Political Science

Varner Hall, Room 418
371 Varner Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4485
(location map)
(248) 370-2352

The Center for Civic Engagement roll of stickers with American flags that say I Voted

“Civic engagement means to make a difference in the civic life of our communities and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make that difference. It means promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and nonpolitical processes.” – Thomas Ehrlich

“Civic engagement can take many forms, from individual volunteerism to organizational involvement to electoral participation. It can include efforts to directly address an issue, work with others in a community to solved a problem or interact with the institutions of representative democracy.” – The Pew Charitable Trusts

Center for Civic Engagement

At Oakland University we train scholars and future professionals. But more importantly, we help build informed and active citizens with an eye toward issues of public concern and importance locally, nationally and globally. Our students are empowered to think about dynamic solutions to tackle real-world problems. We challenge the status quo and train tomorrow’s leaders to collaboratively approach complicated problems and unearth new solutions that will move our communities forward.

The Oakland University Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) takes important issues of public concern and public policy out of the classroom and actively engages many different stakeholders — includes students, faculty, policy makers and community members — in non-partisan, deliberative and productive dialogue. Indeed, democracy is better served through respectful discussions about important issues.

In short, the Center for Civic Engagement acts as a “convener of conversations” on a variety of issues that impact the local, state and federal levels. These types of events are designed to lead to a more informed citizenry in the surrounding communities.

The Oakland University Center for Civic Engagement serves the OU and surrounding community by:

  • Informing the campus and community about important issues of public concern through non-partisan dialogue
  • Supporting and undertaking efforts to enhance civic engagement and civic literacy
  • Promoting research related to public policy to inform policy makers and the public
  • Encouraging student involvement in civic engagement and public policy through volunteerism, internships and experiential learning 

For more information on the Center for Civic Engagement, please contact Dave Dulio at ddulio@oakland.edu.


The CCE translates academic knowledge into experiential learning by sending our students and faculty into the community to build solutions. As a “convener of conversations,” we invite and host policy experts to campus and create opportunities for the community to attend panels and engage with these experts. We provide forums for public dialogue to take place, host elected officials on campus to discuss important issues of the day, and work to take OU faculty into the community to share their expertise on a wide range of topics. Utilizing technology, these conversations are shared with an even larger audience through podcasts and social media channels. Where appropriate, CCE partners with community organizations — civic, nonprofit and other public organizations in southeastern Michigan and across the state — to expand our reach into different communities. We aim to help create a more informed citizenry and build democracy through non-partisan, respectful and deliberative discussions about important issues of public concern and policy.


CCE enriches the student experience at Oakland University by actively engaging students in a variety of activities, including:

  • Individual volunteerism
  • Internships
  • Research opportunities
  • Political dialogue and discussion on policy issues as well as elections
  • And more

Students join and impact the conversation on a variety of important issues with academic programs from across the University. From education funding to health care accessibility, engineering regulation to business tax laws — public policy stretches across our campus and reaches into every industry in society. We challenge our students to work together to address complicated problems from an interdisciplinary framework, recognizing that expertise from many fields is needed to analyze and address complex situations.

Civic Engagement Internships

Office of U.S. Representative David Trott (R, MI 9) (four students)
Lena Epstein for Congress
Tim Greimel for Congress (two students)
41B District Court, Macomb County, Judge Sebastian Lucido
Office of State Representative Peter J. Lucido (R, 36th District)
Kresge Library
Brenda Carter for State House of Representatives


Through the Center for Civic Engagement, faculty and students alike are offered the opportunity to share their talents and expertise with the community at large — this includes government agencies, nonprofit organizations, established industry and startup companies alike. Any and all stakeholders affected by an issue have the opportunity to learn from our experts and benefit from the comprehensive research compiled by faculty. Policy experts are also invited to the table to share their analysis of public issues. This allows the creation of a policy research clearinghouse and provides the opportunity for off-campus organizations to engage and request research support that would benefit their daily operations.


Even through the Center for Civic Engagement was only launched in 2018, civic engagement work has been happening on campus since OU’s founding. The list of events over the last roughly 20 years show the commitment OU has demonstrated in this area. The Center for Civic Engagement is not – and should not – be the only place from which civic engagement work emmanates at OU. Rather, our goal is to support civic engagement work that stems from other faculty, student and staff interests as well as expand this work. If you have a civic engagement idea, please share it with us!

