1 First-Year Civic Engagement: Sound Foundations for College, Citizenship and Democracy Edited by Martha J. LaBare Featuring New Writing from: Betsy O. Barefoot Thomas Ehrlich John N. Gardner Elizabeth L. Hollander George Mehaffy Caryn McTighe Musil John H. Pryor The New York Times National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition University of South Carolina
3 First-Year Civic Engagement: Sound Foundations for College, Citizenship and Democracy Edited by Martha J. LaBare Featuring New Writing from: Betsy O. Barefoot Thomas Ehrlich John N. Gardner Elizabeth L. Hollander George Mehaffy Caryn McTighe Musil John H. Pryor The New York Times National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition University of South Carolina
4 Acknowledgments Thanks to Martha J. LaBare for her editing; all of the colleges doing such innovative work around the first-year experience and civic engagement; AASCU (American Association of State Colleges and Universities) for the American Democracy Project; Tracy Skipper of the National Resource Center for The First- Year Experience and Students in Transition for her expertise and guidance. This monograph did not involve the reporting or editing staff of The New York Times. Copyright 2008 The New York Times Knowledge Network
5 CONTENTS iv Preface Martha J. LaBare, Editor 1 Introduction Civic Engagement: The Transforming Theme for the First College Year John N. Gardner, Executive Director, Policy Center on the First Year of College 5 Chapter 1 Preparing Undergraduates To Be Citizens: The Critical Role of the First Year of College George Mehaffy, Vice President for Academic Leadership and Change, American Association of State Colleges and Universities; Director, American Democracy Project 9 Chapter 2 Learning for Political Engagement Thomas Ehrlich, Senior Scholar at The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching 13 Chapter 3 Campus Compact: Fostering the Civic Engagement of College Students Elizabeth L. Hollander, Senior Fellow, Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service, Tufts University; former Executive Director, Campus Compact 16 Chapter 4 Civic Learning: Aligning Planets and Educational Goals Caryn McTighe Musil, Senior Vice President, The Association of American Colleges and Universities 19 Chapter 5 The Role of Newspapers in the First Year of College Felice Nudelman, Director of Education, and Don Hecker, Training Editor for Staff Editors, The New York Times 21 Chapter 6 Assessing Change in Civic Engagement: A Longitudinal Perspective John H. Pryor, Director, Cooperative Institutional Research Program, Higher Education Research Institute, University of California, Los Angeles 23 Chapter 7 Institutional Structures and Strategies for Embedding Civic Engagement in the First College Year Betsy O. Barefoot, Co-Director and Senior Scholar, Policy Center on the First Year of College 26 Chapter 8 Action Steps to Move the First-Year Civic Engagement Agenda Forward John N. Gardner, Executive Director, Policy Center on the First Year of College 29 First-Year Civic Engagement: Case Studies 30 Allegheny College 32 Antioch College 34 California State University, Chico 36 California State University, Fullerton 38 Chandler-Gilbert Community College 41 Chapman University 44 The College of New Jersey 47 Colorado State University-Fort Collins 49 Concordia College 51 Fort Hays State University 54 Franklin Pierce University 57 George Mason University-New Century College 60 Hampden-Sydney College 63 Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne 65 Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) 68 Lehigh University 70 Mars Hill College 72 Mercer University 74 Michigan State University 76 Pace University 79 Penn State University, Lehigh Valley Campus 82 Pitzer College, Claremont, California 85 The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey 87 Robert Morris College 89 Salt Lake Community College 91 Suffolk University 93 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 96 Trinity University 99 University of California, Los Angeles 101 University of Michigan-Ann Arbor 103 University of San Francisco 105 University of Wisconsin-Madison 108 Weber State University
6 PREFACE Martha J. LaBare, Editor This monograph has grown from the vision and collaborations of faculty, administrators, scholars, and national higher education leaders who act on their belief that American colleges and universities share a mission to educate citizens for democracy. Our authors take seriously the responsibility to help students, beginning in their first college year, to develop the core skills they will need to exercise their moral and civic responsibilities. They demonstrate how civic engagement brings our first-year students into active participation in their new environments. They show how civic engagement provides opportunities for our institutions to link learning goals across curricula and co-curricula, college and community, theories and practice. John N. Gardner, our leading innovator and scholar on students first college year, frames the volume, with his call to re-center and renew the first year with the idealism and aspirations of civic engagement and, in the last chapter, with his action steps for doing so. All the authors of chapters 1 8 have worked with their national organizations for years to advance service-learning and civic literacy and engagement: the Policy Center on the First Year of College, the University of South Carolina s National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the American Democracy Project, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Campus Compact, the Association of American Colleges and Universities, the Higher Education Research Institute. Case study authors from 33 institutions twoand four-year colleges and research universities present a variety of programs, in and out of the classroom, on campus and in their communities. The term civic engagement is used by some in higher education interchangeably with service-learning, particularly when service-learning has a requirement for reflection; others distinguish civic engagement from service-learning by requiring inclusion of the U.S. Constitution and U.S. history in the curriculum as necessary grounding for informed and conscientious citizenship. Other operating definitions fall somewhere in between. This monograph does not adopt a single definition. Its authors express or imply their definitions in their work. Civic engagement programs consistently require students to demonstrate intellectual inquiry, critical thinking, active and experiential learning, reflection, commitment. AAC&U s Greater Expectations report (2002) urges institutions to help students interpret education as an informed probing of ideas and values and to help them become empowered, informed, and responsible learners. The report urges us to help students learn about the values and histories underlying U.S. democracy and the interrelations within and among global and cross-cultural communities and to foster responsibility for society s moral health and for social justice and active participation as a citizen of a diverse democracy. 1 Institutions own formulations vary, as case studies in this monograph show: Cal State Chico s Civic Learning Outcomes are (1) public problem solving; (2) interpersonal participation skills, especially across differences; (3) knowledge of civic and community issues; (4) knowledge of community values; (5) a sense of responsibility for the common good. Franklin Pierce University s Deliberative Dialogue Initiative helps students to develop critical thinking skills; learn collaborative skills; become actively involved in the community; explore issues that challenge us to integrate our rights as individuals with community responsibility; and understand the evolution of concepts such as free choice, beliefs, values, independence, and autonomy in the context of community standards. One dimension of Salt Lake Community College s multiple assessment surveys political attitudes, tracking variables on keeping up-to-date on political affairs, registering to vote, and attention to media coverage on government and politics. Suffolk University s Media Literacy course connects themes, goals, and service-learning through developing students ability to access diverse sources, analyze media texts, evaluate media messages, communicate effectively, and participate in civic projects. At Concordia College, where using servicelearning is a means for bringing students to civic engagement, Duncan and Kopperud have invented CARC Civic Engagement and Contemplation, Action, Reflection, Commitment. First-Year Civic Engagement (FYCE) builds on the work and scholarship of many, and especially on four monographs and a teleconference: An American Democracy Project Initiative of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and The New York Times Knowledge Network. Democracy and Civic Engagement. A Guide for Higher Education. Knowlton, Steve R. and Betsy O. Barefoot, eds. (1999). Using National Newspapers in the College Classroom. Resources to Improve Teaching and Learning (Monograph 28). Columbia, SC: National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition and The New York Times. Perry, James L. and Steven G. Jones, eds. (2006). Quick Hits for Educating Citizens. Successful Strategies by Award-Winning Teachers. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition. Promoting the Public Good: Fulfilling Higher Education s Civic Mission, Teleconference #1 of the 2004 Teleconference Series. March 4, Video and Teleconference Resource Packet.
7 Zlotkowski, Edward, ed. (2002). Service-Learning and the First- Year Experience (Monograph 34). Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina, National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition. FYCE is co-published by The New York Times and the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, providing a resource for next-level work. The monograph is produced and distributed by The New York Times as a service to the higher education community. A preview presentation on this monograph at the June 2007 conference of The American Democracy Project gave an overview of the chapters resources and case studies from three institutions. Participants responded as we hope will readers of this monograph: with shared enthusiasm for first-year civic engagement programs, lively discussion of goals for programs, and eager exchange of structures and strategies. To facilitate access to resources, the monograph has its own Web site, [ which lists contact information for case study authors and Web sites for chapter authors organizations. The site posts links to supplemental materials for the cases (valuable models syllabi, assessment materials, etc.) and will later post new cases. I am grateful to all the contributors to First-Year Civic Engagement: Sound Foundations for College, Citizenship and Democracy and especially to Tracy Skipper, Editorial Projects Coordinator for the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, and The New York Times, for their leadership and collaboration on this project. WORK CITED National Panel Report, Association of American Colleges and Universities (2002). Greater Expectations. A New Vision for Learning as a Nation Goes to College. Washington D.C.: Association of American Colleges and Universities. 1 These are the goals most directly related to the teaching and learning of civic engagement. See the report s Executive Overview (x-xii) for The Learning Students Need for the Twenty-First Century.
