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Posts tagged ‘civic learning and engagement’

Mass. Adopts Policy on Civic Learning for Public Higher Education

By Caitlin Reilly, Program Associate, American Democracy Project

Last Thursday, May 8, 2014, the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education (BHE) became the first in the nation to adopt a policy on civic learning for public college and university students.   With the new policy, public two- and four- year higher education institutions in Massachusetts will be required to incorporate civic learning as an “expected outcome” for undergraduate students.

In a news release announcing the decision, Commissioner of Higher Education Richard M. Freeman described the vote as a call to campuses “to reaffirm a shared commitment to the civic learning, which is essential if students are to meet their future responsibilities as citizens.”

The Board met at Massasoit Community College (Mass.) to deliberate on the issue.  They arrived at a consensus of the scope of civic engagement, which includes components covering knowledge of the history of civic engagement in the U.S.; intellectual and practical skills that would facilitate civic engagement; and an understanding of the social and political values associated with democratic and civic engagement.

The policy will go into effect for undergraduates beginning in the 2014-2015 academic year. Fitchburg State University (Mass.), an ADP campus, plans to partner with TDC member campus Mount Wachusett Community College, to use the AAC&U LEAP VALUE rubrics to develop a new means of evaluating and assessing students’ civic learning.

In the meantime, you can learn more about the policy at the 2014 ADP/TDC National Meeting in Louisville, Ky. June 5-7, 2014.  At the meeting, the Massachusetts Board of Education’s assistant commissioner for academic, P-16 and veterans policy, Shelley Tinkham will give a talk on the policy, the process of creating it and how it will be implemented moving forward.  You can register for the meeting here.

U.S. Department of Education: Feedback wanted on Road Map for Civic Learning

Below you’ll find a message from the U.S. Department of Education seeking input on the implementation of its Civic Learning Road Map published in January 2012. Please consider sharing your input through the vehicles described below by November 30th. — Jen Domagal-Goldman, National Manager, American Democracy Project

Dear Civic Community,

At a White House event this past January, the Obama Administration released its Road Map for civic learning, “Civic Learning and Engagement in Democracy: A Road Map and Call to Action.”  The Road Map outlines nine steps ED is undertaking to increase civic learning and engagement across our country.

The Civic Learning and Engagement Initiative is requesting feedback from you on how ED should implement 4 of the 9 steps and define “civic learning and engagement”. We encourage educators, practitioners, students, researchers, and any other interested parties to submit thoughtful opinions, ideas, suggestions and comments. Please submit all comments by November 30th to  or post them on directly on the blog.

We envision a nationwide commitment to preparing all students for citizenship as informed, engaged and responsible members of our society.

We hope you can assist us in strengthening our programs and policies to meet this commitment.



Samuel Ryan, Regional & Youth Outreach Associate
Office of Communications and Outreach
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Ave, SW
Washington, DC 20202
Suite 5E216
Office: (202) 401-1669

What We’re Reading: Core Competencies in Civic Engagement and the Bibliography Project

As we focus more on the specific civic knowledge, skills, dispositions and experiences needed to prepare the next generation of citizens for our democracy, the Center for Engaged Democracy at Merrimack College has released a working policy paper: Core Competencies in Civic Engagement. I encourage each of you to read and consider contributing to this effort to identify the essential civic competencies that higher education should be ensuring students develop in college. I also encourage you to contribute to the complementary Bibliography Project, a repository of civic engagement-focused readings that can be incorporated in college courses. You might also want to take a look at the syllabi repository.

– Jen Domagal-Goldman, ADP National Manager

Core Competencies in Civic Engagement and the Bibliography Project

The Center for Engaged Democracy recently held its 3rd annual research institute on The Future of Community Engagement in Higher Education. Over 70 individuals from around the United States and Canada participated in an incredibly dynamic and informative two days of sessions and dialogues.

Several key initiatives included the launch of a Working Policy Paper “Core Competencies in Civic Engagement” (that reviewed and synthesized key competencies of national-level reports, a literature review, and almost 30 academic civic engagement programs — e.g., civic minors — around the country) and the development of a Bibliography Project (that compiled and annotated key texts used in courses within several dozen academic programs in Community Engagement). You can see all of the session materials and syllabi on the Center for Engaged Democracy’s WikiSpace site. The Center will be following up on these and other initiatives in the coming months, including:

  • Offering a pre-session at IARSLCE on the research and practice of academic programs (certificates, minors, and majors) in Community Engagement.
  • Next steps (dialogues, collaborations, and research) with national organizations and academic programs around the just released “Core Competencies in Civic Engagement
  • RFPs for individuals and teams on research and policies related to academic programs in Community Engagement.
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