Civic Engagement Events

June 2018 | OU and Project Upward Bound students at 50th District Court in Pontiac*

March 2018 | Meadow Brook Lecture: Should We Be Afraid? America's International Security and Foreign Policy*

February 2018 | Disturbing the Peace*

November 2017 | Animal Farm

October 2017 | Paying too much for a good thing: The cost of lower taxes

October 2017 | Nukes and Your Future* 

March 2017 | Purgatorio, a U.S-Mexico border documentary

March 2017 | Assisted Suicide in Michigan

January 2017 | Former Congressman Mike Rogers visits OU for opening of congressional collection

November 2016 | Campaign Roundup 2016

February 2016 | Campaign Training for Women

October 2015 | Pontiac high school students connect with OU Student Congress 

October 2014 | Hillary Rodham Clinton holds campaign rally at OU 

September 2014 | Meet the Candidates

March 2014 | Ukraine in Crisis

March 2013 | Hidden Money in Judicial Selection: A Threat to Impartial Justice?

February 2013 | The Fiscal Cliff: Taxing, Spending, Debt and Deficits

January 2013 | Golden Grizzlies head to capitol for presidential inauguration

November 2012 | Campaign Roundup 2012 

October 2012 | The Political Economy of International Financial Crisis

October 2012 | Meet the Candidates Open House 

October 2012 | From Stolen Innocence to Fearlessness and Forgiveness – A focus on Erin’s Law 

October 2012 | Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan appears at OU for campaign rally 

March 2010 | Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) visits OU

November 2011 | Republican Presidential Primary Debate

April 2011 | A Decade of Debt

January 2011 | Frontiers and Borders

November 2010 | Campaign Roundup 2010 

October 2010 | Issues, Campaigns and Election 2010

October 2010 | Should Michigan have a constitutional convention? 

October 2010 | Between Homeland Security and Facebook: Security Studies Today

July 2010 | Republican Gubernatorial Primary Debate 

February 2010 | Alice Conner Gorlin Memorial Lecture, “The Great Panic in Historical Perspective” 

October 2009 | "Burning Down the House" lecture on race, politics and the media

October 2009 | Ethics and Social Responsibility

April 2009 | Earth Day forum comes to OU

March 2009 | Legislative advocacy program engages alumni 

January 2009 | Trip to Washington D.C. for presidential inauguration 

October 2008 | President’s Colloquium: “The Battle for Power: Issues, Politics and Strategy in the 2006 and 2008 Elections

May 2008 – Presidential candidate John McCain visits OU for rally 

February 2008 | OU, Iron Age Theatre presents ‘Marx in Soho’

February 2008 | OU student group to present 'The Vagina Monologues'

February 2008 | From Bonaparte to Bush: Western-Backed Revolutions in the Middle East

Founding Advisory Board

Stacie Behler (CAS 1992), Group Vice President, Public Affairs and Communications, Meijer Corporation
The Honorable Leo Bowman (CAS 1976), Oakland County Circuit Court
Todd Cook (CAS 1992), political consultant
Shelley Stern Grach (CAS 1972), Director, Civic Engagement, Microsoft
Gail Haines, Former Member, Michigan State House of Representatives
Wayne Hodges, Senior Vice President Business Development at OnlyYOU
Colleen Ochoa Peters (CAS 1987), Principal, Meaningful Impact Consulting
William W. Swor (CAS 1969), Founder and Principal Attorney at William W. Swor & Associates

Campus Advisory Board

Rochelle A. Black, Vice President, Government and Community Relations
Ghazi Ghazi, Oakland University Student Congress Legislative Affairs Director
Garry Gilbert, Director, Journalism Program
Chris J. Kobus, Director of Outreach, Recruitment and Retention, and Associate Professor
School of Engineering and Computer Science
Jean Ann Miller, Director, Center for Student Activities and Leadership Development
Jonathan Silberman, Professor, School of Business Administration
David A. Stone, Associate Vice President for Research
Erin Sudrovech, Director, Alumni Engagement
Beth Talbert, Special Instructor, Department of Communication and Journalism
Terri Towner, Associate Professor, Political Science

Civic Engagement Student Fellows

Mary Drabik, Civic Engagement Fellow for Communications
Lesley Myrvold, Civic Engagement Fellow for Design


2012-16 National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE) data and reports

NSLVE Voter Data Tool

Student body voting engagement earns bronze seal

The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement

All In Democracy Challenge

Campus Vote Project

Michigan Voter Information Center

  • View your Sample Ballot for the upcoming election
  • Request and Track your Absentee Ballot
  • Verify your Voter Registration
  • Find your Polling Place
  • Contact your Local Election Official

Heterodox Academy“…a politically diverse group of more than 1,800 professors and graduate students who have come together to improve the quality of research and education in universities by increasing viewpoint diversity, mutual understanding, and constructive disagreement.”

Independent SectorCivil Society, Spirited Discussion

Civic nation

Campus Compact

Michgan Campus Compact

Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities

Project Vote SmartProfessor Dulio is a Key Votes Adviser for Vote Smart, which entitles OU students to go to the front of the line for internships at Vote Smart.

Mile 22 Associates Talent Hub for jobs in civic engagement

HillZoo: Jobs on Capitol Hill and in Washington, DC

Governor Snyder | State of the State Address 2018 | Civility