The Rationale for and the Development of the Collaborative

Nationally, a movement is occurring, shining a spotlight on the need for universal civic education and informed, actively engaged citizens. An array of prominent individuals, organizations, foundations, colleges/universities, state departments of education, and the U.S. Department of Education are working, through various means, to increase and improve civic education throughout the country. These diverse efforts are based on the fact that there is a serious decline in fundamental civic learning at all levels of our educational systems.

Additionally, in 2020-2021, ongoing political and public health crises strained the nation’s civic infrastructure. The global pandemic highlighted an array of social inequalities that require citizen action to solve. Simultaneously, antidemocratic movements/forces showed distrust in elections and have prompted a wave of voter suppression tactics. This is the context for our work.

The time is ripe for the Civics4Action Collaborative. Based on their research, analysis and experience in their communities and in their classrooms, members of the Collaborative recognize that there is an urgent need in the Greater Southern Tier of New York for an independent, nonpartisan organization to create, plan, and implement multiple, diverse, and replicable civics learning, civic action, and civil discourse opportunities. We came together initially because of a shared view of the current poor state of civics education in our home region with the commitment to take action.

Members of the Collaborative include college faculty, staff, and students; K-12 teachers, staff, and students; representatives from library systems, museums, and other non-profits; management consultants; and, other committed individuals. We are designing and testing pertinent, replicable programs, including, A Future Leaders Program, Moderated Community Conversations, Relevant Video Programming. The Collaborative is forming strategic partnerships with museums, public library systems, and with BOCES (Boards of Cooperative Educational Services) School System Libraries, (scrlc.org/memberdirectory). The Collaborative is also building cooperative relationships with the New York State Education Department, and with area colleges and universities. Area libraries and museums will be the primary venues for events co-sponsored by the Civics4Action Collaborative. We will pilot programs in Chemung, Steuben, and Schuyler Counties. Once tested and refined there, we will then phase them in throughout the remaining eleven counties comprising the Greater Southern Tier. This first program development phase will be accomplished by the spring of 2024.

For more information, click on the Three Year Strategic Plan (2021-2024).

Individual Members:

Babatunde Ayanfodun
Center For Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Corning Community College

Dr. Julia Carboni
Associate Professor
Public Administration and International Affairs, and Chair, Citizenship and Civic Engagement Program, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University

Don Keddell
Retired Associate Superintendent
Elmira City Schools, and
GST BOCES Board of Education, and
Chairman of The Board
Wings of Eagles Discovery Center

Denise W. King
Retired Middle School Teacher
Member and Past President,
Southern Tier Library System Board of Trustees

G. Peter Lederer, Ed.D.
Civics Learning Advocate
Founder and Chair,
Civics4Action Collaborative

Mary-Carol Lindbloom
Executive Director
South Central Regional Library Council
Ithaca, NY

Claire Lovell
Digital Services Librarian
South Central Regional Library Council

Scott MacDonald
Executive Director
Tioga County Historical Society

Scarlett Rebman
Director of Grants
Humanities, NY

Judy Rowe
Principal, JA Rowe Consulting, LLC
Chair, Board of Directors,
The Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and The Finger Lakes

Jennifer Sellers
Director of Innovative Sites
Visiting Instructor, Professional Studies
Corning Community College

Dr. Jim Twombly
Professor of Political Science
Elmira College
Political Analyst, WENY TV
@JimTwombly on Twitter

Bruce Whitmarsh
Chemung County Historical Society and Museum

Institutional Partners:

Coming soon!