Civic Engagement
  • Civic Engagement Class Image
  • Civic Engagement Class Image
  • Civic Engagement Class Image
  • Civic Engagement Class Image


Link to WesMaps Courses

Civic engagement encompasses a wide range of activities in which individuals work to strengthen their communities, to realize common goods, to enhance the capacities and dispositions necessary for democratic self-rule, and, in general, to deliberately shape their common life. Wesleyan University prides itself on enrolling and nurturing students with strong social consciousness. Students participate in a wide variety of formal and informal “civic” activities in Middletown and around the world. These activities include volunteer work, practica, and service-learning courses. This certificate is designed for students interested in reflecting upon these activities and integrating their civic and academic efforts.

Requirements. During their sophomore through senior years, CEC students will complete a series of structured academic and cocurricular activities including courses, volunteering, practica, and opportunities for reflection that will enable them to develop a broad understanding of the varied components of civic engagement.

We can think of civic engagement as applied democratic theory. As “theory,” mastery requires the development of a theoretical understanding of both the principles of democracy and the institutional and social requisites of a democratic society (see Requirements 1 and 3 below). As “applied,” mastery of civic engagement requires the practical understanding of social processes that results from actual engagement in the community (Requirements 4 and 5). Thus, the certificate requires students to take a set of courses to acquire an understanding of how democratic processes (including the practices and institutions of civil society) work; to acquire the firsthand experience of civic engagement and civic life by participating in approved civic activities; and, finally, through both course work and other means, to reflect on the connections among these and to integrate them effectively (Requirements 2, 3 and 6).

  1. The foundations course (currently GOVT346 Foundations of Civic Engagement). During this course, students who plan to participate in the CEC will prepare a document describing the place of civic engagement in their own lives and their plans for fulfilling the CEC requirements. The sophomore year is the recommended year to take this course.
  2. Maintain an ePortfolio (possibly in Moodle) of documents that are created in the process of fulfilling the CEC requirements
  3. Five courses dealing with civic engagement
  4. A minimum of 40 hours of service work coordinated through the Office of Community Service and Volunteerism (OCS)
  5. A practicum
  6. The senior seminar, a capstone course

Note: CEC requirements fulfilled before a student is admitted may be counted toward the certificate at the discretion of the CEC Advisory Panel.

Admission. Students will be admitted to the CEC by self-declaration. They will be considered part of the certificate group after they have completed the foundation course and formally applied to participate. The application will consist, in part, of a document written in the foundations course explaining the place of civic engagement in the applicant’s own life and how he/she plans to fulfill the CEC requirements.

Additional Information. Contact the director of service learning for 2014-2016, Barbara Juhasz, 860-685-4978 (