The Periclean Progress E-Newsletter

Volume 5, Issue 4 – February 2009

The Periclean Progress is a publication of Project Pericles, Inc., a not-for-profit organization that encourages and facilitates commitments by colleges and universities to include education for social responsibility and participatory citizenship as an essential part of their educational programs, in the classroom, on the campus, and in the community.

National Office Announcements

Pericleans Attend AAC&U Conference in Seattle: From January 21-24, 46 representatives from 16 Periclean colleges and universities were in Seattle, Washington to attend the annual meeting of The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). Pericleans presented 19 panels on a wide range of topics. A list of all of these panels is available here. Details on two of the panels are below.

"Engaging Science in Our Global Future: Project Pericles Civic Engagement Course (CEC) Grant Program" ™ Jan Liss, Executive Director of Project Pericles, moderated a panel of three Periclean faculty who received Civic Engagement Course Grants. Entitled "Engaging Science in Our Global Future: Project Pericles' Civic Engagement Course (CEC) Grant Program", the panel focused on science courses that encourage faculty to develop, teach, and evaluate courses that incorporate civic engagement. The session focused on pragmatics, challenges, and successes of curricular implementation. While global public policy issues are increasingly addressed in social science and humanities courses, it is rarer that science curricula incorporate the socio-economic, political, and scientific causes and implications.

The panel - Adrian Hightower, Assistant Professor of Physics, Occidental College; Ammini Moorthy, Professor of Biology, Wagner College; and Caryl Waggett, Assistant Professor of Environmental Science, Allegheny College brought to life the excitement and possibilities of incorporating civic engagement in the science curriculum. The PDF of the presentation is available here.

Dr. Hightower discussed developing and teaching the CEC course "Energy Conversions and Resources" that introduced students to the physics of energy conversion and its application to global energy resources. The students recognized and quantified energy conversion processes important to industrial societies and learned how to do energy audits for community partners. The success of the community engagement was measured by the degree to which community partners adopted recommendations of the student projects.

Dr. Moorthy discussed the CEC course "The Ethical, Legal and Social Implications of the GENOME Project" that was co-created and co-taught with John Esser, an Associate Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at Wagner. This course examined the scientific concepts and basic research that underlie the decoding of the human genome and explored the resulting biomedical revolution that has created a need for answers to questions such as what we can and should do with genomic research. Students proposed alternative solutions and advocated their views in front of a critical audience.

Dr. Waggett discussed the creation of a curriculum at Allegheny that has integrated environmental and public health issues into 46 Allegheny courses in 15 departments in the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. The curriculum was co-developed and co-taught in a unique four-course collaboration by Waggett and Ron Cole, Associate Professor of Geology; Melissa Comber, Assistant Professor of Public Policy; and Vesta Silva Assistant Professor of Communication Arts. Four courses - "Physical Geology", "Rhetoric and Civic Engagement", "Environmental Problem Solving", and "Health Policy" were taught concurrently by different faculty with different students. Throughout the semester students from the different classes would work together on projects and attend cross-course lectures.

The faculty who presented represented three of the 44 grants that were given to faculty at 16 Periclean colleges and universities to develop, teach, and evaluate courses that incorporated civic engagement.

Many thanks to The Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation and the Teagle Foundation for supporting the 2007-2009 Project Pericles Civic Engagement Course (CEC) Grant Program.

"Small Budgets, Big Impact: How to Leverage Networks, Partners, and Creativity for Major Project Success" Allyson Lowe, the Project Pericles Program Director at Chatham University, and Mary Whitney of Chatham led a session at AAC&U on the value of community partnerships for "creating meaningful experiences for students and the community with small budgets, while still having significant, purposeful impact." The workshop examined the challenges of balancing cost against outcome in the co-curricular arena. The session, entitled "Small Budgets, Big Impact: How to Leverage Networks, Partners, and Creativity for Major Project Success" used examples from Chatham's PA Center for Women Politics and Public Policy in creating and funding the Ready to be Heard Advocacy Training and securing a small grant with a community partner for this past autumn's Voice Your Vote electoral mobilization efforts in communities of young women of color.

Periclean Focus

In January, students, faculty, administrators, and community members from all 22 Periclean colleges and universities came together in a variety of forums to watch the inauguration of President Barack Obama. In this month's Periclean Focus, we highlight five exciting inaugural activities that Pericleans undertook.

Swarthmore College Hosts "Fireside Chat" During Inauguration: Eugene M. Lang Visiting Professor for Issues of Social Change Professor George Lakey and Associate Professor Cynthia Halpern hosted a "fireside chat" on January 28: "Why We Need a Vision and Why We Need a Theory: What Obama Needs to Know."

With 40 students in attendance, Lakey and Halpern gave their perspectives on the value of theory and vision for figuring out where our country should go from here, and then turned the reigns of dialogue over to the students.

Student questions included: Given that large strides were taken by previous generations in lifting gender, racial, and sexual oppression, what is the cutting edge for today's generation of young adults? Are young people inclined to believe that providing services will somehow accumulate to handle poverty, or are they open to working for structural change and the creation of justice? What is the role of spirituality in envisioning "change we can believe in?"

