Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) Publications

Civic Responsibility: What Is the Campus Climate for Learning?

Download a PDF

How well is the academy meeting its civic purpose today? Our nation's shared future depends on an educated and engaged citizenry, and civic engagement should be a learning goal for all college students. Civic Responsibility: What Is the Campus Climate for Learning?, the first of three reports from AAC&U's Core Commitments initiative, provides insights about the civic commitments and practices of today's colleges and universities. It presents findings from a unique campus climate assessment tool—administered in 2007 to 24,000 students and 9,000 academic administrators, faculty, and student affairs professionals at twenty-three colleges and universities—and assesses the perceptions of these four constituent groups regarding campus opportunities for contributing to a larger community. The survey includes questions about the importance...

Peer Review, Spring/Summer 2008
Peer Review, Spring/Summer 2008

Peer Review, Spring/Summer, 2008: This issue examines how the academy engages students in their learning today to help them grow as engaged citizens for tomorrow.

The Democracy Imperative (TDI) has developed a discussion guide (pdf) for campuses to use in conjunction with this issue. Written by Nancy L. Thomas, acting TDI director and an author in this issue, the guide was created for multiple uses―as a classroom teaching tool, a faculty development instrument, for use in strategic planning processes, and as a means to engage trustees in a discussion about the aims of higher education. The guide, Democratic and Political Learning, can be found on the TDI Web site.Read more

Civic Engagement at the Center: Building Democracy through Integrated Cocurricular and Curricular Experiences

Informed by the work of the Bonner Foundation, Civic Engagement at the Center highlights developmental models for students’ civic learning and socially responsible leadership implemented at 77 campuses. The monograph describes key elements of the cocurricular model, research on its impact on students, and emerging civic engagement minors created to complement decades of work in student affairs.

Diversity & Democracy, Fall 2007

Global learning gives students the tools to engage ethically in an inter-dependent world, both at home in the U.S. and in international contexts. With the support of the Luce Foundation and the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, AAC&U’s Shared Futures: General Education for Global Learning project guides institutions through the process of globalizing education for all students.Read more

Peer Review, Summer, 2007
Peer Review, Summer 2007

Peer Review, Summer, 2007: The Bringing Theory to Practice (BTtoP) project seeks to advance engaged student learning and determine how it might improve the quality of students’ education, development, health, and commitment to civic engagement. This issue provides a brief project overview as well as several campus examples that offer specific forms of engaged learning and how they are contributing to students’ health and well-being.Read more

Purposeful Pathways: Helping Students Achieve Key Learning Outcomes

This final publication of the Greater Expectations project reports on practices from high school through college to advance four selected liberal education outcomes: inquiry, civic, global, and integrative learning. From defining outcomes, to reviewing current practices, to charting sequences of learning over time, readers will find numerous resources helpful in their curricular planning.

Diversity, Democracy and Higher Ed: A View From Three Nations

Delegates from India, South Africa, and the United States met in India to compare the experiences of their countries in responding to the special challenges and opportunities diversity offers to higher education. This volume presents their papers and describes their reflections. It places the priorities of the respective countries in historical perspective and illuminates similarities and contrasts among them. The volume contributes to the growing global discourse and the role of higher education in strengthening democracy.

Contemporary Understandings of Liberal Education

Examines the emergence of broad agreement on what students ought to learn from a liberal education and finds a strong trend toward pluralistic, collaborative, experiential, and integrative modes of learning. Also contends that outdated structures, practices, and reward systems frustrate higher education's ability to reap the benefits of new directions in student learning.


Explores goals for liberal learning in a diverse democracy and argues that the liberal arts of the future will include ways of relating and learning across difference. Explains that the "new academy" growing up within the old comprises new ways of thinking, reconfiguration of disciplines, new modes of teaching and assessment, and new forms of scholarship -- all developed in order to move beyond historically inequitable divisions. Written for faculty members and curriculum committees, this report offers an important new vision for liberal education at the turn of the century. Should be used in connection with American Pluralism and the College Curriculum.

Core Curriculum and Cultural Pluralism: A Guide for Campus Planners

This well-documented report studies more than 50 colleges and universities working to bring world and U.S. cultures into general education. It also provides a guide for academic leaders working to design and implement new general education programs. Includes sample syllabi, core proposals, curriculum profiles, and advice for overcoming potential difficulties related to curriculum change and faculty development.

Learning for the Common Good: Liberal Education, Civic Education, and Teaching About Philanthropy

Analysis of the centrality of service learning in liberal education, accompanied by a study of student experiences in service-linked courses and numerous examples from every kind of campus. Focuses on developing courses about philanthropy and suggests ways in which these courses can revitalize other aspects of undergraduate education.