Center for Economic and Civic Learning at Ball State University

    Date: September 27th & 28th
    Location: L.A. Pittenger Student Center at Ball State
    Time: 5-8pm on September 27th & 9am-3pm on September 28th


The central theme for the 2024 Annual Civic Learning Symposium revolves around the crucial role that dialogue and deliberation play in both our educational system and our democracy. In an era marked by polarization and division, fostering open, constructive dialogue and thoughtful deliberation is more important than ever. This theme emphasizes the need to build bridges across diverse perspectives, promote understanding, and cultivate a culture of civic agency.

We are proud and honored to announce co-sponsorship of the 2024 Annual Civic Learning Symposium by the Indiana Bar Foundation and the Center on Representative Government at Indiana University. Their generous support underscores the significance of civic learning and engagement in today’s society and contributes greatly to the enrichment of our symposium’s offerings.

In the 2024 Annual Civic Learning Symposium, the Indiana Bar Foundation‘s co-sponsorship notably emphasizes its commitment to advancing civic education through innovative and impactful programs. Their support extends the symposium’s capacity to provide a platform where educators, students, and the community can explore the vital role of civic engagement in a democratic society. The IBF’s involvement particularly aligns with promoting the ‘We The People’ program, an educational initiative that aligns perfectly with the symposium’s themes. The ‘We The People: The Citizen and the Constitution’ program, supported by the Foundation is a cornerstone in Indiana’s efforts to enhance civic education. This instructional program, targeted at students from elementary through high school, is designed to deepen students’ understanding of American constitutional democracy. By engaging with the history and principles of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, students learn to appreciate the relevance of these documents in contemporary society. The program’s inclusion in the symposium highlights the importance of constitutional literacy as a key component of civic education.

For the 2024 Annual Civic Learning Symposium, the Center on Representative Government’s contribution is invaluable in aligning the symposium’s objectives with its mission of promoting informed and engaged citizenship. Through its co-sponsorship, the Center brings to the fore its wealth of experience in civic education, offering participants a unique opportunity to engage with resources and programs proven to enhance civic understanding and participation. The Center’s role extends beyond financial support, offering content expertise and resources that enrich the symposium’s offerings, particularly in fostering discussions around effective civic education and participation strategies.

We are thrilled to announce a unique collaboration with the Remnant Trust, a Public Educational Foundation committed to the stewardship of humanity’s most defining texts on individual liberty and human dignity. This partnership underscores a shared commitment to enriching civic understanding and dialogue at a time when fostering a cohesive society has never been more critical. The Remnant Trust, will co-sponsor the symposium, bringing to life the symposium’s central theme of education, dialogue, and deliberation in our democracy. The Remnant Trust will present original copies of the U.S. Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution, along with other key foundational U.S. texts and documents. These artifacts not only embody the essence of American democracy but also serve as tangible links to our collective past, offering a profound context for the discussions and explorations set to unfold during the symposium.

Submit Your Presentation Proposal

The 2024 Civic Learning Symposium invites educators, practitioners, students, and community leaders to submit proposals that explore and expand the practice of dialogue and deliberation within educational settings and democratic contexts.We welcome proposals for presentations, moderated discussions, training, workshops, case study discussions, as well as poster presentations.

Proposal Submission Deadline: June 15, 2024
Notification of Acceptance: July 7, 2024

Submit Your Proposal Here

Distinguished Speaker September 27th: Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski, III

Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, President Emeritus of UMBC (The University of Maryland, Baltimore County) served as president from 1992 to 2022. His research and publications focus on science and math education, with special emphasis on minority participation and performance. He chaired the National Academies’ committee that produced the 2011 report, Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America’s Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. He was named in 2012 by President Obama to chair the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans. His 2013 TED talk highlights the “Four Pillars of College Success in Science.” In 2022, Dr. Hrabowski was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, and he was also named the inaugural ACE Centennial Fellow, to be served upon his retirement from UMBC. In Addition, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) also launched the Freeman Hrabowski Scholars Program ($1.5 billion) to help build a scientific workforce that more fully reflects our increasingly diverse country. In October 2022, he was named the inaugural Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Lecture Speaker by Harvard. In April 2023, The National Academy of Sciences awarded him the Public Welfare Medal, the Academy’s most prestigious award, and inducted him as a member of the academy, for his extraordinary use of science for the public good.

