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 report 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. For more information, and to download a full PDF of the report, please click here. 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. See also the US Department of Education's immediate, pro-active response to Crucible’s release, Advancing Civic Learning and Engagement in Democracy: A Road Map and Call to Action.

Since the release of A Crucible Moment, AAC&U has convened a group of 12 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 21st century liberal education, including personal and social responsibilityan important cornerstone of the LEAP essential learning outcomes advanced by AAC&U. See the 2012-2016 update of how A Crucible Moment has spurred action.