Practicing Democracy: A Toolkit for Educating Civic Professionals

By Nicholas V. Longo

A civic approach to professional life is a cornerstone of a healthy democracy—the foundation of which is starting to crumble due to public distrust in government and attacks on democratic institutions. As a result, there is a growing need for colleges and universities to experiment with new ways of educating for democracy. The challenge is to figure out where to start. Practical knowledge about how to create spaces for solving problems through constructive dialogue is in short supply. Educators preparing future leaders to facilitate civic solutions need hands-on tools to help them achieve that goal.

Designed to provide a pathway to civic learning for students in all majors, Practicing Democracy: A Toolkit for Educating Civic Professionals offers practical approaches and strategies for developing students’ capacity to engage in collaborative, public problem solving. This user-friendly guide is divided into twelve lessons, each with activities focused on supporting the next generation of leaders in developing their own concepts and skills of civic professionalism. The lessons encourage critical engagement and sustained dialogue among groups of students with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. An assessment rubric is also included.

This book is co-published by AAC&U and Campus Compact. A set of online resources related to the book is available here.

“Strategic work requires refined tools. In Practicing Democracy, Nick Longo provides a multidimensional, innovative and well-crafted resource that draws on the most compelling research and praxis about Civic professionalism. Anyone seriously interested in advancing publicly engaged scholarship will do well to integrate the insights and clearly outlined specific strategies into their work.”

—Timothy K. Eatman, Inaugural Dean, Honors Living and Learning Community, Rutgers University-Newark

“Nick Longo’s book, Practicing Democracy, is a tool for the times. While our nation and our communities are continuing to expose and challenge systems of discrimination that create barriers to participation, this book offers practical tools to help educators develop civic professionals who have the values and disposition to uplift and support a diverse democracy and honor community voice. This book helps prepare civic professionals to be on the front lines of a diverse democracy and contributes to making democracy a verb.”

—Marisol Morales, Executive Director, Carnegie Elective Classifications, American Council on Education

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Publication Details

  • Date Published: 2023
  • Pages: 84