Sociology Professor Representing Augustana University, South Dakota as ENACT Faculty Fellow
Augustana is proud to announce that Assistant Professor of Sociology Dr. Carolyn Ly-Donovan has been chosen to represent the university and the state of South Dakota as an Educational Network for Active Civic Transformation (ENACT) Faculty Fellow.
Launched in 2015, ENACT engages undergraduates at colleges and universities in state-level legislative change by learning to work with legislators, staffers and community organizations to advance policy. The national program is becoming a major voice in addressing challenges to American democracy by engaging young people in civic activism built on knowledge, cooperation, justice and integrity.
“It is embracing the idea of student-driven learning,” said Ly-Donovan. “I’m just excited for the idea that the students will have a voice, but we will also be able to give them key tools. Outward facing, it’s going to hopefully make people in the Augustana and broader Sioux Falls community say, ‘Wow, Augustana students are really doing unique, innovative things that are meant to be impactful in our community.’”
Ly-Donovan is part of the third cohort of ENACT faculty fellows and will attend an all-expense-paid workshop or multi-day institute, located at the Ethics Center at Brandeis University, in June of 2021. As the sole faculty member and institution representing South Dakota, Ly-Donovan and Augustana committed to offering an ENACT course for students to learn through direct engagement — traveling to the state capital, meeting with and lobbying legislators, strategizing with advocacy organizations and creating outreach materials — to advance their chosen issues. The class will be offered within the first two years of Ly-Donovan attending the institute, and a second time within four years.
“My ultimate goal is to bridge sociology with this interdisciplinary policy focus and allow students to see how you can make change happen,” said Ly-Donovan. “We’re going to give Augustana students something that they’re not going to get anywhere else. Students will be able to say, ‘I took a course where we worked with these organizations, we went to Pierre, we talked to legislators and we brought together different partners to problem solve. Maybe we didn’t get that policy passed, but these are the things I learned and these are the connections I made.’ Social networks are everything. Getting these experiences beyond writing a paper are everything.”
Including its latest cohort, ENACT will have launched new programs at 45 colleges and universities, and is building a national online network of students, faculty, activists and legislators. Participating schools represent a diverse range of higher education institutions. At Brandeis alone, more than 200 ENACT students have been engaged with the legislative process for dozens of bills — 15 of which have been signed into law — concerning 28 policy areas.
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