IU center to host national conference on civic literacy

ExhibitionINDIANAPOLIS — The 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.

Taylor Symposium marks 25th year by exploring “Politics. Race. Place.”

The 25th Joseph T. Taylor Symposium, hosted by the IU School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, will focus on how 25 years of demographic and social change has shaped Indianapolis while exploring the topic, “Politics. Race. Place.”

The symposium will take place from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 25, at the IUPUI Campus Center, 420 University Blvd.

Registration deadline is Feb. 18, but guests are encouraged to register early to reserve a seat.

A schedule and registration are available on the School of Liberal Arts website. To register by phone or for more information, call 812-855-4224 or 800-933-9330, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or email iuconfs@indiana.edu. Symposium attendance is free and open to the general public, but conference registration is required. Lunch is available for a fee: Single luncheon tickets are $40 each or $35 if purchased by Feb. 3. Single sponsor tickets are $75, and patron tables of 10 are $550.

Leading local practitioners, politicians, policy-makers and researchers will come together with symposium attendees to examine how shifting demographics and an increasingly diverse population have contributed to the direction of the city and its future path.

The event begins with a conversation between William Blomquist, professor of political science and dean of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, and Rozelle Boyd, retired president of the Indianapolis City County Council, discussing “Understanding the Evolving Indianapolis Electorate.”

“The Taylor Symposium has been a signature event drawing campus and community together for a remarkable 25 years now,” said William Blomquist, dean of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. “I’m looking forward to this year’s symposium in particular, talking about political change in our city over the past quarter-century with Rozelle Boyd, and listening to the other participants—it’s a terrific line-up.”

Panel discussions follow on the topics of “White Flight and the Politics of Place” and ” Building a Multicultural Community.”

Panelists and moderators include:

  • Amos Brown, director of strategic research, 100.9 Radio Now.
  • Patricia Castaneda, cultural consultant, SosaGroup.
  • Olgen Williams, deputy mayor of Indianapolis.
  • David Coats, associate director, The Polis Center.
  • Terri Morris Downs, executive director, Immigrant Welcome Center.
  • Johnny Goldfinger, associate professor of political science, director of prelaw studies, Marian University.
  • Lun Kham Pieper, attorney at law.
  • John Ketzenberger, president, Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute.

Byron D’Andra Orey, professor and chair of political science at Jackson State University, will deliver the keynote address, “Contemporary Topics in the Study of Race and Politics,” during the symposium luncheon. Luncheon activities also include IUPUI Chancellor Charles R. Bantz’s presentation of the Joseph T. Taylor Excellence in Diversity Award and a performance by the Indianapolis improv group ComedySportz.

In the days leading up the event members of the campus community and visitors will also be able to share their views on race and politics in Indianapolis on the IUPUI Democracy Plaza walls.

LEU continuing credits are available to Indiana’s library professionals for select workshops and, pending approval, CLE credits to attorneys for this event.

For questions about the educational credits or event program, contact Lauralee Wikkerink, lstel@iupui.edu or 317-278-1839.

For the past quarter century, the Joseph T. Taylor Symposium has tackled issues of concern to Indianapolis residents. The symposium is named for the late Joseph T. Taylor, the first dean of the School of Liberal Arts. Taylor is remembered for his commitment to dialogue and diversity. The 2014 symposium is presented by the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI in partnership with the Department of Political Science and the Polis Center, with support from the Spirit & Place Festival, IUPUI Democracy Plaza, and the IUPUI Common Theme Project.

IUPUI professor pens book making systematic, positive case for the European Union

In “Why Europe Matters: The Case for the European Union,” IUPUI professor John McCormick makes a clear and unequivocal case for how the European Union, in spite of its problems, has made Europe a more peaceful and prosperous place.

McCormick, who teaches political science in the School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, debunks the prevailing myths surrounding the European Union and puts forward a compelling case for the benefits of European integration. In his new book, McCormick shows how the EU gives Europeans a greater role on the world stage, as well as more peaceful and productive ways of living and doing business.

“’Why Europe Matters’ will inform and enlighten Euro enthusiasts and skeptics alike (and) could not have been more timely for the new debate about Britain’s role in a changing union,” said John Palmer, former European editor of The Guardian and founding political director of the European Policy Centre.

McCormick’s book is “a must-read for citizens, professionals, students and policy-makers alike by one of the most respected authorities on European affairs,” said Alexander Stubb, Finland’s minister for European affairs and foreign trade.

In a stark challenge to skeptics and critics, McCormick “shows that the story of European Union has been, above all, one of progress in mutual understanding between peoples, of the benefits of cooperation and of the pooling of sovereignty between nations, and of a growing solidarity and cohesion in practice that could provide a model too for those looking for a more peaceful and cooperative form of organization on a global scale,” said Jacques Delors, former president of the European Commission.

Palgrave Macmillan published “Why Europe Matters” on June 28. For more information, or to request a review copy, commission an article or interview McCormick, contact Louise Crawford at l.crawford@palgrave.com.