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The University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service is now accepting applications for enrollment in its Master of Public Service (MPS) degree program for the fall of 2015.
The first school in the country to offer a master’s in public service, the Clinton School enrolls students who are interested in pursuing or enhancing their careers in government, nonprofit, volunteer, and private sector service.
Students come to the Clinton School from across the country and the world to be part of our unique program. Past students include former AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, and Teach for America members, as well as government, nonprofit, and business leaders and professionals. Admitted students will have a strong academic background, along with a demonstrated passion for helping others through public service.
“Whether your interest is the environment, health advocacy, improving education, politics or international development, our program offers the knowledge and hands-on experience that will help young professionals put their talents to work to empower communities and enrich lives,” said Skip Rutherford, dean of the Clinton School. “We welcome applications from anyone who wants to dedicate their life to public service.”
Those interested in joining the program can now apply online by clicking here.
Modeled on President Clinton’s vision of building leadership in civic engagement, the Clinton School MPS degree is a full-time, non-partisan graduate program that offers a practical approach to learning through the combination of coursework and for-credit field service projects. During the two-year program, Clinton School students complete three field service projects: a team-based project in Arkansas, an international service project, and a final capstone project in a public service area of their own interest. The Clinton School has over 100 projects every school year all over Arkansas, the country, and the world.
Last summer, students completed international service projects in 21 countries and territories, including Nicaragua, Paraguay, Albania, Uganda, Rwanda, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Cambodia, and Vietnam, among others, with host organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Heifer International, Barefoot College, and Hope North.
Clinton School students also benefit from participating in the school’s renowned lecture series, which hosts an array of programs ranging from senators, congressmen, cabinet officials, and ambassadors to renowned academics, corporate CEOs, philanthropists, authors, and journalists. To see a list of past speakers, visit our speaker series website at www.clintonschoolspeakers.com.
After completing the two-year MPS degree program, Clinton School graduates have gone on to careers with organizations such as the Clinton Foundation, the Walmart Foundation, USAID, the U.S. Department of State, and Habitat for Humanity.
The Clinton School also offers concurrent degree programs in Law, Public Health, and Business in conjunction with other University of Arkansas schools. To learn more about applying to concurrent degree programs, click here.
Click here for information on applying to the Clinton School. For questions, or to schedule a visit, contact Clinton School admissions director Alex Thomas at (501) 683 – 5228 or email us at admissions@clintonschool.
The Clinton School is a non-partisan graduate institution and welcomes academically and experientially qualified applicants of all ideologies, backgrounds, ages, and life experiences.
*Reserve your seats by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (501) 683-5239.
“Building World-class Ecosystems with Technology Startups”
Wednesday, October 1, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. (Sturgis Hall) *In partnership with Gravity Ventures
- With her vision of seeing Texas recognized as one of the top 3 innovation ecosystems in the world, Gabriella Draney will present the many different players and catalysts necessary to make that vision a reality. Building the world’s leading B2B accelerator was the first step in the process. Tech Wildcatters began spinning out new programs in 2012, beginning with the international exchange globeStart, in partnership with American Airlines. In 2013, Health Wildcatters became the first healthcare focused accelerator in the southwest and is currently running its second class. This fall marks the beginning of the latest spinout, the codex, which provides professional technology training.
“Resilient America: Electing Nixon in 1968, Channeling Dissent, and Dividing Government”
Monday, October 6, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. (Sturgis Hall) *Book signing to follow
- Michael Nelson is the Fulmer Professor of Political Science at Rhodes College, a Fellow of Southern Methodist University’s Center for Presidential History, and a Senior Fellow at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center. He is the author of numerous books, including “How the South Joined the Gambling Nation: The Politics of State Policy Innovation,” with John L. Mason, winner of the 2009 V. O. Key Award for Outstanding Book on Southern Politics from the Southern Political Science Association. His new book, “Resilient America,” explores how urban riots and the Tet Offensive, the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, the politics of outrage and race—all pointed to a reordering of party coalitions, of groups and regions, a hardening and widening of an ideological divide—and to the historical importance of the 1968 election as a watershed event.
