Center Staff and Advisory Board
Joni Doherty, Director
Joni Doherty became Director of the New England Center for Civic Life in August 2003. Prior to that she was Assistant Director of the Center from 2001-2003. She is also a Senior Lecturer in American Studies and Humanities at Franklin Pierce University since 1997. She is co-author of "Living in the Lap of an Immense Intelligence: Lessons on Public Scholarship from the Field" in the 2002 edition of the Higher Education Exchange. She co-coordinated the Rindge 2020: Mapping Our Future project, a three-year college/community collaboration using the practices of deliberative democracy to address issues of the future development of the town of Rindge.
She has been a writer and editor for discussion guides and issue briefs developed by the New England Center for Civic Life on a variety of topics and curriculum materials for using deliberative dialogue practices in the college classroom. Joni is a National Issues Forum trained moderator and Public Policy Institute faculty member. She participates regularly in workshops sponsored by the Kettering Foundation and is a member of the New England Center for Civic Life Steering Committee. She holds an M.A. in Gender/Cultural Studies from Simmons College in Boston.
James (Jed) Donelan, Program Coordinator
Jed Donelan is a founding member and Program Coordinator for the New England Center for Civic Life, and a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Franklin Pierce University since 1996. In addition, he is the Program Coordinator of the Philosophy and Religious Studies Program at the college. Jed's work with the NECCL is informed by his graduate training in political theory, specifically communicative ethics and theories of deliberative democracy. Jed's primary responsibility for NECCL is Coordinator of Franklin Pierce College's Diversity and Community Project and its dissemination to other campuses in northern New England. He helps conduct moderator workshops, arranges forums, coordinates faculty moderators and recorders as well as the Franklin Pierce Civic Scholar Program.
He serves as a liaison to faculty seeking to use deliberative practices in their classroom, and is presently working with Vermont Campus Compact to bring the Diversity and Community Project to selected Vermont campuses. Donelan is a National Issues Forum trained moderator and Public Policy Institute faculty member. He participates regularly in workshops sponsored by the Kettering Foundation and is member of the New England Center for Civic Life Steering Committee. Jed received his B.A. in philosophy from Boston College in 1985 and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1995.
Margaret Gurney, Administrative Manager
Margaret Gurney joined the staff at Franklin Pierce University and the New England Center for Civic Life in December 2004. From her former positions as editor for several trade publications, handling marketing and publicity for several area nonprofits, she brings administration to NECCL and to the Franklin Pierce University Community Scholarship Consortium for which she is the Administrative Manager. Margaret organizes and coordinates events on and off campus for the Center, manages the office and the budget, and creates and designs materials for various community engagement activities. She holds a B.A. in Journalism from Keene State College.
Center for Civic Life Associates
Doug Challenger, Professor of Sociology
Doug Challenger, the founding director of the Center, has been on the faculty at Franklin Pierce since 1992. His article in the new book The Agent of Democracy (2008) published by the Kettering Foundation describes highlights of the Center's work in recent years and celebrates its tenth anniversary at Franklin Pierce.
Challenger's interest in civic and democratic education began when he taught high school social studies in the early 1980s and evolved into the study of the theory and practice of deliberative democracy when he was in graduate school at Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Challenger received his B.A. from High Point College and M.A. and Ph.D. from Syracuse University. He has been an associate of the Kettering Foundation and a member of the board of directors for the National Issues Forums Institute, and he has served as a consultant to non-profit organizations, colleges, and universities.
Challenger was a Senior Fulbright Scholar in Slovenia (1996-1997), where he was a visiting professor at the University of Ljubljana. In Slovenia, he lectured on topics related to religion, politics, and foundations for democracy, and studied how civic education is taught in the public schools of that country. He has published articles on social and political theory, social ethics, civic education and citizenship, and is the author of a book entitled Durkheim Through the Lens of Aristotle: Durkheimian, Postmodernist, and Communitarian Responses to the Enlightenment (1994). He wrote God and the Commons: Does Religion Matter?, a discussion guide in the College Issues Forums series published by the Center.
He was also the faculty leader of Franklin Pierce University's Walk in Europe program, a semester-long walk/study course that, in 2006, involved a 1200-mile trek through Ireland, France, Spain, and Portugal. In the summer of 2007, he walked the 500-mile Camino de Santiago, a 1,000 year-old pilgrimage trail across northern Spain. He is an oil painter and an occasional actor in community theatre productions, and plays the fiddle, mandolin, and guitar performing with his band Easily Amused and at local contra dances. He recently received a New Hampshire Arts Council Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Grant to study traditional New England contra dance music with a local master fiddler.
