Campus Academy Initiative

Scheduled in to take place on August 9, 10 and 11, 2020, the Divided Community Project (DCP) invites teams of College and University Campus leaders to apply for the Divided Community Project’s Campus Academy Initiative.  The Academy will take place either entirely online or with teams meeting in-person locally and connected to each other virtually, depending on what seems wise given the course of the pandemic.

For more details about the Campus Academy, please take a look at this webinar.

The program’s goals are three-fold:
  1. Strengthen conflict resolution-related planning and capacity building.
  2. Support and strengthen the development of a campus ‘core’ leadership convener group for a handful of campuses.
  3. Provide planning opportunities for each core leadership group.

The application window is now open – click here to review the application.

The project invites “core leadership groups” to apply.  Ideally, a core leadership group will include eight individuals.  The goal is to form a leadership team that includes both those who would be at the table when decisions are made when a divisive incident or conflict arises on campus and those who would implement planning to improve the resilience and readiness of the campus.  These might include, for example, two representatives from the presidents  or provosts office, a representative from diversity and inclusion leadership (may overlap with the first category), a campus police representative, a faculty member, a communications expert, a student affairs staff member, and a student leader. 

The Application window is now open – click here to review the application.

The Application Timeline is as follows:

  1. Applications are due Friday June 5, 2020
  2. We anticipate notifying Academy Campuses regarding their participation on or before June 12, 2020
  3. June 15, 2020 to July 31, 2020
    1. Core leaders from each participating campus will meet virtually with an Academy facilitator to discuss questions developed by the Hosts and intended to help focus on key issues to be addressed at the Academy.
    2. These meetings will allow Academy Hosts to  hone Academy cirriculum to meet campus core leadership group needs.
  4. August 9, 10, 11, 2020.  The Academy is held. Times will be set in July, once it is clear whether any part of the Academy can be held in person.
  5. After August 2020, Academy hosts will follow-up with Academy campus teams to support implementation processes developed during the Academy initiative.

Application criteria will be described in detail shortly, and will include the following components:

1. Diversity

Diversity is fundamental to the program.  The hosts anticipate selecting participant communities that collectively reflect diversity of geography, size, and community demographics.  The hosts urge core leadership groups to consider how they reflect the diversity of their own campus.

2. Commitment

Applicants should identify the four to seven core leaders who are committed to attending the national academy on August 9, 10, 11.  When identifying leaders for the core leadership team, include people who have the power to encourage, initiate, and/or implement changes in policy or practice.  Ideally, the core leadership group should also include people who are directly affected by the issue(s) causing tension or division.  You may also want to consider including people who can help sustain the work going forward.

Applicants should tentatively articulate how the core leadership group will begin convening broad-based community planning efforts to identify and address issues that polarize the campus and whether and how the core leadership group will meet virtually prior to the Academy.

Applicants should commit to working with the Divided Community Project in the following ways: 1) in late June and July 2020 to prepare for the Academy; and 2) following the Academy in order to implement initiatives aimed at addressing community polarization.

3. Need

Applicants should articulate their perception of issues polarizing their home campus as well as their perception of the next issues that may be facing their home community.  These may include long-standing issues that have created tension for years, as well as tension that has erupted into volatile conflict more recently

Commonly Asked Questions

Will this take place in person?

We hope so!  But, that seems unlikely in the current context.  We hope:

  1. Core leadership groups will convene in-person on campus during the Academy training.  We further anticipate sending one or more facilitators to support he work of each Academy campus.  We further anticipate that all Academy participants will work with one another via Zoom through out the Academy training.
  2. If in-person meetings continue to be restricted across the country, we will host this event on Zoom.

Have you organized similar events?

Yes!  In 2019 and 2020 DCP hosted in-person Academy events with core leadership groups from the following communities: Bloomington (IN), Charlotte (NC), Charlottesville (VA), Indianapolis (IN), Kenyon College, Memphis (TN), Midwest City (OK), and Portland / Oregon.

The Project convened a hybrid event (in-person and via zoom) with leaders from 17 universities and colleges in January, 2020 and synthesized their counsel for campus leaders in two guides, posted here.

What is the cost?

Due to generous support from the Jacques M. Littlefield Foundation, the Campus Academy Initiative is free for participants.  If feasible, participants will travel to a regional training site.  However, in light of the current health crisi, participants may be asked to secure physical spaces to meet and work with DCP to make sure campus technology will support Academy engagement.

How will participants prepare for the Academy?

Potential Academy participants will apply before June 5, 2020.  Academy participants will be notified before June 12, 2020.  In July 2020, DCP will send Academy participants a spiral-bound set of materials to review in advance of the Academy.  Core leadership groups will be asked to meet as a group in June and July 2020 with DCP facilitators to meet one another and begin identifying their expectations for the Academy.

What should participants expect at the Academy?

Participants will work collectively to build collaborative skills.  Participants will share resources with other similarly situated leaders (e.g., provost offices, diversity and inclusion offices, students). Participants will engage in role plays and hands-on planning grounded in DCP resources.  Participants will work with DCP leaders, former Academy participants, and DCP collaborators to develop action steps to implement on their campuses.

What should we expect following the Academy?

Sustained engagement.  Core leadership will be expected to maintain a relationship with DCP to share resources, lessons learned, and give feedback to further develop the Academy initiative.  DCP anticipates maintaining and developing relationships with Academy campuses.