Civic Engagement Discourse Fund Awards 2010 - 2011

Event: "The University of Common Sense"


Faculty awardee:
  George Crabtree
  Physics Department
  College of Liberal Arts and Sciences





The University of Common Sense was an interactive half-day public workshop structured to promote awareness and policy engagement with personal, UIC, city and national carbon emission issues. The event was held on April 5, 2011 at UIC and was attended by an estimated 50 people. External partners included the Citizens Utility Board, Northwestern University, and the City of Chicago Department of the Environment.

Event: "Building an Engaged Youth Citizenship"


Faculty awardee:
  Jennifer Hebert-Beirne
  Department of Community Health Sciences
  School of Public Health





This event is a day-long conference for community reflection and dialog in the Greater Humboldt Park area around three relevant policy issues: sustainable urban agriculture, family literacy, and youth rights. Youth leadership recruited from Pedro Albizu Campos Puerto Rican High School will be used as the mechanism to engage community members, organizations and stakeholders in dialog. The conference, Building an Engaged Youth Citizenship, is open to 200 registrants and will be held June 17, 2011 at the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture.

Event: "Policy and Community Action to Expand Family Food Access on Chicago's Southside"


Faculty awardee:
  Angela Odoms-Young
  Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition
 College of Applied Health Sciences



The primary goal of this town hall meeting is to engage political and community leaders, researchers, food policy advocates, community residents, food retailers, and public health professionals in a discussion to develop a policy and community action plan to address the lack of healthy food available on Chicago's South side. The event will be held on May 20, 2011 and will include up to 150 expected participants.

Event: "Model World Conference on Women's and Girls' Rights (MWC)"


Faculty awardee:
  Barbara Ransby 
  Department of Gender and Women's Studies
  College of Liberal Arts and Sciences




This conference is designed to promote civic awareness, international literacy, and a deeper understanding of public policy on the lives of women and girls worldwide. The event, The Model World Conference on Women's and Girls' Rights (MWC), is similar to the Model United Nations, which engages high school students in simulated UN deliberations. The project focuses specifically on the plight of women and girls. Nine schools have participated in the past and over 300 studentsb have attended. The project enhances the citizenship skills and knowledge base of future voters, policy experts, and community and political leaders. It also has a pedagogical component for our students since our undergraduate and graduate students are the liaisons with high school teachers. The conference was held on March 26, 2011 and was attended by 110 Chicago Public High School students.

Event: "Community Forum on Transgender Health"


Faculty awardee:
 James Swartz 
 Jane Addams College of Social Work


This community forum seeks to begin a discussion of the unmet needs of Chicago's transgender population in regards to health and wellness, including HIV prevention, employment, and public safety, and what the greater LGBT and allied communities can do to implement relevant policy changes in the public and private sectors. The intent is to increase knowledge and awareness and provide actionable items the audience can use to bring change to Chicago. The forum will be held in May 2011 with an expected audience of 120. The event will be recorded for podcasting and will feature prominent activists from the local and national levels that will be in town for a conference on transgender wellness hosted by the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC). In addition to Center on Halsted and the AIDS Foundation, collaborating agencies include Howard Brown Health Center and the Test Positive Aware Network.

Event: "Myths and Realities of Chicago School of Reform: A Public Forum"


Faculty awardee:
  Kevin Kumashiro
  Department of Asian and Asian-American Studies
  College of Liberal Arts and Sciences




This was a two-hour public event that intervenes in debates on education reform by exposing myths, highlighting sound research, and offering alternative policy proposals. The event included presentations on research, responses by community partners, and open discussions of ways to become more engaged in education reform. The event was held on March 1, 2011 and attended by 200 participants.

Event: "The Right to Community Living: Effective Social Justice with people with Disabilities"


Faculty awardee:
  Joy Hammel
  Department of Occupational Therapy
  College of Applied Health Sciences





This event is a capacity building and empowering, consciousness raising workshop focused on using photos, digital videos, and performance art to give voice to the experiences of citizens with disabilities, to share their stories with other people with disabilities who are isolated in nursing homes and institutions, and to highlight these testimonials to policymakers. Additionally, it is also a community Living Rights town hall event to bring citizens with disabilities up-to-date on community living disparities and the effect of the cost-effective community living options from other states, and to involve participants in future system chance actions with the larger disability rights community.

Event: "Race and Community Politics in the US & UK"


Faculty awardee:

  Janet Smith
  Co Director Voorhees Center
  College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs




The symposium, which will be held at UIC, will consider how policymakers in the United Kingdom (UK) and the US operating within the different constitutional traditions and cities but facing similar socio-economic challenges may more effectively build links between different communities in the same urban space. The macro policy context are current programs for urban and neighborhood renewal, the promotion of sustainable communities, and increased social capital. The event is targeted to 40 scholars and local leaders and scheduled for the first week in May.






Dr. Joseph Hoereth, Director, IPCE


IPCE conducts and supports research on civic engagement practice and theory. Our research emphasizes the use of technology to enhance and inform citizen engagement in our democracy, as well as to enhance and inform government decision-making and service delivery.