A Crucible Moment: College Learning & Democracy's Future

A Call to Action and Report from The National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement

A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy’s Future
By The National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement

This report from the National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement calls on the nation to reclaim higher education’s civic mission. Commissioned by the Department of Education and released at a White House convening in January 2012, the report pushes back against a prevailing national dialogue that limits the mission of higher education to workforce preparation and training while marginalizing disciplines basic to democracy. To view footage from January's White House event, "For Democracy's Future: Education Reclaims Our Civic Mission," please click here and here.

A Crucible Moment calls on educators and public leaders to advance a 21st century vision of college learning for all students—a vision with civic learning and democratic engagement an expected part of every student’s college education. The report documents the nation’s anemic civic health and includes recommendations for action that address campus culture, general education, and civic inquiry as part of major and career fields as well as hands-on civic problem solving across differences. AAC&U thanks the Bringing Theory to Practice project and its supporters, the S. Engelhard Center, and the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation, for funding the design, printing, and dissemination of this publication.

A Crucible Moment was prepared at the invitation of the U.S. Department of Education under the leadership of the Global Perspective Institute, Inc. (GPI) and AAC&U. The publication was developed with input from a series of national roundtables involving leaders from all parts of the higher education and civic renewal communities.

See the 2012-2016 update of how A Crucible Moment has spurred action.

The project, Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement, has been funded at least in part with Federal funds from the US Department of Education under contract number ED-OPE-10-C-0078. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the US Department of Education nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the US Government.

This entire report is available as a PDF document (see link below) and additional print copies can be purchased through AAC&U’s online publications catalog.

NASPA and Campus Compact have each created discussion booklets: