What Does it Mean to be an Anchor Institution?
Lewis University, a Catholic and Lasallian institution with a wonderfully justice-oriented mission, is located in Will County, Illinois. The main campus is about 35 miles southwest of Chicago and about 6 miles away from Joliet, Illinois’ fourth largest city. When I started at Lewis four years ago, I was thrilled to see that the mission is front and center in decision-making on campus. Faculty and staff have a solid understanding of our institutional focus and most can recite mission values from memory. Despite this strength, at times our justice orientation shows up in very inwardly focused ways, lifting up only those who attend the institution, instead of bringing this mission out to the public for the common good. In an area that doesn’t boast a lot of institutions which align themselves with regional well-being, Lewis’ decision to become an anchor institution, providing intentional support to our local community, could have a real impact in the region.
We’ve moved! Find the latest Research and Policy Institute updates on the NASPA blog!
Starting in late April, 2019, the NASPA Research and Policy Institute blog has been merged into the NASPA blog! Check us out there: http://www.naspa.org/about/blog
Reflections on the Importance of CLDE
The annual Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Conference (CLDE) is built around the four pillars of the CLDE Theory of Change: Purpose, Learning Outcomes, Pedagogy, and Strategy. When I volunteered to write this blog for CLDE 2019, I started to assess the plethora of work that is CLDE within the context of those four pillars. In the midst of that assessment, I repeatedly asked myself why I am committed to CLDE and, more specifically, the work of AASCU’s American Democracy Project (ADP). What is it in my own belief system that has me so committed, and how does it relate to the CLDE Theory of Change? I hope that you, too, will reflect on why CLDE is important to you, your community, and our democracy.
Ignite the Conversation
As the start of the fall 2018 semester approached, we decided that the best day to roll out this new initiative would be the first day of classes. Although risky, we decided to add an element of surprise in the middle of our campus’ quad and watched the reactions unfold organically. Our risk was a success! The process of constructing the ball-pit was enough to stir attention. However, once assembled, the interest grew stronger and the conversations did not stop.
We Are Community Engagement Professionals
Community engagement work is grey; it does not always easily align itself with one division or one department. In fact, when community organizations work with a university, they are more concerned about getting problems solved and effective partnerships than where their partner is situated on the organizational chart.
Putting Our Wound to Work: Reflecting on Kent State’s Tragic History and Renewing Democracy
In preparing for the 50th anniversary of the events of May 4th, Kent State University is a renewed institution, looking backward and forward, remembering the pain and loss of the past and resolving to co-create a brighter future for all of us. Playing the roles of convener and “Wounded Healer,” we are putting our wound to work, dedicated to raising our voices in a convening spirit and creating inclusive and peaceful environments. We look forward to joining and learning from other institutions as we work together to build the thriving democracy we seek.