The Newman Civic Fellowship: Renewed

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One of my favorite aspects of working at Campus Compact is witnessing the courageous action that students on member campuses across the country are taking to address issues of inequality and political polarization. Empowering and supporting civically engaged college students as agents of change is an important part of Campus Compact’s history.

Campus Compact was founded in 1985 by college and university presidents who were intent on combating images of materialism that they knew did not characterize their student bodies. Over the years, Campus Compact has maintained a commitment to supporting civically engaged students through recognition programs like the Howard R. Swearer Student Humanitarian Award, campaigns like Raise Your Voice, and through the Newman Civic Fellows program, which was established to honor one of our founders, Frank Newman.

Frank Newman was the former president of the Education Commission for the States and of the University of Rhode Island, and was an active co-founder of Campus Compact. He spent his career promoting educational opportunity and strengthening education for active and engaged citizenship. After Frank’s passing in 2004, friends and family of Frank came together to start the Frank Newman Leadership Fund and the affiliated Newman Award.

As Campus Compact President, Andrew Seligsohn, discussed in his recent blog post on Campus Compact’s renewal, during our 30th anniversary last year, we made commitments to sharpen our efforts to advance the public purposes of higher education. One of those commitments, detailed in our 30th Anniversary Action Statement of Presidents and Chancellors is to “prepare students for lives of engaged citizenship, with the motivation and capacity to deliberate, act, and lead in pursuit of the public good.”

Deepening civic learning opportunities for students is part of that commitment. Through a redesign of our Newman Civic Fellows program, we set out to incorporate elements to strengthen learning and promote connection among community-committed students.

We began by seeking input from a variety of constituencies including staff at other organizations addressing political polarization and inequality, students and
staff at Campus Compact member institutions, and young professionals. We also collected feedback from current college students engaged in public problem solving. Collectively the insights that we gained from all of these groups helped to drive the learning outcomes of our new fellowship model. During the redesign process we also gathered feedback from community engagement professionals within our network, which helped us to make decisions about the program components included in our new model. This past June, we convened a group of higher education leaders with whom we refined the first outline of our new fellowship model. The program model that we are launching today was made stronger by the critical questions and insightful feedback that this group contributed.

Campus Compact is immensely grateful for the valuable contributions that the following individuals made to our redesign process:

Andrea Vernon of Montana Campus Compact, Andrew Nurkin of Princeton AlumniCorps, Bri Crumbly and Shannon Copp of Interfaith Youth Core, Diana Echevarria of Newman’s Own Foundation, Erik Farley of Denison University, John Reiff, John Sarrouf of Essential Partners, Laura Megivern of The University of Vermont, Lena Jones of Minneapolis Community and Technical College, Liz Sisson of Roosevelt Institute, Marisol Morales of the University of La Verne, Mohamed Rahmy of Seeds of Peace, Nancy Thomas of The Institute for Democracy and Higher Education, Nessa Stoltzfus Barge of Oxfam America, Nick Longo and Rick Battistoni of Providence College, Rhonda Fitzgerald of Sustained Dialogue Institute, Robin Lynn Grinnell of Michigan Campus Compact, Sinda Nichols of Minnesota Campus Compact, Suchitra Gururaj of The University of Texas at Austin, and Tim Krumreig of Massachusetts Campus Compact.

We are also very grateful to the many students, young professionals, and community engagement professionals who participated in our surveys throughout the redesign process and to the many staff within our Campus Compact network who shared feedback and ideas along the way. Additionally, we are grateful to Newman’s Own Foundation for the support that they provided to help make this redesign possible and to the KPMG Foundation for their continued support of the Newman Civic Fellowship.

We are excited to launch the redesigned fellowship, and I invite you to read more about the updated model on the Newman Civic Fellowship section on our website.

Sincerely,
Michaela Grenier
Program Coordinator, Campus Compact

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