Reading list: Approaches to civic engagement

USMC-071120-M-9539H-020On January 26, the DOCE and the Social Entrepreneurship pillar of Duke’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative will co-sponsor a day-long symposium, Social Entrepreneurship and the Business of Civic Engagement in Colleges and Universities. Check the Duke Events Calendar for information on the afternoon student session and the evening panel discussion; both events are free and open to the public.

Our guests will include Bill Wetzel, director of the Clinton Global Initiative University; David Scobey, former executive dean of the New School for Public Engagement; Marina Kim, director of Ashoka U; and MacKenzie Moritz, associate director for strategic partnerships for the Aspen Institute’s Franklin Project. As the title indicates, the conference will have a particular focus on social entrepreneurship as a currently popular method of civic engagement in higher education, with Ms. Kim and other invited guests representing an organization that favors that approach. However, the conference will also examine other approaches: community service (as represented by Moritz) and public scholarship (represented by Scobey). As the DOCE staff prepares for the conference, here is a list of some of the articles we’ve found that promote, critique or examine these approaches.

Social Entrepreneurship in Higher Education
Social entrepreneurship is bringing purpose to higher education – by Robin Pendoley, Forbes March 27, 2013. “The problem isn’t that higher education doesn’t have anything to offer (colleges are nothing if not mountains of world-class learning opportunities), but that students aren’t getting any of that value.”

‘Social entrepreneurs’ bring new ideas, new conflicts to colleges – by Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education April 8, 2013. Social entrepreneurship “is a state of mind: an optimistic belief that if you change the world, money will follow.”

(Video) TEDxBYU: Marina Kim – Campuses Can Live Innovation – “It’s possible to live innovation as a student, it’s possible to live innovation as a young professional and throughout your entire career path; it’s even possible for campuses to live innovation. So I encourage all of us to go to the gym, work our social change muscles and don’t wait to live innovation.”

Public Scholarship
‘But does it count?’ – by David M. Perry, Chronicle of Higher Education June 23, 2014. “We have a problem with how we define and value the many ways in which faculty members engage with the public.”

The promise and the flaws of public scholarship – by Alan Wolfe, Chronicle of Higher Education,  January 10, 1997. “Many aspects of public scholarship are admirable, but, fundamentally, it is a flawed concept, and it may not correct the real problems that it sets out to confront.”

Community Service in Higher Education
(Video) A Civic Rite of Passage: The case for national service – 2012 Aspen Ideas Festival. “That idea that (national service) is a rite of passage creates an expectation.”

Does service learning really help? – by Stephanie Strom, New York Times, December 29, 2009. “Volunteers, as any nonprofit leader will tell you… can be as much a curse as a blessing, especially to an organization that lacks the time and money to train and supervise students.”

Community service requirement is a bad idea – opinion piece, The Daily Aztec, August 4, 1999. “If we are forced to do mandatory community service in college, what other mandates lie ahead? Maybe the study of every culture?”

Colleges and universities approach civic engagement in many ways, and as these articles show, these approaches often have strong proponents and detractors. Although certain approaches peak in popularity at various times, they are all thriving at Duke through various programs and initiatives. We look forward to a national perspective on these issues and we hope that many of you will join us for this event.

Image by Cpl. R. Drew Hendricks [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons