Civic Studies Symposia

The next Civic Studies symposium will be held in early 2017, date TBD.

The Citizen Professional – Organizing Democracy Change

Thursday, October 27, 8:00am-9:30am, OGC 100

  • What are skills and theory of making democratic changes in professions like teaching and nursing?
  • How can we prepare students to be civic agents of change?
  • What are obstacles and opportunities in a time of turmoil, divisions, and growing economic and racial inequalities?

The second Civic Studies Symposium at Augsburg invites members of the Augsburg community as well as public and community partners to explore such questions. The symposium will include

  • Margaret Finders on why the education department at Augsburg is focusing on developing “citizen teachers
  • Terrance Kwame-Ross on his experiences creating a democratic school
  • Katie Clark on how the Nursing Program at Augsburg has come to focus on preparing the “citizen nurse”

It will also include opportunities for small group discussions on these questions and how to operationalize civic agency (civic empowerment) practices in curricular and co-curricular life.

The Symposium will announce the 2016-17 Civic Studies Fellows, an outstanding group of staff, faculty, and community-public partners who will work over the coming year on cultural and institutional change.

The three year Civic Studies Initiative aims at deepening a culture of civic empowerment (civic agency) across all aspects of Augsburg and its partners. It is co-sponsored by the Center for Teaching and Learning, the Department of Education, and the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship. Harry Boyte, Senior Scholar in Public Work Philosophy at the Sabo CDC, is coordinator.

Launch of Augsburg Civic Studies

How the idea of citizens as co-creators changes our thinking about the election

Thursday, September 22, 8:00-9:30am, Old Main 105

The election brings resignation, anger, disgust, as well as activism.  The Pew Research Center reports “for the first time in more than two decades, a majority of voters express dissatisfaction with their choices for president.”  When NBC News asked voters for their views of the election, they used terms like “skunk,” “rotten eggs,” and “garbage.” Augsburg’s launch of the Civic Studies Initiative will show how “citizens as co-creators,” by emphasizing peoples’ agency, offers new resources for thinking and acting constructively and effectively on the election and related questions such as immigration, race, gender, sexual orientation, and inequality.

The discussion follows the successful Hot Button Topics workshop organized by CTL and the Sabo Center last March, which showed how a co-creative civic agency framework generates new possibilities for working though hot button topics.

The discussion on September 22 will include:

  • Harry Boyte on “What Is Civic Studies?”
  • A student panel on experiences in empowering public work
  • Michael Lansing on his civic agency history course
  • Small groups brainstorming on how “citizens as co-creators” can lead to different kinds of discussions and actions on the election
  • Margaret Finders on the application process for Civic Studies fellows

The September 22nd meeting of Augsburg Civic Studies will begin a discussion and action project over two years. Building on strong foundations already in place, Augsburg Civic Studies will explore how civic agency practices and ideas like co-creation can spread broadly in Augsburg curricular and co-curricular life. How can Augsburg and community partners develop an “epistemology of agency” – learning to know from a perspective of democratic power? This addresses Goal 1 of Augsburg 2019, collaboration across programs and departments to “prepare students for civic agency in a complex world.”

For more on the growing international Civic Studies movement (now taking root in Europe and Southern Africa as well as the US, based on ideas and practices of citizens as co-creators and civic agency, see the Tufts University page on Civic Studies.

This initiative is co-sponsored by the Center for Teaching and Learning, the Education Department, and the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship. It is led by Harry Boyte, Senior Scholar in Public Work Philosophy, Sabo Center, Margaret Finders, Chair, Education Department, and Rachel Lloyd, CTL Fellow.