On Friday, April 10, Rhode Island Campus Compact held its 2015 Statewide Meeting at Roger Williams University. Nearly 130 people, comprised of presidents; student leaders; community members; faculty; staff; and administrators came together for an outstanding daylong conference. Carie Hertzberg welcomed everyone to the meeting and offered opening remarks:
I really love this day every year – a time to reflect, celebrate, and share amongst colleagues. When I think about this day, I immediately hear the words of Kim Washor from URI who hosted the meeting two years ago and said, “these are my people.”
You should feel like you are among friends today. And even more importantly, critical friends. Friends that hopefully will push your thinking, ask provocative questions, and help you to leave energized about your work in civic and community engagement.
This is also what the Campus Compact was intended to be… not a one-way higher education organization, but a true compact – mutual responsibility between members in pursuing the civic purposes of higher education. We are here because we share a connection and greater purpose.
The event program featured the keynote speaker, Stephen Black, as well as eight breakout sessions, more than twenty poster presentations, and several reflective essays. Stephen Foster Black, Director of the Center for Ethics & Social Responsibility at the University of Alabama, delivered a provocative keynote address, challenging thinking on outstanding community needs and the initiatives that are producing change in our communities.
Participants responded that Stephen Black was “excellent” and “controversial in what he was saying.” “[Stephen] pushed people to think critically and through a different lens about the work they do and about service.” “Regardless of one’s agreement with all of his points, his themes of inequality in access to higher education, as well as the public responsibility of higher education and its great potential, were themes I continued hearing throughout the day.”
Participants carried the keynote’s stories and questions of progress throughout the day in continued conversations in both breakout and poster sessions. Breakout sessions featured such topics as engagement in teacher education, institutional commitment to community engagement, assessing student learning outcomes, and formalizing community partnerships. For a full listing of breakout sessions with presenters and abstracts, access the event program.
Several authors lent their reflections to the day’s dialogue in four reflective essays, including “Reflection, Knowing, and the Practice of Democracy,” by Keith Morton, and a reflection on forty years of civic engagement in “Imagine. Engage. Reflect. Repeat.” by Dr. Sandra Enos.
We hope the event program (and the above photos) provide a snapshot of this year’s Statewide Meeting and serve as a source of reflection and encouragement in your work. Let’s continue Reflecting on Our Investment in Higher Education throughout 2015!
For those interested in formally reflecting on the 2015 Statewide Meeting, please contact Kerry Condon to submit a reflective essay. Rolling deadline for post-event essays: July 1, 2015.