Wendy Young, president of KIND
Tuesday, October 7, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. (Sturgis Hall)
- Wendy Young is the president of KIND (Kids In Need of Defense), which was founded by Angelina Jolie and the Microsoft Corporation to create a pro bono movement of law firms, corporations, NGOs, universities, and volunteers to provide quality and compassionate legal counsel to unaccompanied refugee and immigrant children in the United States. Young has extensive immigration policy experience, including serving as chief counsel on immigration policy in the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Refugees for Senator Edward M. Kennedy. She has held prior immigration policy positions with organizations such as the United Nations, High Commissioner for Refugees, the Women’s Refugee Commission, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the National Council of La Raza.
“Red Lines,” a film screening
Wednesday, October 8, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. (Ron Robinson Theater) *In partnership with the Little Rock Film Festival
- “Red Lines” follows the story of two people, Mouaz Moustafa, who was born in a refugee camp near Damascus, raised in Arkansas, schooled in politics on Capitol Hill and by the Libyan uprising, and Razan Shalab-al-Sham. Inspired by the Arab Spring, Razan and Mouaz watched from their two vantage points as, for a hopeful moment, anything seemed possible in Syria. Razan runs a Syria-wide activist network, deeply convinced that democracy is possible with women playing a special role in its realization. With his contacts in Washington, the Arab world, and the Free Syrian Army, Mouaz becomes a critical link between the rebellion and the West. Their story, “Red Lines,” is about the transformative power of conflict and conscience. For more information, visit www.redlinesfilm.com
Jonathan Martin, national political correspondent for The New York Times
Thursday, October 9, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. (Sturgis Hall)
- Jonathan Martin is the national political correspondent for The New York Times and the former senior political writer for Politico. Martin began covering politics for National Journal’s political publication, The Hotline, and also covered party politics for National Review magazine. He is the co-author of the New York Times best seller “The End of the Line: Romney vs. Obama: The 34 Days That Decided the Election.” His work has been published in The New Republic, National Journal, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. Martin appears frequently as a guest on CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, MSNBC, and NPR.
“The Power of Glamour: Longing and the Art of Visual Persuasion,” author Virginia Postrel
Friday, October 10, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. (Sturgis Hall) *Book signing to follow
- Virginia Postrel is an author, columnist, and speaker whose work spans a broad range of topics, from social science to fashion, concentrating on the intersection of culture and commerce. Her most recent work, “The Power of Glamour: Longing and the Art of Visual Persuasion,” lays out the case for glamour as a life-shaping force, whether for good or for ill. Postrel takes an exhaustive look not only at the history of glamour, but at how it works, developing a theory that explains just about anything – from “how Jackie Kennedy is like the Chrysler Building or a sports car is like a Moleskine notebook, to why some audiences might find glamour in nuns, wind turbines or ‘Star Trek.’”
“Gay Panic in the Ozarks,” author Ed Bethune
Monday, October 13, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. (Sturgis Hall) *Book signing to follow
- Ed Bethune is a former member of the United States House of Representatives from Arkansas. In his new novel, “Gay Panic in the Ozarks,” the story follows the character of Aubrey Hatfield and the citizens of Campbell County as they get a second chance to grapple with man’s greatest vice – the refusal to see wrong happening and not do something about it. The life journey of protagonist Aubrey Hatfield contrasts the culture of the turbulent sixties with today’s culture, and ponders how we should adapt to or resist the ever-changing notions of right and wrong. “Gay Panic in the Ozarks” is a novel that examines love, hate, morality, honor, and duty.
“The Southerner’s Handbook,” Rebecca Darwin, CEO and founder of Garden & Gun
Wednesday, October 15, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. (Sturgis Hall) *In partnership with P. Allen Smith
- Formally the first female publisher of The New Yorker, Rebecca Darwin is the president and CEO of the media company that owns Garden & Gun. Launched in 2007, the magazine was named the #2 hottest launch of over 700 magazines in 2007, has recently won a National Magazine Award in General Excellence and was named to Advertising Age’s 2011 Magazine A-list. Darwin is also the former publisher of Mirabella, former marketing director of Fortune, and has served as the president and CEO of the National Association of Female Executives. “The Southerner’s Handbook: A Guide to Living the Good Life” is a collection of instructional and narrative essays that offers a tutorial to modern-day life in the South.
