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

Requirements

Requirement 1: Six courses dealing with Civic Engagement are required. Courses are grouped into the following categories (listed on WesMaps)

  1. The Individual in Society
  2. The Practice of Democracy
  3. Ethical Reasoning
  4. Volunteerism and Activism
  5. Education and Public Scholarship
  6. Civic engagement in Cross-Cultural Perspective

The six courses must come from at least THREE of these categories and one must be from “The Practice of Democracy” category.

Requirement 2: Three reflection papers are required, one per year of the certificate. These papers, along with one document from each relevant course, will be archived during the process of completing the certificate.

Requirement 3: A minimum of 40 hours of service work coordinated through the Office of Community Service and Volunteerism (OCS)

Requirement 4: A practicum

Requirement 5: The senior seminar, a .25 credit capstone course (CSPL 302)

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

Courses

Students are required to take SIX courses from three different categories for the certificate. One of these must be a course identified in category 2, "The Practice of Democracy," for the certificate. The purpose of this course is to provide students with a theoretical understanding of both the principles of democracy and the institutional and social requisites of a democratic society. We strongly encourage students to take Foundations of Civic Engagement (GOVT 346) when it is offered.

Interested students in the second semester of their sophomore year will file a declaration with the Director of the Civic Engagement Certificate stating their plans for the certificate, as well as any courses already taken. In some extenuating circumstances, this can be postponed until the first semester junior year. Students will discuss their plans with the Director and write an initial reflection piece on their plans, how they view civic engagement in their own life, and what they hope to accomplish with the certificate. 

A list of pre-approved courses is available each semester. Other courses may be counted towards the certificate through the petition process. If you are currently enrolled in, or have previously taken, a course you feel addresses issues of civic engagement, please send a short description of this course to Barbara Juhasz (bjuhasz@wesleyan.edu).

Writing Requirement

Students will write and submit reflection pieces at the beginning, middle, and end of the Certificate process. The first piece should be submitted when they declare their interest in the certificate, ideally in the second semester of their sophomore year and at the latest by the end of the first semester of junior year. The second piece will be due at the end of the junior year. It should include reflection on the community service and/or practicum component, if one or both have been completed by then. The third will be the capstone document, due in the spring of the senior year. Students will archive their work from each civic engagement course and are encouraged to revisit and reflect on these assignments before writing their capstone document. Students will submit at least one document (writing or exam) from each CEC class.

Community Service

The CEC requires a minimum of forty hours of service work coordinated through the Office of Community Service and Volunteerism (OCS). This work can be done through short efforts over the course of a semester or through an extended volunteer experience. Please note that while service work does not provide academic credit, it is essential if students are to acquire an understanding of what is involved in sustaining the practices of civil society and what is required to change existing social practices. Contact Cathy Lechowicz (clechowicz@wesleyan.edu, 860-685-2841) and Diana Martinez (dmmartinez@wesleyan.edu, 860-685-2861) of the Center for Community Partnerships to discuss the service requirement.

Practicum

By a practicum we mean an activity in the community such as an internship (but not confined to formal internships) that has a substantial civic engagement component, is sufficiently experiential, and contains a structured reflection on the experience in the form of readings and writing projects. The Director of the Civic Engagement Certificate reviews practicum applications to determine if they meet those criteria. The Practicum must be taken for credit, and students are strongly encouraged to receive credit through CSPL 493, which grants a .25 internship credit and is administered by the director of the certificate. The Practicum may also take the form of a tutorial, an independent study, or as Education in the Field approved by the CEC advisory panel.

Senior Seminar

In their senior year, CEC students participate in a .25-credit seminar (CSPL 302) where they reflect on their civic engagement experience individually and as a group. The seminar is largely student-directed, but is supervised by a faculty member. Students will take turns leading the discussion, which will revisit readings and topics central to civic engagement, drawing on material from the “Practice of Democracy” classes they took, augmented with additional short readings chosen by the week’s leaders. They will review the written assignments they have archived and reconsider these materials in light of their other coursework and their practical experiences. This is an opportunity for students of different majors to bring the focus of their different disciplines to the discussion. The seminar is taken pass/fail and meets biweekly for 2 hours at each sitting. The third and final reflection piece - a major paper, essay, or research project - will be a required component of this class and will be reviewed and commented on by the instructor. The final meeting will be devoted to formal presentations to faculty and friends on students' specific areas of research/academic focus.

Additional Information: Contact Barbara Juhasz, Director of the Civic Engagement Certificate, at (860) 685-4978 or bjuhasz@wesleyan.edu.