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Bridging the Divide

Launched in Fall 2020, Democracy Lab is an experimental, non-partisan initiative aimed at fostering our community’s commitment to the project of American citizenship.

These are anxious times for our nation. A global pandemic, mass unemployment, the eruption of long-simmering social and racial tensions, a hyper-partisan political landscape and a highly contested national election are among the many challenges currently testing our commitment to the democratic project. 

Yet these same circumstances also present us with important opportunities. The social restrictions imposed by COVID-19 and its fallout invite us to reflect on how interconnected we are and to appreciate our neighbors and loved ones. The wider unrest summons us to consider the current state of our society, assessing both its virtues and its shortcomings. By using this moment to take stock of what we value and where we wish to improve, we may begin taking concrete steps toward a more equitable, more civil and less divisive future. 

What Democracy Lab Does

Through the deployment of skills-building workshops and facilitated discussions, the Lab aims to serve as a gathering place where students, staff and community members can assemble and engage with one another in the kind of candid and civil exchange of ideas that a healthy democracy requires. This is a place where participants can discuss their differences honestly, openly and without fear of being judged; where they can learn about and learn from others’ perspectives and experiences; and where they can begin building upon common ground where it exists. 

Schedule of Upcoming Events

April

BEFRIENDING THE “ENEMY” – A FILM CONVERSATION ABOUT MY BROTHER’S KEEPER

Wednesday, April 6, 3:30 p.m. – 5 p.m. (Microsoft Teams)

**Note special time**

For fourteen years, Mohamedou Ould Salahi was held as a prisoner of war in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. In 2016, Salahi was released, without ever being charged with a crime. While imprisoned, Salahi was subjected to torture. But, perhaps surprisingly, prison offered countless small acts of humanity at the hands of his American captors as well.  

The BAFTA-nominated short film My Brother’s Keeper explores Salahi’s enduring friendship with one of his American guards, Steve Wood, and raises complicated questions about the nature of the ties that bind us to one another. The story it tells is one of compassion, resilience and the extraordinary power of love. In this session, we will watch the film together and then discuss the themes that arise. 

To participate in this discussion, click here.

DEMOCRACY AND UKRAINE

Thursday, April 14, 7 p.m. 9 p.m. (Microsoft Teams)   

On February 24th of this year, Russia launched an unprovoked, full-scale invasion of its neighbor, Ukraine. What sparked this devastating conflict and what consequences might it carry for other democratic societies across the globe? Come find out why this war matters.    

In this discussion, participants will:   

  • Consider what world conditions may have laid the groundwork for Russias invasion.     
  • Explore possible consequences of this conflict for democratic societies around the world.   
  • Reflect on what we can do to help bring about a tolerable resolution to this tragic campaign.    

To participate in this discussion: click here.  

CANCEL CULTURE

Thursday, April 28, 7 p.m. 9 p.m. (Microsoft Teams)  

To some, cancel culture offers a powerful means of holding public figures and companies accountable for their actions. To others, it speaks to an empty virtue signaling aimed at destroying individuals and fundamentally eroding our collective right to free speech. What does it mean to be cancelled and how should we respond when mistakes are made in public? Join us for this vital discussion exploring the limits of free speech and forgiveness.  

In this discussion, participants will:   

  • Define cancel culture.  
  • Reflect on its relationship to free speech.   
  • Consider its impact on the possibilities of forgiveness and redemption.   

To participate in this discussion: click here.  


March

PANDEMIC SELF-CARE

Thursday, March 10, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. (Microsoft Teams)

As the country enters its third year of living with the COVID pandemic, many of us find we are struggling more than ever. Exhausted by the toll exacted on our social lives and on our financial, physical and emotional well-being, we are in need of new modes of relief. This workshop will provide a forum for community members to reflect on their experience with COVID and share strategies for coping going forward.   

In this workshop, participants will be invited to: 

  • Reflect on challenges presented to their lives by the advent of COVID.
  • Brainstorm coping techniques that might be used to mitigate the effects of some of those challenges.
  • Draw up a personalized action plan aimed at addressing their COVID-related challenges.

To participate in this workshop, click here.

IMMIGRATION

Thursday, March 17, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. (Microsoft Teams)

Immigration has long been viewed as an essential part of the American identity. In recent years, changing patterns of economic opportunity, fueled in part by political and climatological instability, have led unprecedented numbers of people to seek opportunity and refuge at our borders. As they continue to arrive, these migrants bring with them a host of challenging questions for our nation, among them: What does it mean to be an American? Join us for this important discussion.

