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Cognates of Change Conference at Western Kentucky

March 25-27, 2010

The social responsibility imperative in higher education continues to grow; more and more colleges and universities view development of students’ knowledge, skills and commitment to the social dimensions of their professional training as essential learning outcomes.  There is renewed momentum among our students as well; they come to us both passionate about and experienced in working to enact social change.  Institutions must be prepared to meet students’ expectations with opportunities that whet their appetite for service while also enhancing their capacity to be agents of change in the communities of which they will become a part.

Building such capacity in students is not done in one course or through one service learning experience; rather, it is a process that must engage students throughout their undergraduate careers and across multiple teaching and learning modalities.  The curriculum broadens and deepens students’ awareness and understanding of societal issues.  Opportunities to participate in civic events and initiatives build the skills necessary to influence public discourse and public policy around pressing social issues.  Community engagement and service learning projects expose students to the tangible impacts their service can have on the lives of others and on themselves.  Finally, the chance to confront and explore unfamiliar and sometimes uncomfortable questions through ongoing dialogue with colleagues and peers assists students in discovering their own passions and perspectives about the world.  These four cognates of change – Curriculum, Context, Community and Conscience – are essential elements in an undergraduate experience that cultivates educated and engaged citizens for the 21st century.

We invite institutions to send teams of administrators, faculty and/or students to explore the interplay among these four cognates of change, and how colleges and universities can leverage their various assets to create an experience for students that fosters deep and persistent learning.  Through a series of presentations and moderated conversations, teams will have the opportunity to share their individual perspectives, best practices, stories of success as well as failure and move towards development of integrated strategies for infusing a social responsibility imperative on their campuses.   There will be separate workshop tracks for administrators/faculty and for students.

Featured Speakers will include:

TBD – New York Times Columnist
Dr. George Mehaffy, AASCU
Dr. Harry Boyte, Center for Democracy and Citizenship, Augsburg College

This event will also serve to introduce our new WKU Institute for Citizenship and Social Responsibility.  ICSR affiliates will be on hand to discuss the role of the Institute as a nexus for civic organizing and social change on our campus.

For more information, please visit the website.

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