2012 American Democracy Project and The Democracy Commitment Annual Meeting: Speakers

Ami Dar

Ami DarAmi Dar is the founder and executive director of Idealist.org. Built in 1996 with $3,500, Idealist has become one of the most popular nonprofit resources on the web, with information provided by 70,000 organizations around the world and 100,000 visitors every day. Ami was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Peru and in Mexico, and lives in New York. 

Thomas Ehrlich

Thomas EhrlichThomas Ehrlich is a Visiting Professor at the Stanford University School of Education. He has previously served as president of Indiana University, provost of the University of Pennsylvania, and dean of Stanford Law School. He was also the first president of the Legal Services Corporation in Washington, DC, and the first director of the International Development Cooperation Agency, reporting to President Carter. After his tenure at Indiana University, he was a Distinguished University Scholar at California State University. From 2000 to 2010 he was a Senior Scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. He is author, co-author, or editor of 13 books including "Educating for Democracy: Preparing Undergraduates for Lives of Responsible Political Engagement "(2007). He is currently working on a book about how and why young people should engage in public service. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School and holds five honorary degrees.

Ellie Clifford Ertle

Ellie Clifford ErtleEllie Clifford Ertle is a lecturer in the Department of Political Science and the faculty coordinator for the Town Hall Meeting Program at California State University, Chico. She teaches a variety of courses in political science, ranging from American government to political theory, socialization and inquiry. Most recently, her work has focused on civic engagement and non-coercive educational practices as the pedagogical foundation for student learning within and across disciplines.

Zach Justus

Zach JustusZach Justus is an Assistant Professor of in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences at California State University Chico. His primary research interests are rhetoric, terrorism and politics. He has been the co-coordinator of the Chico Great Debate for five semesters and has a long history of public deliberation as a speech and debate competitor and later as a coach.

William Loker

William LokerWilliam Loker is Dean of Undergraduate Education, Senior International Officer and Professor of Anthropology at California State University, Chico. His work as dean has focused on enhancing student engagement and success through promoting curricular and pedagogical innovations that enrich the student experience both inside and outside the classroom, including community-based learning and research, international education and inquiry-based teaching and learning.

Dan Miller

Dan MillerDan Miller represented the 13th Congressional District of Florida for ten years. A former college professor and businessman, Dan never held public office before his election to Congress. In keeping with his promise of a self-imposed term limit, Dan retired from Congress in 2003. Born in Michigan, Dan moved to Bradenton in 1958. Dan received his B.S. degree from the University of Florida, and an M.B.A. at Emory University and a Ph.D. in Marketing & Statistics from Louisiana State University. He taught statistics and marketing at the graduate and undergraduate levels at Louisiana State University, Georgia State University, and the University of South Florida in Sarasota. In Congress, Dan served on the Appropriations Committee, the Budget Committee, and the Committee on Government Reform. As a member of Appropriations, he served on the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education Subcommittee; Commerce, Justice, State and Judiciary Subcommittee and Military Construction Subcommittee.

Felice Nudelman

Felice NudelmanFelice Nudelman is Chancellor Select of Antioch University (starting July 1, 2012). Prior to joining Antioch, Nudelman served as executive director of education for The New York Times Company. Nudelman was responsible for developing and overseeing education initiatives at The New York Times Company, including The New York Times Knowledge Network, and well as the Company’s relationship with Epsilen, LLC. Nudelman helped launch AASCU’s American Democracy Project.

Jerry Patterson

Jerry PattersonJerry Patterson served in the United States Coast Guard from 1953 to 1957, receiving the National Defense Service Medal. Patterson received his B.A. from California State University, Long Beach in 1960 and his law degree from the UCLA School of Law in 1966. He was admitted to the California bar in 1967 and commenced practice in Santa Ana. He was a Santa Ana city councilman from 1969 to 1973. Congressman Patterson was concurrently the Mayor of Santa Ana and the City Attorney of Placentia from 1973 to 1975. While in Congress, he served as chairman of the Select Committee on Committee Reform (Ninety-sixth Congress) and Chaired the House Subcommittee on International Development Finance in the Ninety-seventh and Ninety-eighth Congress'. He was a professor at California State University, Long Beach from 1986 to 1999. Congressman Patterson continues to be an educator, community activist and member of nonprofit boards and commissions. In 1996 Patterson returned to elective office when he won a seat on the Coast Community College District Board of Trustees where he continues to serve. 

Byron P. White

Byron P. WhiteByron P. White is Vice President for University Engagement at Cleveland State University (CSU) where he is responsible for developing strategic plans for community engagement to enhance CSU’s numerous partnerships. Before joining CSU in February 2012, White was Vice Chancellor for Economic Advancement for the Ohio Board of Regents. He previously was Associate Vice President for Community Engagement at Xavier University in Cincinnati and founding executive director of the university’s Eigel Center for Community-Engaged Learning. A former editorial page editor of The Cincinnati Post, White also served as editor of the Chicago Tribune’s Urban Affairs Team and a writer on the Tribune’s editorial board. He later became the newspaper’s senior manager of community relations. White has directed and worked with community-based organizations in Cincinnati and Chicago often in conjunction with the Asset-Based Community Development Institute at Northwestern University, on whose faculty he serves. He also continues to serve as a Senior Fellow for the Community Building Institute at Xavier University, and a Research Associate at the Kettering Foundation. White has a doctorate in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania, a master’s degree in social science from the University of Chicago, and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ohio University.

Thia Wolf

Thia WolfThia Wolf is the First-Year Experience (FYE) Director and a Professor of English Studies at CSU, Chico. Most of her work involves “designing for learning,” an approach that focuses on crafting environments and learning activities so that students experience their education as purposeful and compelling. Wolf has published on collaborative learning, writing center practice, and Public Sphere Pedagogy (PSP). As FYE director, she oversees the development and delivery of course-embedded public arenas where students lead discussions about their research on contemporary issues.


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