20th anniversary of the award-winning film “Hoop Dreams,” with star Arthur Agee and executive producer Gordon Quinn
Thursday, October 16, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. (Sturgis Hall) *In partnership with the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival
- Arthur Agee is one of two Chicago-area high school basketball players whose lives were chronicled in the award winning 1994 documentary, “Hoop Dreams.” The film follows Agee and another rising young basketball star, William Gates, from their poor Chicago neighborhood as they transfer schools to a private school to have a better chance at playing in the NBA and improving their education. Gordon Quinn is the artistic director and founding member of Kartemquin Films, a nationally recognized media arts organization that acts as a bridge between communities and the media and fosters the growth of emerging filmmaking voices passionate about social issues. For more information on the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, visit www.hsdfi.org.
“2014 Election Preview,” Rob Engstrom, SVP and national political director at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Friday, October 17, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. (Sturgis Hall)
- Rob Engstrom is the senior vice president and the national political director at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and is responsible for directing the Chamber’s national political, grassroots, and election-related activities. He also manages all member activities for the Chamber’s Federation, which includes thousands of state, local, and metro chambers of commerce and hundreds of trade and professional associations. Before joining the Chamber, Engstrom was director of the Division of Political Education at the Republican National Committee from 1998 to 2002, including a five-week stint on the Florida recount team for then-President-elect George W. Bush. In 2013, he was recognized as one of the top 50 influencers of the 2014 election cycle by Campaigns & Elections: The Magazine for People in Politics.
International Public Service Projects Panel
Tuesday, October 21, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. (Sturgis Hall)
- Five Clinton School students will discuss the international public service projects (IPSP) they completed this summer as part of the Master of Public Service degree program. The international project component exposes students to unique challenges and hands-on experience across the globe, and provides immediate and long-term impact for the students’ organizational partners. Since the Clinton School opened in 2005, students have visited 72 countries to complete more than 200 projects.
“The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case,” author Michael Ross
Wednesday, October 22, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. (Sturgis Hall) *Book signing to follow
- Michael Ross is an author and an associate professor of History at the University of Maryland. In his new book, “The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case,” Ross offers the first full account of one of the events that electrified the South at one of the most critical moments in the history of American race relations. The book covers the kidnapping, where two African American women kidnapped seventeen-month-old Mollie Digby in front of her New Orleans home. From the moment it happens through the highly publicized investigation and sensationalized trial that followed, Ross paints a vivid picture of the Reconstruction-era South and the complexities and possibilities that faced the newly integrated society.
“Wait Until Dark,” a panel discussion
Thursday, October 23, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. (Sturgis Hall) *In partnership with The Arkansas Repertory Theatre
- Written by Frederick Knott, “Wait Until Dark” is inspired by the 1967 Hollywood film of the same name, with both the play and the film garnering multiple Tony, Golden Globe, and Academy Award nominations for many of the actors involved, including the film’s star, Audrey Hepburn. In the story, a sinister con man and two ex-convicts are about to meet their match. They have traced the location of a mysterious doll to the Greenwich Village apartment of Sam Hendrix and his wife, Susy. With murder afoot, a deadly game of cat and mouse ensues, as Susy discovers the only way to play fair is to play by her rules. A panel of those involved in the production will talk about what it’s like to bring this thrilling production to life.
Henry Cisneros, former secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Friday, October 24, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. (Sturgis Hall)
- In 1981, Henry Cisneros became the first Hispanic-American mayor of a major U.S. city. After serving four terms as Mayor of San Antonio, in 1992, President Clinton appointed then-Mayor Cisneros to be Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). After leaving HUD in 1997, he became president and COO of Univision Communications, the Spanish-language broadcaster that has become the fifth most-watched television network in the nation. Secretary Cisneros is currently a member of the advisory boards of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Broad Foundation and was honored by the National Housing Conference as the “Housing Person of the Year.”
Community Conversation Health Care
Monday, October 27, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. (Sturgis Hall)
- Nearly three out of four Americans today worry that their income will not keep up with rising prices of health care. These worries outstrip anxieties about losing a job, terrorist attacks, crime, and losing savings in the stock market. The questions we must address are: How can we get the health care we require in the face of rising costs? How can we pay for what we need? This community conversation will be using material from the National Issues Forum Institute that centers on the question: Coping With the Cost of Health Care: How Do We Pay for What We Need
Nassir Al-Nasser, former ambassador from Qatar
Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. (Sturgis Hall) *Book signing to follow
- Nassir Al-Nasser was the president of the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly and is a former ambassador from Qatar. He is currently the United Nations High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations. Al-Nasser’s new book, “A Year at the Helm of the United Nations General Assembly,” goes into detail about the four main pillars of his leadership (mediation, UN reform, natural disaster prevention, and response), and also addresses the shortcomings of the United Nations. Al-Nasser shares his thoughts on restructuring the Security Council and on how best to implement changes to the General Assembly to make it as effective as intended.
