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Update on AASCU’s Civic Minor in Urban Education Initiative

By Jolanda Westerhof, Director, Teacher Education, AASCU

The Corporation for National and Community Service awarded AASCU a $433,874 Learn and Serve America Higher Education grant to design and implement new Civic Minors in Urban Education on five selected AASCU campuses. The campuses selected to participate through a Request for Proposals process are:

  1. Buffalo State College (SUNY)
  2. California State University-Fresno
  3. University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  4. West Chester University of Pennsylvania
  5. Wright State University

The new Civic Minors, open to all university students, will offer pre-service teachers, and their peers who might not otherwise consider a career in education, an opportunity to learn about service learning as a pedagogy, have experiences with service learning in urban settings, and take other courses in the minor which develop a rich understanding of the public policy context with which urban schools are situated.

The ultimate goal of this project is to produce urban teachers who can use service learning as a teaching strategy and who can understand both their clinical work as classroom teachers and their broader obligations as democratic professionals. Each of the new Minors will be unique, but all five will require three Service Learning components:

  • Public Achievement, an award-winning strategy for improving K-12 students’ sense of efficacy and self-esteem;
  • a second service learning experience identified by the urban school district partner (e.g. tutoring, after school programs, community study center, etc.); and,
  • a service learning methods course, to make sure that future teachers can implement service learning with their students.

Each campus has designated two Design Team Leaders (one from the liberal arts and sciences and the other from teacher education). Design Team Leaders from all five campuses participated in an Orientation Program in Washington, D.C. on February 21-23 and will return for a two-week Institute in late June, 2011.

Look for Civic Minor in Urban Education Design Team Leaders at the 2012 and 2013 annual meeting of the American Democracy Project where they will share their work during a plenary session, as well as a special track in the meeting program. We will also create a full day pre-conference workshop in 2012 and 2013 for other campuses interested in adopting the Civic Minor in Urban Education model.

Each campus is expected to have its Civic Minor in Urban Education designed, approved, and in operation within three years.

For more information about this grant, please visit this website.

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