In recognition of his work promoting civic engagement and non-violence, Augsburg scholar Harry Boyte has been awarded the Spirit of Gandhi Award. Boyte, the senior scholar in public work philosophy with the Augsburg Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship, describes the spiritual, moral, and psychological aspects of non-violence in his Huffington Post article on the new nonviolence movement. The Spirit of Gandhi Award is given in celebration of Nonviolence Day, a globally-observed day on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, at the Minnesota State Capitol.
Harry Boyte, senior fellow at the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship, recently published an article for Education Week about democracy in education. The article is part of a conversational series between Boyte and Deborah Meier, senior scholar at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education.
Boyte argues that we should view democracy as “an empowering way of life,” and not merely a decision-making process. “We need to combine the ‘head,’ which makes decisions, the ‘heart,’ moral imagination and emotion, and the ‘hand,’ civic muscles that power action in the world,” he writes.
In regards to education, Boyte offers an antidote to a culture that separates the hard sciences, the arts and the professional or vocational fields, parallels to the “head”, “heart” and “hand” metaphor. He argues in favor of Cooperative Education, “a method that combines academic study and classroom learning with practical work experience for which students can receive academic credit.”
Harry Boyte, senior scholar in public work philosophy for the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship, shared in a recent Huffington Post article his experiences working with the Center’s namesake: the late Martin Olav Sabo ’59. Prior to the 2009 merging of the Sabo Center and Augsburg College’s Center for Democracy and Citizenship, Boyte had met Sabo while working for the Reinventing Citizenship initiative in 1993.
Boyte writes of Sabo’s reputation as a respectful, bipartisan advocate for democracy. He states that Sabo exemplified the values of Augsburg College “in extraordinary ways, believing in the positive role of government and also the need for a much bigger environment of civic interaction.” He further notes that “Martin was enthusiastic about our work to… create public discussions on the purpose and future of colleges and universities that can reframe what is now often a polarized and narrow debate.”
As part of an ongoing conversation about democracy in education, Harry Boyte, senior scholar in public work philosophy for Augsburg’s Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship, recently contributed an article to Education Week in which he argued in favor of free spaces–“places where people find it easy and enjoyable to swap stories, plan adventures, and discuss and argue politics.”
In the article, Boyte draws on his experiences with Sabo Center colleague Dennis Donovan, national organizer for Public Achievement, to articulate the importance of providing places for challenging yet compassionate dialog.
The Huffington Post recently published an article by Harry Boyte, senior fellow in the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship, in which Boyte argues that the current political climate in the U.S. has undervalued the community-building and participatory aspects of democracy. The essay centers around conflicting accounts of the “American Dream;” one version focusing on American superiority and the other on the value of “cooperative endeavor” and social justice.
Seeing democracy as more than just a way of electing leaders, Boyte examines the Civilian Conservation Corps as a model for infusing Americans’ work lives with a purpose greater than materialism. He states that, “as work has come to be seen only as a means to the good life and not of value in itself, the public dimensions of work and recognition of the importance of workers have sharply declined.”
Harry Boyte, senior fellow in the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship, recently wrote an online column for political newspaper The Hill in which he argues that educators should seek to develop students’ abilities to handle conflict by engaging them in self-guided civic involvement. Recent conversations about free speech and identity politics have primarily focused on either criticizing or applauding students’ approaches to effecting change, a trend which Boyte feels too readily discounts a student’s agency.
“Young people are hungry for opportunities to learn the skills and concepts to handle conflicts and make constructive change,” he writes. Providing timely guidance and these opportunities is important because, “Young people are citizens today, not citizens in preparation.”
Boyte outlines the Public Achievement model of “citizen politics” as everyday problem-solving and public work. Public Achievement sees students work together on real-world projects (such as building a playground for local children) that require a broad set of skills vital to a democratic way of life. In one example, the students “got the parish council on their side, negotiated zoning changes with city officials, and raised $60,000 from local businesses. To accomplish these feats, they learned how to interview people, write letters, give speeches, call people they didn’t know. They deliberated, created alliances, raised money, mapped power, did research.”
In his most recent article for the Huffington Post, Harry Boyte, senior scholar in Augsburg College’s Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship, argues in favor of a relationship-based model for engaging students in democratic society.
Boyte refers to the “organizing” versus “mobilizing” model pioneered by civil rights leaders such as Ella Baker and Bob Moses. In this view of activism, mobilizing is goal-driven and short-lived, while organizing is relationship-driven and sustains engagement over time. Boyte draws a parallel between these different types of activism and educational approaches that focus either on outcomes–such as test scores–or personal growth and agency.
Harry Boyte, senior scholar in public work philosophy for Augsburg’s Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship, described the importance of citizen professionals in a recent article for the Huffington Post. Boyte explained that places like Augsburg College are ripe with students preparing to become “citizen nurses” and “citizen teachers” who will serve as change agents in their future careers.
In his latest Huffington Post article, Harry Boyte, Augsburg’s Sabo Senior Fellow, discusses the ways in which higher education can help people develop the skills of a democratic way of life. Boyte’s article used examples from the Augsburg College community to show how programming can prepare students to serve as “citizen professionals” and change agents.
The question, “What are universities for?” elicited a number of responses in a recent article compiled by Zocalo Public Square and published by TIME. Harry Boyte, Augsburg’s Sabo Senior Fellow, argued that colleges and universities should renew their democratic purpose, thereby highlighting the important role these institutions play as public spaces for diverse interests and views to find common ground in a sharply divided society.