“Barriers in Education for Women and Girls in Arkansas,” a panel discussion
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. (Sturgis Hall) *In partnership with Women’s Foundation of Arkansas and Clinton Health Matters Initiative
- Join us for the public release of three reports from the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas that addresses the barriers in a 21st century education for women and girls in Arkansas. The reports examine the impact of teen pregnancy and birth on education, the perceptions of the status of women, and the links between education of women and girls to Arkansas’s economic future.
The Clinton School of Public Service is partnering with the Arkansas Nonprofit Alliance and UAMS Translational Institute to provide a full-day workshop entitle Successful Program Evaluation for nonprofit professionals. This is an opportunity to learn more about how to evaluate the programs in your organization with a professional in the field of program management, planning, and evaluation. Participants can register online. Registration is limited to 25 so that the training can be tailored to participants’ organizational needs.
Effective program evaluation is becoming more critical to organizations as funders, donors, and other stakeholders expect documentation of evaluation. It’s also essential to building successful programs in nonprofit organizations. Successful programs create greater impact in the communities Arkansas organizations serve.
Led by University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service professor Dr. Al Bavon, this full-day workshop will cover the basics of program evaluation and help participants develop an evaluation specific for you and your organization’s programs.
Dr. Bavon is professor of public administration at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, teaching courses in Decision Analysis and Program Development and Evaluation. The former chair of the Department of Policy Studies at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, Bavon has an extensive background and publication record in the areas of program planning, management, and evaluation. Previously, he served as Program Coordinator of the doctoral program in public administration at the University of North Texas. He also has focused some of his research on relevant issues in his home country of Ghana and has completed a number of grant-funded projects that focus primarily on evaluation of programs ranging from a court-based drug program to a community-based arts initiative.
This article originally appeared on arkansasonline.com and was produced by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
For years, Newport — along with most other small Arkansas towns — has seen youngsters leave the area to attend college in bigger towns and then never return.
The director of the Newport Economic Development Commission wants to change the trend that business experts refer to as the “brain drain.” Rather than losing people to migration, he wants to attract locals back to the town on the banks of the White River.
It’s a reversal of sorts of the old Thomas Wolfe novel You Can’t Go Home Again, commission Director Jon Chadwell said.
The commission is working with three University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service students this fall who plan to develop a database of graduates from Jackson County schools. The database will include the graduates’ current addresses, their careers and other contact information.
Officials will then use that collection of names to recruit for businesses, make connections with potential donors on big projects and seek political pull across the state.
Chadwell said it’s hard to get back youngsters who are lured away from a small town by a bigger city’s excitement, entertainment and job opportunities.
“Young people, after graduating, don’t think it’s exciting here,” Chadwell said. “They want to go out into the big world. But after they’ve been gone for four or five years, we may look a little better.
“We want to bring them home,” Chadwell said.
“It is a multilayered issue,” said Greg Hamilton, director of the Institute for Economic Advancement at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. “You have youngsters leave El Dorado for college, and they don’t ever go back. You have Little Rock youths go to college and go on to Dallas, and they don’t come back.
“The opportunities are always in the bigger cities,” he said. “The grass is always greener elsewhere. It’s a common phenomenon.”
Hamilton said he can’t track youth migration from the state. The U.S. Census provides population figures every 10 years, but those don’t include specific migratory figures.
Newport was once a thriving river town. In the 1950s, Newport was ranked 10th in the nation in cotton production and 11th in soybeans, according to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture.
The town grew to 8,339 in 1980, but three major employers closed operations and 1,200 workers were left without jobs in the early 1990s, Chadwell said.
The U.S. Census counted 7,879 people in Newport in 2010 and 7,731 in a survey taken last year.
The town’s unemployment rate was 8.6 percent in June 2014, the latest statistics available from the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services. The state’s unemployment rate in June was 6.2 percent.
“Newport is not a dying town,” Chadwell said. “Things are looking better. Newport [residents] said we better do something.”
