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Eastern to Promote Civic Learning Democratic Engagement

Written by Dwight Bachman

Willimantic, Conn: -- Eastern Connecticut State University has been selected to participate in the National Association of Student Personnel Administrator's (NASPA) "Lead Initiative," a national effort centered on civic learning and democratic engagement (CLDE).  Eastern is one of 73 institutions nationwide, and the only 4-year public institution in Connecticut that wasaccepted into this program.
 The announcement was made by Kevin Kruger, president of NASPA, and Laura Sponsler, NASPA'S content director for civic learning and democratic engagemenT. "NASPA has long been committed to ensuring that a college education includes developing students as leaders and as citizens through a commitment to civic engagement," said Kruger. "Through the Lead Initiative, NASPA is shining light on the unique contributions that student affairs professionals are making to democratic engagement. In a time of concern and worry about our civic society, it is critical that college administrators are doing all that they can to present students with opportunities to help them develop as productive and engaged citizens."

In a congratulatory letter to Kim Silcox, director of Eastern's Center for Community Engagement, Sponsler wrote, "Over the coming year, you will participate in programmatic and scholarly activities to share information and resources, reflect on lessons learning through CLDE work on your campus, and collaborate with partners through webinars, special events and the Lead Initiative blog. We are so pleased that you are a part of the initiative and I am sincerely looking forward to our work together." 

"We are pleased to have been selected to participate in this program," said Silcox. "Eastern's new Strategic Plan reaffirms the University's commitment to supporting Windham's efforts to address the academic achievement gap of  local students, and we look forward to using the tools and strategies developed through this program to further our partnerships with the Windham community."
Participating members of the "Lead Initiative" have exclusive access to opportunities for collaboration, networking and professional development, all designed to enhance the positive impact the "Lead Initiative" has on students.
Selected institutions, representing public and private four-year and two-year colleges and universities, have committed to a series of strategies to make civic learning and democratic engagement an integrated and core component of the Division of Student Affairs through planning, partnerships, and assessment. Other institutions from Connecticut include the University of New Haven, Middlesex Community College and Capital Community College.
The goals of the program are:
• Building clear and tangible civic learning and democratic engagement activities into Student Affairs Division strategic goals and learning outcomes;
• Creating strategies in collaboration with students, faculty and community partners that increase civic learning and help solve community problems through collective action; and
• Collecting and reporting data on the efficacy of campus efforts using tools that measure gains in civic learning and democratic engagement.

To learn more about NASPA's Lead Initiative, please visit the NASPA website at:

March 2015

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