Introducing the Compact Nation Podcast

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Andrew Seligsohn, president of Campus Compact; Emily J. Shields, executive director of Iowa Campus Compact; and J.R. Jamison, executive director of Indiana Campus Compact introduce the Compact Nation Podcast.

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Andrew-150x150Andrew Seligsohn

Andrew Seligsohn is the current president of Campus Compact, and a #CompactNationPod co-host.

hssept2011-009_2608523Emily J. Shields 

Emily Shields is the current Iowa Campus Compact executive director, and a #CompactNationPod co-host.

J.R.-headshot-3-copy-283x300J.R. Jamison

J.R. Jamison is the current Indiana Campus Compact executive director, and a #CompactNationPod co-host.

Transcript of the Episode

Andrew Seligsohn I’m Andrew Seligsohn, president of Campus Compact. Campus Compact is a coalition of 1,100 colleges and universities across the country — and even beyond — committed to the public purposes of higher education. Campus Compact is all about ensuring that higher education is contributing to a more just, equitable, sustainable and democratic future for all of us. Our work focuses on preparing students for lives of engaged citizenship and building partnerships between campuses and communities to advance public goods. Campus Compact is organised as a network of thirty-four state and region compacts across the country connecting to our 1,100 member institutions, and we work directly with a whole range of people on and off campuses. We work with presidents and chancellors who joined Campus Compact, we work with faculty and staff who pursue engagement as a strategy for teaching and research and institutional partnerships, we work with organisations that share our broader goals and who can connect us with the world beyond higher education for maximum impact.

J.R. Jamison I’m J.R. Jamison, executive Director of Indiana Campus Compact.

Emily J. Shields And I’m Emily Shields, executive Director of Iowa Campus Compact. And this is the Compact Nation Podcast!


J.R. Jamison Yay!

Andrew Seligsohn The Compact Nation Podcast is one of our vehicles for sharing ideas and bringing in new voices for thinking together about higher education engagement and how together we can contribute to the kind of democratic future that we all pursue.

Emily J. Shields So, the Compact Nation Podcast, we plan to release it once a month, and in every episode we’re going to try to have some authentic and candid conversations with people in the field of higher education community engagement. And we’re also going to do things like book reviews, and conference reviews, and discussions of current events. We also will have a segment in hopefully every podcast called “Question Time with the President.” The idea is to ask our fearless leader his thoughts on a few different questions each month, kind of depending on what we’re talking about in that podcast.

Andrew Seligsohn You know the joke about the three community engagement directors getting into an elevator?

Emily J. Shields [LAUGHS] Oh God, no!

Andrew Seligsohn No, I don’t think there is such a joke, but I do think before we’re done, uh, with this podcast, before it has run its course, we should somehow write that joke.


Emily J. Shields Do you love podcasts, J.R.?

J.R. Jamison I do love podcasts. I try to listen to them, uh, when I am driving to Indianapolis. So I live, actually, about an hour and a half from Indiana Campus Compact’s office, which is a ton of time to listen to books on tape or, really, Audible. Uh, listen to podcasts, listen to NPR, and all of that. So I love this idea of a Campus Nation Podcast. It’s something that I feel like has been missing from the field for a long time, and especially for the work Campus Compact has been doing to give us a platform in that way and, hopefully attract more people to our work, who otherwise maybe wouldn’t know about us.

Emily J. Shields I think my main inspiration was just, you know, we all want to learn more about the field and have more opportunities to do that, and I know a lot of us love reading, and are avid readers, um, but also that finding time for reading is challenging. But, time for — for listening, especially those of us who do spend a lot of time in the car, or have other hobbies that are — maybe allow us to be listening to something while doing them, that kind of thing. Um, it just seemed like a really good way to encourage more conversation and learning, but not kind of add to the, you know, burdens I think people already feel who’re overwhelmed with the amount of reading they need to be doing, um, emails and blogs and news stories, and all those kinds of things. So, that’s where I think it’ll really add — add to the conversation.

Andrew Seligsohn At Campus Compact, we are deeply concerned with issues like political polarization and how our inability to conduct democratic practices is hampering our ability to solve shared problems and achieve our shared values. We’re concerned about the explosion of inequality, and how it has cut off opportunity for Americans to participate fully in our society. Our view is that higher education plays a crucial role in meeting the challenges we face as a society, and so our effort is to get colleges and universities to maximize the contribution of their teaching, their research and other actions their institutions take. Maximize the contribution of all of that to the achievement of shared public goods. We do a lot of different things. We pull people together for conferences and events, we publish works and we have a website full of resources, so we do many different things that are all aimed at connecting higher education with the world beyond, to advance democratic values. The Compact Nation Podcast is a new vehicle for achieving those goals, and so we’re excited to launch it. I’m excited to be a part of it; I’m thrilled to be working with J.R. Jamison and Emily Shields, two of our fine state Campus Compact directors, who’ll be hosting the podcast; I’m excited to be working with Navaal Mahdi, our production intern, from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, a student who has developed tremendous skill in putting together podcasts and who is also consulting with us about how to make this podcast achieve our goals; we’re excited to have Kirsten Lyons, our Communications Coordinator at Campus Compact, as part of our editorial team. So, we’ve got a great group, we’ll be bringing terrific guests to the podcast, and we’ll really be able to explore a whole range of social and political issues and how Campus Compact connects to those, and how higher education can be part of addressing the challenges that we face as a democratic society.


Emily J. Shields We want to hear from you. Do you have ideas for people we should be interviewing? Topics we should be covering? Hard-hitting questions we should be asking? Send us your ideas at You can also hit us up on Twitter. Use the hashtag #CompactNationPod and we’ll find you, or send us a direct message. I can be found at @EmilyJShields, my co-host J.R. Jamison can be found at @JR_Jamison, and of course our esteemed president, Andrew Seligsohn, can be found at @CompactPrez. That’s P-R-E-Z, because he’s cool like that.

J.R. Jamison Tune in next Thursday for our first episode with Tim Eatman. After that, new episodes of Compact Nation will be available the first Wednesday of every month. Until next time, keep changing the world friends.

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