National Civic Engagement Leader Joins Tisch College as Senior Fellow

Elizabeth HollanderAfter nine years leading Campus Compact, a national coalition of college and university presidents committed to fulfilling the public purposes of higher education, Elizabeth Hollander has joined Tisch College as a senior fellow where she will help extend the College’s research agenda.

Hollander says she was keen to join Tisch College because it is at the forefront of a national and international movement that is gaining strength as society at large rediscovers the civic purpose of higher education.

“People in general and university presidents in particular are resonating with the idea that one of the chief roles of colleges and universities is to educate students for lives of engaged citizenship. I see the joy that President Bacow here at Tufts takes in promoting the idea,” says Hollander.

She describes her fit with Tisch College as natural: “As one of the national champions for presidents who support the civic mission of higher education at Campus Compact, I’ve been rallying presidents to the cause of civic engagement.”

And rally she did. In its first 12 years, between 1985, when Campus Compact was founded, through 1997, when Hollander became executive director, it counted 500 higher education institutions as members. During the following nine years of Hollander’s tenure, membership doubled to more than 1,000.

Since she was named a senior fellow last summer, Hollander has spent time getting to know Tisch College more fully by engaging with faculty fellows, participating in the Poverty Simulation held this fall, and meeting with the Board of Overseers.

“The reason I’m so excited to be part of Tisch is that it provides a wonderful opportunity to combine my national experience with the Tufts journey,” says Hollander.

For Hollander, the Tufts journey began when then Tufts President John DiBiaggio served on the board of Campus Compact, first as a member and then as chairman. The idea of what eventually became Tisch College was just taking shape.

She notes: “It was great talking with John about his strategy for the college, and then watching it develop to the point where today Tisch College has the largest endowment that we know of for a college focused on education for active citizenship.”

During her two-year fellowship, Hollander will focus on promoting the development of research on civic engagement. Among other things, she will investigate the possibility of developing a national study of student involvement with civic life modeled after the College’s ongoing longitudinal study of Tufts students.

She also will speak publicly and write on behalf of Tufts. This spring she’ll deliver the keynote address at the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools in Chicago. Her talk: “Presidential and Trustee Leadership for the Public Good. Why me? Why now?”

When not serving as a senior fellow, Hollander walks the walk of civic engagement. She currently is a board member of the National Civic League in Denver and a Panel Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, which is assigned to help the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency assess its Community Action for a Renewed Environment (CARE) program.

Closer to home in Providence, Rhode Island, where Campus Compact is based, Hollander is co-president of Community Musicworks, a classical music quartet embedded in an inner city neighborhood, and co-chair of the Adult Enrichment Committee for Congregation Beth-El.

Hollander can be reached at Tisch College at 617-627-4178, or by email at elizabeth.hollander@tufts.edu.

Originally published January 2007