In 2002, voters approved a countywide half percent sales tax earmarked for economic recruitment.
Now, Chadwell and his commission want to help pull those who have left back home, using the project’s database. They feel that people who have roots to the community are more likely to return and build lives there than are newcomers.
For example, a Newport company needed to hire two certified public accountants a few years ago and contacted the Jackson County town’s Economic Development Commission.
The commission found two qualified candidates who had no ties to Newport, and the business hired them. They stayed for a couple of years, but then both left for other jobs.
“They didn’t have ties to our area,” Chadwell said. “That happens a lot. The first good offer that comes up, and they’re gone.”
Shanell Ramson, a Clinton School of Public Service student from Columbia, S.C., is one of three students developing the project.
“We want to hit the ground running,” she said. “We want to lay the groundwork for creating an economic boon here. We hope eventually, people will want to move back to Newport.
“We’ve already found that 800 people travel to Newport from around the area to work. Maybe we can increase the population by having them move back.”
Alex Lanis of Ada, Okla., and Joyce Akidi from Kampala, Uganda, are working with Ramson. They have until April to develop the database. They plan to contact county schools to get graduation records for the past 60 years and then track each graduate’s location.
It’s not the first time the city has teamed up with Clinton School students.
Last year, three students conducted a study on the Arkansas 367 bridge that spans the White River. Known as the “blue bridge,” the 83-year-old span will soon be replaced. Local officials wanted to determine if it was feasible to preserve the bridge and convert it into a walking trail or park.
In addition to trying to recruit people to return to Newport, Chadwell hopes to use the list of graduates for any major fundraising the city may have.
He also wants to know their locations so he can contact them and urge them to talk to their state legislators about any opportunities Newport and Jackson County have. For instance, Chadwell said, Newport may soon develop a U.S. veterans memorial park and would seek federal funding.
The Clinton School of Public Service is looking at this plan as a pilot study and, if it’s successful, would likely use it in other cities, Chadwell said.
“This is how we can find a way to control our destiny,” Chadwell said. “People leave when they are young, but the older ones can have something to come back to. They can help their hometown.”
Six Clinton School students from the class of 2015 will be volunteering for the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in New York September 21-24. The students attending are Anna Applebaum, Brenda Hernandez, Tiffany Jacob, Bolton Kirchner, Tatiana Riddle, and Angela Toomer.
The Clinton School has sent students from classes 1 through 8 to CGI. Since 2006, 83 Clinton School students have participated in CGI.
For more information, visit http://www.
Stay tuned for blogs and photos from those students attending!
Clinton School permanent faculty members are, and have been, engaged in numerous teaching, research, and public service activities.
Dr. Susan Hoffpauir, associate dean for academic affairs, leads the faculty and has coordinated the school’s 10-year review for the Arkansas Department of Higher Education. The 10-year review is scheduled to be finalized and distributed before the end of the year.
In addition to their instructional and advising responsibilities, faculty achievements include:
Dr. Al Bavon‘s article “Preparing African Public Administrators for Development Management: Student Learning Outcomes Assessment for Performance Improvement” is scheduled for publication in the October 2014 Journal of Public Affairs Education. He is currently serving as an external evaluator with the Arkansas Department of Health Coordinated Chronic Disease Prevention Program and is working with Metroplan on a Center for Disease Control Grant Proposal regarding partnerships to improve community health. He is the co-principal investigator on a National Science Foundation grant proposal: “A Resilient Urban Ecosystem Services Sustainability Research Network.” Bavon has extensive involvement with professional associations and is a peer reviewer for several major journals.
Dr. Christy Standerfer is the co-author of “Holding Nonprofits Accountable for Accomplishments not Appearances” which is being published by the Oxford University Press. A Fulbright Scholar in Albania during the 2012-2013 school year, Standerfer will be presenting “Fulbright Experiences: Expanding Boundaries and Building Partnerships” at the 2014 Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) Annual Conference in Albuquerque, N.M. Standerfer recently produced a report about her consultation with the Albanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the United States Embassy in Tirana, Albania. Through 2017, she is serving as a reviewer for Eastern Europe Countries, US Department of State/Council of International Exchanges, and is working on a research consortium that will include universities in Albania, Austria, Italy, and the United States.
