Category Archives: Civic

SOCHE-Dayton Red Cross Partnership

SOCHE and the Dayton Area Chapter of the American Red Cross are teaming up to increase the civic engagement and volunteerism of area college students. SOCHE and the Red Cross are committed to further strengthening the already good relationships campuses have with their communities.

With over 200,000 students at SOCHE member schools, this partnership taps into the student population to help build a stronger volunteer base for the Red Cross and the region.

The first event in the partnership will take place on October 13 during National Fire Prevention Week and includes engaging students and faculty in the Red Cross program Sound the Alarm.

Sound the Alarm is a home fire safety and smoke alarm installation program designed to save lives. Every day, seven people die in home fires, most in homes that lack working smoke alarms. Sadly, children and the elderly disproportionately lose their lives.

Students will have the opportunity to install smoke alarms and share fire safety information across neighborhoods in the Red Cross service area, which includes Greene, Montgomery, and Preble counties. Cory Paul, executive director of the Dayton Area Chapter of the Red Cross said, “Partnering with SOCHE is a great way to involve young people in initiatives that make a huge difference for our communities through volunteerism and collaboration. We have an opportunity to save a life, what could be better?”

Sean Creighton, SOCHE’s president, said, “Colleges and universities are committed to providing learning experiences to students through community engagement. This partnership is a good way to build persistent student engagement as we want Sound the Alarm to be the first of many events with the Red Cross and its many chapter across southwest Ohio.”

There will be volunteer shifts, 9am to 12pm and 12pm to 3pm. To register to participate in the October 13th Sound the Alarm event, visit: Sound the Alarm Volunteer

Urban Impact Talent Scholarship

Modeled on a first-in-the-nation scholarship offered in Michigan, a new program launched in Hamilton, Ohio that tackles college student debt, workforce attraction, urban repopulation, and economic impact, all in one strategy. It’s called the Talent Attraction Program (TAP) and is a competitive scholarship program that provides back end financial support for graduates. The financial support can be leveraged by graduates to put toward outstanding student loan debt or to offset other cost-of-living expenses.

Specifically, applicants must demonstrate the following attributes:

  • Graduated from a STEAM program within the last 7 years
  • Are not currently residents of the Greater Hamilton region
  • Have more than $5,000 in outstanding student loan debt
  • Will live within Hamilton’s Urban Core
  • Demonstrate employment in the greater the Hamilton area or Butler County

This program is a twist on the now popular Promise programs, an initiative to increase college attainment in a specific locale, that became well known and widely replicated after the success of the Kalamazoo Promise. While Promise programs increase the potential talent supply of college grads, attraction programs attract existing qualified professionals to meet employer demand.

As I mentioned in the Dayton Daily News, reducing the debt burden is an attractive incentive to recent grads and it will also free up recent college grads to spend more of their money in the communities where they decide to live. During these times of low employment and high workforce demand, a strategy like this one is certainly another arrow in the quiver for cities and regions. Like the Promise programs, it will be interesting to see if more and more cities copy the TAP Scholarship.

In the long run, however, TAP needs to scale up to be successful, increasing the pay out beyond $5,000 and significantly increasing the number of recipients per year. After speaking with the Hamilton Community Foundation that funds and runs the program, my impression is that launching the program is the first step. Over time, they will be in better position to measure and evaluate the program’s impact and, hopefully, the results will support a case for increased investment.

While it would make sense for private industry to come forward and invest substantially in this scholarship, this is led by a community foundation for a reason and the impact will be greater than just helping area employers. The TAP program is about populating the urban core and, as many American cities have experienced, a vibrant core affects, positively, the culture, community, economy, and quality of life of a city and its people. Let’s closely watch this scholarship program develop and, then, advocate for replication and further investment if it proves to work.

All the best to the City of Hamilton!

WiIl other Ohio cities soon follow suit?

TEDxDayton’s Fifth Anniversary

On October 20th, TEDxDayton will celebrate its fifth anniversary. Every step of the way, this community initiative has been driven by unmatched volunteerism and leadership. Individuals from diverse backgrounds and professions have joined together, building new connections, relationships, and synergy in the spirit of lifting up TED’s motto Ideas Worth Spreading. More than a fun day of stories and performances, TEDxDayton exemplifies effective citizen engagement, and has become a beloved community event for Dayton since its inception.

Thank you Chris Anderson and the team at TED. And many congratulations to all those who have been involved from day one up through year five and have been the Current in our community!

 

Be True to Yourself

I completed the second leadership profile in what will hopefully be a series and, eventually, a published collection with a global audience (wishful thinking!). Interviewing Felice Nudelman from Antioch University provided another glimpse into the personal and professional influences and pathways that shape a leader and his or her commitment to civic engagement

This was the second interview I conducted as part of the collaborative research SOCHE is doing with the Kettering Foundation on the role of the college president in advancing community engagement.  In this profile, Felice reflects on her early childhood influences, struggling around the idea of going to college, and eventually finding a perfect blend of her passion for the arts with fighting social injustices.

It is hugely rewarding to have the opportunity to talk at length with higher education leaders on a subject of mutual and profound interest, civic engagement. And, truly, an honor to be able to share their stories. Please take a moment to read Felice Nudelman’s profile Be True to Yourself.

