How are the public and civic roles of higher education transforming in response to the current health and economic crises? How do we build opportunities for civic science, that both respects expertise in times of crises, but does not fall into disempowering reliance on hierarchical solutions? How do we as scholars and teachers escape often condescending cynicism and simplification of those who flout basic public health protocols and respect them as fellow citizen-creators?

On this episode we tackle these questions and more with NAB advisor and colleague Harry Boyte, a philosopher, community organizer, citizen scholar, and higher education reformer committed to democracy as a community based way of life. He is the Senior Scholar in Public Work Philosophy at the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship at Augsburg University. He is also the principal and co-founder, along with Marie Strom and Trygve Thronveit, of the Institute for Public Work at Augsburg.

Further, he is the framer of “public work” an action-oriented civic agency approach to civic empowerment, and the founder of Public Achievement, an international civic education and empowerment initiative. His commitment to democratic life and learning began in the 1960s, when he was a Field Secretary for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the organization headed by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and later when he was a community and labor organizer in the South.