David Hoffman is UMBC’s Assistant Director of Student Life for Civic Agency.
Imagining America is a national consortium helping to reshape higher education’s contributions to democracy by enabling scholars and artists to “thrive and contribute to community action and revitalization.” At UMBC, ideas developed with and by Imagining America’s leaders have become BreakingGround cornerstones. In addition, UMBC faculty members, administrators and students have participated directly in Imagining America’s work and meetings for the past two years.
Every October, Imagining America’s members and affiliates across the United States gather to share ideas, compare notes, deepen and extend their networks, make plans, and focus their energies. The 2013 national meeting took place in Syracuse, hosted by Syracuse University (where Imagining America is based); the 2014 meeting in Atlanta, hosted by Emory University. In October 2015, with support from Provost Philip Rous, Dean of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Scott Casper, and a growing UMBC team, we will welcome Imagining America to Baltimore and to UMBC.
The selection of UMBC as host for the 2015 national meeting is a testament to the powerful civic work long underway here, and to campus leaders’ commitment to fostering civic agency, engaged scholarship, and a culture of innovation and inclusive excellence. But more than that, our selection represents a timely challenge. We have ten months to prepare. We have a distinctive collective story to share, one that could help advance the national conversation about how the arts and humanities can help repair and renew our democracy. How will we communicate our values, ideas and experiences? How can we draw together more of the people, on campus and across the Baltimore region, engaged in research and projects that can inform this important effort? The inspiring work of answering these questions starts now.
Contact the author, David Hoffman, at email@example.com.