Civic Learning

In this turbulent and dynamic century, our nation’s diverse democracy and interdependent global community require a more informed, engaged, and socially responsible citizenry. Both educators and employers agree that personal and social responsibility should be core elements of a 21st century education if our world is to thrive.  Currently such learning is optional for some students rather than expected of all. A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy’s Future (2012) describes what a civic-minded institution looks like, how campuses can advance this vision across domains, and what pathways have already been forged by pioneering campuses. Such educational innovations include, community-based service and research, powerful civic pedagogies and collective civic problem-solving, global learning focused on real-world challenges, diversity programs that promote learning across differences, well delineated curricular pathways, integration of student and academic affairs, and advancing collaborative, generative partnerships that teach students how systems work and can be changed. See the 2012-2014 update on how A Crucible Moment has been a catalyst for civic commitments. Through projects and publications, AAC&U builds national awareness of civic and democratic learning and supports campus capacity for those outcomes that are essential for life, work, and citizenship in the 21st century. This effort is part of AAC&U’s ongoing commitment to help all students achieve the essential outcomes of a quality liberal education.

Campus Models and Case Studies

 	Middlebury programs like the Project on Creativity and Innovation, the Center for Social Entrepreneurship, and MiddCORE "liberate students from constraining frameworks" and allow them to design their own learning experiences, Jon Isham says.

Advancing and Assessing Social Entrepreneurship at Middlebury College

Middlebury College has a long-standing commitment to encouraging students to apply their learning beyond the classroom and develop a sense of social responsibility. Since 2007, the college has made a... Read More
The new sustainability minor brings a formal academic dimension to Winona State’s ongoing commitment to sustainability.

Developing a Sustainability Ethos at Winona State University

When Winona State University signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2007, the university undertook a series of initiatives to reduce the campus’s environmental... Read More
The Young Women Leaders Program at the University of Virginia trains college women to mentor middle school girls, providing educational and leadership opportunities for both mentors and mentees

Competent, Connected, and Autonomous: Educating and Mentoring Young Women Leaders at the University of Virginia

When faculty at the University of Virginia (UVA) Women’s Center were brainstorming new ideas for programs to help university women, Edith “Winx” Lawrence had an idea that would take their efforts... Read More
Governors State University

Governors State Strives for Civic Engagement across the Curriculum, across Generations

Governors State University (GSU), one of the last "upper-division" schools in the United States, serves an undergraduate population composed entirely of transfer students, largely from south Chicago-... Read More
Public service students are required to complete at least two internships to graduate. However, many other classes also involve elements of service learning with community and global partners. (Copyright Rutgers University, Newark)

"Public Service as Responsible Citizenship"—The Public Service Major at Rutgers University–Newark

When the School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA) at Rutgers University-Newark began designing an undergraduate program to complement the school's masters' and doctoral programs, the... Read More
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