In this discussion, participants will:

  • Reflect on the history of immigration in America.
  • Examine some of the competing values motivating current debates around immigration.
  • Explore ways to balance competing interests that both reflect the American spirit and maintain its integrity.

To participate in this discussion, click here.

DEMOCRACY AND THE PLACE OF LOCAL NEWS

Thursday, March 31, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. (Microsoft Teams)

In a democracy, local news outlets serve a vital function by empowering citizens with the information they need to responsibly participate in government and hold elected officials to account. Yet, across the country, community news outlets are under dire threat. What is lost when local news sources begin to disappear and what steps can we take to prevent this from happening where we live? Join us to find out.

In this discussion, participants will:

  • Reflect on the unique role of local press in helping to sustain democratic society.
  • Learn about some of the pressures currently confronting community news organizations.
  • Explore strategies for building viability and resilience in local news media.

To participate in this discussion, click here.

February 2022

POLITICAL VIOLENCE

Thursday, February 10, 7 p.m. 9 p.m. (Microsoft Teams)

Under what conditions (if any) can the use of violence to achieve social and political ends be justified? It is often claimed that democratic forms of government are inconsistent with the use of violence. But, given that democratic societies are invariably battlegrounds for consent, is this claim realistic? Confronted with grave injustice and oppression, is it possible that violence is sometimes the righteous response? Join us as we consider this difficult and highly charged question.

In this discussion, participants will:

  • Explore some current cultural and political conditions giving rise to violent response.
  • Examine some features of democracy that render the use of violence for political ends especially problematic. 
  • Reflect on whether and under what conditions political violence can be justified. 

To participate in this discussion: click here.

CRITICAL RACE THEORY: CURE OR POISONED PILL?

Thursday, February 24, 7 p.m. 9 p.m. (Microsoft Teams)

Few issues have more dramatically divided the nation in recent years than Critical Race Theory. On one side of the debate are those who view CRT as a dangerous ideology designed to undermine our founding principles by indirectly perpetuating the racism it claims to deconstruct. On the other side are those who regard it as an indispensable tool in the struggle to advance the cause of equality and justice for all. Why are opinions on this subject so divided and can our differences be bridged? Join us as we explore this challenging theory and its ramifications for racial issues going forward.

In this discussion, participants will: 

  • Learn about the history and central tenets of Critical Race Theory.
  • Explore some of the reasons Americans appear to be so divided on this issue.
  • Consider possible grounds for a shared foundation in racial understanding.

To participate in this discussion: click here.

CIVIL DISCOURSE:

Braver Angels
Braver Angels brings together Red and Blue Americans in a working alliance to depolarize America.

Learn more

Kettering Foundation
The Kettering Foundation is a nonprofit operating foundation rooted in the American tradition of cooperative research. Kettering’s primary research question is, what does it take to make democracy work as it should? Kettering’s research is distinctive because it is conducted from the perspective of citizens and focuses on what people can do collectively to address problems affecting their lives, their communities, and their nation.

Learn more

National Institute for Civil Discourse
NICD believes the American people will be our saving grace. We are less divided than we seem and hungry for a constructive approach to politics.

Learn more

Charles Koch Institute
For more than five decades, Charles Koch’s philanthropy has generated bold new ideas to improve American lives. Inspired by a recognition that free people are capable of extraordinary things, the Charles Koch Institute supports educational programs and dialogue to advance these principles, challenge convention, and eliminate barriers that stifle creativity and progress.

Learn more

How Americans Can Learn Once Again to Solve Our Nation’s Problems Together (USA Today Article)
To solve really difficult problems, people realize that they have to work with others who may be different.
By, David Mathews, Opinion contributor

See article

SOCIAL MEDIA

The Great Hack
Data has surpassed oil as the world’s most valuable asset. It’s being weaponized to wage cultural and political warfare. People everywhere are in a battle for control of our most intimate personal details. From award-winning filmmakers Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim, THE GREAT HACK uncovers the dark world of data exploitation with astounding access to the personal journeys of key players on different sides of the explosive Cambridge Analytica/Facebook data scandal.

Academy-Award nominees Amer and Noujaim (The Square, Control Room, Startup.com) continue their tradition of exploring the seismic ripples of social media with this riveting, complex film. THE GREAT HACK forces us to question the origin of the information we consume daily. What do we give up when we tap that phone or keyboard and share ourselves in the digital age?

