$15 – $30

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American Village

3727 Hwy 119

Montevallo, AL 35115

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Refund Policy

Refund Policy

Refunds up to 30 days before event

Event description


The 2018 Civic Institute is your chance to connect with civic-minded change-makers and thought leaders from across Alabama in a dialogue on our state's past, present, and future.

The day will be packed with engaging speakers and interactive sessions centered around some of the most profound issues we encounter as Alabamians. With our state's bicentennial on the horizon, we believe that the Civic Institute is the perfect event to collectively ponder the power of our citizens and our communities to build the kind of Alabama they want to call home. Participants will join sessions on topics including collective memory and civic life, developing sustainable civic engagement projects in higher education, and how to address difficult issues together as a community. Dr. David Mathews, president and CEO of the Kettering Foundation, will deliver the luncheon keynote address, followed by an engaging panel featuring Alabamians working to make a difference in the state.


  • The Elephant in the Room: Talking About Difficult Issues: Talking about challenging issues in a divided political climate is hard. Listening to those we disagree with is difficult. Finding opportunities to bridge divides and discuss the “elephants in the room” in a productive, civil manner that prioritizes understanding over consensus is even more challenging. During this interactive session, learn from Alabama communities that are engaging citizens in deliberation on some of the most divisive public issues facing communities today. Discover tools and resources you can use to tackle the issues facing your community. Chris McCauley of Markstein will moderate; additional speaker details are forthcoming. This session is made possible by a generous donation from The Blackburn Institute at the University of Alabama.

  • Who Remembers? Collective Memory and Public Life: The issue of monuments and memorials in public spaces divides communities around the nation, and people of goodwill on all sides of the issue struggle to hear each other productively. In this facilitated discussion, participants will discuss what concerns them the most regarding this issue and whether they can imagine opportunities for deliberation within their communities and networks. This session will be moderated by Dr. Mark Wilson, Director of the Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts and Humanities at Auburn University. Additional speaker are details forthcoming. Our thanks to the Alabama Bicentennial Commission for generously sponsoring this session.

  • The Front Doors of Fellowship: Engaging with Difference Through Faith: What is the role of faith communities in public life? What do we find at the intersection of faith and civic engagement? How can we cultivate the physical and conceptual spaces that houses of worship occupy, in order to bring people together in new ways that connect our individual experiences and our rich inner lives with the work that we must all do, collectively, as a public? Faith communities, for many Alabamians, not only feed the spiritual life, they also serve as a hub of community life. This session will focus on stories, challenges, and opportunities in bringing faith communities together across divides to address key issues and challenges facing our hometowns and our state.

  • Urban Perspectives on Civic Engagement in Alabama: The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Woodlawn Project and Spring Hill College’s Foley Fellowship in Civic Leadership are experiential learning opportunities that seek to work alongside neighboring communities to better understand and address the complex effects that poverty and other related disparities have on their quality of life. The effectiveness of each project is rooted in its being tailored to fit the particular contexts in which each institution operates. Attendees of this session will take part in a dialogue that compares and contrasts the unique challenges, approaches, and learning outcomes that these programs have yielded working with community partners in urban contexts on opposite sides of the state.

  • The Landscape of Disengagement: Cultivating Youth Participation in Civic Deserts: Over the past decade, civic engagement and volunteering rates among young Americans have declined across race, income, and education levels. However, youth and young adults living in “civic deserts” are disproportionately represented among the disengaged. Civic deserts are communities that lack adequate opportunities for young people to learn about and participate in civic and political life. Over 40% of American youth and young adults live in “civic deserts.” In rural areas, the percentage of young people living in civic deserts climbs to nearly 60%. Youth in civic deserts are less engaged in politics, are less likely to vote in elections, and are less likely to believe in the influence of their own voice and the collective potential of their community. While the statistics can be harrowing, there are leaders, educators, and organizers across Alabama who are working to revive youth engagement within rural and urban civic deserts. By capitalizing on the assets within their community to create leadership opportunities, mentorship programs, career training, and youth programming, the guest speakers in this session are creating innovative avenues for youth engagement. This session is made possible thanks to the generous sponsorship of Alabama Public Television.

