Building Faculty-Staff Learning Partnerships to Enhance Student Civic Engagement: Lessons Learned from the 2012 Election Season
21 Pages Posted: 6 Feb 2013
All too often, civic engagement efforts on college and university campuses are hindered by the existence of institutional ‘silos’ that interfere with constructive faculty/staff collaboration. Even the most engagement-oriented faculty members may be constrained in their on-campus efforts by funding constraints, narrow definitions of faculty work, limited knowledge of colleagues’ engagement efforts and limited contacts beyond the department level. Community engagement offices on campus, for their part, may face significant constraints as well due to limited faculty buy-in, administrative barriers, limited curricular tie-ins and increasing institutional demands for other types of programming on campus.
In this paper, we detail how educators on the political science faculty and in Center for Community Engagement at Miami University Hamilton (MUH) have worked together to overcome such barriers to collaboration and leverage their resources so as to institutionalize a civic engagement partnership on campus. Focusing specifically on Miami Hamilton’s fall 2012 “Engaging the Election” initiative – which aimed to increase students’ political awareness and action -- the paper examines the specific steps undertaken together by MUH faculty and staff to plan and implement a series of student-oriented civic engagement and community building events on campus. The paper also reviews ‘lessons learned’ from the development and implementation of the fall 2012 series and provides preliminary data about the impact of the “Engaging the Election” series on student learning and student civic engagement.
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