inCommon is the Participatory Governance Blog of the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership at the Pepperdine University School of Public Policy. Here you will find information about the latest resources, studies, programs and discussions about Civic Engagement in California, throughout the nation and around the world. We hope that the case studies and technological innovations discussed here will spark new reflection and conversation regarding both what legitimate civic engagement looks like and why it is important for good governance, particularly at the local level.
New to Civic Engagement? Check out our foundational documents »
The National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC), Points of Light, and Bloomburg have released their annual list of the most community-minded companies in the nation. From the NCoC:
The Civic 50 was created to measure corporate civic engagement and recognize top S&P companies that make socially responsible practices and community leadership part of their corporate culture. Corporations recognized as The Civic 50 set the standard for how a company’s time, talent and resources can best be used to improve quality of life in the communities where they do business.
You can keep reading here and see the full list here.
The Institute for Local Government has released an overview of public engagement in budgeting:
Topics covered include:
- Why Involve the Public in Budgeting
- Choosing the Right Approach Means Asking the Right Questions
- Tools to Consider
- Communication and Engagement
- One Strategy: Start with Goals
- A Strategy for Sustaining Public Engagement
You can download the resource here.
Last month students at Tuft’s University tried out a new video game designed to prepare college students for civic engagement in the “real world”:
Students were invited to play Civic Seed, a video game developed by the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service in conjunction with the Engagement Game Lab (EGL) at Emerson College, to provide feedback about the game’s effectiveness on Oct. 8 in the Lewis Hall lounge.
. . .
Nierenberg explained that Civic Seed takes players through four levels. Players are first asked to consider their own values and identities. Next, they are exposed to their communities assets and what it means to work as an outsider. The game explores Tufts’ partner relationships with the Somerville, Medford and Boston’s Chinatown communities.
The third level explores collaboration with partner communities toward a common goal of mutual benefit, while the last level offers lessons on sustaining the work toward that goal through connecting it with courses and careers and involving others.
You can read more here.
As many of our readers will know from experience, constructive civic engagement is hard. While there have been great strides the U.S. toward greater participatory governance and civic engagement, there is resistance in many cities from both the public and municipal leadership.
In this short piece, the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) highlights perceptions that foster resistance to civic engagement at the local level. The piece also links to a webinar that Cheryl Hilvert, director of the ICMA’s Center for Management Strategies, co-presented with Mike Higgins, principal of Public Collaboration Associates. The webinar addresses negative perceptions of civic engagement, and explains how it can benefit communities:
To achieve true, meaningful engagement with its stakeholders, local governments must commit to core values about civic engagement, assess their organization and community, build internal commitment, and create a plan. The process involves leaving your comfort zone; but the results are worth it.
Access the piece, the webinar, and other ICMA resources on civic engagement here.
Higher education made news last week in California, when Cal State Dominquez Hills hosted one of four public forums nationwide on the Obama Administration’s proposals to improve college affordability:
The forum is one of four public sessions held around the country — and the only one in California — for the Obama administration to gather input on the president’s recently announced agenda to develop a college rating system.
Dozens attended the forum and spoke to the panel — headlined by U.S. Undersecretary of Education Martha Kanter — expressing their concerns about the reliability and unintended consequences of such a system.
Separately, Amanda Moore McBride and Eric Mlyn highlight another issue related to higher education in The Huffington Post:
Simultaneous to this “crisis” in American higher education is the continued growth of the civic engagement movement on our campuses. Civic engagement is not, of course, a panacea for the ills of higher education, but it can be part of the solution.
Read their argument for why civic engagement or “engaged pedagogy” is an important component of education for the 21st century here.
Contributor: Benjamin Peterson, Pepperdine University School of Public Policy, MPP Candidate ’15