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WKU student, ICSR programs in spotlight at national conference

WKU graduate student Bianca Brown, Public Achievement coordinator for WKU’s Institute for Citizenship and Social Responsibility (ICSR), has been selected as one of four student speakers for the 2013 American Democracy Project and The Democracy Commitment National Meeting this summer in Denver.

Bianca Brown

Bianca Brown

The theme of the ADP/TDC annual meeting, which will be held June 6-8, is 21st Century Citizens: Building Bridges, Solving Problems and calls attention to the educational experiences and civic skills needed by today’s college graduates.

“The ICSR is extremely proud to have Bianca Brown represent us at the American Democracy Project’s National Meeting this summer,” said Terry Shoemaker, ICSR program coordinator. “Bianca’s work with Public Achievement and civic engagement is exemplar of the student citizen professional that the ICSR is working to develop. Western Kentucky University continues to be a national leader in the American Democracy Project and in civic engagement work across the country.”

WKU’s Public Achievement program was showcased as a national model during a White House event in January 2012. Brown participated in that event as well as a Public Achievement workshop hosted at WKU last year.

“In our local community, ICSR students are preparing the next generation of engaged citizens through our Public Achievement program,” Shoemaker said. “Public Achievement coaches empower K-12 students to identify local issues and then to actively engage those issues.”

Brown was selected as a panelist for the ADP/TDC meeting after a video competition. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English and philosophy at WKU and is working toward a master’s degree in social responsibility and sustainable communities.

Brown, who will participate in other sessions at the conference, is one of several representatives from WKU who will attend the ADP/TDC event. Other WKU participants include Shoemaker, Noelle Johnson, Cierra Waller and Jacqueline Adams from ICSR; Eric Bain-Selbo from Philosophy & Religion; Molly Kerby from Gender & Women’s Studies; Nathan Phelps and Elizabeth Gish from Honors College.

The American Democracy Project, a subsidiary of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) in collaboration with The New York Times, is a multi-campus initiative focused on the improvement of higher education in preparing the next generation of engaged citizens.

Shoemaker said the ICSR is one component of WKU meeting its goal of preparing students to be productive, engaged and socially responsible citizen leaders of a global society. The ICSR is an organization of administrators, faculty, students, and staff committed to promoting careful reflection on civic values; engaging in critical analysis of contemporary social, economic, and political problems; and developing the capacities and skills of community organizing, citizenship, and civic engagement as a means to achieving social change and the common good. Additionally, ICSR faculty supervise community-based research, create space for students to discuss contemporary social topics, and train students to be citizen professionals.

“Due to these efforts, WKU faculty, staff, and students take a leading role in the American Democracy Project programs and curriculum development,” Shoemaker said. “Many of the pre-conference workshops are facilitated by WKU personnel and students. In addition, many of the ICSR programs are highlighted during the national conference.”

Contact: Terry Shoemaker, (270) 745-3217.

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