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Past Activities

Texas State ADP Meeting and First Year Experience Meetings

Sam Houston State University hosted the Texas State ADP Meeting and First Year Experience meeting on November 7 - 8, 2005.

John N. Gardner, an educator, university professor and administrator, author, editor, public speaker, consultant, change agent, student retention specialist, first-year students advocate, initiator and scholar of the American first-year and senior year reform movements, resides in Pisgah Forest, North Carolina (Brevard, Asheville environs). This biographical sketch will describe his career and service in two distinct categories: 1) his work in his capacity as a public employee for the State of South Carolina at the University of South Carolina and most recently for a center funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, The Atlantic Philanthropies, and Lumina Foundation for Education, based in Brevard, N.C.; and 2) in his capacity as a private citizen as an author, educational consultant, and public speaker.

Keynote Presentation

Celebrating Democracy Conference 2005

The Democracy Conference is a culmination of speaking sessions based on democratic principles and issues that exist in our world today. The Conference begins with the opening session on Monday, November 14th, at 10:00am. For a list of all the sessions, please view the Conference flier.

A Constitution Day Celebration!


Join us and be part of the first ever Sam Houston State University Constitution Day celebration. This year the day itself falls on a Saturday, so we have chosen to celebrate on Tuesday, September 20. The goal is to understand the Constitution more deeply and to enhance our appreciation of what makes this country great.

***Coffee, doughnuts, and other refreshments will be provided.

***A free copy of the pocket guide The United States Constitution: What it says, what it means goes to each of the first 500 attendees, courtesy of the Annenberg Foundation.

*** Professors : If you are willing to give your students extra credit for taking part in the celebration, please contact Frank Fair at or 4-1509.

Everyone is invited to attend any one or all of the sessions in the Lowman Student Center Room 320 . Feel free to drop in as your schedule permits.

8:30-9:30 OPENING CEREMONY AND INTRODUCTION -Welcome from the SHSU Provost, Dr. David Payne, and a showing of a video on the historical events leading up to the creation of the Constitution.

9:30-10:50 DR. JOHN DOMINO (Political Science) "Originalism, Strict Construction, and the 'Living Constitution': Making Sense of the Fray Over Judicial Activism"

11:00-12:20 DR. TOM COX (History) AND DR. JEFF LITTLEJOHN (History) "Wartime Civil Liberties in Historical Perspective"

12:30-1:50 DR. GLENN SANFORD (Philosophy) "Science and the Constitution: The Scopes Trial and the Continuing Controversy over Creation and Evolution"

2:00-3:20 DR. DENNIS LONGMIRE (Criminal Justice) "The Constitution and the Administration of Justice-Including a Special Look at Capital Punishment"

3:20-3:30 CLOSING CEREMONY-Interim Vice President for Student Services, Frank Parker, will lead the closing ceremony.

(This event is organized by the SHSU American Democracy Project, Dr. Joyce McCauley, Chair. Thanks to Senator Byrd of West Virginia, new Federal regulations require that all educational institutions that receive Federal funds hold a celebration of Constitution Day.)

Constitution Day Federal Mandate

Mess with Texas... Vote 2004 Project

During the last two weeks of September, the SHSU American Democracy Project, the Sam Center staff, and several student organizations (NAACP, College Republicans, Sam Houston Democrats, and Women United for the Vote) engaged in voter registration drives. The combined efforts of these groups resulted in the registration of over 1,200 students.

During October 25 - 29, the American Democracy Project will be running a voter information table in the quad area directly in front of the main entrance of the LSC. The information to be distributed will include: the date of the election; maps to polling places; the hours of operation of polling places; background information on local, state, and national candidates; and sample ballots.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact

Tamara Waggener
Assistant Professor of Political Science
Sam Houston State University
(936) 294-1465

2004 Convention Event

Overview: This will be a mock, student-run convention, but it will be modeled exactly as a real convention, replete with entertainment, speakers of various backgrounds, extensive decorations, and food.

When: The convention is a three-day affair in December, from the 6 th to the 8 th, 3:00-7 (the times can be moved earlier or later to accommodate speakers).

Where: The convention will be held in the Killinger Auditorium (seating capacity: 450) in the Criminal Justice Department at SHSU)

This project is being carried out as part of the American Democracy Project (ADP), which is designed to "create an intellectual and experiential understanding of civic engagement for undergraduates..." More general information can be learned about the American Democracy Project at the following web site:

In addition, we are working with A.F.S.C.M.E ., the Walker County Chamber of Commerce , and various veterans' organizations to make this convention a success.

Guest Speakers: Currently, Representative Kevin Brady, TX Representative Dan Ellis, and a Huntsville City Council member have agreed to speak. We are also in contact with several other state and national representatives, including the White House.

Media : A variety of local and state media will be present to cover the event.

Local Merchants:

  • Local merchants will be donating food for the convention. In turn, they will be invited to send representatives to the convention for advertising, exposure, and for greater involvement in university and civic affairs.
  • Local merchants will also be donating door prizes at the convention, ranging from free trips, clothes, books, gym memberships, and any other products that local businesses will provide.
  • Thus far, local merchants have donated thousands of dollars in cash and merchandise to help bring the event to fruition.

Pearl Harbor Day: On December 7 th, we plan to pay tribute to veterans. We are currently working with the H.E.A.R.T.S. Veteran Museum to bring in veterans, and to publicize the opening of the new Veterans' Museum in Huntsville. The organization's website can be accessed with the following link:

General Objectives:

  • To increase civic participation among the general public and SHSU students in particular.
  • To strengthen Sam Houston State University's relations with surrounding communities by providing a forum for interaction and cooperation toward shared goals.
  • To provide a hands-on learning environment for students, so that they can not only participate in political events, but also meet the political figures that represent them.

Student Assignments: Students will take on one of five duties:

  • Political Candidates: students will role-play as Kerry, Bush, Powell, Edwards, Rice and others who might speak at a real convention. In all, twenty-three students will be speaking at the convention.
  • Computer/Video Experts: students will maintain websites for the candidates and make commercials or documentaries for the candidates.
  • Decorations: students will decorate the hall in the manner of a real convention
  • Food Presentation: students will rely on local restaurants to donate food, which the students will present and serve.
  • Entertainment: students will persuade local musicians to entertain between speakers.

Student Learning Objectives:

  • To develop a better understanding of the political world by mixing auditory, visual, and experiential learning.
  • To encourage civic participation among college students.
  • To encourage team work and school spirit.
  • To develop students' writing and oral communication skills.
  • To expose students to real-world politicians and media agencies.
  • To help students develop skills related to event planning, including catering, food presentation, public relations, interior design, entertainment, and marketing.
  • To train students in web-based technologies through creating and maintaining a mock candidate web site.
  • To train students in digital and video technologies, including digital photography, filming, complex visual and auditory editing.

Closing Thoughts : If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to contact me at, or by phone at my university office (4-1456) or on my cell phone (936-661-7725).

Professor Mike Yawn
Political Science Department
Sam Houston State University

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