IU center to host national conference on civic literacy

ExhibitionThe Indiana University Center for Civic Literacy, a research center at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, has announced that its second annual conference will take place Aug. 22 to 24 at the Crowne Plaza Union Station in Indianapolis. The public is invited to attend.

“The data is depressing,” said Sheila Kennedy, director of the Center for Civic Literacy and professor of law and public policy at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IUPUI, which houses the center. “Only 36 percent of Americans can name the three branches of government. Only 21 percent of high school seniors can list two privileges that United States citizens have that noncitizens don’t. Fewer than a quarter of the nation’s 12th-graders are proficient in civics. How can uninformed people make the informed decisions that are critical in our society? That is what the Center for Civic Literacy addresses, and what we will discuss at our conference.”

The Center for Civic Literacy pursues an aggressive research agenda to identify and address the causes and civic consequences of Americans’ low levels of constitutional, economic and scientific knowledge. It hosts a website and blog, and publishes a quarterly newsletter and an online, peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal.

The theme of this year’s conference, held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Center’s National Advisory Committee, is “Connecting the Dots: The Impact of Civic Literacy Gaps on Democracy, the Economy and Society, and Charting a Path Forward.”

The program will open with a welcome from former Indiana Supreme Court Justice Theodore Boehm, who chairs the center’s National Advisory Committee, and will include addresses from Ted McConnell, executive director of the Civic Mission of Schools Campaign; David Schultz, professor of political science at Hamline University; Dallas Dishman, executive director of the Geffen Foundation; and Kim McLaurin, director of the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project, among others.

Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Fellowships

Woodrow-Wilson-International-Center-for-ScholarsThrough an international competition, the Center offers residential fellowships. Fellows conduct research and write in their areas of interest, while interacting with policymakers in Washington and Wilson Center staff. The center accepts non-advocacy, policy-relevant, fellowship proposals that address key challenges of past, present, and future issues confronting the United States and the world. The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars aims to unite the world of ideas to the world of policy by supporting preeminent scholarship and linking that scholarship to issues of concern to officials in Washington. The Wilson Center invites scholars, practitioners, journalists, and public intellectuals to take part in its flagship fellowship program and to take advantage of the opportunity to engage actively in the center’s national mission. Fellows will be affiliated with one of the Wilson Center programs/projects and are encouraged to interact with policy makers in Washington, D.C. as well as with Wilson Center staff who are working on similar research and topics.

The center awards approximately 20-22 residential fellowships annually. The center tries to ensure that the stipend provided under the fellowship, together with the fellow’s other sources of funding (e.g., grants secured by the applicant and sabbatical allowances), approximate a fellow’s regular salary. Stipends provided in recent years have ranged from $26,000 to $85,000 (the maximum possible). Stipends include round trip travel for fellows. If spouses and/or dependent children will reside with the fellow for the entire fellowship period, money for their travel will also be included in the stipend. In addition to stipends, the center provides 75 percent of health insurance premiums for fellows who elect center coverage and for their accompanying family members. Fellows are expected to be in residence for the entire U.S. academic year (early September through May, i.e., nine months), although a few fellowships are occasionally awarded for shorter periods with a minimum of four months.

For more information, check out the application guidelines.