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

VI. Appendix A – Civic Engagement and the Academy

In 1821 Wesleyan’s first president, Willbur Fisk, declared the purpose of a Wesleyan education to be “the good of the individual, and the good of the world”, and this approach towards education holds true here today. In Wesleyan 2020, the university’s framework for strategic planning, objectives include:

  • Develop civic engagement opportunities across the university
  • Extend global reach of the curriculum
  • Support a culture of community engagement
  • Establish internships that support learning on campus and open doors to future professional opportunities.

Achieving these objectives will require an active collaboration between Wesleyan’s faculty, administration, and Center for Community Partnership (CCP).

“Academy and community” does not consist of walking on either side of a poorly defined line. Today institutions of higher learning and communities are striving to collaborate in academic and non-academic contexts, and Wesleyan seeks to be at the forefront of these efforts.

Examples of Community Engagement from Other Schools

(text taken from institutional websites)

Amherst (https://www.amherst.edu/academiclife/cce)
The Center for Community Engagement (CCE) provides funds, transportation and advising for students interested in pursuing community engagement. The Civic Engagement Scholars (CES) program is a competitive program for sophomores and juniors that offers students the chance to connect their academic programs of study with internship opportunities around the world. The program is designed to support students as they deepen their understanding of public service, nonprofit administration, community engagement, activism, structural inequality, diversity, and public policy while making connections between theory (academic experiences at Amherst College) and action (community learning in the field).

Bates (http://www.bates.edu/harward-center.xml)
The growth of community engagement at Bates has coincided with the growth of the national movement for integrating civic engagement and public work across higher education. The Harward Center has been in existence for five years and serves as a focal point for connected learning. Its accomplishments include:

  1. 33% of the College faculty and more than 50% of the student body integrated community-based learning and research into their formal course of study;
  2. community work was included in the curricula of two-thirds of Bates’ departments and programs.
  3. more than 100 community partners in Lewiston-Auburn and beyond, serve as mentors and co-educators for students.

Through the organization of the Harward Center, students pursue opportunities in community-based learning, volunteerism and environmental stewardship. 

Connecticut College - Program in Community Action (PICA)
(http://www.conncoll.edu/centers/holleran/4881.htm)
PICA scholars deepen their knowledge and skills as active and responsive citizens through the integration of classroom studies in the liberal arts and experiential learning in local and global communities.

Program Requirements:

  1. a core of 5 courses outside the major, including the PICA Gateway Course
  2. the junior seminar, a two-credit, course designed to further develop knowledge and skills in community action, and to foster student development as change agents
  3. a 300 hour community internship, traditionally done in the summer between junior and senior year
  4. the senior seminar, a two-credit, collaborative experience designed to share learning among the PICA scholars and with the wider community
  5. a senior project that integrates research and course work addressing a particular community challenge; this may be presented as an individual or honors study or a capstone seminar
  6. an up-to-date record of all PICA activities in the E-portfolio program
  7. a 3.0 GPA beginning in the spring of the sophomore year and continuing until graduation.

Upon graduation from Connecticut College, PICA scholars receive a certificate in recognition of their completion of the PICA program. They will have acquired knowledge and a greater understanding of both themselves and their roles as activists and policy makers in local and global communities.

Cornell University, Public Scholar Program (http://www.psc.cornell.edu/pscs.html)

Who is eligible to apply?
The program is open only to full-time Cornell undergraduate students that have at least 4 semesters remaining and have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Program Requirements:

  1. Enroll in the Introduction to Service-Learning for Democratic Citizenship course in spring 2009 and Introduction to Global Citizenship in the following semesters.
  2. Participate in the January retreat, 2 days before the start of the spring academic semester, January 15-16.
  3. Participation in the Public Service Center’s Leadership Series. Participants must complete a minimum of two skill development seminars.
  4. Complete a minimum of 300 service hours as a Scholar in the program.
  5. Engage in a full-time summer internship at a non-profit, government agency or other public interest setting domestically or abroad.
  6. Create and keep a service-learning plan and portfolio.
  7. Complete a capstone research project by the spring semester of the senior year. Students will submit proposals for research projects at the beginning of the spring semester of their junior year. They will be assigned faculty mentors to guide their research. The research project can be an extended paper for a course or a senior thesis submitted to the student’s major.
  8. Maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0.

