The Democracy Commitment

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A healthy democracy depends on engaged citizens, proud of their rights, thoughtful about their responsibilities, and informed about their choices.

 Thomas Jefferson put it simply. "An enlightened citizenry is indispensable for the proper functioning of a republic.  Self-government is not possible unless the citizens are educated sufficiently to enable them to exercise oversight."

The Democracy CommitmentVisit the Community Colleges for Democracy Website America's community colleges have enormous talent and capacity, with faculty and staff committed to the success of our students, and with students bright with ambition and passion.  All of us share a commitment to a democratic nation.  Now is the time to fulfill that commitment. We welcome you to sign the pledge as we have!

We, employees of Mesa Community College, are proud to affix our signatures as supporters of the Democracy Commitment

The Democracy Commitment Declaration. A healthy democracy depends on engaged citizens, proud of their rights, thoughtful about their responsibilities, and informed about their choices. Thomas Jefferson put it simply: “An enlightened citizenry is indispensable for the proper functioning of a republic. Self-government is not possible unless the citizens are educated sufficiently to enable them to exercise oversight.” The condition of the republic today is marked by a national politics driven by bitter partisanship. Our discourse is marked by an unwillingness to listen to one another. Our elected leaders seldom moved past sound bites to engage in collaborative solutions to the nation’s growing list of problems. Widening divisions between Americans because of race, economic circumstance and geography make political solutions seem increasingly difficult. At the same time, many of our citizens lack basic knowledge of the civic and democratic institutions through which democratic power is exercised. Too few vote, too many are alienated from a process they believe irrelevant, too many are doubtful about their ability to change the circumstances of their lives. This alienation from politics and from the democratic process is dangerous for the nation. A people who are cynical about democracy are too easily prey to manipulation; a nation that does not engage its citizens in civic work loses the imagination and capacity of those citizens. American higher education has a long history of service to democracy. Our nation’s colleges and universities have always had a mission to make education available to the many, not only to the few, and to ensure that the benefits and obligations of education were a democratic opportunity. This is a proud history, but it is not enough. Beyond access to education itself, colleges and universities have an obligation to educate about democracy, to engage students in both an understanding of civic institutions and the practical experience of acting in the public arena. The American community colleges share this mission of educating about democracy, not least because we are the gateway to higher education for millions who might not otherwise get a postsecondary education. More critically, we are rooted deeply in local communities that need the civic leadership and practical democratic capacity of our students for their political and social health. Community college students come from all walks of life and all social stations. Our students represent all ethnicities and religious communities. Our learners are all ages. Their ability to exercise their democratic rights and work together in public life, to be generous and tolerant and yet able to advocate for themselves, will help to determine the future of our communities. America’s community colleges are much in the news these days. We enroll nearly half of all students in American higher education. We prepare students for transfer to university, for entry into the job market, and for lives of continual learning. We provide critical services in basic skills, literacy and developmental education. We are an integral part of the economic and social development of our local communities, and serve rural, urban and suburban regions across the nation. The demands of economic recovery have brought increased attention to America’s community colleges, as our colleges play a critical role in preparing men and women for entry into the job marker, and in providing education and skill development for workers laid off during the recession. Community colleges have a well-deserved reputation for programs that lead to immediate employment, and for being responsive to changes in the local and regional job markets. At the same time, community colleges provide low-cost and accessible two-year programs in the liberal arts and sciences, and a significant percentage of our students transfer to America’s four-year colleges and universities. Indeed, more than half of all Americans who receive bachelor’s degrees from state colleges and universities have transferred from community colleges. The American community colleges do more, however, than educate for the job market or for transfer to university. We have a critical role to play in preparing our students for their roles as citizens and engaged members of their communities. In service to democracy and the future of our communities, we announce a new traditional initiative: The Democracy Commitment. The Democracy Commitment will provide a national platform for the development for the development and expansion of programs and projects aiming at engaging community college students in civic learning and democratic practice. Our goal is that every graduate of an American community college shall have an education in democracy. This includes all our students, whether they aim to transfer to university, earn an associate degree, or obtain a certificate. The Democracy Commitment asks of participating community colleges the following: •	A public commitment to the central role of civic education •	Intentional support for both curricular and extracurricular programs that build civic skills among students, especially focusing on projects that support students in doing public work •	Faculty and staff development in civic engagement •	Partnerships with local civic, non-profit and government agencies whose primary work is the social and economic development of local communities •	Participation in a national clearinghouse of program designs, curricula and projects development strategies for community colleges •	Participation in an annual meeting that brings together faculty, staff, administrators and partners •	Development of joint regional and national programs with partner universities, and with national higher education associations America’s community colleges have enormous talent and capacity, with faculty and staff committed to the success of our students, and with students bright with ambition and passion. All of us share a commitment to a democratic nation. Now is the time to fulfill that commitment. We presidents and chancellors of community colleges and community college districts across the nation, are proud to affix or signatures as founding members of The Democracy Commitment on this day, Friday, the fourth of November 2011, in New York City.

