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Center for Communication and Civic Engagement
The Center for Communication and Civic Engagement (CCCE) is a Seattle, WA-based organization whose mission is to understand “communication processes and media technologies that facilitate positive citizen involvement in politics and social life”. The CCCE is a part of the Department of Communication and the Department of Political Science at the University of Washington (UW). The CCCE is composed of current students and faculty at the UW. Members of the CCCE “work together on original research, new educational programs, policy recommendations, and web-based citizen resources”. Its project range from “reassessing traditional media and citizen information needs, understanding the rise of ‘lifestyle politics’, addressing the decline of common political experiences, the changing politics of digital media and the Internet, and global activism and large scale public networks”. Issues include understanding how people participate and engage in deliberation through various communication mediums.
Problems and Purpose
The Center for Communication and Civic Engagement studies the evolving ways in which people communication. The organization understands that as times change, new technologies emerge, and how people communicate changes. Through research, this organization seeks to dissect the effects of new media technologies on communication. CCCE students and faculty members aim to “understand these new challenges and opportunities for communication and civic engagement”. By analyzing current communication trends, such as social networking, the CCCE hopes to conclude the best ways to share public information.
The Center for Communication and Civic Engagement is an organization that focuses on how people communicate and with whom people communicate. The mission of the CCCE is to understand “dynamic media systems in order to promote citizen engagement and effective participation in local, national, and global affairs”. Its focus is political elections and activism campaigns within new media technologies, such as social networking. Its purpose is comprehending how new media technologies aid in civic engagement, such as YouTube and the 2008 presidential election.
Current director, Lance Bennett, founded the Center for Communication and Civic Engagement in 2000 . It was started by the Department of Communication and the Department of Political Science at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. Since then, the organization has conducted twelve years of research on topics pertaining to local, national, and global political issues.
The Center for Communication and Civic Engagement is made up of undergraduate students and graduate students as well as faculty at the University of Washington. The organization also involves local community members and researchers from around the globe. Undergraduate and graduate students participating in the CCCE may receive academic credit and/or research funding for their contribution. The Mary Gates Undergraduate Scholarship is a common reward for CCCE members.
- Lance Bennett, Director
- Philip Howard, Associate Director
- Kirsten Foot, Associate Director
- Michael Barthel, Department of Communication
- Anna Bohm, Department of Communication and Department of Political Science
- Deen Freelon, Department of Communication
- Muzammil Hussain, Department of Communication
- Robert Richards, Department of Communication
- Tim Jones, Department of Political Science
- Binh Vong, Department of Economics and Jackson School of International Studies
- Kristina Courtnage Bowman, Department of Communication
- Jessica Albano, UW Libraries
- Bethany Albertson, Department of Political Science
- Gerald Baldasty, Chair of the Department of Communication
- Karine Nahon, Department of Communication
- Alan Borning, Department of Computer Science and Engineering
- David Domke, Department of Communication
- Michael B. Eisenberg, the Information School
- Kim England, Department of Geography
- John Gastil, Department of Communication
- Richard Kielbowicz, Department of Communication
- Beth Kolko, Department of Technical Communication
- Sabine Long, Jackson School of International Studies
- Michael W. McCann, Department of Political Science
- Patricia Moy, Department of Communication
- Gina Neff, Department of Communication
- Walter Parker, College of Education
- Aseem Prakash, Department of Political Science
- Nancy Rivenburgh, Department of Communication
- Mark Smith, Department of Political Science
- Matt Sparke, Department of Geography
- Douglas Underwood, Department of Communication
- Toby Campbell, Department of Communication
- Tim Jones, Department of Political Science
- Savannah Paige Peterson, Department of Communication
- Chris Wells, Department of Communication
- David Iozzi, Department of Communication
- Mike Xenos, Department of Communication
- B.J. Bullert, Department of Communication at Antioch University
- Geoffrey Craig, Department of Politics at the University of Otago
- John de Graaf, executive director of Take Back Your Time
- Diana Pallais, Worldwide Managing Director for the Partnerships for Technology Access (PTA) initiative at Microsoft Corporation.
- Alexandra Segerberg, Department of Political Science at Stockholm University
- Greg Shaw, Director of the Pacific Northwest Program for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
- Peter Van Aelst, Department of Communication at the University of Leiden
- Richard Wesley, co-founder and chief promoter of the CCCE Citizen Roundtable
Deliberation, Decisions, and Public Interaction
CCCE members “are involved in every step of the process of creating new knowledge”. Participants gather and analyze data, engage in group discussions, and develop social science course material. Scholars also create projects and publish their findings.
Created in 2008, Puget SoundOff is a website for Seattle-area youth. This website serves as a host for public discussion and deliberation. This website sees approximately 10,000 visitors between the ages of 13 to 21 per month . This forum is a product of collaborating between the CCCE, The Seattle YMCA, and the City of Seattle. Site visitors can post photos, create group discussions, and browse current job openings among other features Puget SoundOff has to offer . In 2009, Puget SoundOff won The Public Technology Institute award for “best web and government services”.
The Citizen Roundtable on Politics and Democracy
The CCCE holds citizen roundtable discussions and deliberations. Community members gather to listen to presentations given by University of Washington professors. Members then discuss issues brought forth in the presentations. Discussion issues include “the problem of press dependence on the government, the impact of fundamentalist religion on contemporary politics, the privatization of public space, the transformation of US foreign policy, privacy and the internet, the Motherhood Manifesto, and the US economy and its effects upon society”
The first citizen roundtable discussion was about the 2004 presidential campaign. Since then, the CCCE schedules 5 roundtable discussion events per year. The CCCE also hosts a citizen roundtable blog for community members to engage in further discussion and expression.
The Global Citizen Project
The Global Citizen Project serves as a source for people to “share ideas, inspiration and to create knowledge to help revitalize democratic politics”. Through this site, the CCCE shares resources, links, and research showcasing “emerging activities of global citizens who are changing the nature of politics both nationally and internationally”. This project encourages communication on a global scale by contributing to governmental deliberations.
The Center for Communication and Civic Engagement has a list of all current and past projects.
Influence, Outcome, and Effects
The CCCE has received local, national, and global attention for its research on changing communication mediums. As a result, the CCCE continues to hire qualified staff and students to contribute to its deliberative efforts.
In 2009, the state of Illinois named the CCCE as a potential model for its Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Directors for the Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement met with Lance Bennett and other CCCE faculty to discuss better ways to foster deliberative communication and advocacy.
According to a two-month survey in 2009, Puget SoundOff is one of the CCCE’s most viewed projects. Google Analytics, an online web tracking system, projects on average, Puget Soundoff visitors view 6.23 pages per visit. Los Angeles and New York City are two of the top ten cities for Puget SoundOff visitors. Puget SoundOff also sees visitors from over 108 countries and 6 continents.
Analysis and Criticism
The University of Washington's Center for Communication and Civic Engagement helps cultivate discussion on local, national, and global scales. Members of the CCCE also engage in deliberation by researching new communication technologies, analyzing data, and tracking political issues. Developing projects, such as The Citizen Roundtable on Politics and Democracy, also encourages citizens to actively participate in deliberative discussions. Whether it is through face-to-face communicating or online blog posts, the CCCE provides opportunities for people to voice their views by interacting with other scholars or citizens.
If you are a University of Washington student or faculty member and would like to participate in the Center for Communication and Civic Engagement, please contact Lance Bennett.