Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE)

As we move forward in an increasingly contentious global century and face a civic learning gap nationally, the United States must make civic and democratic learning for all students a top national priority. The future of our democracy and our shared futures depend on a more informed, engaged, and globally responsible citizenry.

A Crucible Moment

Working in concert with the Department of Education, AAC&U and the Global Perspective Institute, Inc. (GPI) released a watershed national call to action calling on the nation to reclaim higher education’s civic mission if our democracy is to thrive socially and economically. The report, entitled A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy's Future and authored by the Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Task Force with Caryn McTighe Musil as lead author, includes a national call to action designed to make civic and democratic learning an expected outcome for every college student, and an integrated part of education from pre-school to professional schools. To purchase the report, please click here. To download a free PDF, please click here.  Also available are two guides to the report: Campus Compact’s Praxis Brief and NASPA’s Reading Guide.

Since the release of A Crucible Moment, AAC&U has convened a group of thirteen national organizations called the Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) Action Network to coordinate with one another and use the breadth of their national outreach to serve the larger communities of practice and advance A Crucible Moment's ambitious agenda. This reflects AAC&U's ongoing commitment to help all students achieve the essential outcomes of a twenty-first-century liberal education, including personal and social responsibility—an important cornerstone of the Essential Learning Outcomes, reflecting a consensus by colleges and universities. See the 2012-2017 update of how A Crucible Moment has spurred action.