9 INTRODUCTION Civic Engagement: The Transforming Theme for the First College Year John N. Gardner, Executive Director, Policy Center on the First Year of College As of this writing, it is 46 years since I was a first-year college student, and one very different from most of those we teach today. I was (and am) white, male, hailing from New England, Protestant, a son of affluent parents. I was in my first college year a full-time, unemployed, residential student at a small, very traditional (and proud of it) liberal arts college on the banks of two beautiful rivers in Ohio. I spent many hours that first fall rowing on a crew team. In some ways, that experience alone was transformational, making a life-long impact on my character development and instilling in me self-discipline, respect for the mindbody-health connection, and reverence for good leadership. That fall provided another transformational experience. One of my professors dared to suggest that I emulate him and take a walk each day to the local bus station where The New York Times came in on the 11:22 a.m. Greyhound from Pittsburgh. He was not urging me to take a daily constitutional stroll (although there would have been nothing wrong had that been his point), but rather suggesting that my thinking and ultimately behavioral choices might be influenced if I joined him in reading an outstanding national newspaper. I have been doing it ever since, for forty-six years. And it has been transformative. So I felt more than a little amazement when The New York Times first reached out to me in 1997 to help it in its efforts to create the next generation of readers for newspapers in general and national newspapers in particular. That effort led to the readership programs brought to the academy by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. And it led to many more steps, including this monograph and an earlier monograph, Using National Newspapers in the College Classroom (1999), published by the University of South Carolina s National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and The New York Times. My wife, Betsy Barefoot, was the co-editor of that volume, with Steven R. Knowlton. I had the privilege of contributing a chapter. Now eight years later, I am still working on the challenges of improving the first year, still reading The New York Times daily, and still looking for that what s next? to improve the first year. Reading the chapters and case studies for this latest National Resource Center/New York Times endeavor confirms for me that I have found that what s next? for the first-year movement: a question that I hope others will take up as a challenge. What would happen if colleges and universities intentionally introduced students, especially first-year students, to the concepts of civic engagement and public service? What I want to do in framing this monograph is to reflect on the eight chapters by national leaders in higher education and civic engagement and the 33 case studies reports from the field and situate them in the larger context of the efforts of so many educators and institutions to improve the beginning college experience. In this introduction, I explore the ideals and benefits of first-year civic engagement: why it is good for the students, our colleges, and our communities local, national, and global. In the monograph s closing chapter, I share some thoughts on where and how to integrate civic engagement into our institutions missions and plans, curricula and co-curricula, and especially into students first college year. The First Year Then and Now For a moment, back to my own first year. Way back then, my college, Marietta, did not have a first-year experience in the way we use that terminology today. It did not take broad responsibility for student learning; that was students responsibility. To the contrary, the college was even proud of its attrition rate. I remember the president telling the entering freshmen in 1961 that each student should take a look at the students on either side because they would not be there four years later when the rest of us graduated. And the look on his face suggested that this attrition was not a problem, but rather a measure of institutional quality. Four decades later, we are all still in the pursuit of quality, but we are measuring it differently, thank goodness! As a new college student, I was defined by that sixteenthcentury term freshman. Many of us were still fresh and the majority of us were men. And the majority of us had a year to do the freshman year. We were not offered a collection of programs to enhance student success and retention. There was no freshman seminar at Marietta, nor learning communities, nor Supplemental Instruction, nor any of the many interventions that colleges, including Marietta, have today, many of which I have helped design. And we certainly didn t have a focus on civic engagement, at least not by design. In one of the four years I was at Marietta,
10 we had the great flood of the Ohio. In 1963, many of the college s students mobilized to help the riverfront merchants sandbag and save their properties. Beyond this effort, most of us were not particularly involved with the local community during our time at Marietta. By the end of my college years, in 1965, some of us were volunteering to serve our country in the escalating war in Vietnam. I decided to go to graduate school, rather than attend seminary, or work for a defense contractor, or get married all ways to earn a draft deferment. But the draft got me anyway, and I was introduced to civic engagement of a sort never envisioned by my college. My introduction came from my Air Force squadron commander, of the 363rd Tactical Hospital at Shaw AFB, South Carolina. I had been on my new base not even 48 hours when he called me into his office for a formal interview and informed me that he had reviewed my records: Gardner, except for the physicians, you have more education than anyone on this squadron. The Air Force needs college teachers and so I want you to do some college teaching. I informed him that I had never done any college teaching and had never intended to do any. He was dismissive and informed me that the Air Force believes in the importance of performing public service and that s all there was to that. Two weeks later, I found myself in a college classroom, this time as a part-time adjunct instructor. Soon I was loving it and within several months had an epiphany: I had found my vocation a way not only to earn a legal living, but also to be paid to read, write, talk, and help people the four things I love to do the most. I often reflect on how different my college experience might have been had Marietta then taken responsibility for getting me civically engaged, as it does now, especially with its Leadership students. So I return to my question: what if by design, our colleges introduced students to civic engagement? Some of us faculty want to repeat for students what was done for and to us. Some of us want to do it differently. I want to do it differently to ensure that we intentionally introduce students to civic engagement and public service. The First-Year Experience Now Today we use the term first-year experience to mean a particular programmatic intervention to improve the retention and success of new college students. When I use this phrase, I use it not in the narrower context of one program, and certainly not to describe one particular program, the first-year seminar. When I write about the first-year experience, I am talking about the totality of everything a campus does to, with, and for its new students. The first-year seminar, though, as part of the first-year experience, is related to our focus on civic engagement. Found in some form in 94% of the accredited, undergraduate degrees (Policy Center on the First Year of College, 2002), the first-year seminar provides the opportunity for faculty leadership, a support group of fellow students, and a desirable introduction to the formal learning processes of students and the programs of the institution. It has become one of the most ubiquitous delivery mechanisms for integrating students into their new college community. The seminar is an ideal site for integrating civic engagement. Why the First Year Matters To make the case for first-year civic engagement, we need first to make the case for paying more attention, effort, time, resources, and credit, to the beginning college experience. From an educational, human, and societal paradigm, we see a number of compelling reasons for the importance of the first year. The first year of college is the foundation for students undergraduate careers. The decisions and activities of the first year determine students success at the beginning of college and build a foundation for success in the remaining years. These decisions and activities include: (a) learning how to learn in college, collegiate study, test-taking skills, and critical thinking; (b) appreciating the liberal arts and general education; (c) choosing a major (and perhaps a career); (d) developing time management; understanding economies of time ; increasing the levels of time, attention, and energy given to college work; (e) earning a good grade point average, so essential to maintaining financial aid, satisfactory progress, athletic eligibility, family support, and self-respect; (f ) developing positive attitudes towards faculty and mentors, learning to interact with them outside of class (a key behavior in facilitating retention); (g) developing positive attitudes towards the campus (the basis of levels of student satisfaction); (h) developing relationships that will last a lifetime and influence values and life choices; (i) deciding which groups to affiliate with (with important impacts on behavioral choices); (j) making choices about behaviors that endure long after college behaviors affecting areas as diverse as overall health and wellness (e.g., drinking and eating habits, engaging in sexual activity) and civic engagement (e.g., service, voting, being politically active). The first college year provides the opportunity to introduce students to the kinds of thinking and experiences that the institution values including, importantly, civic engagement. It also provides an important baseline for assessing how effective higher education initiatives are in instilling the values institutions espouse. Understanding the entering characteristics of students provides a basis for measuring long-term change and value-added education. The Case for Requiring Civic Engagement in the First Year As George Mehaffy writes in this monograph, the first year is a time of experimentation and discovery. Students begin college
11 open to new experiences. Civic engagement initiatives channel this growth to educationally and socially meaningful outcomes. Given the rapidity with which many college students make affiliation choices, we need to connect students to the community early in the first term, make civic engagement an early competitor for their time, resources, and loyalty, and make their colleagues in civic engagement some of their first new friends. Let s listen to our students: First-year students report very mixed satisfaction levels with opportunities for community service and the relevance of coursework to everyday life: we can and should be doing better. Monograph chapter author John Pryor reports that in Your First College Survey, conducted by UCLA s Higher Education Research Institute with the participation of a national cohort of 144 institutions and 38,538 first-year students: % of respondents were very satisfied or satisfied with their opportunities for community service, but 42.7% were neutral, and 7.5% were dissatisfied. We can do better! % were very satisfied or satisfied with the relevance of coursework to everyday life, but 37.1% were neutral and 11.8% were dissatisfied. Dissatisfied students are bored students, more prone to drop out. We can do better! There are troubling degrees of first-year student academic disengagement. This is manifested by students frequently or occasionally coming to class late (63.1%), or not coming to class at all (32.7%); turning in assignments that do not reflect their best work (42.5%) or late (15.7%). Most disturbingly, 43.5% of students reported that they frequently felt bored in class. Only 24.1% reported that they frequently felt that their classes inspired them to think in new ways. Surely, we can do better. Many students engage in other activities. This sample yielded the findings that 39% studied or did homework less than six hours per week, 30.8% six to ten hours a week, and only 30.2% invested eleven or more hours a week. We can provide incentives for higher levels of engagement. We have much power and imprimatur, and we can do better. The case for incorporating civic engagement in the first-year experience is strongest for me when I look at what students expect to do upon coming to college versus what they actually do. More expect there is some chance or a very good chance (74.6%) to engage in community service during the first year, but fewer actually do (61.5%). We need to meet and raise! their expectations. We need to require civic engagement. The beginning college experience, especially the curriculum, can lead most students to experience something intellectually that they would not, if left to their own devices, have chosen. We call this general education. And even though at most institutions, the required common elements of the general education curriculum have been greatly diluted over the last three decades, students are still forced to invest significant intellectual time in subject matter they might initially regard as irrelevant. Required immersion into their communities may actually serve as a countervailing force, placing students in what is definitely the real world. The very fact that on most campuses there are so few common, required academic experiences argues for a unifying ideal across the first year. We can implement this with mandatory, course-embedded civic engagement. We have vastly reduced the common experiences that historically were sources of student bonding and connectedness with the institution. (To discover this for yourself, pick up any course catalog and do a search for the verbs will, must, and shall. You will find very few. At best, all students are required to apply, pay fees, register, but little else.) It is no wonder that we face challenges of retaining students in a structured environment where we take so few opportunities to create common, shared experiences, particularly those that might link the curriculum and the co-curriculum and students to the college and the community. Late adolescence/early adulthood is a period for testing out future adult citizen behaviors, the practice of ethical skills, group affiliation choices, intellectual habits of inquiry. We should use course-based civic engagement to encourage all of these. For traditional-aged college students living on campus, civic engagement in a course setting forces contact outside the normal confines of youth culture. As first-year students create their new home, civic engagement forces them to cross social, cultural, and generational divides and gain valuable learning. Students gain wider experience and an opportunity for informed engagement with their new community. Civic engagement looks beyond a focus on job preparation. For many of us in the academy, this consumer model for higher education has generated dismay, frustration, and even denial. For many students, higher education has become a mere means to an end, that of improved employment opportunities and making more money. Many of our classes reflect this conflict: professors see higher education as an end in itself; students have a more utilitarian approach and see the class as a means to grades, credits, degree, job, the good life. A central theme of civic engagement asks professors to connect teaching and learning to benefits for both students and society; it asks students to broaden their horizons, discover new ideas and contexts, and apply their knowledge. Civic engagement provides a context/structure for the important out-of-class contact between students and faculty/staff and with community members. The challenges of out-of-class educational interaction have never been greater. Many students commute. Even today s residential students stay in touch with family members and past associates with great ease, and many work. Civic engagement offers new connections and mentoring based in the classroom and beyond the classroom.
12 Requiring civic engagement demonstrates how much we value it, for students and for democracy. Certainly new college students are even busier than they had anticipated. To meet college costs, many must work more hours than they had anticipated. For some, college is more difficult than anticipated and requires more study time. Integrating civic engagement into first-year curricula establishes its place in the competition for students time. I believe that within our curricula, we must encourage, inspire, and require a significant investment of students time in civic engagement. Surely we can and must do better. A New Call for the First-Year Experience For almost three decades, first-year experience programs have focused on students success as they begin college. The diversity of our programs serves many different kinds of students in many types of institutions. The evolution of our programs brings us to a readiness for renewed idealism and focus, and I believe requiring civic engagement in the first college year can center us, with great benefit to our students, institutions, communities, and country. For higher education, civic engagement has to be the new what s next in the first year. The first-year movement needs a set of more aspirational goals and desired outcomes from the foundation of the college experience. Higher education operates with both ideals and practicalities. Too often institutions see the first year too narrowly in a retention model, a revenue model. That paradigm argues that the significant loss of new students through attrition is a business/ financial loss and that this loss can be stemmed by having all employees adopt more business-like attitudes and practices toward the care and feeding of new students. I see civic engagement as the rallying cry to move us beyond this business model to renewed ideals for the first college year. As a central theme and an organizing structure for curricula and co-curricula, it challenges students to think critically about realworld issues, encourages active learning, and asks them to reflect on values. Civic engagement returns us to the original purpose of American higher education: development of leaders and civic improvement. From the societal perspective, what could be more important? Every society has systems and pipelines for leadership preparation: the church, the military, the practice of certain occupations. Starting with the Colonial college, this important regenerative task has also been the work of higher education. In America, especially now, higher education assumes this role. Civic engagement in first-year instruction suggests that higher education is about moving this next generation of college students into the important roles of improving communities for the greater good of all, not just for individual benefits. Opposing a more utilitarian and less intellectual, even anti-intellectual, view of the purposes of college, higher education can tend to the development of societal leaders who are intellectual, rational, philosophical, and civic-minded. We can re-claim the ideals of higher education. We must do this beginning in students first year. Civic engagement can continue to strengthen the historic and mutually beneficial bonds between campus and community. Especially in communities where town/gown relations may have become strained over time, civic engagement offers great promise for improving those relations. Many communities hope college students will be future residents and use their energy and talents for the betterment of the community. It s high time we gave back, some would argue. We of the academy are always asking for money, from local, regional, state, and national communities. Leaders at many levels cabinet-level officers, deans, department chairs, individual faculty have all had to become fund-raisers. We are perceived in some quarters (particularly in state legislatures) to have insatiable appetites for resources. We are perceived by some to have an entitlement mentality. Civic engagement gives us a wonderful opportunity to give back to the very communities we are constantly soliciting. First-Year Civic Engagement: Now and Next This monograph s chapters and case studies present resources and models that can help us do better. We can and must move our programs for the first year of college from a retention or business model to a center of ideals for academic excellence and civic life. George Mehaffy s chapter leads and introduces the chapters by other higher education and civic engagement leaders. Betsy Barefoot s chapter introduces and analyzes the case studies. The case studies show what can happen when colleges and universities intentionally introduce first-year students to the concepts and practice of civic engagement. Following those, my closing chapter proposes action steps to make civic engagement the new what s next for the first year. With idealism and purpose, we can do better! WORK CITED Policy Center on the First Year of College. (2002). Second National Survey of First-Year Academic Practices. (
13 CHAPTER 1 Preparing Undergraduates to Be Citizens: The Critical Role of the First Year of College George Mehaffy, Vice President for Academic Leadership and Change, American Association of State Colleges and Universities; Director, American Democracy Project The aim [of education] must be the training of independently acting and thinking individuals who, however, see in the service to the community their highest life achievement. Albert Einstein, address at a convention at the State University of New York in Albany, October 15, In School and Society 44 (1936). Published as On Education, in Out of My Later Years, 36. Introduction Whether students are 18 or non-traditional, older students, the first year of college is a significant point of demarcation. For the 18-year-old, the first college year represents a break from home and family, as well as a dramatic break from the K-12 school routine. For the non-traditional college student, the first year often means a departure from (or often, an addition to) a previous life of work and/or family obligation. For both types of students, however, the first year of college offers both experimentation and discovery, and sometimes loneliness and introspection. It is, for many students, a tumultuous time. Because the first year is so fraught with change, many institutions devote specific attention to helping students adjust and adapt to the new and sometimes bewildering context of college. First-year initiatives typically focus on students adjustment, study skills, relations with roommates, campus activities, and alcohol and drug education. These and other topics common to first-year programs can be framed as learning to be a good citizen. Such focus makes the first year of college the perfect time to address the critical issues of civic engagement. This is a critical time, both for students and for the institutions they attend, to begin the often complex work of becoming knowledgeable, engaged citizens. Students have moved beyond familiar surroundings and become members of a new community, yet their role in their new community is not yet established. What a marvelous time to talk about community, about rights and responsibilities, in the college community and the larger society. A focus on civic engagement during the first year offers students a way to build connections to communities and helps them practice the skills required of citizens in a democracy. Why Focus on Civic Engagement? Thomas Ehrlich described civic engagement as:... working to make a difference in the civic life of our communities and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values, and motivation to make that difference. It means promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and nonpolitical processes. 1 Civic engagement is the lifeblood of our democracy. Without knowledgeable citizens willing to be active participants in civic life, our communities and our democracy are threatened. For these to remain strong, the principles of democracy and the ways that ordinary Americans should act as citizens must be taught to and practiced by each new generation of Americans. Certainly the times we live in demand greater citizen engagement. We must be knowledgeable about an increasingly complex, and sometimes ominous, set of issues, including pandemics, global warming, terrorism, and the viability of the nation-state. The national problems we confront are more insistent: political polarization, capitalism v. democracy, health care, the growing divide between rich and poor, the role of science v. religion. Not only must we be more knowledgeable about these issues; we must also be willing to become engaged in those issues as we vote for candidates, participate in advocacy groups, contribute time and financial resources to support organizations, and engage in other acts of citizenship. In a democracy, we must have an educated and engaged citizenry if we are to address these issues effectively. Yet as John Dewey noted,...we have taken our democracy for granted; we have thought and acted as if our forefathers had founded it once and for all. We have forgotten that it has to be enacted anew in every generation. 2 And Americans are less involved today in the work of citizenship than ever before. In the past 10 years, a series of reports have documented declining levels of participation. The Civic Health Index, released in September 2006, noted steep declines over the past 30 years in indicators of political participation. 3 In 2000, the Saguaro Seminar noted: Without strong habits of social and political participation, (America is) at risk of losing the very norms, networks, and institutions of civic life that have made us the most emulated and respected nation in history. 4 The National Commission on Civic Renewal lamented that America was turning into a nation of spectators. 5
14 The preparation of citizens was one of the original purposes of higher education in the United States. Our early colleges typically were created for religious purposes, for career preparation, and for civic leadership. How do we continue this tradition and build on it? Why Focus on Civic Engagement in the First Year of College? Higher education must focus on civic skills because the ages of are critical years for the development of habits of citizenship. Developmental psychologists report that civic habits and skills developed between 15 and 25 persist long into adulthood, shaping behavior for many years to come. The U.S. Department of Labor s Bureau of Labor Statistics reports an upward trend in the college enrollment rate for recent high school graduates since Over 65% of high school graduates from the class of 2006 enrolled in colleges or universities in fall Colleges and universities are a natural venue for shaping civic skills and habits in a significant portion of our citizenry. 6 It is appropriate to focus on civic engagement in the first year of college, even when so much else is going on. In a four-year curriculum, it makes no sense to discard one quarter of the opportunity available to influence students. The first year of college can be chaotic, but it is also when students develop study habits and behaviors that persist throughout college. The first year is when students begin to make decisions about majors and develop connections to their institution and community, or think about dropping out, stopping out, or transferring. A focus on civic obligations during this crucial time can shape the direction of students college years, and perhaps their careers. Perhaps most importantly, the first year is when students are taking much of their general education content. Those same courses provide students with the greatest opportunity to develop analytical and reasoning skills, develop historical understandings, and learn to work with others who are different. These introductory courses can help students learn to situate themselves within a larger world, to understand their place in a community of others, and to connect their experiences to those of others. For these reasons, the first year of college is when civic engagement should be introduced and integrated. For the institution, introducing civic engagement in the first year can provide an organizing theme. Building those connections for students helps them become engaged in their studies, and engagement often predicts both success and retention. Making the first year of college more coherent and more comprehensible to students is an institutional success strategy, as well as a strategy for ensuring greater student success. Creating Civically Engaged First-Year Students What does it take to create civically engaged graduates, starting with students first year of college? Three critical features are: institutional intention (leadership, culture, policies); programs and activities (curriculum and co-curriculum); and measuring results (institutional and course/program results, using local and national tools). In designing our programs and courses to nurture first-year civic engagement, we must intentionally address knowledge, skills, experiences, and reflection. We must teach democratic values and traditions and, if not in every course or program, somewhere in the students experience we must teach U.S. history and issues. Students must learn and practice the skills of civic engagement: identifying public problems, deliberating, listening, working as a team, understanding others perspectives, compromising, finding solutions; opinion or solution, doing individual or group work on or off campus, exercising leadership, participating actively in democracy; creating explicit connections to civic obligations. These skills are critical to students effective and sustained learning. They offer first-year students practice in the academic skills and habits of mind that can make them successful students. Indeed, civic engagement learning matches the goals of many transition-to-college programs, teaching students critical thinking and problem-solving, collaboration, time management, shortand long-term planning, and letting them examine the relationship between theory and practice, diversity issues, and their own identities in their new communities. These skills are also integral to service-learning and to civic engagement. Sometimes we use those terms interchangeably. The distinction that I make with civic engagement is the conscious practice of the skills of citizenship necessary for successful democracy, and our campuses need to model these from the time students first arrive. Institutional Culture: The Civically Engaged Campus What kind of campus community and institutional culture do students encounter in their first year? We must do more than offer courses and programs for students civic engagement; we must welcome them to a civically engaged campus. Such campuses have critical characteristics in common: the mission and other public statements; designed to educate citizens and promote civic engagement, with goals, strategies for realizing the goals, and ways to measure results; skills, experiences, and reflection; including debating issues with civility, advocating, persuading, compromising, organizing; different from themselves;