Dr. Charlotte Williams, has received a major grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to help the Clinton School’s Center on Community Philanthropy, which she directs, foster an increase in community philanthropy by promoting strategies that build new models, innovations and collaborations to improve the conditions of vulnerable children and families in the impoverished Mississippi River Delta region. Since 2008, Williams has brought over $1.3 million in external funding to the Clinton School and has welcomed over 20 Visiting Scholars to the school. She and Visiting Philanthropy Faculty Travis Dixon have co-authored “The Changing Misrepresentation of Race and Crime in Network and Cable News,” which will be published in the Journal of Communication.
Dr. Ellen Fitzpatrick is currently working with Heifer international on research regarding the integration and measurement of social capital in pro-poor development projects. Her article “Egypt: Enhancing Capacity for Research in Economics” was published in Higher Education for Development. She also completed an evaluation of a USAID project in Higher Education at the University of Cairo and Georgia State University. Fitzpatrick is an advisory board member and adjunct professor in the Office of Global Health at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).
Dr. Warigia Bowman is author of the chapter “Imagining a Modern Rwanda: Socio-technical Imaginaries, Information Technology and the Post-genocide State” in the book “Socio-technical Imaginaries” being published by University of Chicago Press later this year. She served as a panelist at the Geostrategic Intelligence Seminar on Technology in Africa held at the National Intelligence University in Washington D.C. She is an invited reviewer for the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory and the Journal of Information Technology for Development. She is currently working with the University of Pennsylvania/Carnegie Corporation as a co-principal investigator for a grant on Information and Communication Technology, State-Building, and Peace-Building in Eastern Africa.
Professor Marie Lindquist led the Clinton School’s proposal to successfully co-host the 2015 Gulf South Summit on Service Learning and Civic Engagement through Higher Education– its first time ever to be held in Arkansas. She conducted “Liberating Structures” workshops at the 2014 InterAction Forum, the 2014 Gulf South Summit, Tulane University, and the Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services. She even conducted a Liberating Structure at the 2014 Clinton School graduation – the first of its kind at a college graduation. Lindquist developed a partnership between the Clinton School and Arkansas Teachers Corps to integrate service into the Fellowship experience and assisted the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas with completing its 2013 Status of Women in Arkansas report.
Others who are permanent/part time on the Clinton School faculty include Professor and former Dean John DiPippa of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law; Education Professor Don Ernst with the Butler Center of Arkansas Studies; and Dr. Arvind Singhal, a professor at the University of Texas at El Paso. The Clinton School recruits professionals to teach elective courses in fundraising, grant-writing, non-profit marketing, and urban studies.
“We’ve got a lot of challenges here, but there’s a lot of hope that things are going to change and get better,” Ashanti said.
With funding and support from the Arkansas Community Foundation and the Clinton School of Public Service, Delta Circles runs classes — one called “Getting Ahead” and another called “Financial Literacy” — to help people develop skills to tackle problems they may face as they try to lift themselves out of poverty. “They decide where they want to go, and we start to help them create those pathways,” Ashanti said. “In some cases it could be trying to get into college. In other cases it could be trying to locate jobs, start their own business, buy their own home.”
Delta Circles educates people on what Ashanti calls the “hidden rules” of the workforce and the middle class, and connects folks to resources for job training, education and entrepreneurship. It also gives people in the community, going through the same struggle, a forum to share their experiences and knowledge. “We allow the individuals that are affected by poverty the most to be a part of the solution,” Ashanti said. “We recognize and respect the leadership ability that they already have and they’re already using in their lives.”
Ashanti, a Helena native with a background in accounting, was inspired by the work of Dr. Ruby Payne, an expert in generational poverty best known for her book “A Framework for Understanding Poverty” and accompanying workshops.
“The information just hit a chord with me,” Ashanti said. “It brought the whole conversation of poverty to the individual level. Previously I had been looking at it on a community level. I saw that I wanted to work with individuals and families. With the struggles I have had in my life financially, I knew that with the information I was learning myself, others could benefit from that same information.”
The workshops are free and open to anyone in the community; facilitators are typically previous graduates of the classes. The “Getting Ahead” class meets once a week for 12 weeks and the six-month “Financial Literacy” class meets once a month. Delta Circles typically offers four classes over the course of a year. The program has had 160 graduates since 2009.