A - D

  • Janell D. Alewyn, Librarian, Library
  • Beth Alsen, Instructional Designer, Center for Teaching and Learning
  • Keith D Anderson, English Faculty
  • David Barnes, Community Partner Mesa Chamber of Commerce
  • Cesar E. Becerra, Coordinator Recruitment Program
  • Glenn M. Bennett, Music Faculty
  • Lucas Bodine, President of the Associated Students of Mesa Community College
  • Burton Borlongan, Faculty, Computer Information Systems
  • Evonne M. Bowling, Apparel Merchandising Design
  • Jessica Bradford, Administrative Secretary Business & Information Systems
  • Trisha Brazda, Web Developer, Institutional Advancement
  • Paul W. Brewer, Music Faculty
  • Kimberly Broxham, Fashion Merchandising Faculty
  • Diana Bullen, Business Programs Faculty
  • Margie E. Cataldo, English Faculty
  • Robert P. Chapman, Computer Information Systems
  • Cynthia Connolly, AmeriCorps Coordinator, Center for Community & Civic Engagement
  • Leigh Ann Counseller, Student Worker, Center for Community and Civic Engagement
  • Pam Dempsey, Institutional Advancement Graphic Design Faculty
  • Brian Dille, Faculty, Social Science
  • Dori DiPietro, Director of the MCC Social Work Program
  • Kevin Dressler, Director of Theatre Activities

E - H

  • Ann Ewing, Psychological Science Faculty
  •  Jennifer R. Fay, Faculty, Exercise Science
  • Janet Felton, Business & Information Systems Faculty
  •  Sonia Filan, Director of Institutional Advancement
  • Tim Florschuetz, English Faculty
  •  Christin Franco, Program Specialist, Center for Community & Civic Engagement
  • Vickie Gallegos, Administrative Secretary, Center for Community & Civic Engagement
  • Puvana Ganesan, Communication Theatre & Film Arts
  •  Dr.Annapurna Ganesh, Faculty, Education Studies
  •  Azul Gomez, Librarian
  • Anthony Griffith, Reading Faculty
  •   Sarah Haines, Community Partner Special Olympics
  •  Karen Hardin, Director, Counseling
  • Heather Haskell, Support Staff, Center for Community & Civic Engagement
  • Karen Heffron, AmeriCorps Assistant Coordinator, Center for Community & Civic Engagement
  •  Debbie Henney, Economics Faculty
  • Jaime H. Herrera, English Faculty
  • Paul Hickey, Systems Administrator
  • Debbie Holexa, Faculty, Dental Hygiene
  • William D. Holloway, Sr. Network Technician
  • Suzy Horton, Psychological Science Faculty
  • Robert Hunter, Music Faculty

I - L

  • Neal Jacobson, Biology Faculty
  • Barbara M Jordan, English Faculty
  • Loretta Kissell, Communication Theatre & Film Arts Faculty
  • Roxanne Klassen, Mathematics Faculty
  • Shereen Lerner, Cultural Science Faculty
  • Lori C. Liang, Fashion Design Faculty
  • H. Lovelady, Music Faculty

M - Q

  • Lynne A. Mallery, English Faculty
  • Jeremy P. Meyer, English Faculty
  • Charlie Morris, Faculty, English
  • Patrice D. Nango, Faculty, Philosophy & Religious Studies
  • Sean Newton, Faculty, OPD Paramedic Education
  • Rosa Pardo, Administrative Secretary Office of the President
  • Bruce Peterson, Communication, Theater & Film Arts Faculty
  •  Monica Pirshafiey, Office Coordinator, Center for Community & Civic Engagement
  • Mallory Prucha, Communication, Theater & Film Arts Faculty

R - T

  • Tina P. Rangel, Dance Faculty
  • Erin Rawson, Communications Faculty
  • Nora Reyes, Faculty, Education Studies
  • Dawn Rhodes, Program Specialist, Center for Community & Civic Engagement
  • CJ Robb, Interior Design Faculty
  • Elisabeth R. Rodriguez, Librarian
  • Christy Salam, Phi Theta Kappa Support Staff, Center for Community & Civic Engagement
  • Robert D. Samson, Networking & Security Network Academy Faculty
  • Teryl D. Sands, English Faculty
  • Rhonda Schlatter, English Faculty
  • Mary Schwenck, Administrative Secretary, Cultural Science Department
  • John Seims, Mathematics & Computer Science Faculty
  • Mora Shahan, Administrative Secretary, Disability Resources & Services
  • Kathryn Sheffield, English Faculty
  • Tanya T. Smith, Administrative Secretary of Development
  • Marcy Snitzer, Coordinator, Alumni Relation and Internal Communication
  • Nancy Southworth, Library Assistant, Library
  • Linda Stapley, Office Assistant,  Art Communication and Theatre Department
  • K. Ann Stine, Exercise Science Faculty
  • Elise Sweet, Advisory Board Member, Service-Learning Advisory Board
  • Carolyn Taylor, Adjunct Faculty, Physical Science
  • Kara E. Thomson, Communication Theatre & Film Faculty
  • Richard L. Toler Jr, Business & Information Systems Faculty

U - Z

  • Dennis Wilson, Life Science Faculty
  • Jennifer L Wood, Mathematics & Computer Science Faculty
  • Roger Yohe, Dean of Instruction
  • David J. Yount, Professor of Philosophy
  • Dawn Zimmer, Media Relations Coordinator, Institutional Advancement