For the sixth year in a row, Illinois State University received the honor and designation of being named a Lead Initiative Institution in Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement by the association of Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, also known as NASPA. The University also received the highest classification within Lead Initiative Intuitions and was named a Lead Advisory Institution.
ISU is one of 72 institutions designated nationally as a Lead Initiative Institution, and one of only 14 institutions that received the classification of Lead Advisory Institution. The University has received the Lead Initiative Institution designation each year since its inception in 2012 and has been named a Lead Advisory Institution for the last three years.
NASPA designates Lead Initiative Institutions as those two- and four-year universities committed to encouraging and highlighting the work of student affairs in making civic learning and democratic engagement a part of every student’s college education. Institutions selected to participate in the initiative work collaboratively in cohorts to share resources, promising practices, and participate in professional networking opportunities.
“We are honored to once again receive the designation as a NASPA LEAD Advisory Institution in recognition of our Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement initiatives,” said Levester Johnson, vice president of student affairs. “This designation not only demonstrates Illinois State’s commitment to civic engagement, but also reflects the significance of the work we do to develop students into active citizens.”
This designation comes in part from the University’s core value of civic engagement and the ongoing work of the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning. The center has a broad scope with work related to service learning, civic education, and political engagement, both inside and outside of the classroom, as well as enhancing community partnerships.
“The center is central in supporting and coordinating existing civic engagement activities for the University while creating new programs and initiatives,” said Janet Paterson, interim director of the center. “We also cultivate partnerships with community organizations and governmental entities that offer collaborative and mutually beneficial opportunities for students.”
“This designation by NASPA of being one of 14 Lead Advisory Institutions in the country puts ISU on the national stage related to civic learning and democratic engagement,” Paterson continued. “This distinguishes ISU as a leader in the field.”
As part of its ongoing civic engagement and Lead Initiative Institution efforts, the Division of Student Affairs formed a Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) workgroup. The group, coordinated by Harriett Steinbach, assistant director of service learning at the center, meets quarterly to discuss ways to increase civic engagement throughout the Division.
“All of the tasks and discussions of the workgroup will strengthen the Division’s civic engagement efforts in support of ISU’s core value,” Steinbach said. “This group creates cohesion among Division-wide civic engagement efforts.”
Over the course of the 2018-2019 academic year, the workgroup will discuss civic engagement materials and theory from NASPA; review the Division’s broadening of perspective learning domain and specifically the civic engagement competencies; test a new reporting application for civic involvement; and evaluate ways to disseminate civic engagement information to ISU students, faculty, and staff. The group will also continue to discuss the needs of the community and the underlying foundation of community voice within community service.
CLDE workgroup members for the 2018-2019 academic year:
- Ce-Ce Brookins, University Housing Services
- Kerri Calvert, Health Promotion and Wellness
- Valerie Deal, Campus Recreation
- Hope Fine, Career Center
- Laura Fox, Illinois State Police Department
- Skylar Guimond, Dean of Students Office
- Sarah Metevier, Student Access and Accommodation Services
- Harriett Steinbach, Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning (CLDE coordinator)
- Emily Vigneri, Event Management, Dining, and Hospitality