Civic Learning

In this turbulent and dynamic century, our nation’s diverse democracy and interdependent global community require a more informed, engaged, and socially responsible citizenry. Both educators and employers agree that personal and social responsibility should be core elements of a 21st century education if our world is to thrive.  Currently such learning is optional for some students rather than expected of all. A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy’s Future (2012) describes what a civic-minded institution looks like, how campuses can advance this vision across domains, and what pathways have already been forged by pioneering campuses. Civic Prompts (2015) shows how every discipline can do its part.  Civic innovations include, community-based service and research, civic pedagogies and collective civic problem-solving, global learning focused on real-world challenges, diversity programs that promote learning across differences, integration of student and academic affairs, and advancing collaborative, generative partnerships that teach students how systems work and can be changed. The American Political Science Association offers a pioneering disciplinary model with its volume, Teaching Civic Engagement: From Student to Active Citizen. Democratic engagement also requires students’ political participation, this AASCU site shares resources for voter registration and participation. Through projects, publications, and collaborations, AAC&U builds national awareness of civic learning and social responsibility so essential for life, work, and citizenship. 

Campus Models and Case Studies

Fostering Social Entrepreneurship across the University of North Carolina System

In each of the last four years, the University of North Carolina (UNC) system office has hosted an annual Social Entrepreneurship Conference, at which teams of students from each of the system’s... Read More

Fighting the Sophomore Slump with Intentional Advising at Wofford College

Wofford College, a private liberal arts institution in Spartanburg, SC, is doing everything it can to engage students as soon as they enter the college. First-year students encounter an extended... Read More
 	Middlebury programs like the Project on Creativity and Innovation, the Center for Social Entrepreneurship, and MiddCORE "liberate students from constraining frameworks" and allow them to design their own learning experiences, Jon Isham says.

Advancing and Assessing Social Entrepreneurship at Middlebury College

Middlebury College has a long-standing commitment to encouraging students to apply their learning beyond the classroom and develop a sense of social responsibility. Since 2007, the college has made a... Read More
The new sustainability minor brings a formal academic dimension to Winona State’s ongoing commitment to sustainability.

Developing a Sustainability Ethos at Winona State University

When Winona State University signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2007, the university undertook a series of initiatives to reduce the campus’s environmental... Read More
The Young Women Leaders Program at the University of Virginia trains college women to mentor middle school girls, providing educational and leadership opportunities for both mentors and mentees

Competent, Connected, and Autonomous: Educating and Mentoring Young Women Leaders at the University of Virginia

When faculty at the University of Virginia (UVA) Women’s Center were brainstorming new ideas for programs to help university women, Edith “Winx” Lawrence had an idea that would take their efforts... Read More