15 and to engage in democratic processes on and off campus; and service in the local community and the larger world. Such an environment establishes an ethos of civic engagement. It models individual and organizational commitment. It offers students theory and practice, meaningful application of learning, and the expectation that they reflect deeply on their experiences and life choices. This is the stage to set in students first year. How Can Civic Engagement Become Part of the First Year of College? The American Democracy Project, a joint effort of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and The New York Times, has worked for the past four years on issues of civic engagement in higher education. We have learned that building civic engagement calls for careful planning and attention by institutions seeking this outcome. A deliberate, explicit commitment to focus on civic engagement is required and that often involves conversations about what the term civic engagement means, what it would look like in the experience of first-year students, and how programs and courses could encourage students to become informed, engaged, and active citizens. In this monograph, a number of talented authors will address those issues. Let me anticipate some of the content in the chapters that follow. Tom Ehrlich, a senior scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and a wonderful colleague in the American Democracy Project, sees civic engagement as an evolution from volunteerism to political engagement. In his chapter, he argues that political engagement is hardest for students to achieve, and they often seem to prefer the less conflict-prone world of volunteering. Yet, the critical issues this nation faces are ultimately political questions that must be resolved through political processes. The good news, Ehrlich reports, is that there are ways that faculty can help students develop openness to new ideas and the capacity to evaluate arguments and justifications for their own positions and the positions of others. There are ways for colleges to help students develop judgment based in political knowledge and understanding, political skills and a strategic sense for how to use such skills, and the capacity to withstand setbacks and disappointments. From her long history as the leader of Campus Compact, an organization of college and university presidents focused on reclaiming the civic mission of higher education, Liz Hollander challenges us to think about the entire experience of first-year students as we construct programs. Research suggests that both traditional academic programs and student life programs can be effective in fostering civic engagement and that reaching all first-year students (the 100% solution) is an appropriate goal. Hollander provides insights into special programs and resources that campuses can use to encourage civic engagement among first-year students. Felice Nudelman, Director of Education at The New York Times and Don Hecker, Training Editor of Staff Editors, discuss the information sources and civic literacy of the Millennials, the new generation of college students, who in the digital age have interests and habits new to most of their professors and mentors. The authors explore how first-year students are engaged in understanding current events and analyzing issues, and they look at the role of the press and other media in students civic education. Caryn Musil describes some of the core civic skills that campuses need to teach as part of a focus on civic engagement. Her organization, the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), has been a national leader in defining and championing liberal education outcomes. Musil shows that some of the skills and attributes normally described as the outcomes of liberal education are in fact also civic skills: being open-minded, using critical thinking to analyze complex situations, and concern for the rights of others. Her taxonomy helps us develop first-year programs that can be bases for lifelong civic engagement. One often-overlooked area of civic engagement planning is assessment. Assessment needs to be summative and formative and use multiple means; a range of examples are embedded in the chapters and case studies here. In his chapter, John Pryor of the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) describes assessment strategies and some of the existing and emerging tools for measuring progress in civic engagement. HERI has worked for many years with one of the oldest surveys of incoming first-year student attitudes, the 40-year-old Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) Freshman Survey at UCLA, which provides powerful insights into the political attitudes and behaviors of students coming to college. He shows how institutions can use the CIRP Freshman Survey, the Your First College Year (YFCY) survey, and alumni surveys to gain a longitudinal perspective. The monograph concludes, appropriately, with chapters by Betsy Barefoot and John Gardner, two profoundly influential leaders in the first-year experience movement. Barefoot has an impressive collection of case studies that illustrate how such programs are created and organized. Gardner examines the intersection of civic engagement and the first year, arguing that the two issues are mutually reinforcing. His thoughtful perspectives, gleaned from a long career focused on the first year of college, provide a fitting conclusion to this monograph. Conclusion The role of colleges and universities in preparing the next generation of citizens is vital if we are to remain a strong democracy. If colleges and universities accept this role, they must begin early, in the first year of college, for the work of preparing citizens is not done in a small group of courses or in a single year. Citizenship preparation, to be most effective, must become a pervasive commitment of the institution, reflected in the academic programs, student life, and campus culture. Beginning the work of citizenship preparation in the first year of college offers students new world views and new ways of thinking of themselves and their contexts, and these new insights and understandings may in turn affect their careers, their lives. But there is another reason to embrace the work of citizenship
16 preparation. At its heart, this work is simply good educational practice. It engages students in thoughtful and important work, connects them to a larger world, and gives them skills that they will use in all dimensions of their lives. It provides a powerful explanation for why they are in college and for the purpose of their studies. It raises profound moral questions about how we live and work together as human beings in a global society. It challenges them to consider not only how the world is, but how it might be. It offers intellectual and moral complexities that force them to confront their own inadequacies. And it inspires them to move beyond themselves to consider others. For undergraduate students, and for our nation, there can be no more important educational outcomes. 1 Preface, page vi Civic Responsibility and Higher Education, edited by Thomas Ehrlich, published by Oryx Press, Teachers College Record Volume 3 Number 26, 1937, p ID Number: 13522, Date Accessed: 6/1/2007 3:01:41 PM accessed
17 CHAPTER 2 Learning for Political Engagement Thomas Ehrlich, Senior Scholar, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Overwhelmingly these days, when we talk about politics at all, we talk just with those who think as we do liberals talk with liberals, conservatives talk with conservatives. Students are no different in this respect from the rest of us. They find a group of like-minded students, and stick with them. In some ways, of course, this strategy makes good sense shared perspectives suggest a broad platform for friendship. But this is a bad strategy for undergraduate learning about political or public-policy issues, for students following that strategy will rarely be challenged about their political views in ways that help them to examine their judgments, and in the process, to grow in wisdom. Educating students to be actively engaged in civic and political affairs is an essential goal of higher education in the United States, a goal consistent with the academy s core value of open inquiry. We need to assume leadership in educating our students in and out of the classroom in the values, skills, and knowledge needed for democracy. We need to help students develop their openness to new ideas and their capacity to evaluate their own positions and the positions of others. Research shows that the potential for promoting this capacity is particularly high among first-year students. Since 2003, colleagues at the Carnegie Foundation and I have been engaged in the Political Engagement Project (PEP), an intense study of how students learn about politics and how to facilitate that learning. By politics, we mean not just partisan political activity but also public policy-making through informal and nongovernmental institutions as well as efforts to influence public officials or formal government entities. Our new book based on the study is Colby, Beaumont, Ehrlich, and Corngold, Educating for Democracy: Preparing Undergraduates for Responsible Political Engagement, published by Jossey-Bass. We came to this work as a natural progression from an earlier book we wrote, Colby, Ehrlich, Beaumont, and Stephens, Educating Citizens ( Jossey-Bass, 2003). In that study, we examined 12 campuses that do a particularly good job of educating for civic engagement and moral responsibility. All of these colleges and universities are marked by a high degree of what we call institutional intentionality. They have their campus act together in terms of civic engagement. From the outset of the first-year experience on these campuses, students are made aware of the high expectations that the faculty and administration have for them in terms of gaining the knowledge, skills, and motivation to become civic leaders in their communities. Students learn these expectations and take the initial steps toward meeting them in reading and responding to materials received before admission, in summer readings sent before the start of the first year, in first-year convocations, in numerous other reinforcing experiences in the curriculum and the co-curriculum, and in what we call the campus climate or culture. As a result, the identities of most students at these campuses were significantly shaped in terms of moral responsibility and civic engagement, two strands that are closely intertwined. We found much in that prior work to encourage us. Surveys show that students are far more likely today than previously to come to college having already participated in community service; campuses across the country report an explosion of service-learning courses and extra-curricular service activities. In that sense, civic engagement in colleges and universities is booming. But when we looked closely at what the students were actually doing in both their curricular and extra-curricular civic efforts, we found that the overwhelming majority were engaged in nonpolitical activities. Students were individually working to clean up a park, tutor a child, serve in a soup kitchen. These are all important tasks, ones communities need. And they were often connected to academic learning through structured reflection. But the students were too rarely asking, What would it take to ensure that my community no longer needs a soup kitchen? Or to improve its schools or parks? Students all too seldom were involved in real discussions and debates about systemic change, about the kinds of public policy-making that in our democracy requires political dialogue and debate. Educating for Democracy: Political Engagement In Educating for Democracy we set forth the key goals and pedagogies of education for political engagement (structured reflection, research and action projects, outside speakers, and external placements); spell out the specific purposes these pedagogies serve; and offer guidelines for using them, warnings about challenges they present, and suggestions for overcoming those challenges. Our study does not focus just on first-year students, but there is much
18 in it of particular interest to those working with first-year students. Moreover, my Carnegie colleagues and I are collaborating with eight AASCU campuses in the American Democracy Project (ADP) with a view to reaching most of the students on those campuses with lessons learned from our study, and the primary focus of those campuses is the first-year experience. We identified more than 50 curricular and extra-curricular courses and programs specifically aimed at educating for political engagement. From the data and information we drew from surveying students both before and after they participated in these initiatives, from interviews with faculty and students, and from examining materials used by the faculty and papers prepared by the students, we learned a great deal about educating for political engagement. There is some good news. First and most important, these offerings are succeeding in promoting greater political engagement among participating students. Students show significant gains in terms of knowledge and understanding, skills, motivation and values, and action and involvement after participating in civic education experiences. Second, these courses and programs are not creating significant changes in students partisan identification (e.g., Democratic or Republican) or political ideologies (i.e., where they would place themselves on a liberal-conservative continuum). These findings support the legitimacy of this work in educational institutions and reflect the fact that faculty involved work hard to maintain an atmosphere of open inquiry and expose students to many and varied viewpoints. They do not seek to indoctrinate students into any particular ideology. We did find in our study, however, that sometimes reasoned discourse is not enough to ensure protection for minority views on a campus or in a classroom. Students holding minority views may not fully grasp the process of reasoned discourse, and faculty need to teach them how to make the best possible case for their position. In a number of the courses in our study, students are assigned to advocate particular policy positions as a way to enhance their reasoning skills and also to recognize how important it is to understand deeply those views with which one disagrees, if only to be able to respond persuasively to critics who argue for those views. Goals and Strategies for Education for Political Engagement The overarching goal in our work has been to educate for political engagement that reflects wise judgment based in sound political knowledge and understanding, expertise in a wide range of political skills and a strong strategic sense for when and how to deploy those skills, along with steadfast resolve, including the capacity to withstand setbacks and disappointments. That is an ambitious agenda. An undergraduate can make only a start toward these goals, of course, but we have seen substantial evidence that the college years can be times of real progress toward achieving them. It should come as no surprise that students who come with little interest or experience in politics experience the biggest gains. In our study, these students gained the most from the courses and programs compared with those with strong backgrounds. But even those students who came to college already excited and knowledgeable gained in understanding, skills, and motivation. Our study singles out five clusters of strategies for particular attention research and action projects, outside speakers, discussion and deliberation, external placements, and structured reflection. These are all strategies that are already widely used on most campuses. We explore adapting those strategies for political learning in rigorous ways that also enhance other academic goals. We provide rich examples of how these five approaches can be employed in a wide variety of settings and subjects, along with illustrations of the challenges faced and how best to overcome those challenges. In this chapter, I focus on one set of challenges: How to avoid drowning in hot water when you talk about politics in your courses or in other campus settings. I use one of the five strategies, engaging political speakers, by way of primary illustration. The Imperative of Open Inquiry My colleagues and I ground our work in what we call the imperative of open inquiry. This imperative makes college education for political engagement very different from other sources from which students learn about politics most often the media, politicians, public-policy makers, and others who attempt to influence them. In fact, demonization of the political opposition is so woven into our society that it s no surprise that students fear being harshly judged if they speak up for an unpopular view. Moreover, faculty as well as students are often unaware of the values and beliefs that are implicit in their approach to an issue. Academically based education for political engagement must be non-partisan, unbiased, open to multiple points of view, grounded in deep knowledge and serious deliberation, and civil in tone. It can be passionate, of course, but the passion must be grounded in reason and evidence. In other realms, it is enough to say that you care deeply about some issue. But in the academy, that caring must be backed by reasoned analysis. Education for political engagement is legitimate only if it is consistent with core values of the academy: intellectual integrity, mutual respect and tolerance, willingness to listen to the ideas of others, commitment to rational discourse, procedural impartiality, and civility. Those values are essential to the central task of higher education, and it is critical that students learn them in their first year of college. These values become accepted not when they are imposed externally, but rather when they are adopted as norms of behavior because faculty and administrators see that they are practiced as part of the everyday expectations of academic life. What does this mean for educating students? Most fundamentally, we are suggesting that faculty help students develop two key abilities: (1) an openness to new ideas and (2) the capacity to evaluate arguments and justifications for their own positions and the positions of others. Again, the potential for promoting this capacity is particularly high among freshmen. A key way to teach these goals is to model them, and faculty should certainly be encouraged to do so. This means that when teaching for political engagement, it is important to provide multiple perspectives whenever possible, though not necessarily equal time for all viewpoints.
