NERCHE Virtual Think Tank Archives

NERCHE’s Virtual Think Tanks are webinars designed for higher education practitioners engaged in collaborative change processes which address social justice in a diverse democracy. Participants have utilized Virtual Think Tanks for faculty and staff training, initiative development, and deepening reflection and discussion on their respective campuses.   Virtual Think Tanks are valuable whether participants are developing long-term strategic change efforts or thinking about immediate programming and teaching issues. 

Registration and Cost:  NERCHE offers recordings of past Virtual Think Tanks for $100.  Register for a recording here.

For more information on payment methods and technology requirements, please see our Virtual Think Tank FAQs


2013-2014 Virtual Think Tank Archive


Fisher v. University of Texas and the Concept of Full Participation

This webinar will explore ways to frame the Supreme Court’s decision in Fisher v. University of Texas so that higher education institutions and their partners can serve as engines of mobility, leadership, knowledge generation, and public problem solving.  It will then introduce a long-term approach to the Supreme Court’s affirmative action decisions that could encourage innovation in full participation even as it enhances legality.

Susan Sturm
(Columbia Law School)
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The Carnegie Foundation Elective Community Engagement Classification: Strategies and Approaches for Documenting Engagement

This webinar is intended for campuses that are applying for the 2015 Elective Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The goal of this session will be to assist campuses in making a strong case for classification by providing strategies for gathering and presenting evidence of institutional engagement.

Emily Janke (UNC at Greensboro)

John Saltmarsh (NERCHE)

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Civic Learning Outcomes that Matter: In the Workplace and in Public Life

This webinar will examine why contemporary redefinitions of civic learning outcomes are so necessary to integrate as an expected dimension of college for every student today, whatever the specialization. Drawing on the findings in the national report A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy's Future, this webinar will highlight outcomes identified as crucial elements of civic learning, especially in a diverse democracy and in an interdependent world.

Caryn McTighe Musil
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Academic Personnel Review and Engagement

As increasing numbers of college and universities renew their focus on addressing society’s most compelling issues through civic engagement, they must recognize and reward the engaged work of their faculty. This webinar will consider how colleges and universities can integrate faculty engagement in academic-review processes and emphasizes the importance of expanding institutions’ understanding of the traditional review categories of research, teaching, and service to reflect achievements and successes in the area of public engagement.

Michael Bernstein (Tulane University)
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Participatory Action Research (PAR): An Epistemology to Examine Purposes of Education

This webinar will introduce Participatory Action Research (PAR) as an epistemology by highlighting some of its historical groundings, philosophical underpinnings, and current methodological trends. The presenter will then discuss key moments of one of her own PAR projects, which invited New York City public high school students to serve as both research architects and participants in a participatory mapping project that visually documented the purposes of education.

Patricia Krueger-Henney (UMass-Boston) 
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Promoting Health Equity Through Community Engaged Scholarship

This webinar will present strategies--based on a Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) orientation--for engaging community organizations and stakeholders in health equity teaching and research. Additionally, the presenter will explore how young faculty using CBPR as a framework for starting an academic career have the opportunity to not only meet the requirements of promotion and tenure but also impact the health of local communities. Challenges of engaging communities pre-tenure and specific strategies used to address those obstacles will also be examined.


Farrah Jacquez (University of Cinncinati)

2013 Lynton Award Recipient

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Talking Politics

This webinar will examine student political learning and engagement both in theory and in practice. The presenters will consider the challenges and barriers to educating for democracy, including the tensions around student free speech and faculty academic freedom. They will then share two research studies they are conducting to capture and understand this complex web of political attitudes, behaviors, and interactions. One study analyzes political participation concretely by measuring registration and voting rates on campuses. The other study is a qualitative investigation of political and civic practices, programs, and student experiences as they relate to the campus climate.

(There is no participation fee for this session)


Nancy Thomas

(Tufts University)


Margaret Brower

(Tufts University)

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The New Faculty Majority and Civic Engagement

The majority of all college faculty now work on part-time or full-time temporary contracts, and many lack sufficient access to the institutional support that is necessary for quality education. In many fields, the majority of adjuncts are no longer simply traditional "second career" or "teaching professionals" but rather trained academics who are encountering a starkly downsized tenure-track job market.

This virtual think tank will explore how campuses can advance student civic learning and democratic engagement when a faculty majority lacks a full voice in campus governance and is treated as second class institutional citizens; how campuses sustain long-term relationships with formal obligations in community partnerships while not providing the institutional support for a majority of faculty; how faculty can pursue community engaged teaching and learning on public issues without the protections of academic freedom. How can campuses advance civic engagement without advancing the professional working conditions of faculty who do not have the rights and protections of tenure?

Maria Maisto (New Faculty Majority) 
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The Politics of Community Engagement: Engaging Values Beyond Partisan Posturing

There is a contradiction at the heart of the higher education civic engagement discourse--that we may be objective and neutral while we engage in an act as overtly political as building democratic citizens. This webinar will briefly review the theoretical bases of democracy and its requirements while illuminating the ways in which those requirements express political actions and values choices. The webinar discussion will then turn to applied approaches to rigorously engaging values discourse in the classroom without falling into partisan bickering or ideological straightjackets.

 Eric Hartman (Providence College)
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Becoming Stewards of Place: Strategies for Institution-Community Engagement

At a time when traditional institutions feel besieged by a rapidly changing landscape, defining themselves as "stewards of place" offers new possibilities. Collaborating with communities and thinking of the border between campus and community as a permeable boundary provide new insights and opportunities for teaching, research, and service. This webinar will focus on AASCU's two 2014 monographs in the Stewards of Place series, both of which demonstrate that stewardship of place can make institutions stronger and more relevant in the 21st century.

George Mehaffy (AASCU) 
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NERCHE would like to thank our Virtual Think Tank Partners:


New York Campus Compact

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AASCU's American Democracy Project

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 Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities--Council on Engagement and Outreach