UNC Charlotte Unveils 49er Democracy Experience

Released: 26-Jan-2012 4:30 PM EST
Source Newsroom: University of North Carolina at Charlotte
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Newswise — CHARLOTTE, N.C. –UNC Charlotte, working in collaboration with other area colleges, universities and community partners, is launching a unique educational and civic initiative related to the 2012 election season and the presidential nominating conventions.

The 49er Democracy Experience provides an unprecedented array of civic and educational opportunities leading up to the national presidential conventions in Charlotte and Tampa in the fall of 2012. The 49er Democracy Experience is a nonpartisan activity with practical value for anyone interested in the American political process.

The experience features forums, seminars and for-credit courses, internships, scholarships and other volunteer opportunities. A list of internships, scholarships and volunteer opportunities for spring 2012 are posted. A speaker series, policy forums, summer class are intended to engage the community as well as students.

Participants will listen to policy debates on some of the most pressing issues our nation faces. The experience will help students and others learn about the background to issues that may define the post-nomination debates leading up to the presidential election.

UNC Charlotte also has developed a Web site – democracyexperience.uncc.edu – specifically in support of the 49er Democracy Experience. The Web site has been optimized for mobile use on smart phones. The site contains a list on faculty experts who designated as sources for journalists. The site also includes lists related UNC Charlotte coursework and related events.

"UNC Charlotte is using the occasion of the presidential nominating convention in Charlotte to launch a program of innovative civic education," said Joan Lorden, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. "The experience will enhance knowledge of the democratic process, promote the university’s intellectual capital and leave a lasting legacy among students, faculty and the greater Charlotte community."

The 49er Democracy Experience also will offer many types of educational programming, led by UNC Charlotte faculty and others from area colleges and universities, including Catawba College, Central Piedmont Community College, Charlotte School of Law, Davidson College, Gardner Webb University, Johnson C. Smith University, Livingstone College, Queens University of Charlotte, Wingate University and Winthrop University.

Scholarships through The Washington Center, a prestigious, nonpartisan non-profit, will be available that include opportunities for students at both the Republican National Convention in Tampa, and the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.

The academic portion of the experience includes a "Political Convention Curriculum" for the spring 2012 semester, with plans to do the same for the summer and fall semesters. More than 100 courses will cover topics related to the political process and civic engagement.

"UNC Charlotte is North Carolina’s urban research university and deeply committed to the region’s social and civic life," said Eric Heberlig, associate professor of political science and co-chair of the experience. "By taking a leadership role in this special initiative, we’re providing an exceptional new dimension in civic education."

About the University of North Carolina at Charlotte

UNC Charlotte is North Carolina’s urban research university. It is the fourth largest campus among the 17 institutions of The University of North Carolina system and the largest institution of higher education in the Charlotte region. Spring 2012 enrollment exceeded 25,300 students, including 5,000 graduate students. Find UNC Charlotte on the Web at UNC Charlotte, Twitter, Facebook and follow the UNC CLT_News blog at unccltnews.blogspot.com.


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