19 What about academic freedom? It is, of course, a core value of the academy, and faculty must determine the goals and content of their courses and make judgments on whether and how to address controversial issues. But academic freedom carries with it academic responsibility, and a central commitment to intellectual quality reasoned justification of claims, presentation of evidence, consideration of plausible alternative explanations and objections is part of what we mean by open inquiry. Civility is also a core academic value, but it is one too often assumed without much discussion. Incivility on campus is generally not premeditated, but rather arises in casual asides, jokes, and comments meant to lighten up or personalize a class or talk. It is well to remind faculty and students to consider how others might take such comments. Bringing Political Speakers to Campus Among the scores of speakers who come to college campuses to talk about politics or public policy issues, some are elected or appointed government officials; some are political activists, leaders of social movements or important interest groups; some are experts who share their views on public policy issues from nonelected or non-governmental positions. They provide teachable moments that can be used to encourage students to reflect seriously on the competing perspectives, ideals, and arguments that emerge from their talks and that sometimes surround their visits. Most seek to educate students, and many also seek to motivate them politically. Speakers are often invited to give campus talks or addresses as part of special university programs, both academic and co-curricular, and these campus-wide speakers can be usefully connected to educational programs that address political engagement. Other speakers are invited to give informal, and often more interactive, talks in particular courses and programs. These speakers are also very rich sources of political learning. Engaging students with invited speakers can convey political knowledge, stimulate political motivation, and help establish a campus climate in which politics is seen as important and exciting and where being open-minded is valued. On most campuses, the administration is closely involved in inviting speakers, but it is also useful for students to take an active role in helping to select the types of panels and events and the particular speakers they think will be most interesting and important for the campus community. Even a speaker who is not particularly well known can bring a wealth of experience in politics or in work that connects with key political and policy issues. Indeed, our conversations with students made it clear that local or less highly visible political figures can sometimes have a greater impact on students than those who are more prominent. These relatively low-profile speakers often seem more like real people to students and are easier for students to identify with than larger-than-life figures. This is especially so when they tell stories of their political work in spheres of action that feel familiar or accessible to students, thus helping students see that they too could take action of that sort. Engaging Students Politically A number of challenges are present in teaching for political engagement. Although lack of civility can certainly be a problem, we found a much more serious issue is often that students become so fearful of offending each other that they refuse to clash intellectually in strenuous arguments and debate. They think it is enough if each states his or her own views, and all listen politely without real engagement. A corollary of this all-too-common phenomenon on college campuses is a troubling relativism, a judgment that all points of view should implicitly be taken as equally valid. Perhaps this phenomenon is better described as a permanent suspension of judgment. In all events, this kind of disengagement on the one hand and relativism on the other is deeply dangerous. Remaining always open to new ideas and new approaches is an essential part of learning in college, but college should also be a time when students arrive at political judgments they are willing to defend and act on. Faculty can model this kind of shaping by their own actions, though it is obviously important to distinguish faculty members roles as teachers and as private persons. It is perfectly reasonable that they should express their own views, though in the courses and programs that we studied, we found differences among faculty members about whether it was useful to disclose their personal judgments on public policy and other political issues being discussed in class. Some felt that the expression of their views would stifle debate, even though that expression was accompanied by strong encouragement to challenge those views and express other opinions. Others found it much more straightforward to state their judgments and the reasons behind those judgments, while recognizing the legitimacy of differing opinions. What about the arguments that the campus is too politically homogeneous? We looked hard at this issue. In brief, a recent study by the Higher Education Research Institute suggests that across all campuses in all parts of the country there are more liberal than conservative faculty. But we also concluded that wide variations exist within the faculty. The sciences, engineering, and business faculties are generally more conservative, and the humanities faculties, along with some of the social sciences, are generally more liberal. Moreover, faculties at some faith-based institutions are more conservative, and faculties in the California Bay Area are more liberal and so forth. In short, the imbalance is less (and it is more unevenly distributed) than some critics suggest. In my own experience, the potential for problems is much more significant at the graduate level in the arts and sciences than among undergraduates, for graduate students are effectively apprenticed to a single faculty member while undergraduates are generally exposed to a much broader range of perspectives. Recommendations In Educating for Democracy, we suggest some proven approaches for engaging students, for encouraging them to be motivated to make political engagement a part of who they are and what is important to them. We realize that passion for a cause is important to political engagement as are analytic abilities, and the two are
20 often in tension. Political participation frequently involves emotion-laden rhetoric personal testimony, mass protests, and so forth. Students need to gain an appreciation of the diversity of expression these modes represent even though they are not part of academic discourse. And they need to understand the value of open inquiry most immediately on the campuses of which they are a part, but also in the daily practice of living their lives especially, though not exclusively when they are considering matters of public policy. And they need to begin this appreciation, understanding, and learning in their first year of college. In the face of these challenges, we must remember that open inquiry is a kind of acquired taste, and students need to be exposed to multiple, overlapping, and reinforcing occasions when open inquiry is practiced. There is no magic bullet, no single wand that when waved will work for all students in all circumstances. Faculty can do much to promote the value of open-minded inquiry within the classroom. At the very least, they can examine their assignments and what they say in class through the lens of open inquiry. A strategy some faculty use is to ask students to conduct research on and present the strongest arguments they can marshal for two or more quite different positions on contentious issues. Such an assignment requires students to bring a degree of sympathy to positions they do not hold. Some of the faculty and administrative leaders of courses and programs in the Political Engagement Project teach students to take on explicitly the role of moderator or overseer of the discussion s tone as well as productivity. For each class, for example, Professor Rick Battistoni at Providence College assigns one student to be the discussion moderator and another to be what he calls a vibes watcher, who encourages students to speak when they appear reluctant to express minority views. Students take turns playing these roles, and many commented to us on the special value of having a vibes watcher. The very act of creating and using a role like this in discussions calls attention to the process and character of productive deliberation. Faculty should also pay particular attention to assessment when teaching for political engagement. Sometimes students believe their academic work has been evaluated based on the political views it expresses, rather than its quality, even when this is not true. For this and other obvious reasons, it is essential to make assessment criteria explicit and to provide as much feedback as possible based on those criteria. ********* The task of preparing college students to engage in political affairs, defined in ways that meet their own concerns and interests, requires leadership from those of us at institutions of higher education. With John Dewey, I believe that democracy and education are inexorably intertwined. This is not simply because our citizenry must be educated to deal honestly with each other and to choose responsibly our political leaders and hold them accountable. Much more important, a democratic society is one in which citizens interact with each other, learn from each other, grow with each other, and together make their communities more than the sum of their parts. To help translate that goal into effective educational programs is our common task, and we dare not fail.
