Eric Mlyn, Duke University assistant vice provost for civic engagement and executive director of DukeEngage, has co-authored an article that appeared today in the Huffington Post.
The article was a collaborative effort with Amanda Moore McBride, associate professor and associate dean for social work, and director of the Gephardt Institute for Public Service at Washington University in St. Louis.
Titled "Civic Engagement and Higher Education at a Crossroads", the article begins:
For those of us who went in to higher education in part to hide out in the ivory tower, it looks like the party is over. What we do, how we do it, how well we do it and how much it costs have now become matters of significant public and political debate. The challenges are well known and clear. Cost and access have arguably always been of concern, but never more so than now.
Other prevailing issues demand reflection and response. Students are graduating with crushing debt burdens, and their potential employers are telling us that they are not prepared for the work place. The explosion of online education and in particular the rise of MOOCs threatens to provide something for "free" that many of us are charging nearly $60,000 a year for. Our very home communities are questioning our value to them, especially as many of us are exempt from paying property taxes.
Simultaneous to this "crisis" in American higher education is the continued growth of the civic engagement movement on our campuses. Civic engagement is not, of course, a panacea for the ills of higher education, but it can be part of the solution.
See the article in its entirety here.
DukeEngage will offer 40 group programs in partner communities throughout the U.S. and abroad next summer. New programs for 2014 include initiatives in Detroit, Mich.; Miami, Fla.; Belgrade, Serbia; and Seoul, South Korea. A revamped Washington, D.C. program will also run in summer 2014.
Oct. 1 each year marks the announcement of new and continuing programs for the following summer. The DukeEngage online application also goes live Oct. 1.
View the complete list of new and continuing programs here.
The DukeEngage in Zhuhai program, which brings an arts enrichment curriculum to middle school students in China each summer, was featured prominently this weekend in Duke's Arts Journal.
Zhuhai's program leader, Hsiao-Mei Ku, a professor of the practice in Duke's Department of Music, said, "By teaching 16 integrative arts classes at Zhuhai No.9 Middle School, Duke participants encourage young Chinese students to pursue their dreams, try out novel art forms and motivate them to create endless possibilities."
"Two Durhams" is the focus of a recent Durham Herald Sun article, which explores the reconfiguration this summer of one of the DukeEngage program's veteran initiatives in hometown Durham. This summer, participants in the program not only served in Durham, North Carolina but also served in sister city Durham, England.
See the Herald Sun article here.
"Civic engagement is alive and well at Duke," said Korstad, "but we still have a lot to do to realize the civic potential of our students, staff, faculty and community partners."
Frank Stasio, host of WUNC's "State of Things" welcomed former DukeEngage in Cairo, Egypt particpants Julia Janco, Nali Gillespie and Stephen Arena as well as the program's site coordinator, James Spenser, to discuss the early end of their summer of service in Cairo due to national unrest in Egypt. The segment aired Thursday, July 18.
Civil unrest in Egypt has led to the indefinite suspension of the DukeEngage in Cairo, Egypt program. On Wednesday, July 3, Duke's International Travel and Oversight Committee placed restrictions on all travel to the nation. See the news announcement here.
Eleven students were taking part in this summer's program, which was in its fourth week of service. Participants worked with several community partners assisting with teaching literacy skills to refugees, supporting youth with physical disabilities, and offering assistance with community development.
One of DukeEngage's longest-standing initiatives, the program has been in place since 2008.
Upon the return of students home, Eric Mlyn, executive director of DukeEngage, issued an email to participants and their parents, stating, "From the time we decided to continue DukeEngage in Cairo after the 2011 revolution, we have monitored the program with particular vigilance due to the changing political landscape in the country and region. So the end of this program, while, of course, disappointing at so many levels, is not a total surprise." He also acknowledged the leadership of the program's leader, Mbaye Lo, assistant professor of the practice, Asian & Middle Eastern Studies. Said Mlyn, "[Dr Lo's] perspective on current events and his desire to share this perspective with others is the deepest reflection of why we do these kinds of programs."
DukeEngage will continue to evaluate Egypt's political landscape to determine whether the program will be offered again in 2014.
The new DukeEngage in Togo program, largely by virtue of its leader, Duke cultural anthropology professor Charlie Piot, is already making headlines. Duke Magazine recently profiled the program and its creator. Here's an excerpt:
For the past five years, Piot has leveraged his contacts and experience in the region to arrange for a handful of undergraduates to accompany him to Togo each summer. Students live with host families (mostly personal friends of Piot’s) and complete research or service projects of their choosing. In recent summers, students installed a solar-powered Internet café, developed a health-insurance plan at a local clinic, and investigated the efficacy of traditional healing methods.
The principal focus of the DukeEngage program this summer is youth migration. Perceiving few economic opportunities at home (“Home is not where the action is,” says Piot), young Togolese leave their villages and seek out work in neighboring countries like Nigeria and Benin. For many, the reality of going abroad does not live up to the hype. Men frequently come home empty-handed while women often resort to sex work and return having contracted HIV.