Contact: Abigail Fota, College Relations Associate - Media, 610-740-3790

Are Americans Disengaged?
Will American's Vote This Election?
Will U.S. College Students Become Involved in the Electoral Process?

Can Students Reconnect with their Communities?
The Democratic Academy Workshop June 4th Brings Educators Together to Learn Ways to Engage America's College Students

Allentown, PA (June 1, 2004) - Even in a presidential election year - with war ranging abroad, questions about the economy and a myriad of hotly contested social issues in the media- Americans remain generally disengaged from their local, state and national politics. Two disturbing developments stand at the core of our growing national concern about the future of democracy: The decline of voter turnout in recent elections and the increasing degree of apathy and cynicism that citizens exhibit toward public affairs more generally. Perhaps the most troubling fact, however, is that these trends - toward disengagement and alienation - are most pronounced among younger Americans. In the last presidential election, for example, about 1 in 3 of those college students eligible to vote, actually voted.

How do we counter this national problem?

On June 4th, faculty and administrators from colleges and universities across the country will converge at Cedar Crest College for the Democratic Academy Workshop. The workshop is designed to assist colleges in promoting greater civic engagement among the nation's college students. The conference offers an array of instructional techniques that encourage increased political and social engagement on the part of undergraduates in the United States. The workshop will introduce faculty and administrators in the use of three distinct, yet mutually reinforcing educational strategies that enable educators to promote student engagement in the classroom, their local communities, and the political process.

The Democratic Academy Workshop is an outgrowth of Cedar Crest College's "Participating in Democracy Project," a three year - $1.2 million dollar initiative designed to address the problem of civic disengagement and political apathy among younger Americans. Over the last three years, the instructional techniques featured in the Democratic Academy Workshop have proven their value in addressing these problems through a series of field tests involving thousands of students at several colleges and universities across the country.

Topics Covered at the workshop will include: Developing active engaged learners; implementing service-learning into courses; and introducing techniques for educating students to be politically, civically and socially active.

Participants in the Democratic Academy Workshop receive materials developed by Cedar Crest College including An Instructor's Toolkit for Teaching in a Democratic Academy that presents an exciting new framework for civic education and the pedagogical strategies that will promote an enduring commitment to civic engagement among students; the project's final assessment report which provides compelling evidence that pedagogies of engagement can have a significant impact on student learning; and a 60-minute, broadcast quality video emphasizing the role that civic engagement has played in the evolution of democracy in America.

For more information on The Democratic Academy Workshop, and the Cedar Crest College Democracy Project, call 610-740-3790.

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Abigail Fota
College Relations Associate - Media


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