Promising Practices for Starting (and Maintaining) Community Engagement

People seeking to improve their communities through dialog and understanding are doing important work. Their missions and approaches vary widely; community groups, advisory panels, faith groups and others are tackling plenty of diverse issues that are specific to their circles.

These groups also have a lot in common, according to a couple of university researchers in Australia. Judyth Sachs and Lindie Clark of MacQuarie University studied community engagement efforts in higher education and distilled some common threads in their research, Learning through community engagement: vision and practice in higher education. Continue Reading

Emergency Communications on Facebook

This past August and September my community was tense from consecutive emergencies. There were four demonstrations on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus — and then Hurricane Florence hit, bringing flooding from more than nine inches of rain.

It is a distant memory when we did not have social media tools to relay urgent emergency information to the community. The Town of Chapel Hill marks a 10-year anniversary of @ChapelHillGov Facebook this October. An “early adopter” of local government on social media, we continue to learn new strategies to expand our reach and improve engagement. Continue Reading

Internships: A job? A civic experience? Maybe some of both.

This semester I have relocated to Washington DC in order to lead the first semester of our new Wake Washington program. My 16 students are all placed in internships across the city in national and city government, think tanks, non-profits, and consulting firms. They are also taking a course on policymaking and another one on constitutional law. Five weeks into the semester, I thought it might be interesting to reflect on the value of internships both for students and for the organizations that sponsor them, with particular attention to the kind of civic learning students gain from the experience.

Often, the emphasis on internships and in internship programs is more focused on  Continue Reading