Who are we?







Harry C. Boyte

Senior Scholar in Public Work Philosophy at the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship at Augsburg University, Minneapolis, Minnesota .                  


Marie Ström and I are the co-founders of the Public Work Academy, creating an international network of theory and practice about citizens as co-creators of communities and democratic society through public work. I’m also founder of the Center for Democracy and Citizenship at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, now merged into the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship at Augsburg College where I’m the Senior Scholar in Public Work Philosophy.  I’m an architect of the public work framework of citizenship, an action-oriented civic agency approach which has gained international recognition for its theoretical innovations and practical effectiveness in helping to redress unravelling of the civic fabric. I’m also the founder of Public Achievement, an international civic education and civic empowerment initiative for young people now in hundreds of schools and communities in more than two dozen countries.

My forthcoming book, Pedagogy of the Empowered: Teaching and Learning Citizen Politics, Vanderbilt University Press 2018, recounts lessons from more than 25 years of revitalizing the public and civic purposes of K-12, higher education, professions, government, development work and other settings. I have authored nine other books on democracy, citizenship, and community organizing. In the 1960s, I was  was a Field Secretary for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the organization headed by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and subsequently was a community and labor organizer in the South.


Kathleen Knight Abowitz         

Professor, Department of Educational Leadership, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.                                                                                                                                


I have worked as a faculty member teaching about democracy in education and educational ethics for over two decades; before that I was involved in service-learning programming in higher education in Vermont and my home state of Virginia. My scholarship and writings explore ways to engage citizens with their P-12 schools, and new directions for public universities in an era of privatization and upheaval in higher education, among other topics. As a former President of the John Dewey Society, my work with this initiative is aimed towards the Deweyan goal of  revitalizing and networking new publics of engagement with education and the civic purposes of education.


Eli Kramer

Affiliated Researcher of the Department of the Philosophy of Culture, Institute of Philosophy of the University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland. Visiting Professor, Quest University, Squamish, Canada, November-December, 2017. Philosophy PhD Candidate, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Carbondale, Illinois.                               


I’m a philosopher of culture who focuses on the history and philosophy of higher learning. This field of research covers everything from monasteries and utopian experiments to modern colleges and universities. I collaborate with the Consortium for Innovative Environments in Learning, in defending and advancing civic and community based higher learning. I have supported emerging scholars in finding an active role in philosophy, education, and social change, through my work as the John Dewey Society Emerging Scholar Liaison. Most recently, I have been working with European partners to explore expanding the initiative to the European context.

I, alongside Dr. Aaron Stoller, am a co-editor of a new edited collection: Contemporary Philosophical Proposals for the University: Toward a Philosophy of Higher Education. This edited collection brings together a robust range of philosophers who offer theoretically and critically informed proposals regarding the aims, policies, and structures of the university. The collection fills a major gap in the landscape of higher education theory and practice while concurrently reviving a long and often forgotten discourse within the discipline of philosophy. The collection can serve as a theoretical resource for critically minded administrators and faculty who wish to analyze and change policies and structures at their home institutions. It will introduce them to a wide range of possible educational imaginaries, as well as provide them with productive suggestions for pragmatic change on campuses.


Jessica Weasner     

Graduate Assistant, Department of Educational Leadership
Doctoral Student, Student Affairs in Higher Education (SAHE) Program 
Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.                                                                 


I am a student affairs practitioner who has worked in the fields of community service, service learning, and civic engagement for the past 13 years. I have worked closely with community partners, faculty, staff and students to build and maintain mutually beneficial partnerships. I believe it is central to the mission of higher education to prepare students to be educated and active citizens. I am currently drafting my dissertation proposal; a phenomenological study of the experience of civic learning in higher education.

Dustin Hornbeck

Graduate Assistant, Department of Educational Leadership, Doctoral Student, Educational Policy, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.


I hold a master’s degrees in American history and government and in education, taught history and government for nine years in several high schools in Ohio and was the James Madison Fellow for Ohio in 2014. I’m currently a graduate assistant and doctoral student in education policy at Miami University. While teaching, I was the teachers union president for four years for Piqua City Schools. I have taught part-time at Ohio Northern University, Clark State Community College, and Marion Technical College. Prior to teaching, I worked in the Ohio State Legislature, and briefly for the Auditor of State. My research interests include federalism in education, civic engagement, and politics of education.