Rising Star for Commitment to Civic Engagement

Civic Engagement Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement
Application Deadline: October 15, 2021 | Award Type: knowledge community

The Civic Learning & Democratic Engagement (CLDE) Knowledge Community is a space for professional development, idea generation, scholarship, and discussion related to the field of civic education and public service. The CLDE KC supports student affairs professionals as they promote engaged citizenship and student development, encourage democratic participation in their communities, respect and appreciate diversity, and advocate applied learning and social responsibility.

The purpose of the Rising Star for Commitment to Civic Engagement is to recognize an individual for their commitment to civic learning and democratic engagement. As higher education institutions are called upon to renew civic and democratic education, it is the goal of the CLDE KC to identify students and student affairs practitioners at all levels who embody civic engagement and foster a culture of civic learning.

Presented By

Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement


2023 Recipient: Dr. Will Bowlin

Dr. Will Bowlin is a history and political science instructor at Northeast Mississippi Community College. Over the past year, he served as NEMCC’s project coordinator for the Voices and Votes: Democracy in America traveling exhibit, which was afforded through a partnership between the Smithsonian Institution and Mississippi Humanities Council. He also assists his college’s participation in the Campus Vote Project, ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge, National Voter Registration Day, and 9/11 National Day of Service. Previous recognition for this involvement includes ALL IN’s 2020 “Best in Class: Most Improved Voter Turnout Among Community Colleges” and 2022 “Most Engaged Campus.”

Currently, Dr. Bowlin serves as a Community of Practice Fellow with the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge. This initiative hosts monthly networking sessions among community college personnel to support civic involvement and nonpartisan democratic engagement. Within this capacity, he authored a Forbes BrandVoice article that advocates for increased civic mindedness within the community college system. Written contributions for NASPA include an “Advocacy in Action” article for the Community College Division’s monthly newsletter.

Dr. Bowlin earned his doctorate in Community College Leadership from Mississippi State University. He resides in Booneville, MS with his wife (Sallye) and two children (Carson and Hayden).


Past Recipients:

  • Samantha Giffen (2022)
  • Kara Johnson (2020)
  • Seth A. Campbell (2019) 
  • Kristina Gage (2018)

Award Criteria

This award is available to those at the undergraduate, graduate and new professional levels. Nominees for this award will have illustrated commitment to civic learning and democratic engagement during the academic year in which the award is presented. Commitment in the form of programming, research, service and mentorship will be supported through this award. The following materials are required to nominate a Rising Star: one-page nomination letter, a minimum of two supporting letters and a resume provided by the Rising Star nominee. 

  • Participated in activities that are designed to develop civic knowledge, skills and values.
  • Identified and acted on community or campus issue(s).
  • Action was taken that had a direct impact on the quality of life in the community.
  • Developed a plan for continued work on identified problems or issues.
  • Collected data or conducted research on student perceptions and needs regarding increased democratic engagement.
  • Planned and implemented an activity or program geared toward civic education.
  • Created policy change or other positive change for the campus or community.