21 CHAPTER 3 Campus Compact: Fostering the Civic Engagement of College Students Elizabeth L. Hollander, Senior Fellow, Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service, Tufts University; former Executive Director, Campus Compact Over the last two decades, the resources to support students civic engagement have expanded exponentially, on our campuses and through our national associations. The growth of Campus Compact, an organization of college and university presidents, is one marker of how American campuses are reclaiming the civic mission of higher education. The organization is a resource for institutions and practitioners who want to create civic engagement opportunities for students, with institutional intentionality and with developmental models for student learning. Its Web site ( provides essential readings on theory and practice and models for curricula and co-curricula and collaborations of institutions and communities. Campus Compact started in 1985 when the presidents of Georgetown (Tim Healy), Stanford (Don Kennedy) and Brown (Howard Swearer) came together with Frank Newman (then president of the Education Commission of the States) to respond to the critique of college students as the me generation. These leaders did not believe that college students were self-centered and lacked idealism. They believed, instead, that students needed more campus-sponsored opportunities for public and community service. They hoped to find 100 college presidents who agreed with them. Campus Compact s Presidents Declaration of the Civic Responsibility of Higher Education has now been signed by over 500 college and university presidents. 1 The Declaration challenges higher education to become engaged, through actions and teaching, with its communities to renew our role as agents of our democracy a task both urgent and long-term. It recognizes the importance of this mission: This country cannot afford to educate a generation that acquires knowledge without ever understanding how that knowledge can benefit society or how to influence democratic decision making. We must teach the skills and values of democracy, creating innumerable opportunities for our students to practice and reap the results of the real, hard work of citizenship. 2 In 2006, Campus Compact published A More Perfect Vision: The Future of Campus Engagement 3, looking forward from our two decades of work. More than 40 presidents, faculty, CAOs, community service staff, students, community partners, and funders address key issues for the 21st century: embedding civic and community engagement into higher education at all levels, bridging the opportunity gap by improving educational access and success, and educating students for global citizenship. In 2007, Campus Compact membership stood at nearly 1,100 campuses. Two- and four-year, public and private institutions in 32 states 4 have statewide Compact offices, and several others are being organized. The 2005 Campus Compact annual survey of campuses estimated the combined value of the service provided by students on these member campuses to be $5.6 billion. Campus Compact has developed a powerful network of thousands of campus leaders, including presidents, senior administrators, staff, and faculty. State directors regularly bring campus service and service-learning directors and educators together; sponsor conferences, faculty workshops; and presidential meetings; award grants; and recognize and disseminate best practice. They also lead state-based efforts to support the civic mission of higher education. The Campus Compact national office at Brown University maintains a Web site with myriad model programs, including a host of first-year models. 5 The national office also offers publications and a consulting corps to assist campuses in developing their civic engagement programs. This office regularly gives awards that recognize best practice and outstanding faculty and students. Broadening Conceptions of the Civic Mission In the 20 years since the founding of Campus Compact, our concept of the civic responsibility of higher education has broadened. Early on, the emphasis was on engaging students in co-curricular service activities. This, however, did not fully educate students for active citizenship. Many were not voting, nor did they feel they could make systemic change in their society. To deepen civic education and ensure better preparation and deeper reflection about the challenges facing society, many institutions embedded civic action in the curriculum. Faculty ownership of civic education was, and is, considered essential to weaving it into the fabric of higher education. The concept of the engaged campus has extended beyond
22 educating students for active citizenship, to include the concept of the campus acting as a good citizen. Many campuses now recognize their responsibility, and self interest, to foster the social and economic well being of their host communities. They provide scholarships for neighborhood youth, partner with local K-12 education systems, invest in local development, and open physical facilities to local residents. Engaged campuses also encourage community-based research that serves local needs. Colleges and universities are in a much stronger position to educate their students to be active citizens when they themselves walk the walk. The First Year of College A Time for the 100% Strategy The most thoughtful campuses understand that civic education is a developmental process. They plan for their first-year civic engagement programs to be a base for students ongoing development and to develop different kinds of civic skills. 6 With institutional intentionality 7, they design a constellation of programs to reach 100% of their first-year students. For some students from middle- and upper-income, homogeneous communities, college service experiences are the first, and often shocking, recognition of the other America. Processing that reality and gaining understanding of the large divide between rich and poor, and what one can do about it, require well-crafted opportunities for reflection and learning. It also requires program design for opportunities to understand the community assets available in even the poorest communities, and the importance of truly reciprocal and respectful community engagement. An example of how a developmental approach is manifest in a student s life is seen in Kymber Lovett, a student at James Madison University in Virginia. A social work major, she was surprised by the service-learning requirement in a first-year course. She worked in a Boys and Girls club her first year. In her sophomore year, the college service center asked her to supervise other student volunteers. In her junior year, she took a health policy course and lobbied the state legislature to adopt legislation to give health care coverage to poor children. In her own words: It was at this point that I realized that there is a need to question the structures in place in our communities when they are not meeting our needs. I had never thought to ask why so many children that I worked with at the Boys and Girls Club were not reading at their grade levels or why they did not have health care services. But once I started asking, I realized that there were opportunities that I had as a member of the community to work to make changes. (unpublished speech at the founding of Virginia Campus Compact) The First College Year in the Context of the Engaged Campus As the civic engagement movement in higher education has spread and deepened, so has the quality of civic engagement in each student s first year. More campuses have come to see civic engagement in the first year as laying the foundation for civic engagement throughout the college experience. Campuses are also viewing the first year as an opportunity to introduce students to the community to which they have come, as well as to the campus. Content and coursework differ with each college s is mission, but students experiences are shaped by programs developmental approach. Three examples from the many highlighted on the Campus Compact Web site follow. Tusculum College has a campus-wide service day that is integrated into the required first-semester freshman year seminar, Our Lives In Community, as well as other courses taught at the beginning of each fall. This is followed by a sophomorelevel course, Citizenship and Social Change: Theory and Practice, required of all students and involving a group service project of around 15 hours. This is then followed by students choice of one of three service-learning courses: an intensive immersion course, a semester-long service-learning course, or a Civic Arts Project that requires the student to design and implement a service project in collaboration with community members. All of this is linked to a curriculum focused on education as preparation for citizenship. 8 Another example is DePaul University s Discover Chicago program, which now reaches 1,700 first-year students. 9 This program provides optional experiential immersion courses that start the week before other regular classes and extends throughout the quarter. Each class is capped at 22 students and has an upper-class student, staff, and faculty member assigned to it. Subjects cover everything from the computer game industry to architectural preservation to immigration, all based in the City of Chicago. A service day is held on the last day for all participants, followed by a convocation at which the university reinforces the importance of the values inherent in the program, that is, the value of knowing the community where students have come to study and what it can teach them, and their obligation to serve. (First-year students who do not enroll in Discover Chicago classes must take Explore Chicago, a traditional class with a Chicago topic and three field trips during the quarter. These classes are capped at 30 students. ) DePaul emphasizes development with its Ladder of Social and Civic Engagement, which builds richer and more complex experiences. This ladder provides opportunities to become engaged with Chicago s communities through curricular, co-curricular, and employment experiences. Students can elect a minor in Community Service Studies (six courses focused on community engagement/social justice/social reform, four of which are service-learning), as well as DePaul s University Internship Program, which offers a track that is focused on employment at nonprofit organizations. Strategies for building citizenship skills are not limited to doing service work, although this is the most common approach. Campuses are also concerned about developing the capacity to see and negotiate differing points of view in civil discourse. Increasingly, as well, the concept of citizenship has broadened to a concept of global citizenship. Civic engagement in the first year, then, becomes a combination
23 of strategies, a 100% strategy to develop some civic skills in all students, and an indepth experience for students who seek to do more. Elon College in North Carolina, for instance, builds a global studies program into students freshman year, with a required international simulated conference, challenging students to research positions and be able to articulate them in a conference environment. This approach helps students to make connections between classroom knowledge and real-world dilemmas and to develop the competencies and habits necessary for responsible civic leadership. 10 Elon also has a residential life option for students who want to build the service experience into their residence experience, an increasingly common model. Promise for the Future The civic engagement movement in higher education is exciting because it is increasingly clear that educating students for their civic responsibilities is also a strategy for increasing learning, increasing connection to the campus and the community, and developing leadership skills. An engaged first-year experience can even increase students happiness, as educators have found at DePaul. Because of extensive networks like Campus Compact, no administrator or faculty needs to start from scratch. The growth of this movement and twenty-first century digital resources mean that a great body of experience and program designs are easily available California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia. 5 service learning syllabi: a national calendar of learning and presenting opportunities: and regular policy alerts: 6 See the chapter herein by Caryn McTighe Musil. 7 See the chapters herein by George Mehaffy and Thomas Ehrlich emphasizing institutional intentionality for civic engagement. 8 click on Program Models Database and then enter Tusculum 9 See also this monograph s case by IUPUI on its Discover Indianapolis course click on Program Models Database and then enter Elon, click on Promising Practice: Teaching Civic Leadership Skills through Simulated International Conferences.
24 CHAPTER 4 Civic Learning: Aligning Planets and Educational Goals Caryn McTighe Musil, Senior Vice President, The Association of American Colleges and Universities As if the planets had finally aligned, the timing could not be better for seizing the moment in higher education to lay claim to its crucial civic mission and tie it firmly to its essential academic purposes. Linking those twin missions irrevocably needs to be established for students during that important first year in college. The Context for Purposeful Learning A large number of students now arrive on campus having already invested some time during high school years performing community service. As of 2005, over 3.3 million college students had served as volunteers. 1 Catching that wave a decade or more ago, student affairs professionals began setting up the infrastructures of community centers to organize student involvement locally. Trying to catch up, faculty began to incorporate opportunities for students within credit-bearing academic courses to embed service-learning, community-based research, and policy-oriented projects. Campus chief executive offices had always had a public outreach to communities local and beyond, but those offices are now integrating that mission more consciously with the help of student and academic affairs in intriguing new ways. For the first time, it is now possible to begin to align all of this activity into more meaningful, purposeful civic learning for students. We are also seeing some emerging evidence that three powerful educational reform movements U.S. diversity, global learning, and civic engagement are just beginning to examine common conceptual frameworks and pedagogies to explore how to maximize the educational and civic impact of their collective work. Such collaborations hold great promise for enriching the overall quality of each of these separate reforms while also helping higher education achieve its oft-stated goal of producing responsible, informed, and empowered local and global citizens. Beginning at the Beginning It is important for the academy to act boldly, from the very first year of a student s college experience, to counter what seems to be a prevailing view among young people that threatens to derail all this forward motion. While they value service, students don t seem to look to higher education to provide civic and intercultural knowledge and experience. In fact, they rank these qualities at the bottom among 15 possible college outcomes. 2 The steep challenge on the academy s side will be to persuade them differently. Part of the reason students don t look to higher education for civic learning is captured by a high school student in a recent Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) focus group. She said, Civic responsibility and leadership are qualities that individuals are born with. Benjamin Barber counters her assumptions when he asserts, We may be born free, but we are not born citizens we have to acquire the traits that enable us to participate effectively in the world. 3 Colleges and universities now more openly agree with Barber and are figuring out just what those traits are that make good citizens and how to orchestrate a student s achieving those capabilities while at college. The chart below, which I created in 2003, 4 offers a broad sweep of how to reconceptualize some of the civic work that is sponsored through higher education and the levels of knowledge that students will need to acquire if they are to move from the exclusionary scope of civic disengagement to the most comprehensive generative scope of civic prosperity. Within these phases and faces of citizenship, the kind and quality of civic interaction and learning are inextricably tied to the kind and quality of academic civic learning a student is challenged to acquire. To move students along the civic learning continuum, colleges need to offer opportunities beginning with students first year to explore intellectually many of the dimensions of civic learning, to experience first-hand what the challenges are for people not yet well served either by democracy s promise or by the world promises embedded in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 5 and to practice the complex skills of deliberative democracy in public efforts to create more just societies. Students need, for instance, to learn from the start that there is more than one way of looking at something and that much can be learned by taking seriously the perspectives of others. It is one of the elemental insights of a strong college education. This kind of learning should be integrated into almost any first-year course. While many students arrive on campus aware that many people suffer deprivations, and may themselves be from such communities, first year is an ideal time to learn more about theories explaining how such deprivations came into being and what forces perpetuate these inequalities. History, sociology, ethnic studies, women s studies, biology, political science, and English are just a
25 few of the disciplines where such learning could easily be embedded in first-year courses. Questions about power and deprivation might also influence students choices of majors or careers. As students negotiate increasingly multicultural campuses, developing stronger intercultural competencies serves them well from the onset. It is also a necessary part of their ever-expanding ability to engage in interdependent but highly stratified local and global societies as they progress over time toward a commitment not just to civic engagement but to communal civic prosperity for everyone. Research tells us that such intercultural learning actually accelerates students cognitive and moral development, making it all the more compelling to intentionally build such goals into first-year experiences. 6 Setting High Expectations and a Vision for Life Long Engagement A recent report, College Learning for the New Global Century, by the AAC&U, confirms that higher education has come to a consensus on the four pillars of essential learning outcomes for the century. They include: (1) knowledge of human cultures and the physical and natural world; (2) intellectual and practical skills; (3) personal and social responsibility; and (4) integrative and applied learning. Civic learning threads itself through all four aspects. AAC&U has also promoted the idea of the civic learning spiral that involves six dimensions: self, communities and contexts, knowledge, values, skills, and public collective action. 7 We have suggested that this functions more like a braid than a ladder in that the six dimensions intersect with and inform one another in deepening students civic learning intellectually and in practice. Such turning of the spiral through all six dimensions can occur in one course, over several courses, in co-curricular life, and over time. The best first-year experiences will give students an opportunity to make at least one turn of that civic learning spiral as they explore who they and their communities are, acquire the civic knowledge needed to understand power and stratification, define and refine their core values, practice their democratic skills, and begin to practice working in concert with others to have a social impact. The planets are aligned, the students are ready, the research that affirms the value of civic learning for the common good is prolific, and the world is in desperate need of students ready to grapple with urgent issues that will determine our shared futures. First-year intentional, experiential pathways to civic learning can provide the threshold knowledge students require to become the citizens everyone is longing for. 1 College Students Helping America by the Corporation for National and Community Service (2006). RPD_college_full.pdf 2 Key Findings from Focus Groups Among College Students and College- Bound High School Students by Peter Hart on behalf of AAC&U (2004). 3 Strong Democracy: Participatory Politics for a New Age by Benjamin Barber (1984). 4 Educating for Citizenship by Caryn McTighe Musil for Peer Review (2003). 5 Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations General Assembly (1948). 6 Making Diversity Work on Campus: A Research-Based Perspective by Jeffrey Milem, Mitchell Chang, and Anthony Lising Antonio (2005). aacu.org/inclusive_excellence/documents/milem_et_al.pdf 7 Purposeful Pathways: Helping Students Achieve Key Learning Outcomes by Andrea Leskes and Ross Miller (2006). An AAC&U publication.
