Community College of Philly prez picks up national honor for promoting democracy on campus

President Donald Generals has been honored for his leadership in helping college students improve nonpartisan civic learning, political engagement and voter participation

By: - November 16, 2021 11:43 am

Community College of Philadelphia (CCP) President Donald Generals (Photo via The Community College of Philadelphia/The Philadelphia Tribune).

By Chanel Hill

PHILADELPHIA — Community College of Philadelphia (CCP) President Donald Generals has been awarded the 2021 Standout College President/Chancellor Award by the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge, a national initiative that empowers colleges and universities to achieve excellence in nonpartisan student democratic engagement.

Generals was recognized for his leadership in helping college students improve nonpartisan civic learning, political engagement and voter participation.

He was one of two recipients for the award. Fayneese Miller, president of Hamline University, was the other recipient. Generals became the sixth president of CCP in July 2014.

“It is an absolute honor to have received the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge’s 2021 Standout College President/Chancellor Award,” Generals said.

“This award does not only reflect my vision of a more civically engaged campus, but the efforts of the entire college community in doing their part to see that vision become a reality,” he said.

“I would be remiss if I did not take the time to thank our Institute for Community Engagement and Civic Leadership for their tireless work in ensuring that our #CCPVotes programming takes place year-round and not just during a presidential or mayoral election year,” he added.

The 2020 presidential election engaged the largest and most diverse group of college students in U.S history. More than 840 institutions enrolling close to 9 million students participate in the ALL IN Challenge.

According to the National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement, a research study of the Institute for Democracy in Higher Education at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University, 66% of college students voted in the 2020 election, a 14-point increase from 2016.

CCP was awarded a Bronze Seal from the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge for reaching up to 60% student voter participation in the 2020 presidential election.

Through the Institute for Community Engagement and Civic Leadership, the #CCPVotes initiative focuses on the importance of civic engagement.

The college recently hosted a voter registration drive with NextGen America and welcomed representatives from the organization on campus to continue student voter mobilization efforts.

CCP was also closed for the Nov. 2 General Election in order to allow students, faculty and staff to participate in the electoral process.

“Under the leadership of Dr. David E. Thomas, our vice president of Strategic Initiatives and Community Engagement, our #CCPVotes initiative is intentional on presenting our students with solutions to the issues they see first-hand in their communities,” Generals said.
“Michelle Lopez, the new director of the Institute, and Michael Miles, the Institute’s community engagement specialist, ensure that we are hosting timely and relevant programming to keep our students, faculty, and staff aware of what’s at stake each and every election cycle,” he said.

“They are intentional in educating our community on how simple and accessible it is to cast their vote,” he added. “This includes hosting voter registration drives, setting up voter education stations across campus and having one-on-one conversations with anyone who is skeptical about the importance of voting.”

Last year, CCP started Enough is Enough, a teach-in series of community conversations that addresses issues such police accountability, gun violence and health care disparities impacting women of color.

The series was launched in June 2020 after the police-involved murder of George Floyd.

“Erica Harrison, the college’s director of special events and community relations, was instrumental in the creation, planning and implementation of this series,” Generals said.

“These issues, which disproportionately impact people of color, have become inextricably political,” he said. “We are teaching our students that failing to vote has its consequences.

“We will continue to host our #CCPVotes and Enough is Enough programming in our efforts to eradicate ideologies that perpetuate systemic racism through education, training and action,” Generals added.

Prior to joining CCP, Generals was the vice president for academic affairs at Mercer County Community College in West Windsor, N.J.

He also held positions as provost at the Katharine Gibbs Schools in New York City, vice president for Academic and Student Affairs at SUNY Rockland Community College in Suffern, N.Y., and dean of Student and Cultural Affairs at Passaic County Community College in Paterson, N.J.

He holds a doctorate degree in social and philosophical foundations of education from Rutgers University.

He has a master’s degree in urban education/community service and bachelor’s degree in political science from William Paterson University.

Chanel Hill is a reporter for the Philadelphia Tribune, where this story first appeared.

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