Lakey said, "The discussion was wide-ranging and marked not by trying to reach one conclusion but rather enjoying the experience of varied angles. Some students said afterward that they said things [tonight that] they never find space to say otherwise."

The Art of Presidential Persuasion: For his first-year seminar on the "art of presidential persuasion" Allegheny College philosophy instructor George Byrnes used the inauguration of President Barack Obama as a learning tool.

His students reviewed President Obama's inaugural address several times in relation to President Kennedy's inaugural address during an in-class discussion and reviewed a series of forum postings.

Student discussions ranged from questions of content (e.g. should President Obama address the issue of terrorism in his speech?), to selecting from the advice of former presidential speechwriters (based on a New York Times article), to identifying ways that presidents define political reality through analogy or dissociation (based on concepts in a scholarly article), to performing a keyword analysis to identify rhetorical patterns or their absence.

The goal of the seminar is to develop the written and oral communication skills of freshmen, with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context.

Pace at the Inauguration: Professor Christopher Malone and 10 Pace University students took part in the Washington Center's Presidential Inauguration Seminar from January 10-21, 2009. This ten-day academic seminar provided a backstage view into the Presidential Inauguration and focused on the newly elected president and the formation of a new executive administration and the role of the media.

Participants delved into the critical issues and events that surrounded the transfer of power and the political processes involved. They learned how the nation's newly elected leaders are responding to the results of the 2008 presidential and congressional elections. The seminar featured a combination of lectures, site visits, tours, and special events. Among these events was a reception at the U.S Chamber of Commerce with Bob Schieffer of CBS News and a performance by political humorist Mark Russell for program participants, alumni, and other friends and supporters of The Washington Center.

Inauguration Watch at Widener: The Political Engagement Committee at Widener University sponsored an Inauguration Watch event. Over 350 viewers spread out across three dedicated viewing rooms to watch the inauguration. Four hundred additional students, faculty and staff members were able to watch the inauguration on the large screen televisions in the main cafeteria. Committee members developed and distributed educational materials at each venue filled with facts about inaugural history and questions to facilitate personal reflection and promote discussion. One highlight of the day took place in Lathem Hall, where over 100 Widener students and staff were joined to watch the inauguration by more than 100 third and fourth-grade students from the Widener Charter School and another local elementary school. The inauguration watch events received media coverage from Philly.Com.

Wagner Students Attend Inauguration: Approximately 50 Wagner students attended the inauguration. As a follow-up, the Project Pericles program at Wagner College hosted an event on campus called "Assessing the Obama administration: What We Can Expect in Polity Changes." The first part of the event involved several students talking about their experience at the inauguration. The second part focused on a discussion of domestic and international policy changes. Political Science Professors Douglas Haugen and Patricia Moynagh, the Project Pericles Program Director at Wagner, moderated the event.

Periclean News

Rebecca Chopp Named New President of Swarthmore: Rebecca S. Chopp, president of Colgate University since 2002, will become the new president of Swarthmore College. Chopp will take over the Presidency from Al Bloom, who is leaving to run New York University's new campus in Abu Dhabi. President Bloom has been Swarthmore's president since 1991.

Jonathan Veitch Named New President of Occidental College: Jonathan Veitch has been selected by the Occidental College Board of Trustees as Occidental's 15th president. He succeeds Robert A. Skotheim, who will retire on June 30. Veitch served five years as dean of Eugene Lang College: The New School for Liberal Arts in New York City, where he is currently an associate professor of literature and history. Prior to his service as dean (2003-08), Veitch served as the associate provost and chair of humanities at The New School, of which Lang College is a part.

Richard Guarasci Recognized By President Clinton: Former U.S. President Bill Clinton recognized Wagner College President Richard Guarasci at the second annual Clinton Global Initiative University. Wagner was cited for the Port Richmond Partnership, an innovative program that will focus the school's community resources in an effort to improve the quality of life in a Staten Island neighborhood.

According to Clinton, the Port Richmond Partnership builds upon "Wagner's extensive expertise and leadership in education and citizenship." (Wagner has been also named three times to the President's Community Service Honor Roll).

Clinton added that the Partnership will help to provide services to a community that is bearing the brunt of today's economic crisis."It is an honor that the work we are doing here on Staten Island, in order to be good neighbors within this community, has been recognized with so many other meaningful commitments to service," said Guarasci. "This is a humbling recognition."

The Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) meeting was held February 13-15, 2009 at The University of Texas at Austin. CGI U builds on the successful model of the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting to engage college students and administrators to make commitments to address global issues with practical, innovative solutions.

Swarthmore and Widener Partner on College Access Center in Deleware County: Cynthia Jetter '74, director of community partnerships at Swarthmore's Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility, is a driving force behind the creation of a new center in Chester, Pennsylvania. that will provide free resources for students who are interested in pursuing their college education.

"This is a personal thing for me," says Jetter, who grew up in Chester and attended Swarthmore after becoming one of the first participants in the College's Upward Bound program. "We can be a facilitator and warehouse for information. The diversity of resources we can bring is unique."