Learn more

The Social Dilemma
We tweet, we like, and we share— but what are the consequences of our growing dependence on social media? This documentary-drama hybrid reveals how social media is reprogramming civilization with tech experts sounding the alarm on their own creations.

Learn more

The Age of Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff
A 2019 non-fiction book by Professor Shoshana Zuboff which looks at the development of digital companies like Google and Amazon, and suggests that their business models represent a new form of capitalist accumulation that she calls “surveillance capitalism.”

Learn more

CITIZENSHIP

On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder
Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century

Learn more

America’s Expiration Date by Cal Thomas
A warning and a wake-up call to learn history so we are not doomed to repeat it. A must-read for anyone who longs for a promising future for our great nation.

Learn more

Our Common Purpose, Report
Our Common Purpose: Reinventing American Democracy for the 21st Century, a report of the American Academy’s Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship, comes at a pivotal moment in the history of the American experiment.

Learn more

 

RACE IN AMERICA:

 

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander 
The New Jim Crow
 is a stunning account of the rebirth of a caste-like system in the United States, one that has resulted in millions of African Americans locked behind bars and then relegated to a permanent second-class status—denied the very rights supposedly won in the Civil Rights Movement.

Learn more

To suggest a resource for inclusion on this page, please email the title and a brief description to: democracylab@carrollcc.edu. 

September 2020

COMMUNICATING ACROSS POLITICAL DIVIDES

Thursday, September 17, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. (Microsoft Teams) 

Rarely in our nation’s history has it been so difficult—or so vital—to engage with people of different political commitments. Democracies depend not on people being able to agree, but on their being willing to speak honestly and listen to others with an open mind.

In this skills-building workshop, participants will:

  • Learn to reframe potentially contentious political exchanges in more constructive ways.
  • Practice skills and techniques vital to constructive democratic exchange.
  • Formulate a plan for deploying the skills and techniques presented in the workshop within their communities.

WHY DEMOCRACY?

Thursday, September 24, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. (Microsoft Teams) 

As Americans, we are taught to believe that democracy is the best form of government, but we are not always encouraged to examine the bases for this belief. By exposing this idea to reconsideration, we open ourselves to a host of questions, many of which touch on some of our most deeply held values and beliefs.

In this discussion, participants will work together to reflect on:

  • What they expect from their government and why.
  • Where our democracy is and is not succeeding in meeting the needs of its citizenry.
  • How, as citizens, we might work to strengthen civil society and hold our government to account.

HILL SCHOLARS COMMUNICATION COURSE (ACTIVE LISTENING)

Tuesday, September 29, 4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. (Microsoft Teams)        

Routinely cited by employers as a top 3 desired skill in prospective employees, an ability to communicate effectively carries important benefits in both one’s personal and professional life. As a skill, effective communication entails both the ability to convey one’s own positions and the ability to understand other people’s thinking. Critical to both these goals is the skill of active listening. Learn how to hone your active listening skills in this 90-minute seminar on effective dialogue and communication. (Reserved for students in the Hill Scholars Program.)

October 2020

SKILLS FOR ONLINE COMMUNICATION ACROSS POLITICAL DIVIDES

Thursday, October 15, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. (Microsoft Teams)

As the elections approach and the rhetoric surrounding them grows increasingly acrimonious, it can be difficult for many of us not to follow suit. However, in the process we risk threatening longstanding relationships with friends and loved ones. Platforms such as email, Facebook and Twitter exacerbate this problem, presenting new and distinct challenges to the kinds of nuanced and constructive discussions that democratic citizenship demands.

In this skills-building workshop, participants will:

  • Learn to reframe potentially contentious political exchanges in more constructive ways.
  • Learn about online practices vital to responsible and constructive democratic exchange.
  • Formulate a plan for deploying these practices within their online exchanges.

ELECTIONS CHECK-IN

Thursday, October 29, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. (Microsoft Teams)

As we approach the end of one of the most taxing election cycles in living memory, this discussion will provide a forum for community members to give voice to their election experience.

Participants in this discussion will be invited to:

  • Explore the hopes and concerns elicited in them by this election cycle.
  • Identify potential obstacles to producing a decisive winner on election night and reflect on their implications.
  • Work together to develop strategies for approaching the election and dealing constructively with what is likely to be a difficult aftermath.

