

  • Nancy Shapiro, Associate Vice Chancellor, University System of Maryland, and Co-Chair, the Multi-State Collaborative for Civic Learning and Democracy Engagement
  • Richard Freeland, Senior Advisor to CLDE and SHEEO for the Multi-State Collaborative; and Former Commissioner of Higher Education for Massachusetts, President Emeritus of Northeastern University
  • David Paris, Senior Advisor, CLDE Coalition and Professor of Government, Emeritus, Hamilton College
  • Rob Anderson, President, State Higher Education Executive Officers
  • Jodi Fisler, Senior Associate for Assessment Policy and Analysis, State Council of Higher Education for Virginia
  • John Reiff, Director, Civic Learning and Engagement, Massachusetts Department of Higher Education
  • Julie Hartley, Associate Commissioner of Academic Education, Utah System of Higher Education
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Legislative Restrictions on Higher Education Classrooms

So-called "divisive concepts" laws, which place restrictions on university classroom instruction and training, have been passed by state legislatures around the country with great speed. This presentation will survey the national landscape of these laws and analyze the potential risks and consequences for higher education institutions.

  • Jeremy C. Young, Senior Manager, Free Expression and Education, PEN America
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Research Universities

Thomas Schnaubelt. Lecturer and Senior Advisor on Civic Education, Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, Stanford University

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Liberal Arts Colleges and Universities
  • Kathy Wolfe, Vice President for Academic Affairs & Dean of the College, Roanoke College
  • Andrew Ishak, Director of the Undergraduate Core Curriculum and Senior Lecturer, Communications, Santa Clara University
  • Carrie Eaves, Associate Professor of Political Science and Policy Studies and Faculty Fellow for Civic Engagement, Elon College
  • Phillip Motley, Associate Professor of Communication Design + Interactive Media and Faculty Fellow for Service-Learning & Community Engagement, Elon College
  • Bill Gunderson, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Director, Odyssey Program, Hendrix College
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Community Colleges
  • Julie Alexander, Consultant and Former Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Miami Dade College and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Workforce at Polk State College
  • Kurt Hoffman, Senior Vice President, Instructional and Student Affairs, Allegany College of Maryland
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Regional Universities
  • Elaine Maimon, Advisor, American Council on Education; Author, Leading Academic Change: Vision, Strategy, Transformation; president Emerita, Governors State University; University of Alaska-Anchorage.
  • Kristina Phillips, Executive Director of QEP and General Education, Jackson State University
View Session
4:15 PM - 5:15 PM (EST)
For Democracy’s Future—How Can We Quicken the Movement to Make College Civic Learning Inclusive?

Chair: Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill, Director, Campus Free Expression Project, Bipartisan Policy Center


  • Richard Haass, President, Council on Foreign Relations;
  • Henry Stoever, President and CEO, Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges;
  • Rajiv Vinnakota, President, Citizens and Scholars;
  • Millie Garcia, President, American Association of State Colleges and Universities 
 View Session
5:15 PM - 5:30 PM (EST)
Resources for Institutional and Organizational Action: The CLDE Coalition Summer Forums for Campus Teams and Policy Organizations

Discussants: Dawn Whitehead, AAC&U; John Lane, SHEEO 

 View Session
5:30 PM - 5:45 PM (EST)
Wrap-up and Adjournment

Rob Anderson, President, SHEEO—A CLDE Coalition Lead Partner

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College Civic Learning for an Engaged Democracy:  
New Urgency, New Vision, New Educator–Policy Leader Alliances

The first forum—held December 13-14, 2022—showcased institutions that already involve all students in college civic learning and educator-policy alliances to accelerate the spread of civic and democratic inquiry in higher education. If you were not able to attend, session recordings are available.