  • Passing the Mic: Representation & Empathy in Civic Media: The digital disruption of traditional news and media outlets has become an accepted, albeit cliche, archetype for the twenty-first century. The fourth estate that so many Americans revered throughout our history has been faced with growing distrust, diminished resources, and has struggled to translate its traditional structure and function into an increasingly viral model of news and journalism. At the same time, digital technologies have enabled millions to tell their own stories in a way that is diffuse, yet direct. The rise of citizen journalism and social media has emerged as a critical component of what we today characterize as “civic media.” The centuries-long interpolation of citizen and journalist is newly-malleable, and calls for a radical reconceptualization of the citizen-journalist relationship. “I just want to be a voice for the voiceless,” is a refrain that is increasingly unable to bear the complex weight of citizens ready to speak for themselves. Why be a voice for the voiceless when you could just pass the mic? This session will explore ways of passing the mic and equipping others to tell their own story through digital media as well as traditional journalistic outlets. From Twitter to the town square, we will consider examples of intergenerational cooperation amongst communities, local professors and their students, as they reimagine what community journalism and self-representation can accomplish in our time.




To register, click the green "Tickets" button on the event page and a box will appear with your ticket options (all-day for $30, or lunch-only for $15*). Make your selection, fill out the questions that follow, and proceed to checkout. At the end of the registration form, you'll have the option to make a one-time donation to the Jean O'Connor-Snyder Fund, which supports the Jean O'Connor-Snyder Internship Program (more about the program here).

*If you have a promotional code to enter, click the "Tickets" button on the event page. In the box that appears with your ticket options, there is a link in the upper right hand corner that says "Enter Promotional Code." Click the text, enter the code, and continue the registration process.

To contact the event organizer:

If you need some assistance, or have other questions, please contact DMC Program Director Rebecca Cleveland at rcleveland@mathewscenter.org or 205-665-9005 ext. 69.

To register a group:

If you are registering a total of three or more people to attend the day-long event, you are eligible to save 20% per person. Contact the event organizer with the details and you will receive a promotional code.

To become a sponsor:

Contact the event organizer for details on how to sponsor this event.


What is the refund policy?

Refunds are available through August 4th.

Can I pay by check?

Yes. However, you must still complete the online registration. When you get to the payment options in the registration process, simply select "check" and complete your registration from there. Checks should be made out to The David Mathews Center for Civic Life and mailed to P.O. Box 136, Montevallo, AL 35115.

Please note that we cannot accept cash payments, nor can we accept checks in person. Thank you for your understanding. If you will need any additional documentation for your records, just let us know as soon as you can!


What kind of accomodations are nearby for those traveling from out of town?

For those interested in booking a hotel room, we've set up a block of rooms at the Hampton Inn in Calera (a ten-minute drive from the American Village). The hotel is located at 93 Metro Drive, Calera, AL 35040. To reserve via telephone, click on the link below, or call the Hampton Inn in Calera at 205-668-6565 and request a room in the "DMC Civic Institute" block. Book by August 2 to take advantage of the special group rate for August 16 - 17, 2018. http://hamptoninn.hilton.com/en/hp/groups/personalized/C/CALALHX-CIV-20180816/index.jhtml

What kind of parking is available at the venue?

There is ample parking at the American Village. When you arrive, follow the signs that say "Mathews Center." Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. at Liberty Hall, which is Building B on this American Village map.

For folks needing assistance getting to and from buildings, we will have a shuttle service available.

Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?


What if I have dietary restrictions?

After you purchase your tickets and enter your personal information, you are able to indicate any dietary restrictions. We will pass on this information to our caterer so there will be sufficient alternatives. Contact the event organizer with any questions or concerns.

What is the dress code?

The dress code is business casual.


  • Dr. David Mathews

    Dr. David Mathews

    Kettering Foundation

    President & CEO

  • Dr. Hollie Cost

    Dr. Hollie Cost

    City of Montevallo


  • David Dada

    David Dada

    University of Alabama at Birmingham

    Leadership & Service Coordinator

  • Dr. Erik Goldschmidt

    Dr. Erik Goldschmidt

    Spring Hill College

    Director, Albert S. Foley Community Service Center

  • Dr. David Mathews

    Dr. David Mathews

    Kettering Foundation

    President & CEO

  • Chris McCauley

    Chris McCauley



  • Dr. Heather Pleasants

    Dr. Heather Pleasants

    The University of Alabama

    Associate Director, Office of Institutional Effectiveness

  • Marian Royston

    Marian Royston

    Handley Middle School

    Social Studies Teacher

  • Dr. Mark Wilson

    Dr. Mark Wilson

    Auburn University

    Director of Civic Learning Initiatives & the Caroline Marshall Drauhon Center

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Date and Time


American Village

3727 Hwy 119

Montevallo, AL 35115

View Map

Refund Policy

Refunds up to 30 days before event

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