The Center, the first initiative of the Chester Higher Education Council, provides everything from college and career awareness and study skills development to tutoring, mentoring, and assisting high school seniors and their parents with the college financial aid process. It is anticipated that it will serve 1,000 youths and adults in its first year through school-based programs, and at community workshops held at the center and at neighborhood sites.

The Council is a nonprofit organization formed by the presidents of Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, Delaware County Community College, Neumann College, Penn State Brandywine, Swarthmore College, and Widener University. In addition, the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania will provide $100,000 in funding for the Center's first year of operation.

"The generosity of the schools is overwhelming," adds Jetter, who will devote 25 percent of her time to overseeing the Center. "We've all been doing this work separately for years. This brings everything together in one place."

St. Mary's Recognized as Greenest College in Maryland: In recognition of St. Mary's College of Maryland's commitment to green building initiatives and environmental leadership, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) have cited the college for innovative, sustainable environmental practices and leadership in building design. St. Mary's College of Maryland is the only college in Maryland to receive the EPA Green Power Leadership Club award and the first four-year residential college in Maryland to be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified. Awards from both organizations were presented to President Maggie O'Brien at a State House alumni reception in Annapolis.

St. Mary's Polar Bear Plunge: St. Mary's College of Maryland (SMCM) students, faculty, and staff plunged into the 39 degree St. Mary's River during this year's Third Polar Bear Plunge on February 12.

The annual Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC) sponsored event at the college produced even more environmentalists this year in an effort to raise awareness about climate change, bringing out over 150 swimmers and one student wearing a polar bear costume. Nearly 200 observers cheered on the participants as they swam in the cold waters.

This year, SEAC raised thousands of dollars in donations to send SMCM students to PowerShift '09 in Washington, D.C., the national youth summit committed to solving the climate crisis. PowerShift '09 aims to bring together more than ten thousand youth leaders from across the country in order to share ideas, learn new skills, make connections, and establish a national voice against global warming. Last year, over fifty St. Mary's students attended Powershift.

Conferences and Fellowships

The 15th Annual Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU) conference, hosted by Widener University from October 11-13, 2009, will focus on "Building Community Resiliency: The Role of University Leadership."

The term "distressed" is frequently used in describing the urban environments in which many metropolitan universities are situated. This conference will explore how universities can promote a strengths-based approach to partnering with their communities to nurture community resiliency. Community resiliency depends on social capital, as well as the interactions and engagement among community members to achieve common goals. This conference will provide a forum for faculty, students, and administrators to share ideas, experiences, and recommendations about the leadership role that metropolitan universities can assume in promoting community resiliency.

The meeting will include plenary sessions, paper presentations, special topic panels, roundtables, poster sessions and student presentations on a wide range of topics including: strengths-based approaches; educational infrastructure; environmental threats and remediation; wellness and public health; social capital; economic/business development; and impact assessment.

Proposal Submission Guidelines: Individuals may submit proposals for paper presentations, panel discussions, or poster displays. Consistent with the conference theme, the content should relate to institutional commitments by urban and metropolitan universities to drive progress in their regional communities. Complete information about proposal submissions can be viewed here.

Submission deadline: April 17, 2009


Jenzabar Foundation Announces Call for Nominations for Higher Education Student Leadership Awards

The Jenzabar Foundation has announced its second annual Student Leadership Awards. The awards will recognize seven student groups -- and their respective leaders -- that have demonstrated a commitment to making a difference through community service and/or humanitarian endeavors either in the United States or globally.

The 2009 Student Leadership Awards will provide grants in recognition of achievements in the following categories: local community support to individuals or groups that are underserved by existing community resources; international humanitarian efforts; campus ministry programs that reach beyond campus boundaries; education outreach to groups or individuals not enrolled in the institution; environmental protection, natural resource management, alternative energy promotion or climate/habitat awareness; health care provision or awareness; and issue advocacy targeted to local, state, or federal governments.

Nominations are open for students enrolled in an accredited institution of higher education and can be submitted by individuals, educational institutions, or nonprofit organizations that have produced work consistent with the foundation's mission to recognize and support the good works and humanitarian efforts of student leaders serving others across the globe.

Criteria and nomination process information are available at the Jenzabar Foundation Web site.

Submission deadline: March 29, 2009



The Periclean Progress is issued each month during the academic year and is posted on the Project Pericles website.
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Periclean Colleges & Universities
Allegheny College • Bates College • Berea College • Bethune-Cookman University
Chatham University • Dillard University • Elon University • Hampshire College
Hendrix College • Macalester College • New England College • The New School
Occidental College • Pace University • Pitzer College • Rhodes College
St. Mary's College of Maryland • Spelman College • Swarthmore College
Ursinus College • Wagner College • Widener University

National Office
Executive Director: Jan R. Liss

Board of Directors
Chair: Eugene M. Lang

Presidents' Council
Chair: Brian Rosenberg, Macalester College

National Board of Advisors
Co-Chairs: Sen. Nancy Kassebaum Baker & Hon. Kurt L. Schmoke

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