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Become an AmeriCorp VISTA

Texas Campus Compact AmeriCorps VISTAs are placed at universities and colleges that are committed to the civic purposes of higher education. These schools, or host sites, agree to accomplish three goals identified by Texas Campus Compact. These goals are integrated into the VISTA's work plan and form the structure on which additional duties and responsibilities are placed.

Sam Houston State University is pleased to begin the selection process for a Civic Engagement Coordinator to serve this vibrant and growing community. The Civic Engagement Coordinator will be involved in building the foundation for cohesive civic engagement efforts to be directed by the planned campus Center for Volunteerism and Community Partnerships. In this preliminary stage of development, the Civic Engagement Coordinator will conduct an audit of student organizations, community nonprofits, and faculty members to determine what efforts are currently undertaken independently and assess the needs of each stakeholder group. Interested candidates can review job responsibilities, qualifications, and compensation and benefit information below. Applications are accepted until May 10, 2008.

Link to VISTA general information

Voter Registration Drive

Sponsored by the Political Engagement Project, College Republicans and Sam Houston Democrats.

The American Democracy Project, in conjunction with political student groups, held a Voter Registration Drive January 22 - 30, 2008 in the LSC Mall Area.

students at the voter registration drivestudents filling out Voter Registration forms


SHSU Joins Texas Campus Compact

signing ceremony
Signing the Texas Campus Compact agreement were, seated from left, Jim Gaertner, SHSU president, and Jill Binder, TXCC executive director. Also present were, from left, Dr. David Prier, Joyce McCauley, David Payne, Tuesde Cavil and John de Castro.

Almost 100 years after President Harry Estill approved the inscription of Sam Houston State's motto--"The measure of a Life is its Service," on an Old Main chapel window, President Jim Gaertner has taken another step in that tradition.

On Monday Gaertner signed an agreement that made Sam Houston State University the 53rd member of the Texas Campus Compact, which is part of a national coalition of more than 1,000 college presidents committed to "the civic purposes of higher education."

According to the TXCC Web site, the organization "promotes community service that develops students' citizenship skills and values, encourages partnerships between campuses and communities, and assists faculty who seek to integrate public and community engagement into their teaching and research."

Jill Binder, executive director of the state group, came to the SHSU campus to sign the agreement. She also met with SHSU's American Democracy Project committee and discussed how the national and state groups evolved.

"Education was begun in this country to make sure our democracy continued," said Binder. "But it evolved to a point that education was primarily the way to get a good job."

Some 21 years ago the presidents of Brown, Georgetown and Stanford universities met to ponder the question, "What are we doing about democracy," Binder said. The result was formation of a national organization, and in June 2001, a Texas state organization.

"Getting a good job is not the only purpose of Texas Campus Compact member institutions," Binder said. "There is another important aspect of life--citizenship and public service."

Participating in the signing ceremony were several individuals representing SHSU's community service commitment as well as one from the community representing service opportunities.

  • David Payne, SHSU provost, has been a campus leader in encouraging organizations and individuals to do community service and faculty members to include service learning in their courses whenever practical.
  • Joyce McCauley has chaired the American Democracy Project committee since Payne created it in 2004. The ADP has a Web site and has been involved in a number of activities and events that are explained there.
  • John de Castro, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, is heading a relatively new ADP sub-group called the Political Engagement Project.
  • Tuesde Cavil is one of the ADP student members. In addition to learning how to be good citizens in classes that use service learning teaching concepts, SHSU students can keep track of community service through a co-curricular transcript, an official university document that can be useful in getting a job.

Gaertner, in the speech he gave at his inauguration as Sam Houston State University's 12th president in February 2002, outlined three areas of focus for his presidency. One was to better the relationship between the SHSU and campus communities.

Monday as he signed the agreement to join the Texas Campus Compact, he repeated that pledge.

"We'll be good members," he said.  


Constitution Day!

President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll

The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, launched in 2006, recognizes institutions of higher education that support exemplary student community service and service-learning programs, thereby encouraging growth in the number of college students engaged in community service and service-learning each year.  In 2006, Sam Houston State University was a Honor Roll Member.  Read more

ADP To Tackle Burning Issues In ‘Flags Of Our Fathers’

The American Democracy Project will examine the ‘burning issue’ of war-time propaganda on Saturday (Sept. 15) with the kickoff of its new film series.

“Flags of Our Fathers,” the first “Burning Issues Film” for the series, will be shown at 7 p.m. at the Katy and E. Don Walker, Sr., Education Center.

“The purpose of the ‘ADP Burning Issues Film series’ is to contribute to the academic and cultural life here at SHSU by bringing in films that address or relate to critical issues facing the world today,” said John Newbold, the film series coordinator for the ADP.

“Flags of Our Fathers,” will also be shown at 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 18-19 in the Lowman Student Center Theatre. All of the monthly “burning issues” films will be shown three times to accommodate local Huntsville residents, as well as SHSU students.

“We are hopeful that students and townsfolk alike will find these films a great opportunity to see some films that ordinarily might not show in this area,” Newbold said.

Each showing will be followed by a brief reception with punch and cookies, and a discussion, which will vary depending upon the subject matter of the film and the guest discussants.

Admission to all shows is free.

Based on true events, “Flags of Our Fathers” deals with the World War II battle at Iwo Jima and war-time propaganda surrounding the most famous photograph in military history, taken by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal.

Based on the novel by James Bradley, the movie stars Ryan Phillippe, Jesse Bradford and Adam Beach and was directed by Clint Eastwood.

“This isn't so much a conventional war movie as it is a thought-provoking meditation on our collective need for heroes, even at the expense of those we deem heroic,” Newbold said.

“Eastwood takes us deep into the horror of war (in painstakingly authentic Iwo Jima battle scenes) while emphasizing how three of the surviving flag-raisers became reluctant celebrities—and resentful pawns in a wartime publicity campaign—after their flag-raising was immortalized in the most famous photograph in military history.”

Teaching with The New York Times

In collaboration with Sam Houston State University’s American Democracy Project, The New York Times Knowledge Network will host a luncheon for faculty on how to integrate The New York Times into the classroom. The Times is more than just the news, it is material for class discussions, topics for research projects and the starting point for new ideas. Read more >>

ADP Service Spotlight of the Month

The American Democracy Project Committee is looking for SHSU faculty members who involve their students in civic engagement projects. In other words, we want to identify those faculty members who ask/require their students to apply their academic learning to meet community needs. If that describes you or one of your colleagues, please send an e-mail to either Frank Fair ( or Linda Meyer ( We intend to spotlight one faculty member each month to show our commitment to our University motto: "The measure of a life is its service." The ADP Service Spotlight of the Month begins in November. Contact: Joyce McCauley (4-3754). Read more >>

ADP Serive Spotlight of the Month of April

Voter Registration 2006

Voter Registration 2006The SHSU American Democracy Project, the Political Engagement Project and students in the introduction to collegiate studies class, SAM 136, are registering students to vote this November and providing election information as part of the ADP's Fall 2006 Election Initiative. Read more >>

Sam Houston State University is a member of the Texas State University System