Diversity and Community Engagement

The University of Mississippi

Posts Tagged ‘Voting Engagement’

Recognizing 2020-21 Faculty Civic Champions

Posted on: February 5th, 2021 by elpayseu

The Office of Community Engagement, in conjunction with the Voting Engagement Roundtable, is pleased to recognize Faculty Champions for the fall 2020 semester. The UM Faculty Champions Program was created last year to invite faculty to support our institutional voting engagement efforts. Led by Na Youn Lee, Assistant Professor of Social Work, the program offers faculty different ways they can support student voting engagement through the classroom and support students in navigating the sometimes-confusing voter processes.

During the fall semester, participating faculty could choose from various civic learning opportunities: adding a voluntary voting engagement blackboard module to their course, inviting a voter ambassador to host a classroom presentation on voting, supporting DebateWatch programming, and connecting students with resources for out-of-state voting. Each learning opportunity used by the instructor earned them Civic Champion Points. 

We are thankful for the practices these faculty members integrated into their academic courses. These faculty were part of a select group of 49 faculty members across departments and disciplines who committed to integrate voting engagement into their courses in different ways. Their commitment helped raise student voter awareness and engagement across campus.

Through their efforts, UM students were able to hear class presentations from our student voting ambassadors and get them excited about participating in the electoral process. Class presentations included how to get registered to vote, the ins and outs of absentee ballots, and resources available to them, such as vote.olemiss.edu and msvotes.org. Their efforts also gave students access to individual consultations, notary support, and online voting resources. This nonpartisan work helped students to understand the process of voting and how to participate in our democracy.

Increasing political literacy is a crucial step in ensuring that students become informed leaders. Incorporating democratic engagement in an open and nonpartisan way in the classroom can serve as a way to invite respectful discussions across the political aisle. Civic education isn’t just for political science and public policy courses. The faculty who participated covered a range of departments and majors, such as Mathematics and Civil Engineering. 

We are pleased to recognize the following faculty members for their participation last fall. (Several participants opted out of public recognition and are not included in this list.) Thank you, all, for promoting student civic engagement.


Gold Level Civic Champions

  • Erin Parker
  • Maureen Meyers
  • Bryan Kessler
  • Carmen Sanchis-Sinisterra
  • Amy Fisher
  • Eliot Parker
  • Catarina Passidomo
  • Brian Droubay 
  • Kevin Cozart
  • Barbra Williams
  • Patricia Digby
  • Brent Marsh

Silver Level Civic Champions

  • Molly Pasco-Pranger
  • Julie Wronski
  • Ellen Foster
  • Ayla Gafni
  • Debora Wenger
  • Sara Platt
  • Virginia Moore
  • Meg Barnes
  • Hannah Allen
  • Daniel Stearns

Bronze Level Civic Champions

  • Carolyn Higdon


Community Chat – Jon Winet

Posted on: November 9th, 2020 by elpayseu

“…to encourage thoughtful civic and civil conversation about the issues that are driving people’s interest in voting, the issues that keep them up at night, the issues that give them hope.”  – Jon Winet

As the country reflects on the election, Jon Winet sits down to discuss some of the efforts he and others in the LOU community have put forth to understand people’s “why.” Why do they vote? Why do they care about these issues? Tune in to learn about Oxford to the Ballot Box and all the people that helped bring this project together, including the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, Oxford Film Festival, Mississippi Votes, and the University of Mississippi.

A professor at the University of Iowa and native to California, Winet found himself far from home in Oxford, Mississippi but was instantly hooked by the welcoming sense of community he found here. “[Both Oxford and Mississippi] are powerful; they’re evocative. The history is rich and deep,” Winet said on his interest in southern culture.

The history to which he refers is not only cultural but political. “We have learned that voting has been hard earned by many Mississippians,” Winet said. The history of voter suppression and voting complexities in Mississippi, Winet said, are large drivers of civic engagement in the state.

For many young Mississippians, this election was their first time voting, and to Winet, this is indicative of future engagement. “When people vote early in their lives, they vote the rest of their lives,” Winet said. While this engagement is encouraging, Winet says that there is still work to do.

In a year full of contention, it is important to Jon and other partners of Oxford to the Ballot Box that this work continues. As an initiative, they are “projecting ahead” to gauge the reactions of Mississippians, whatever the outcome. “We hope that we’ll have a chance to continue our conversations with people after the 3rd,” Winet said.

As they look to the future for further conversation, Oxford to the Ballot Box has also worked with the UM Digital Library to archive these sentiments for what Winet refers to as a “postcard to the future.” The videos highlighting LOU community members’ thoughts on civic engagement will be available to future generations to reflect on the progress of the LOU community.

If you would like to watch the Voices of Mississippi videos, please go to their website or their YouTube channel. You can also watch or listen to this episode and many other Community Chats on OCE’s Facebook (@UMengaged), YouTube, or your favorite podcast provider.


Download the full PDF transcript.

Watch on YouTube

Listen on Anchor

Subscribe to the Engaged! Newsletter.