Miami U. political science professor honored for civic engagement

Miami University political science professor and Justice and Community Studies Chair John Forren
Miami University political science professor and Justice and Community Studies Chair John Forren

One of the leading advocates in civic engagement in Butler County has been recognized for his work.

Miami University Regionals political science professor and Justice and Community Studies Chair John Forren was named as one of five finalists for the David Hoch Memorial Award for Excellence in Service by the Ohio Campus Compact, a non-profit coalition that works to promote and develop the civic purposes of higher education.

University of Cincinnati professor Michael Sharp and University of Mount Union professor Lori Kumler were awarded the top honors.

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Miami University President Greg Crawford nominated Forren for the honor, which the criteria requires nominees to “further the civic mission of the institution.”

"Dr. Forren is a generous and selfless leader, coordinating community partners, faculty members, staff members, and students and putting them at the forefront of his efforts," Crawford said.

Forren has led or been heavily involved in several events, including planning meet the candidates forums, political debates and discussions, and the university’s Citizenship and Democracy Week across the main and regional campuses— which includes a naturalization ceremony.

The Journal-News has been involved with Forren in the planning of or presenting political debates and forums, including the 2018 primary gubernatorial GOP interviews in Hamilton and the Democratic debate in Middletown.

According to Miami University, these events have engaged thousands of people in civic reflection, observation and action. He also helped design the non-profit and community studies major in 2015, focusing on students getting hands-on-experience through a semester-long service-learning placement in non-profit organizations, service agencies and government offices.

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In conjunction with the Center of Social Impact, Forren was also instrumental in bringing a U.S. State Department-funded Study of the U.S. Institute on Civic Engagement to Miami Regionals’ Hamilton campus from 2013-2015. The groups involved 57 international students from Africa and the Middle East and 30 Miami University undergraduates in intensive summer immersion programs.

Most recently, Forren helped secure $2.95 million in grants from the Menard family and the Charles Koch Foundation to create the Menard Family Center for Democracy. Forren is the founding executive director.

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