Distinguished Speaker September 28th: Harry Boyte

With a history of service that spans from working directly with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to advising national initiatives on civic renewal, Boyte’s contributions to the field of civic engagement are both profound and far-reaching. His upcoming presentation will undoubtedly inspire symposium attendees to explore innovative ways of enhancing civic participation and fostering democratic practices in their communities. Harry Boyte, a renowned advocate for democracy and civic engagement, brings a wealth of experience and insight into the critical role of public work in fostering a vibrant democracy. As the founder of Public Achievement, Boyte has dedicated his career to empowering citizens and communities across the globe to engage in public work that contributes to the common good. His approach to civic engagement, known as the “public work” model, emphasizes the importance of collaborative action and participatory democracy in addressing societal challenges. Boyte’s extensive background includes his leadership role at the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship at Augsburg College, where he continues to influence future generations of civic leaders. His involvement with Imagining America further showcases his commitment to strengthening the democratic purposes of the humanities, arts, and design. Moreover, Boyte’s international work, particularly in South Africa, provides valuable lessons in citizen democracy and civic renewal that are relevant to our symposium’s theme of education, dialogue, and deliberation in democracy.

Themes for the 2024 Symposium

    Dialogue Across Differences: Encouraging open and respectful dialogue among students, educators, and community members, regardless of ideological or cultural differences. Emphasizing the value of listening to and understanding diverse perspectives as a foundation for building a stronger democracy.
    Deliberative Decision-Making: Highlighting the importance of deliberation in shaping informed and thoughtful decision-making processes. Exploring methods for engaging in meaningful deliberation, weighing competing interests, and reaching consensus on complex civic issues. In ‘What Should We Do?: A Theory of Civic Life’ Peter Levine explores the function of deliberative democracy, where citizens engage in reasoned dialogue and collaboration to address common problems. He advocates for a participatory approach to democracy, where individuals take responsibility for their communities and work together to find solutions.
    Educating for Democracy: Examining the role of schools and educational institutions in preparing students to become active and engaged citizens. Emphasizing the importance of civic education in teaching critical thinking, civil discourse, and participatory democracy.
    Strengthening Democratic Practices: Exploring strategies for enhancing democratic practices within schools and communities, such as student-led forums, community dialogues, and participatory decision-making processes. Emphasizing the importance of fostering democratic values and practices from an early age.
    Empowering Civic Leaders: Recognizing the role of civic leaders, educators, and community organizers in promoting dialogue and deliberation. Highlighting successful initiatives and best practices for empowering individuals to become effective advocates for positive change in their communities.

Event Description

The 2024 Civic Learning Symposium will bring together scholars, educators, students, and community members to

Annual Civic Learning Symposium, Teachers College, Student Center, CREATE

discuss and exchange ideas on how to cultivate meaningful dialogue and deliberation in our communities. Through panel discussions, workshops, and interactive sessions, participants will explore innovative approaches to promoting constructive civic engagement and enhancing democratic practices.

Save the Date for the 2024 Civic Learning Symposium, September 27th and 28th.

We invite you to submit a proposal on a broad range of topics that align with our overarching goal of Education, Dialogue, and; Deliberation in Our Democracy. Sessions exploring the intersections of civic education, democracy, freedom of expression, and community building are encouraged. We’re looking for a variety of session formats beyond traditional presentations, including interactive workshops, strategy sessions, moderated dialogues, case studies, and more innovative and engaging formats.