26 Faces/Phases of Citizenship Face/Phase Community is Civic Scope Levels of Knowledge Benefits Exclusionary only your own civic disengagement one vantage point monocultural a few and only for a while Oblivious a resource to mine civic detachment observational skills one largely monocultural party Naïve a resource to engage civic amnesia no history no vantage point acultural random people Charitable a resource that needs assistance civic altruism awareness of deprivations affective kindliness and respect multicultural, but yours is still the cultural norm the giver s feelings, the sufferer s immediate needs Reciprocal a resource to empower and be empowered by civic engagement legacies of inequalities values of partnering intercultural competencies arts of democracy multiple vantage points multicultural society as a whole in the present Generative an interdependent resource filled with possibilities civic prosperity struggles for democracy interconnectedness analysis of interlocking systems intercultural competencies arts of democracy multiple interactive vantage points multicultural everyone now and in the future
27 CHAPTER 5 The Role of Newspapers in the First Year of College Felice Nudelman, Director of Education, and Don Hecker, Training Editor for Staff Editors, The New York Times It is the first year of college, and every first-year student finds each day brings a new world and new marvels. For each new student the experience is a profoundly individual one. Students see their own experiences as unique; it is educators and mentors who see and encourage the commonalities. By including newspapers in curricula and co-curricula, educators can nurture reading habits, create shared readings and discussions, and establish a culture of engagement. Newspapers can help students make connections to their courses, their campus, their studies, their lives, the contemporary world Habits of Mind, New Connections The first year of college will establish the pattern and habit of involvement that brings success in students college careers (and beyond, the optimist hopes). This is when individual students develop the living connection with their peers, the faculty and the institution itself. This is a time to encourage, if not impose, structure. Reading a nationally circulated, high-quality newspaper creates a shared environment based on contemporary events and issues. As with many other experiences of first-year students, the regular reading of a newspaper is likely a new habit. Newspapers are chroniclers of current events. Some of those events will be familiar to students, but others will not. The newspaper leads its novice readers from the familiar to the new, encouraging an understanding outside their own bubble. But the newspaper also enriches and enlarges that more focused world of the individual. The newspaper is the natural extension of the textbook, providing the new chapters on events that develop after the book is printed. And as students use their growing academic learning to examine the larger world with greater sophistication, the newspaper provides them with timely information on national and global issues, matters of law, and social and political topics. Readers find debates about the environment, the evolving scientific landscape, government rulings, corporate ethics, civil liberties, terrorism, and a wide array of constitutional issues. As students are exposed to diverse arguments, they learn to intellectually challenge and defend ideas, to sift through conflicting presentations in the search for conclusions. They become more critical thinkers. Engaged Readers and College Success In Bowling Alone, Robert D. Putnam posited the importance of associational activity in an effective democracy, and he found a direct connection between newspaper readership and good citizenship. The newspaper helps students develop patterns of civic responsibility by providing a front row seat from which to explore current events and issues; informed awareness leads to engagement. Through the newspaper, students gain a critical knowledge of issues and needs. Novice newspaper readers grow into skilled analytical readers. They also become more skilled as writers since they are introduced in the newspaper s pages to sophisticated and creative exposition and analysis of issues. Newspaper-reading students find common ground with their peers and faculty in their growing ability to discuss the critical issues of the day. They see connections between what they learn in the classroom and the world around them. This makes that all-important first year of college more coherent and more comprehensible and instills in students greater self-confidence. Here, then, is a powerful tool to promote student success, and through a body of successful students, to promote institutional success. Generating Civic Engagement with Newspapers: Cases Within this monograph are some excellent examples of how the newspaper and news information can be integrated into firstyear courses and activities. These colleges demonstrate the value and importance of the newspaper in creating a culture of civic engagement. Allegheny College uses The Times to create a cohort of engaged first-year students, many of whom have not read a newspaper before entering the college. They hone their verbal and analytical skills by first leading a discussion in class and then moving beyond discussion to the exploration and analysis of long-held beliefs. Their newfound awareness encourages them to explore the world beyond their bubble, to reflect on their role in the community. At The Richard Stockton College, students utilize The Times to research environmental issues for their Environmental Citizenship course. A key component of the course is engagement with the community through council meetings, issue briefs, and events on campus. Because the newspaper is integrated into the course, students
28 become more informed and participate at a higher level. An example of student engagement fostered by a culture focused on intellectual inquiry is represented by the Fort Hays State University Times Talks initiative. Each week a student or faculty member volunteers to lead a presentation and discussion on a topic of interest using Times articles as the springboard. The co-curricular program has become a staple at FHSU. Indianapolis University-Purdue University, Indianapolis assigns reading of local newspapers to explore issues in its Discover Indianapolis First-Year Seminar. These programs are a few examples of the resources that newspapers and news information bring to building a civically engaged freshman year experience. Our so-called millennials are the largest college generation since the 1960s and the most racially and ethnically diverse. They are digital natives, experiential learners and adept users of many forms of media. So the question is whether the habit of reading newspapers will take hold with this generation of students. The answer, from current research about the millennial generation (Magid, Pew), points in a positive direction: the students are receptive to reading the print edition of the paper and are at ease navigating between print and Web without seeing them as competitive. The print edition provides a serendipitous learning experience; students find articles that are relevant to them and their educational goals and new connections as they turn the pages. They find articles about the environment in the business section, stories about the nature of leadership in the science section and articles that focus on citizenship and community throughout. They also discover new interests, their eyes and curiosity caught by a headline, graph, or picture. They find reference to the newspaper s Web site and additional and interactive features. Many read newspapers online, but in doing so, they are usually seeking information in already established areas of interest, and they are not participating in a shared-reading community. They may not be part of the Conversation the intellectual community that questions causes and authority and its own beliefs. William V. Costanzo writes of how television s moving images and radio s interviews and editorials rarely digest large amounts of data or address intricate arguments. In The Writer s Eye*, he asserts, For more comprehensive coverage and multiple perspectives, we need newspapers, magazines, or some other printed form of media. We need more time to select and read the details (8). Newspapers on campus can create a lively intellectual community and engagement with issues on and off campus. In the first year of college, newspapers can establish a shared culture of informed students and engaged citizens. *Costanzo, William V. The Writer s Eye. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2008.
29 CHAPTER 6 Assessing Change in Civic Engagement: A Longitudinal Perspective John H. Pryor, Director, Cooperative Institutional Research Program Higher Education Research Institute, University of California, Los Angeles The Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) has had a long-standing interest in measuring civic engagement. The Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) is the largest and longest running study of higher education in the United States and has measured issues such as civic engagement for more than 40 years. The most-well known survey in the CIRP is the Freshman Survey, which is used to measure the attributes of incoming first-year students. This survey provides baseline information on incoming students, in order to more fully understand the changes that occur during college. Two other surveys in the CIRP are designed as follow-up surveys and are given at the end of the first year of college (Your First College Year) and as an exit survey for seniors (College Senior Survey). Both of these follow-up surveys assess the college environment and level of engagement of students with various aspects of college as well as the gains that students have made in their college careers. Institutions can assess civic engagement during the first year of college using the Your First College Year (YFCY) survey in conjunction with the Freshman Survey, or as a stand-alone instrument. Approximately 40% of the YFCY is a direct post-test to measures examined in the Freshman Survey, with the rest of the instrument measuring other aspects of the first-year experience, such as transition to college and satisfaction with the college experience. An advantage of using the YFCY paired with the Freshman Survey is that HERI can match individual answers longitudinally, providing institutions with the opportunity to directly assess the impact of civic education initiatives. For example, one of the factors that can be derived from YFCY data is informed citizenship. This factor includes six items: three that examine self-reported change in the understanding of both global and national issues and the problems facing the student s community and three items that measure the importance and prevalence of keeping up to date with political affairs and reading a newspaper (Hurtado et al., 2007). Thus, reading a newspaper more frequently is correlated with being more informed about local, national, and global events. While the Freshman Survey and YFCY can provide important data to help institutions make decisions about student characteristics and needs and about program development, the national dataset provides us with important insight into the college-going population in America. In 2005, we reported that civic engagement among incoming first-year students had increased, possibly in response to several global natural disasters (e.g., Hurricane Katrina and the Indian Ocean tsunami) that had occurred in the year before college entry (Pryor, Hurtado, Saenz, Lindholm, Korn, & Mahoney, 2006). Many of these measures continued to show gains or remain stable with the class entering in More than four out of five incoming first-year students (82.1%) reported in 2006 that they had engaged in volunteer work as seniors in high school, and the percentage who reported a very good chance that they would volunteer in college was at a high in 2006 at 26.8% (Pryor, Hurtado, Saenz, Santos, & Korn, 2007). In addition, students show a resurgence in the importance of helping others in difficulty, a figure which rose to 66.7% in 2006, the highest it has been in 20 years. Becoming a community leader is a more important goal for students now than ever before, as 35.2% rated it as being very important or essential. Service experiences in college may also have long-term effects on students. Recently, HERI conducted research with students post-graduation. The project examined their civic activities of students 10 years after they had entered college, in The study found (among many results) that participation in servicelearning while in college was associated with increased civic leadership, charitable giving, and political engagement in students several years after leaving college (Astin et al., 2006). Thus, institutions wishing to examine civic engagement during the first year of college will find useful tools in the CIRP Freshman Survey and the Your First College Year Survey. Both instruments assess civic engagement, and, used longitudinally, provide a powerful method of evaluating the change that occurs during the crucial first-year of college.
