Presidents’ Trust Town Hall: Cultivating a Just & Inclusive Democracy
October 8, 2021
In recent years, faith in institutions, government, and democracy has plummeted, especially among traditional college-aged students. As political polarization and intolerance for difference continue to grow and thrive in the United States, colleges and universities have an essential role in supporting a healthy democracy.
The urgency of this work was reinforced by events at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. It is further complicated by unprecedented intrusion into curricula and tenure processes, and the politicization of long-held standards for free speech and freedom of expression in the academic environment, striking at the core of liberal education as a philosophy of learning intended to free the mind.
At a time when interrupted monologue prevails as the dominant mode of civic and political discourse, liberal education can cultivate dispositions that enable productive dialogue and democratic debate. Liberal education can unleash the potential of those otherwise most likely to be excluded from full participation in civic and economic life.
This virtual town hall provided a space for higher education leaders and partners to reflect critically on higher education’s past civic engagement work and explore liberal education’s ongoing role and responsibility in supporting a healthy democracy, educating for effective citizenship and civic engagement, and conveying the values of pluralism, respect, and inclusion.
Presented by AAC&U and James Madison University, this event is intended for higher education leaders and partners, and complimentary for members of AAC&U’s Presidents’ Trust.
James Madison University