November 2020

PART 1 – WMTN POST-ELECTION DISCUSSION 1

Tuesday, November 17, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. (Microsoft Teams)

Has the election left you feeling distressed and angry? Perhaps you were repulsed by both major parties’ visions for America. Perhaps you fear that the will of the people has not been properly enacted and that the election may have been unlawfully stolen from Donald Trump. This discussion is the first of a two-part series aimed at exploring the damaging effects of extreme polarization and at rediscovering a common purpose. The follow-up discussion will take place on Thursday, December 10.

In this discussion, participants will:

  • Explore their fears and concerns for the nation given the election results.
  • Examine the potential ramifications of allowing these feelings of anger and dismay to contribute to the worsening of political divisions within the country.
  • Work together to develop strategies for mitigating some of the more harmful effects of these and other similarly strong emotions.

PART 1 – WMTN POST-ELECTION DISCUSSION 2

Thursday, November 19, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. (Microsoft Teams)

Has the election of Joe Biden left you feeling vindicated and triumphant? Perhaps you are newly hopeful that, under a Biden administration, democratic norms will be restored and Trump officials will be held accountable for their malfeasance. This discussion is the first of a two-part series aimed at exploring the damaging effects of extreme polarization and at rediscovering a common purpose. The follow-up discussion will take place on Thursday, December 10.

In this discussion, participants will:

  • Explore their hopes and ambitions for the nation given the election results.
  • Examine the potential ramifications of allowing their feelings of triumph and elation to contribute to the worsening of political divisions within the country.
  • Work together to develop strategies for mitigating some of the more harmful effects of these and other similarly strong emotions.

PART 2 – WMTN POST-ELECTION JOINT DISCUSSION 3

Thursday, December 10, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. (Microsoft Teams) 

In this discussion, participants from the WMTN 1 and 2 discussions will be brought together to hear from one another and learn from each other’s experience with the aim of fostering mutual understanding, respect and a willingness to work together for the common good.

In this discussion, participants will:

  • Learn about one another’s hopes and fears for the nation.
  • Work together to identify shared values and points of common interest.
  • Explore prospects for bipartisan coalition building.

February 2021

COMMUNICATING ACROSS POLITICAL DIVIDES

Thursday, February 11, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. (Microsoft Teams) 

As recent events have vividly demonstrated, we are at a moment when it can be difficult—but vitally important—to engage civilly with people of different political commitments. A democracy depends not on its citizens being able to agree, but on their being committed, despite their disagreements, to gather peacefully, speak honestly and listen to others with an open mind. Join us as we explore techniques for engaging in constructive dialogue with people from across the political spectrum.

In this skills-building workshop, participants will:

  • Learn to reframe potentially contentious political exchanges in more constructive ways.
  • Practice skills and techniques vital to constructive democratic exchange.
  • Formulate a plan for deploying the skills and techniques presented in the workshop within their communities.

LESSONS FROM A BIRMINGHAM JAIL

Thursday, February 25, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. (Microsoft Teams) 

In the Spring of 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. penned one of the most important texts of the American civil rights movement, his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” In it, King offers a soaring defense of the idea that civil disobedience in the face of unjust laws is not only necessary, but also deeply patriotic. He also presents a template for dissent that ensures that its expression will be constructive. Join us as we commemorate Black History Month with a timely reading of this timeless writing.
In this discussion, participants will be invited to:

• Reflect on King’s message of patriotic dissent in light of recent examples of American protest on both the left and the right.
• Study King’s principles of responsible resistance and their underlying rationale.
• Consider how they might deploy the essay’s teachings on behalf of their own political commitments.

King’s Letter can be accessed here.

Participants are asked to read it in advance of our meeting.

March 2021

CITIZENSHIP IN THE AGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA

Thursday, March 11, 7 p.m. – 9p.m. (Microsoft Teams) 

Social media is reshaping the ways in which we live our lives. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram enable us to keep in touch with loved ones, make it possible for businesses and customers to connect more efficiently, and have democratized the collection and dissemination of information to an almost inconceivable degree. However, these technologies also present a dark side that we are only just beginning to understand. Join us for a discussion focused on this topic as presented in the highly acclaimed Netflix documentary “The Social Dilemma”.