Donna Decker, Assistant Professor of English
Donna Decker is the director of the Honors Program at Franklin Pierce and coordinates the Women in Leadership Certificate Program. She has been closely connected to the Center since its inception. She is a moderator for campus forums and has been a lead faculty for the Center's seminars and workshops both at Franklin Pierce and at other institutions throughout New England. Decker has recently completed her Ph.D. dissertation on dialogue in 19th century feminist novels at Northeastern University.
Jed Donelan, Professor of Philosophy
Jed Donelan is a founding member of the Center for Civic Life and was Program Coordinator for a number of years. His area of specialization is in ethical and political theory. Jed has designed and conducted more than a dozen workshops on deliberative democracy. Jed is the Program Coordinator of the Philosophy and Religious Studies Program at the college, and was the 2004-2005 Student Government Association's Faculty Member of the Year. He also runs the campus's Socrates Café, an informal biweekly philosophical discussion involving students, faculty and staff, and he is a certified Philosophical Councilor. Jed received his B.A. in Philosophy from Boston College in 1985 and his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1995.
Teresa Downing, Assistant Registrar and Advising Coordinator
Terri Downing has been at Franklin Pierce since 2000 and has worked with the Diversity & Community Project, both moderating forums and integrating deliberative pedagogies into her sections of the Individual and Community Seminar. Prior to coming to Franklin Pierce, she worked as an Americorps Volunteer at Keene State College, helping to catalogue instructional ideas for incorporating Service Learning into college classrooms. Terri received her B.A. in Sociology and History from the University of New Hampshire in 1995 and a M.Ed. in Administration from Antioch New England Graduate School in 2000.
Mary Kelly, Associate Professor of History
Mary C. Kelly has been involved with the Center since its inception and is particularly interested in the Center's work on issues of gender and diversity. Participation in focus-groups, issue-framing, and the drafting of a new forum guide on gender, together with ongoing forum moderating throughout the academic year underscore her commitment to the NECCL mission and the pursuit of civic engagement within the Franklin Pierce community. She holds a B.A. and M.A. from University College Galway and Ph.D. from Syracuse University.
Zan Meyer Goncalves, Assistant Professor of Writing
Zan is the author of Sexuality and the Politics of Ethos in the Writing Classroom, which has been praised for the array of useful techniques and assignments that encourage students to recognize themselves as writers, citizens, and active participants in their own educations and communities She is also an author of a forthcoming discussion guide Sex, Alcohol and a Million Decisions: How Do We Balance Freedom and Safety?, which she developed in collaboration with her students; and coauthor of The Original Text-Wrestling Book: The Writing Program, University of Massachusetts Amherst. Zan received her Ph.D. in English, with a specialization in composition and rhetoric, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Molly Haas, Assistant Professor of Writing
Molly Flaherty Haas has been teaching in the core curriculum at Franklin Pierce since 2003. She moderates forums, uses deliberative methods in her first-year seminar and has participated in cultivating the use of deliberative dialogue at other universities. She has a B.A. in English from the University of Detroit, an M.A. in English with an emphasis on the teaching of college writing from Humboldt State University, and a Ph.D. in Rhetoric from Purdue University. She has particular expertise in grant proposal writing.
Center for Civic Life Advisory Board
Frank Cohen, Assistant Professor of Political Science
Frank has taught at Franklin Pierce since 1998 and been an associate of the NECCL since the 1999-2000 academic year. He is a moderator and recorder for campus forums at least twice a semester. Professor Cohen received a B.S. from Bradley University in 1991 and Ph.D. from SUNY-Binghamton in 1996.
Sarah Dangelantonio, Professor of English
Professor Dangelantonio is the Coordinator of the Individual and Community Integrated Curriculum at FPC. She has helped to design and implement the Deliberative Dialogue component used in many Individual and Community Seminar (IC101) sections and participated in planning sessions for the Diversity & Community Project. Sarah holds a B.A. from Springhill College, an M.A. from Saint Louis University and a Ph.D. from the University of Georgia.
