Winona State’s Civic Summit
Dr. Kara Lindaman of Winona State’s Citizen Alum team (and point person for the American Democracy Project at Winona State) sends word of the group’s decision to produce “gap” and “situated” alumni narratives in video and written form. Through undergraduate research and other forms of intentional engagement, students will begin to collect and disseminate this critical work this spring. These narratives will be featured on the Winona 360 site–a wonderful place that is something like an online student-produced community media center for the region.
In April 2012, Winona State piloted a major national “listening project” on the occasion of a Civic Summit. The Summit celebrated the university’s collective achievements in community engaged during the tenure of President Judith Ramaley on the occasion of her retirement. The highlight of the event was a public dialogue facilitated and documented by students. Deliberations were informed by a new issue guide, Shaping Our Future: How Should Higher Education Help Us Create the Society We Want? Developed by the National Issues Forum in conjunction with the Kettering Foundation and the American Commonwealth Partnership, Shaping Our Future served as a platform for an exchange of views and stories among participants, including both “gap” and “situated” alums. Several Citizen Alum member campuses are considering using Shaping Our Future in deliberative dialogues that bring students and alums together.
Lindaman hopes that, through surveys and interviews, a rich database of alumni engaged in public work will lead to a better understanding of the civic learning and civic health of WSU students, before and after they graduate. These efforts involve collaborations with academic units and with the WSU Alumni Office and Foundation. They also contribute to the Rural Outcomes Initiative of Minnesota Campus Compact by documenting the economic development and workplace contributions of alums in Southeastern Minnesota.