In this discussion, participants will work together to understand:

  • How social media platforms function to establish an “attention economy”.
  • How this attention economy operates to manipulate us, introducing changes in our perception, our behavior and, ultimately, our sense of reality.
  • What changes they might introduce to their own social media practice to help protect themselves.

FINDING TRUTH IN THE ERA OF MISINFORMATION

Thursday, March 18, 7 p.m. – 9p.m. (Microsoft Teams)

A healthy democracy requires a well-informed populace. Without reliable sources of information, the ability of citizens to engage responsibly in civic life is impaired and the well-being of our society is threatened. While misinformation itself is nothing new, novel technologies have led to an explosion in recent years in the forms that misinformation can take. In this new media landscape, it is especially vital that we develop skills to distinguish credible information from sensationalism, wishful thinking, conspiracy theories, outright lies, “fake news”, propaganda and other varieties of misinformation.

In this skills-building workshop, participants will be invited to:

  • Learn to identify various forms of misinformation.
  • Develop strategies to mitigate and overcome its effects.
  • Explore reputable fact-checking resources.

APRIL 2021

CONSPIRACY THEORIES (PART 1)

Thursday, April 15, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. (Microsoft Teams)

The United States has always been fertile ground for conspiracy theories. Recently, however, various conspiracy theories have penetrated the mainstream (on both the right and the left) to a previously unprecedented degree. This discussion is the first of a two-part series aimed at exploring this important phenomenon. In it, we will look at two conspiracy theories, we will consider what it is that sets conspiracy theories apart from other kinds of thinking, and we will attempt to understand the potent hold of such systems of thought on the nation’s imagination at this particular moment in time.

In this discussion, participants will work together to:

  • Identify some of the features that distinguish conspiracy theories from other kinds of thought.
  • Consider the nature of conspiracy theories’ allure and their ability to resist correction.
  • Understand some of the reasons for the current pervasiveness of conspiratorial thinking.

CONSPIRACY THEORIES (PART 2)

Thursday, April 29, 7 p.m. – 9p.m. (Microsoft Teams) 

Building off our previous discussion, in this second of our two-part series aimed at exploring conspiracy theories, our considerations will take a more pragmatic turn. Join us as we unpack the unique dangers posed by this sort of thinking and explore strategies for protecting ourselves, our loved ones, and the wider republic against their corrosive effects.

In this workshop, participants will be invited to:

  • Reflect on some of the corrosive effects of conspiracy theories.
  • Examine strategies for identifying and resisting conspiratorial tendencies in their own thought practices.
  • Explore strategies for helping friends and loved ones caught up in conspiratorial thinking.

May 2021

TO SERVE AND PROTECT: EXPLORING THE STATE OF COMMUNITY/POLICE RELATIONS

Thursday, May 13, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. (Microsoft Teams)

Healthy relationships between law enforcement officials and the people they are tasked with serving are at the heart of every safe community. In recent years, these relationships have been tested on the community side by numerous high-profile incidents and allegations of police misconduct and on the police side by an ever-evolving landscape of threats from high-capacity weapons to doxing. Join us as we consider the implications of these developments for community/police relations across the nation and right here in Carroll County.

In this discussion, participants will be invited to:

  • Reflect on the current state of community/police relations both nationally and in Carroll County.
  • Examine some of the factors contributing to the escalating tensions between police and the communities they serve both locally and across the country.
  • Identify some of the measures needed to foster more constructive relationships between communities and their law enforcement officials.

September 2021

COMMUNICATING ACROSS POLITICAL DIVIDES

Thursday, September 16, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. (Microsoft Teams) 

Rarely in our nation’s history has it been so difficult—or so vital—to engage with people of different political commitments. Democracies depend not on people being able to agree, but on their being willing to speak honestly and listen to others with an open mind. Join us for this workshop in which we will explore some of the vital ingredients of constructive and effective communication.

In this skills-building workshop, participants will:

  • Learn to reframe potentially contentious political exchanges in more constructive ways.
  • Practice skills and techniques vital to constructive democratic exchange.
  • Formulate a plan for deploying the skills and techniques presented in the workshop within their communities.

To participate in this workshop, click here.

COLLEGE AND THE FUTURE WORLD OF WORK

Thursday, September 30, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. (Microsoft Teams) 

The world of work is in rapid transition. Globalization, the rise of the gig economy, technological innovation and climate change are just a few of the forces reshaping the landscape of work, often in ominous ways. Yet, if handled purposefully, it may be that these same conditions offer us prospects for improving our current circumstances. Join us as we consider what the future of work may hold and how we might begin shaping it so it will meet the needs of future societies and the workers and families that will comprise them.