In addition to the classes, Delta Circles helped create a task force, partnering with the state Department of Workforce, Phillips Community College and Southern Bancorp, to help place people in jobs and ensure that they had the skills to succeed. Southern Bancorp was also a partner in the “Financial Literacy” class, offering graduates an individual development account — if people attend all six classes and save $600 over that time period, Southern Bancorp matches that by $2,000, funds that can be used for education, the purchase of a home, or starting or developing a business. Delta Circles is also hosting literacy programs and is developing a program to send literacy tutors to help employees on the job.
“We’re working with individuals who are interested in moving forward in their lives,” Ashanti said. “People who are ready to make changes. We’re not trying to convince anybody that they need to try and get off food stamps or whatever. They have to make that decision for themselves. But if they have dreams and they have things they want, then our job is to support them. We are seeing a change in people’s lives. They start to dream again.”
This blog post originally appeared on the Clinton Foundation’s blog. Erin O’Leary is an alum of the Clinton School.
I will get things done for America – to make our people safer, smarter, and healthier.
I will bring Americans together to strengthen our communities.
Faced with apathy, I will take action.
Faced with conflict, I will seek common ground.
Faced with adversity, I will persevere.
I will carry this commitment with me this year and beyond.
I am an AmeriCorps member, and I will get things done.
I first took this pledge almost exactly 10 years ago, as a brand new team member of AmeriCorps*NCCC. At the time, I was impressed with the pledge-knowing even then that it was imbued with meaning that would deepen over my term of service. Yet, never did I expect that I would be reciting it 10 years later with my former teammates at a 10-year reunion! In fact, just last weekend we pieced together the pledge back in Charleston, South Carolina, where we first met a decade ago.
Back then, I was a year out of college, wanting to contribute to the world, but unsure of how. I did know, however, that I was ready to get my hands dirty-both literally and figuratively. AmeriCorps*NCCC was the perfect fit, as I joined a team of other young people who were poised to put their energy and optimism into action. Ten years later, it is evident how our passion for service, fostered during our time in NCCC, has forever impacted the trajectory of each of our lives since then. While we have all dispersed across the country and across professions, we have all chosen careers founded upon an ethic of service.
Last weekend, I looked around at my teammates during our family dinners and felt a great sense of pride over how my team has spent the last decade. Our team now includes a City Year Director, a social worker, an Outward Bound program manager, a non-profit program manager in Africa, a Ph.D. candidate in Educational Leadership, an artist and educator with a master’s degree in environmental writing, and me, a lawyer – lucky enough to work in public service.
After law school, I had the privilege to enroll in the Clinton School of Public Service – the only other community I’ve never known that can match my team’s energy, optimism, and devotion to service. Just like AmeriCorps, the Clinton School capitalizes upon these qualities in its students and teaches and guides them on how to put their ideas and energy into action out in the world.
It is my firm conviction that AmeriCorps programs and the Clinton School of Public Service instill an ethic of service in their members and students that stay with us for life. This ethic changes how we see communities, because now every community is our community. This ethic heightens our expectations of ourselves and others because now we know how impactful we are together. This ethic propels us into careers of service, because we have experienced first-hand how incredibly rewarding, and what a privilege, it is to serve. This ethic colors our lives with deep and unwavering satisfaction, because we have learned how to build meaningful connections with people and places … and we do, wherever we go.
By continuing to fund and expand AmeriCorps and the Clinton School, we will continue to grow the next generations of public servants. The paths of service my teammates, classmates, and I have chosen are the direct result of these institutions and the ethic of service that they instilled in us. I hope that countless others continue to have the opportunity that my team and I did a decade ago, when we pledged: “I will get things done for America” and I am certain that they, too, will make good on their promise.
Dr. Arvind Singhal, who is a William J. Clinton Distinguished Fellow at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, recently released a new book entitled “Inspiring Change and Saving Lives: The Positive Deviance Way.” The new book discusses an initiative at the Billings Clinic in Billings Montana in which all members of the organization – nurses, physicians, housekeepers, food servers, therapists, and executives – joined a collaborative effort that allowed each person to contribute to the cause of saving lives and preventing suffering, causing healthcare associated infections to plunge.
The initiative was based on Positive Deviance, the organizational and behavioral change strategy that enables communities to discover and amplify the things that are already working and devise new solutions tailored to their own specific work environments. In the process, they improved patient safety, developed healthy human networks that increased cooperation, enhanced harmonious workplace relationships and inspired continual commitment to a culture of high quality care.