Faculty-Led Ideas to Strengthen Democracy in 2024

Presented by the Center for Artistic Activism and Project Pericles

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As campus educators, how can we help students overcome mental and logistical challenges to make sure their voices are heard in this major election year? By embedding creative civic learning in the classroom!

Faculty across the nation are incorporating artistic activism and innovative voter education into their courses that are challenging — and positively changing — their students’ outlook on and involvement in the political process. The 2024 election year is a key time for more faculty to influence students’ political participation, locally and nationally.

On Monday, May 13th, from 12-1 pm ET, Faculty Fellows from our Unstoppable Voters program and Project Pericles shared how they’ve overcome student apathy, implemented creative civic work in unexpected disciplines, and partnered with community organizations to have a huge impact on young voters’ lives.

Attendees heard inspiring stories from faculty representing a range of disciplines and received tools and insight into how they can support student youth voting on their campuses in 2024.

David Aipperspach

Assistant Professor of Art and Art History in Painting and Printmaking, Ursinus College, Pennsylvania

David Aipperspach is an artist based in Philadelphia. He earned an M.F.A. in Painting from the Rhode Island School of Design and a B.A. in Landscape Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley. His work has been exhibited nationally in a variety of gallery and institutional contexts including CHART Gallery (New York, NY), Helen J Gallery (Los Angeles, CA), the Woodmere Art Museum (Philadelphia, PA), the RISD Museum (Providence, RI), West Chester University, UC Berkeley, and elsewhere. He is the recipient of multiple grants and awards including fellowships for residencies at Anderson Ranch Arts Center (Snowmass, CO) and the Vermont Studio Center (Johnson, VT.). His work has been reviewed in Title Magazine, Maake Magazine, and The Philadelphia Inquirer. David has been teaching at Ursinus since 2015.

Margit Berman

Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology, Augsburg University, Minnesota and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth, New Hampshire

Margit I. Berman, Ph.D., LP, is an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology at Augsburg University and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth.  She trains future clinical psychologists, sees clients in private practice, and conducts research to develop socially just psychological interventions. She is the author of A Clinician’s Guide to Acceptance-Based Approaches for Weight Concerns: The Accept Yourself! Framework(Routledge, 2018) and A Workbook of Acceptance-Based Approaches for Weight Concerns: The Accept Yourself! Framework (Routledge, 2018). She received the 2021 National Council of Schools and Programs of Professional Psychology’s President’s Leadership Award for her work developing and launching the Clinical Psychology PsyD Training Program at Augsburg University. She is interested in helping psychologists develop their social justice advocacy skills, and is a 2024 Unstoppable Voters Faculty Fellow with the Center for Artistic Activism.

Kristin Hughes

Professor of Design, Carnegie Mellon University, Pennsylvania

Kristin Hughes, a Professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Design since 2001, focuses her creative endeavors on integrating design with informal learning, public health, and placemaking strategies. Her work exemplifies the potential of design thinking and participatory methods to address complex societal challenges through innovative, human-centered solutions.

Dorcas McCoy

Associate Professor of International Relations and Comparative Politics, Bethune-Cookman University, Florida

Dr. Dorcas E. McCoy, a tenured Associate Professor of International Relations and Comparative Politics at Bethune-Cookman University, earned a Bachelor’s in Broadcast Journalism, a Master’s in Political Science from Florida A&M University, and a PhD in International Relations from Washington State University. Exemplifying a dedication to lifelong learning, she is currently pursuing a Master’s in Educational Leadership at Harvard University, slated for graduation on May 24, 2024. Dr. McCoy is a distinguished researcher and author with notable contributions in grants, peer-reviewed journals, and publications. She is recognized as a Periclean faculty leader and serves as President of the International Women’s Council, a nonprofit women’s group spanning 500 chapters across the United States and 17 countries.

Alexandra Prince

Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, Skidmore College, New York

Alexandra Leah Prince is a historian of American religions and Assistant Professor in the Religious Studies Department at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY. Their teaching and research focuses on the cultural history of minority American and Indigenous religions and the social study of insanity from a mad studies perspective. Currently, they are completing their first book project, which explores how bio-psychiatric interpretations of religion came to dominate popular understandings of new religious movements over the long 19th century.

Susan L Smith

Associate Research Professor of Art and Graduate Coordinator of the Intermedia Programs, University of Maine, Maine

Susan L Smith, is a practicing artist and educator, Associate Research Professor of Art, and Graduate Coordinator of the Intermedia Programs at the University of Maine. Smith’s research is situated within issues of land/power and questions concerning extractivist practices, economic and climate forced migration. Her practice encompasses community- based collaboration, and site-based research. Smith believes the physical work is not the art, but an “artifact,” the art lies in the process of immersion and witness of place and community. Recent work focuses on work at the southern border, on riverbanks and industrial sites contaminated with PFAS chemicals, and a project of fruit tree reforestation and pollinator seed library. Susan is currently developing “uprooted collective” as a vehicle to create work that focuses on stewardship and interdependency as a way to imagine an alternative future.