Civic Engagement: Purposeful Contributions to a Greater Good
Seana Moran, Helen Haste, Scott Seider, and Adam Reilly
How do we sustain the founding fathers’ legacy of civic engagement in an increasingly diverse, nuanced, and pressure-driven America, whose economic and political ideals have worldwide impact? What can each of us do to further the inclusion of diverse voices and perspectives in the American way? How do these pursuits inform our sense of purpose, both individually and collectively? Looking toward our shared future, how do we instill in the next generation the important skills of creative contribution, inclusive dialogue, and critical consciousness?
Faculty from Boston University, Clark University, and Harvard University will consider the significance(s) of civic engagement, inviting the audience to participate in a conversation about how the participation of each and every one of us is critically important to a thriving society. WGBH reporter Adam Reilly will moderate the discussion.
Seana Moran, EdD, is research assistant professor in the department of psychology at Clark University. She investigates how individuals think about making contributions to a greater or common good. Moran is principal investigator of Learning4Purpose, a six-country study exploring how college students' life purposes influence their experience of service in the community, and how community service influences the further development of a life purpose. Moran has co-edited and/or co-authored four books, including Ethical Implications of Creativity and Innovation and The Ethics of Creativity. An edited volume, Youth Purpose around the World, is expected to be released in 2017.
Helen Haste, PhD, is principal investigator for the Harvard Graduate School of Education Spencer Foundation-funded New Civics Early Career Scholars Program. The program supports doctoral students whose research interests concern civic education and civic engagement. She was coeditor of the journal Political Psychology from 2010 to 2015 and president of the International Society of Political Psychology in 2002. Haste is a fellow of the British Academy of Social Science, the British Psychological Society, and the Royal Society of Arts, and an academician of the British Academy of Social Science. Haste is a frequent contributor to broadcasting and public media.
Scott Seider, EdD, is an associate professor of education at Boston University, where his research focuses on the role of schools in fostering adolescents' civic and character development. Seider has reported on this work in more than 60 academic publications, including Character Compass: How Powerful School Culture Can Point Students Toward Success (2012), which won the American Educational Research Association's outstanding book award in moral development and education. Seider's current work investigates the development of critical consciousness in adolescents attending a diverse set of urban high schools. Initial findings from this work have been published in Teachers College Record, Phi Delta Kappan, and Applied Developmental Science.
Adam Reilly is a reporter at WGBH News. He reports for WGBH-TV's Greater Boston and for WGBH 89.7 FM, and hosts The Scrum, WGBH News' political podcast. Reilly previously worked for the Boston Phoenix and the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. He is a graduate of Carleton College and Harvard Divinity School.
The questions, “What makes an American?” and “What is the American way?” are as old as the country itself and have persisted in the modern day. In 1782, J. Hector St. John de Crèvecouer examined those questions in his Letters from an American Farmer. Nearly 100 years later, the country’s greatest existential crisis, the Civil War, led Robert J. Breckinridge to reflect on the nature of the United States in Four Articles on the State of the Country, and the Civil War. Finding itself embroiled in World War I, the American government appealed to a common sense of identity and patriotism through posters and other ephemera to build support for the war effort. And today, authors such as Rita Dove and Neil Gaiman continue the tradition of probing these fundamental questions through literature.
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