Civic Prompts: Civic Learning in the Major by Design

Educating students to be responsible, informed, and engaged citizens in their workplaces and the larger community should be an expected goal for every major.

Through a grant from The Endeavor Foundation, AAC&U will sponsor three regional one-day institutes that will give departmental faculty teams the time and space to embed civic learning across the structure, concepts, and pedagogies of their undergraduate majors. Called Civic Prompts in the Major: Designs in Social Responsibility and the Public Good, the new grant is the latest in a six-year initiative that looks at the department as the unit of change and a student’s major as a site for deepening students’ knowledge, skills, values, and agency about their responsibility to the larger society.

Departmental faculty teams are invited to apply to attend one of three regional one-day institutes:
(There is no registration fee for accepted departmental teams to attend.)

Institute on Civic Prompts in the Major: Designs in Social Responsibility and the Public Good 

AAC&U’s report, A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy’s Future, recommends that higher education “define within departments, programs, and disciplines the public purposes of their respective fields, the civic inquiries most urgent to explore, and the best way to infuse civic learning outcomes progressively across the major.” AAC&U took up this challenge through a pilot initiative that resulted in the publication of Civic Prompts: Making Civic Learning Routine Across the Disciplines.

Civic Prompts constructs a process for faculty members to hold deep conversations with their departmental colleagues to explore a series of questions:

  • What lines of civic inquiry are amenable to their department/discipline/program?
  • What big issues are commonly explored that lend themselves to civic inquiries?
  • What pedagogies are suited to this area of specialization?
  • What kinds of assignments generate more intentional civic outcomes?
  • What forms of civic action are seen as appropriate to their disciplinary domain or could be incorporated more deliberately? 

​For more information, please contact Caryn McTighe Musil at

Civic Learning Project Resources:

Civic Learning in the Major by Design
The Peer Review volume highlighting how nine departments have invested in these redesigns
The online case studies from twelve departments highlighting these redesigns
Archived Webinars:
Civic Prompts in the Major: Disciplinary Knowledge, Democratic Culture, and the Public Good
held on Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Redesigning Majors: Disciplinary Knowledge, Civic Learning, and Public Responsibility 
held on Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Clashes Over Citizenship: Webinar Series on Promoting Listening, Learning, and Engagement
This series of three webinars aim to expand campus expertise on how to hold constructive conversations about contentious issues and how to institute practices in and out of the classroom that foster engagement across differences.
Link to Video Series 
Link for more Information

Other Resources:
Political Learning and Democratic Engagement: Learn-Engage-Vote

A budding list of websites, publications, and organizations to help you meet the political learning and democratic engagement goals on your campus