A Concerned and Caring Civic Leader

Fortunately, I had the honor (and, definitely, the pleasure) of interviewing Dr. Roger Sublett, president of the Union Institute & University. I conducted the interview as part of a project I am doing with the Kettering Foundation on the role of the college president in advancing community engagement

This research project turned into a personal and professional story about Roger that I am excited to share. Please take a moment to read about a remarkable individual, colleague, mentor, and friend: A Concerned and Caring Civic Leader.

Thank you!

A College President for the Public Good

Harry Boyte’s latest profile in the Huffington Post is on my bow-tie sporting colleague/mentor Paul Pribbenow, president of Augsburg College in Minneapolis. Paul exemplifies a college president who carries with him the vision of leading for the public good. One would think, as Paul notes, that the majority of college presidents are driven by this same notion, carrying the torch of American higher education that contributes to realizing significant public ends.

Unfortunately, many college leaders have lost touch with higher ed’s foundational roots of providing students with the civic knowledge and skills to become engaged citizens. Paul is not one of those leaders, obviously. He belongs to a group of outlier presidents who remain steadfast in their commitment to creating a learning environment that teaches how to contribute to the civic health of our society and democracy. Paul is committed to graduating the “citizen professional” – a mindset that values leadership for the public good and rebuilding the civic life of communities.

Paul Pribbenow’s profile is one in a series in the Huffington Post by Harry Boyte on college presidential leadership for the Kettering Foundation’s College Presidents and the Civic Purposes of Higher Education Project. Read more profiles and other musings by Harry.

 

What else can you do?

During its ten-year history, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize has selected and honored authors who have improved humanity through their work and words. Every year I go to the DLPP ceremony bothUntitled the fiction and non-fiction winners inspire me to want to do more. This year, I asked Gloria Steinem, who received the 2015 Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award, “What else can I do?” Gloria’s lifetime as an author and activist changed the lives of women all over the world. Now, in her 80s, she keeps on going. Her answer to me at first was modest, suggesting I’m already doing so much and just keep it up. But she also talked about small change, and living a conscientious life. Always be aware of the choices you make and how they impact others. Make the choices that contribute to social justice and an improved humanity.

What else can you do?

 

College Presidents as Public Philosophers

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending the Kettering Foundation’s Deliberative Democracy Exchange and participated in the work session College Presidents and the Civic Purposes of Higher Education. What a great group of personable, thoughtful, engaging presidents, whose campuses reflected the diversity of American higher education. The two-day session challenged the presidents to reflect on revitalizing democratic narrative, expanding public understandings of democracy beyond elections, politicians, and formal government, and becoming deeply woven into the life of their communities and regions. More so, KF challenged us to restore the role of the president to one of public philosopher – such a vital role, missing from our national dialogue. Where are the college president pundits?

I understand why KF continues to bring the civic purpose of higher education topic to the forefront. I, too, think it is imperative that college and university presidents ensure their campus ecosystem challenges students to develop a deep sense of civic purpose. There’s no better place than on a college campus to instill in student development and learning the acquired knowledge and skills to be effective citizens and, ultimately, the protectors and leaders of democracy. More so, as anchor institutions in communities, higher education is perfectly positioned to build educational, economic, and civic partnerships.  Imagine the positive influence on humanity if 21st century college students graduated with a heightened commitment to local, national, and global social justice.

While the presidents in the KF work session wished to restore civic purpose to their pulpit or the president to the civic pulpit, a reality emerged that speaking out on civic issues can be detrimental for some presidents, especially those at public institutions in conservative states. When did improving health and human welfare, ensuring community prosperity, and educating citizens on the value of deliberative democracy become partisan?

Nonetheless, it is unfortunate to think that a president’s job security might be threatened if he or she increased speaking publicly on civic issues. I’m hopeful a situation as such is an anomaly instead of a common fear of presidents. And I am driven by wishful thinking that we will see an uptick in presidents who are inspired by the KF challenge and, therefore, speak often on the civic purpose of higher education – like Rassoul Dastmozd, President of Saint Paul College, did recently in the Huffington Post, Civic Engagement and Our Responsibility in Higher Education – a public philosopher is born!

Homage to Benjamin Franklin: Forefather of Collaboration

I had the good fortune of spending the 4th of July in Philadelphia, America’s first city. Having not been there before, I found myself wondering, where have you been my whole life Philly? Until now, I didn’t know how much I missed you…your history, artists, museums, mosaics, and murals…your old narrow city streets, magic garden and harbor, amongst green space, squares, and fountains. Until now, I didn’t know how much I missed your mixologists, Vedge, cheesesteak, and world markets…your neighborhoods, working class, professors, and hipsters, locals and transplants…your roots, love, Wawa, Independence Day, and grand finale booms at PAM. Until now, I didn’t realize how much I missed your jawn and, especially, Ben Franklin.

Hence, Ben, I pay homage to you, as an innovator and forefather of collaborative problem solving. Indeed, you created one of the first collaborative clubs in America (The Junto), a group of citizens that met regularly to improve their minds and strengthen their community. Ben, you valued diverse perspectives and felt that this brain trust of people could solve social, political, and business problems better together than could any single person. Consequently, out of collaborative thinking emerged many of your historic contributions that continue to underpin our society. Thank you, Ben, for the good you have done, and for motivating us citizens by always asking the question:

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We cannot wait to see you again Philly.