Donna Decker, Assistant Professor of English
Donna Decker has been closely connected to the NECCL since its inception. She is a moderator for campus forums and has worked with NECCL in its outreach programs to other colleges and universities and attended workshops at the Kettering Foundation. Decker is completing her Ph.D. dissertation on dialogue in 19th century feminist novels at Northeastern University.
Teresa Downing, Coordinator of Academic Advising
Terri Downing is the Coordinator of Academic Advising at Franklin Pierce College. She has been with the college since 2000 and has worked with the Diversity & Community Project as an IC101 Instructor, as a Forum Recorder, and most recently, as a member of the Advisory Board. Prior to coming to Franklin Pierce, she worked as an Americorps Volunteer at Keene State College, helping to Catalog instructional ideas for incorporating Service Learning into college classrooms. Terri received her B.A. in sociology and history from the University of New Hampshire in 1995 and a M.Ed. in Administration from Antioch New England Graduate School in 2000.
Rob Koch, Lecturer in Education and Psychology
Rob has moderated both campus and community forums for the NECCL on a variety of topics. He has been adjunct professor at Franklin Pierce for eight years and is an Expressive Therapist in private practice and a certified school counselor. In addition, Rob is an actor and director who has been involved in community and professional theater. He holds a B.A. from Nathaniel Hawthorne College and an M.A. from Lesley College.
Les Kozaczek, Lecturer in Humanities
Les is part of the Diversity & Community moderating team for campus forums. He received his B.A. from Franklin Pierce College, and teaches courses in the Humanities Division.
Mary Kelly, Associate Professor of History
Mary C. Kelly has been involved with the NECCL since its inception and is particularly interested in the Center's work on issues of gender and diversity that reflect a number of her teaching interests. Participation in focus-groups, issue-framing, and the drafting of a new forum guide on gender, together with ongoing forum moderating throughout the academic year underscore her commitment to the NECCL mission and the pursuit of civic engagement within the Pierce community. She holds a a B.A. and M.A. from University College Galway and Ph.D. from Syracuse University.
Jerome Levine, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice
Professor Levine is currently Division Chair for the Behavioral Sciences at FPC. He serves the Diversity & Community Project as a recorder at many campus forums. Levine holds a B.A. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, an M.Ed. from Lesley College and a Ph.D. from Brandeis University.
Craig Platt, Professor of Psychology
Craig Platt has served as chair of the Behavioral Sciences Division, and was the founding coordinator of the college's Individual and Community core curriculum. He is a member of the NECCL Steering Committee, and has served as a forum moderator for the Franklin Pierce Diversity and Community project. He holds a Ph.D. in developmental psychology from Ohio State University.
Stella van Renesse-Walling, Director of the Conference Center
Stella van Renesse-Walling joined Franklin Pierce University in 1994. She has taught Individual & Community 101 at Franklin Pierce University since 1995 and participates in campus forums as a recorder. She holds a B.A. degree in Latin and French from Mt. Holyoke College.
Charlotte Farber - Junior, American Studies
I joined the Civic Scholars because I wanted to make a difference on our campus. I feel that today's college students tend to be apathetic towards issues that are important yet we are the next American generation and will have to deal with these issues. I thought that Civic Scholars could help get students involved.
Josh Lupinek - Junior, Mathematics and Marketing
I joined the Civic Scholar Program because I believe that the New England Center for Civic Life is the best place for me to build upon my leadership skills while helping the community. I also view the Civic Scholar Program as a great opportunity to improve my public speaking skills, as deliberative dialogue is perhaps the best venue in which to exercise public speech. I believe that I contribute to the Civic Scholar Program and the New England Center for Civic Life, through a unique outlook in many areas stemming from my prior management experiences.
Tim Prigo - Senior, English and Philosophy
Alyssa Reck - Junior, Political Science
I wanted to become a Civic Scholar because I really liked the idea of being part of engaging conversations about pressing topics in society. As a very opinionated person, I wanted to surround myself with others' beliefs and ideas in order to expand my own. I have really enjoyed getting to know the other scholars, practicing my public speaking through moderating forums, and learning new things from reading the issue guides and from listening to forum participants. Being a Civic Scholar gives you a great experience with deliberative dialogue, and with working with other people to confront important issues in a respectful and comfortable environment.
Diana Rudha - Senior, Computer Information Technology
Abbie Tumbleson - Sophomore, Mass Communications