In this workshop, participants will:

  • Examine some of the forces currently reshaping the world of work.
  • Explore how these forces might be harnessed to produce positive future change.
  • Consider the role of institutions of learning in helping to prepare students to build a future world of work on their own terms.

To participate in this discussion, click here.

October 2021

FREE SPEECH ON THE COLLEGE CAMPUS

Thursday, October 14, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. (Microsoft Teams) 

Academic freedom and freedom of speech have long been central to the project of American higher education. Recently, however, efforts have been undertaken to limit the scope of these long-cherished rights. Across the country, colleges and universities are struggling to balance the need to recognize and support free speech on the one hand and to provide a safe and dignified learning space for all students and faculty on the other. Join us as we explore these challenging issues that cut across ideological lines in often surprising ways.

In this discussion, participants will be asked to:

  • Reflect on some of the forces underlying the recent history of this issue.
  • Examine the various strengths and weaknesses of positions taken at either extreme.
  • Consider where the optimal balance between competing interests might lie.

To participate in this discussion, click here.

EDUCATING FOR A 21ST CENTURY DEMOCRACY 

Thursday, October 28, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. (Microsoft Teams)  

Americans’ participation in civic life has never been more vital. The various crises currently defining the 21st century, from global terrorism to climate-induced mass migration, all demand large-scale, highly interdisciplinary, intensely creative and collaborative responses. How can our current systems of education do a better job of equipping students to recognize and effectively advocate for their interests in confronting these complex problems in the political arena? Join us for this thought-provoking discussion.

In this discussion, participants will:

  • Consider the current educational model and the kinds of citizenship it seems designed to promote.
  • Reflect on the changing political needs of a 21st century democracy.
  • Work together to create a revised educational model that will adequately prepare students to act effectively as engaged citizens of the 21st century.

To participate in this discussion,  click here.

November 2021

COLLEGE AND EQUITY

Thursday, November 11, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. (Microsoft Teams)

Colleges and universities are sometimes referred to as society’s great “equalizers”. However, such an understanding often seems to neglect these institutions’ origins by and for the governing class. Has higher education moved beyond its origins or do its historical structures and history of exclusion perpetuate a fixed social order? Looking forward, what obligations (if any) should these institutions have with respect to achieving greater equity and how well (or not) are they currently equipped toward achieving these aims? Join us for this timely discussion.

In this workshop, participants will:

  • Examine the history of institutions of higher learning in this country.
  • Reflect on the unique mission of colleges and universities as leaders of society.
  • Explore some of the lingering issues embedded in the structures and practices of higher education.

To participate in this workshop: click here.

WHAT SHOULD COLLEGE COST?

Thursday, November 18, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. (Microsoft Teams)  

At their best, colleges and universities offer students the knowledge and skills they will need to successfully navigate their professional, personal, and civic lives. In this way, they not only improve their students’ circumstances, but also work to raise the standard of living for the nation as a whole. Yet, the high price of college today means that many students are priced out of this important experience, a loss that has the potential to impact us all. So, what should college cost? Join us for this important discussion.
In this discussion, participants will:

  • Explore some of the social and economic forces responsible for rising college costs.
  • Examine some of the moral and practical considerations giving shape to the debate around college pricing.
  • Reflect on what a college education should ideally represent in light of our broader social, political, and economic priorities.

To participate in this workshop: click here.

December 2021

COLLEGE AS INSTRUMENT OF COMMUNITY GOOD

Thursday, December 2, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. (Microsoft Teams)
What role should a college, particularly a publicly-funded one, play with respect to its community? Colleges are tasked with enabling students to advance in their education and, in so doing, help to raise the nation’s standard of living. Yet, across the country, there is widespread distrust of institutions of higher learning, suggesting a disconnect between these institutions and the communities they purport to serve. What can be done to restore this trust? In particular, what more might Carroll be doing to meet community needs and serve as an instrument of community good? Join us as we consider these questions and more.
In this discussion, participants will:

  • Examine some of the reasons for the recent decline in public trust in colleges and universities.
  • Contemplate some of the features of colleges and universities positioning them to be of unique benefit to their local communities.
  • Formulate a list of suggestions for ways in which Carroll might do more to contribute to the county’s well-being.

To participate in this workshop: click here.