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Apply to the Summer Institute of Civic Studies by Mar. 15

We encourage NCDD members to apply to be part of the 7th annual Summer Institute of Civic Studies this June 15-25, and also to consider attending the 2015 Frontiers of Democracy conference this June 24-25. Both events have institutions in the field that are stewarded by NCDD supporting members Drs. Peter Levine and Nancy Thomas of Tufts University.

I myself am a Summer Institute alumni and have attended multiple Frontiers conferences, and they are both great opportunities to learn and work with many of the nation’s leaders of civic innovation. Find out more below about both  in the announcement below or by clicking here.


The 7th Annual Summer Institute of Civic Studies

The seventh annual Summer Institute of Civic Studies will be an intensive, two-week, interdisciplinary seminar bringing together faculty, advanced graduate students, and practitioners from many countries and diverse fields of study.

Organized by Peter Levine of Tufts University’s Tisch College and Karol Sołtan of the University of Maryland, the Summer Institute will engage participants in challenging discussions of such topics as:

  • What kinds of citizens (if any) do good regimes need?
  • What should such citizens know, believe, and do?
  • What practices and institutional structures promote the right kinds of citizenship?
  • What ought to be the relationships among empirical evidence, ethics, and strategy?

The syllabus for the sixth annual seminar (in 2014) is here: http://activecitizen.tufts.edu/civic-studies/summer-institute/#syllabus. The 2015 syllabus will be modified but will largely follow this outline. You can read more about the motivation for the Institute in the Framing Statement.


The daily sessions will take place from June 15-25, 2015, at the Tufts campus in Medford, MA. The seminar will be followed (from June 24, evening, until June 27) by a public conference – “Frontiers of Democracy 2015” – in downtown Boston. Participants in the institute are expected to stay for the public conference. See information on the 2014 conference here: http://activecitizen.tufts.edu/frontiers-2014-agenda.

Tuition for the Institute is free, but students are responsible for their own housing and transportation. A Tufts University dormitory room can be rented for $230-$280/week. Credit is not automatically offered, but special arrangements for graduate credit may be possible.

To apply: please email your resume, an electronic copy of your graduate transcript (if applicable), and a cover email about your interests to Peter Levine at Peter.Levine@Tufts.edu. For best consideration, apply no later than March 15, 2015.  You may also sign up for occasional announcements even if you are not sure that you wish to apply: http://tinyurl.com/a9qfftb.

The Sister Seminar in Ukraine

In 2015, there will also be a parallel Summer Institute at Chernivitsi University in Ukraine. It is co-organized by Dr. Tetyana Kloubert (University of Augsburg) with Karol Sołtan and Peter Levine and funded by the German government through the DAAD. Participants from Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, and Germany are eligible. More information here: http://peterlevine.ws/?p=14707.

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Roshan Bliss
An inclusiveness trainer and group process facilitator, Roshan Bliss serves as NCDD's Youth Engagement Coordinator and Blog Curator. Combining his belief that decisions are better when everyone is involved with his passion for empowering young people, his work focuses on increasing the involvement of youth and students in public conversations.

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  1. Carolina Johnson says:

    I want to throw in a two-cents endorsement of the Institute – I attended the 2013 Institute, and it was really helpful to me. I was in the early(ier) stages of dissertation research at the time, and exploring ideas, ideals, and challenges of practice with a diverse group of academics and practitioners was very valuable – both for my own understanding of the project and how it could fit in with a wider community of interest in civic life. It’s worth noting that there was a lot of reading, and a lot of discussion of theory, which could be either liberating or frustrating depending on your relationship to theory. It’s a chance to reflect and contextualize – the ‘practice’ aspects of the course (two years ago) came largely from the experience participants themselves brought to the table.

  2. I attended the 2013 Institute and found the experience to be both deeply engaging and helpful. I am a practitioner working with communities across the country so I am often action or task oriented because my focus is on community organizing. The intense, thoughtful (and often fun!) discussions about civic theory helped me to develop a stronger foundation to ground my work in the field. The reading load for each day can feel overwhelming and extremely academic but it’s a worthwhile investment of time and mental energy. In addition to gaining knowledge and greater insight, the Institute is also a great resource for building relationships with others working in different areas revolving around civics and community engagement.

  3. Wendy Willis says:

    Though it seems challenging in the moment, I would encourage anyone who is thinking about it to “find” the time to attend the Institute. I attending the 2012 Institute, and it helped ground my practice, thinking, and writing in a rich intellectual framework. I have continued to think about all that I learned, and I know that I will return to the materials for years to come. But even better, it was so fun! I made lasting relationships that I absolutely treasure. Do it!

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