Syracuse University's Humanities Center and Connective Corridor
The Mellon Central New York Humanities Corridor is an interdisciplinary collaboration of three regional Association of American Universities, Syracuse University, Cornell University, and The University of Rochester. The Mellon CNY Humanities Corridor is supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation through a four-year, $1 million award designed to raise public engagement with and visibility of the humanities throughout Central New York and to enhance the productivity of its key scholars, students, and community members.

The New School in NYC, has recently hired an Associate Provost to create and institutionalize interdisciplinary and interdivisional programs, to help foster curricular and scholarly innovation, and to take a lead role in the University's civic engagement and democracy initiatives.

Tufts Since 2005 Tufts has spearheaded the Talloires Network. (http://www.tufts.edu/talloiresnetwork/?pid=35) It’s stated goal is to develop an “international association of institutions committed to strengthening the civic roles and social responsibilities of higher education.” This is an organization with over 150 member institutions of higher education from across the globe (US members include Amherst, Brown and Duke).

Tulane University The inauguration of the Center for Public Service (CPS) recognizes that active, civic engagement builds strong, healthy communities and responsible citizens, the CPS merges academic inquiry with sustained civic engagement. The Center is a forum for students, faculty, and community partners to work together to address urgent and long-term social challenges and opportunities. Our approach to learning prepares Tulane University students to participate more fully in today's complex society in intellectually rigorous ways. Tulane University's CPS supports a university curriculum and research agenda by uniting academics and action, classroom and communities through which students, faculty and community partners dedicate themselves to the transformation of civic life. 

University of Pennsylvania (http://www.imaginingamerica.org/consortiumMembers/upenn.html) The Barbara and Edward Netter Center for Community Partnerships, founded in 1992, is Penn’s primary vehicle for bringing to bear the broad range of human knowledge needed to solve the complex, comprehensive, and interconnected problems of the American city so that West Philadelphia (Penn’s local geographic community), Philadelphia, the University itself, and society benefit. Through the Netter Center, the University currently engages in three types of activities:

  • academically based community service,
  • direct traditional service, and
  • community development.

Academically based community service is at the core of the Center’s work. It is service rooted in and intrinsically linked to teaching and/or research, and encompasses problem-oriented research and teaching, as well as service-learning emphasizing student and faculty reflection on the service experience. Approximately one hundred fifty courses (from a wide range of disciplines and Penn schools) link Penn students to work in the community.

Short list of representative organizations building community and academy collaborations (http://www.bates.edu/x166279.xml)

Campus Compact (http://www.compact.org/)
Campus Compact is a national coalition of more than 1,100 college and university presidents, representing some 6 million students, dedicated to promoting community service, civic engagement, and community-based learning in higher education. (Wesleyan is a member of the CT Campus Compact.)

Imagining America (http://www.imaginingamerica.org/)
Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life is a national consortium of colleges and universities committed to public scholarship in the arts, humanities, and design.

Project Pericles (http://www.projectpericles.org/)
Project Pericles is a not-for-profit organization that encourages and facilitates commitments by colleges and universities to include education for social responsibility and participatory citizenship as an essential part of their educational programs, in the classroom, on the campus, and in the community.

National CBR Networking Initiative (http://cbrnet.pbworks.com/)
The Corporation for National & Community Service supports the development of high-quality community-based research (CBR) as a form of community-based learning and create a national networking structure that assists and connects practitioners. This effort will move CBR from the margins of the academy to the center through:

  • Spreading the practice of CBR by students, faculty, and community partners;
  • Providing tools and resources to ensure quality and collaboration at the local, state, and national levels;
  • Expanding faculty development and documenting innovative practices; and
  • Increasing the organizational capacity of our community partners.

Public Humanities Collaborative (http://www.phc.msu.edu/ )
The Public Humanities Collaborative provides a gathering place, a “commons,” where Michigan State University faculty, students, and outreach professionals from the arts, humanities, and design disciplines can collaborate with community groups, build strong campus-community partnerships, enhance public understanding of liberal arts for democracy, and engage in cultural work that serves the public interest.