30 References Astin, A.W., Vogelgesang, L.J., Misa, K, Anderson, J., Denson, N., Jayakumar, U., Saenz, V., & Yamamura, E. (2006). Understanding the Effects of Service-Learning: A Study of Students and Faculty. Los Angeles: Higher Education Research Institute, UCLA. Hurtado, S., Sax, L.J., Saenz, V.B., Harper, C. E., Oseguera, L., Curley, J., Lopez, L., Wolf, D., & Arellano, L. (2007). Findings from the 2005 Administration of the Your First College Year (YFCY): National Aggregates. Los Angeles: Higher Education Research Institute, UCLA. Pryor, J.H., Hurtado, S., Saenz, V.B., Lindholm, J.A., Korn, W.S., & Mahoney, K.M. (2006). The American Freshman: National Norms for Fall Los Angeles: Higher Education Research Institute, UCLA. Pryor, J.H., Hurtado, S, Saenz, V.B., Santos, J.L, & Korn, W.S. (2007). The American Freshman: Forty-Year Trends, Los Angeles: Higher Education Research Institute, UCLA.
31 CHAPTER 7 Institutional Structures and Strategies for Embedding Civic Engagement in the First College Year Betsy O. Barefoot, Co-Director and Senior Scholar, Policy Center on the First Year of College College and university educators generally agree that education for citizenship is one of the many purposes of higher education. But that is often where the agreement stops. Some educators consider the application of learning to real-world problems a secondary, rather than primary, goal of higher education. Others would argue that while a focus on civic engagement might be appropriate for upper-level students, first-year students are not prepared, either by experience or maturity, to address these issues effectively. The 33 case studies in this monograph provide real evidence to support a different view. They explore the many benefits that accrue to institutions and their external communities from civic engagement, and they offer examples of how to make education for citizenship a meaningful part of the first college year. While these cases are rich with important detail, this chapter will summarize and categorize them in terms of how they link with existing institutional structures. Admittedly, the process of categorization is somewhat artificial because of the inherent overlap of courses and programs. For instance, although first-year seminars and learning communities are presented as discrete categories, many learning communities include a first-year seminar. These case studies describe civic engagement activities embedded in discipline courses, honors programs, first-year seminars, learning communities, and extra-curricular initiatives. At a few colleges and universities, the theme of civic engagement permeates the entire institutional fabric, interwoven with programs and practices throughout the undergraduate experience. Taken together, these initiatives are a testimony to the creative abilities of college and university educators to engage students in rich and meaningful curricular and extra-curricular experiences experiences that intertwine learning with civic responsibility and service to others. The faculty, staff, and administrators who support these efforts with their time and resources are themselves exemplars of social responsibility and willingness to collaborate with colleagues and community citizens. Civic Engagement in First-Year Courses A significant number of case studies explore ways that first-year courses can be linked with or centered on civic engagement. While a number of these courses can be categorized as first-year seminars, others are discipline-based offerings in various departments or core experiences in an honors program. Discipline Courses California State University, Chico, has integrated civic engagement into first-year writing. Through a sequence of assignments focusing on civic learning, students use writing to inquire into key issues of our time. Lehigh University also uses first-year English to introduce students to civic engagement. The second semester of the two-semester writing requirement introduces students to the skills of civic discourse and to their responsibility to participate in American democracy. Robert Morris College brings environmental science and English students together to work on the three-acre Eden Place Nature Center, formerly an illegal dumpsite in Chicago. While environmental science students study issues related to land use and wildlife, English students design marketing materials and write letters requesting community support. Through the Madison Academic and Athletic Exchange (MAXX) at the University of Wisconsin, students in English 100 work with high school athletes as they consider the role of athletics in American higher education. Pace University has acquired support through Project Pericles, funded by the Eugene M Lang Foundation, to center civic engagement in a number of core curriculum technology courses, and Concordia College places service within a single core first-year course, Global Studies 118. A Focus on Special Populations Some institutions include a civic emphasis within discipline courses that focus on a particular language or population. Through its community-based Spanish Language and Culture Program, Pitzer College places new students in the homes of immigrant Mexican families for a few hours per week during a semester. The interaction of students with native Spanish speakers increases crosscultural understanding and helps build long-term relationships between students and community participants. Weber State University includes a service focus in its Communication 2110 course: students work with a local school district program that targets atrisk elementary and secondary school children. Hampden-Sydney College, one of the few remaining all-male institutions in the U. S., engages honors students in a servicelearning experience at a nearby regional jail. Through a twosemester, first-year honors course, Social Documentary: Image, Text, and Context, students spend significant time teaching basic
32 photography techniques to inmates and engaging with them to find common ground. This course culminates with an exhibit of photographs taken by students and inmates. As one of its 10 interdisciplinary honors freshman clusters, the University of California, Los Angeles offers a cluster on aging. Frontiers in Human Aging: Biomedical, Psychosocial, and Policy Perspectives is designed to help students develop a broad perspective on the process of aging. As part of the course, students work in different community agencies in the Los Angeles area. Over the past five years, more than 700 students enrolled in this course have provided service to older adults. First-Year Seminars The first-year seminar is a nearly ubiquitous course type in American higher education, and many colleges and universities consider it the ideal location for civic engagement activities. The courses explored in the case study examples can be characterized as special topic first-year seminars those that either link with a particular discipline or are designed to focus on an interdisciplinary topic. Penn State - Lehigh Valley, the University of San Francisco, Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Mercer University, Franklin Pierce College, Suffolk University, Indiana University- Purdue University Indianapolis, Trinity University, and Allegheny College describe unique seminars with a civic engagement focus. Organizing themes for the seminars include diversity, homelessness, environmental issues, political engagement, concerns of a particular city or region, and media literacy. Civic Engagement and Learning Communities First-year learning communities, defined as two or more linked courses across the curriculum, are increasing in number and variety at many colleges and universities across the U.S. Because learning communities, by their very nature, span different courses in the curriculum, they become an ideal setting for the implementation of a broad, interdisciplinary focus on civic engagement. Some learning communities only link courses, but others also include a residential component. The Michigan Scholars Program at the University of Michigan is one of the nation s best known living/learning communities. Its mission is to integrate diversity, civic engagement, and intergroup dialogue in all activities, both in and out of class. Other notable learning communities with a strong civic engagement focus are also featured in the monograph. They include programs at California State University - Fullerton, the University of San Francisco, Colorado State University, and George Mason University. Out-of-Class Civic Engagement Experiences Researchers who study student adjustment in higher education routinely observe the importance of out-of-class activities to the student experience, and several institutions document their efforts to address civic engagement through extra-curricular events and service activities. Fort Hayes State University offers a weekly Times Talk, a brownbag luncheon featuring articles and topics from The New York Times and the local Hays Daily News. These weekly events are open to faculty, staff, and students, as well as members of the local community. Similarly, Indiana University- Purdue University, Fort Wayne sponsors weekly FYE conversations, out of-class opportunities for faculty and students to engage on a variety of topics related to civic issues, with support for faculty for integrating activities into courses. Chapman University includes a focus on civic engagement in its peer-led academic orientation. Though shared summer readings, student blogs, student-filmed interviews, and even musical performances about world issues, the importance of civic engagement is made clear to each cohort of new students. Michigan State University joined with the city of East Lansing to create YouVote, an effort to provide registration and candidate information to students and community citizens. And at Salt Lake Community College, the Thayne Center for Service and Learning coordinates a wide variety of civic engagement activities. More than 1,500 students each year participate in service-learning classes, community work-study, and student-led service opportunities. Civic Engagement as an Institution-Wide Goal The civic engagement initiatives previewed so far are linked to courses, learning communities, or imbedded in out-of-class activities. A few institutions, however, have been successful in infusing civic engagement throughout the institution. The mission of Antioch College states that [students ] work is marked by scholarly rigor and civic engagement. Antioch s connected curriculum infuses civic participation and the development of reflective skills. This comprehensive focus on civic engagement spans both the undergraduate years and the College s signature cooperative learning structure. Texas A & M University, Corpus Christi (TAMU-CC) also finds many ways to include students at all levels in a variety of civic activities. Through their self-described concentric circles of engagement, TAMU-CC involves various campus divisions, committees, and community groups in building a commitment to civic learning. Mars Hill College offers its honors students the opportunity to participate in a four-year LifeWorks Civic Engagement Certificate Program that includes significant levels of service. At Chandler-Gilbert College, a twoyear institution in the Phoenix metro area, faculty, student affairs professionals, and librarians recently gathered to find ways of implementing a campus-wide programmatic theme, SEE Your World. The acronym SEE represents Social, Environmental, and Economic issues. In reviewing the various cases describing the infusion of civic engagement in higher education, the influence of external nonprofit agencies or statewide systems on institutional commitment to civic engagement cannot be ignored. The California State University System, for example, has pledged to integrate civic engagement across its campuses. Both the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) through the American Democracy Project and the Carnegie Foundation through the Political Engagement Project (PEP) have also been major support-
33 ers of these initiatives. The Eugene M. Lang Foundation through Project Pericles has instituted a national initiative whose mission is to assist colleges and universities in educating students for civic and social responsibilities. And the U.S. Department of Education also provides grants through the National Workplace Literacy Program. But while external funds can help begin civic engagement programs, they will not be sustained without the strong commitment of institutions along with their faculty and staff. Strategies Across Structures No civic engagement program employs all strategies, but across our case studies, strong programs create a picture of effective practices. Their collective methods suggest these strategies to adapt as appropriate: across a university system, across colleges within a university, across departments within a college. Connect your program to mission statements and strategic plans. lence, informed discourse, and citizenship in a democracy. and the institutional mission. Use civic engagement to link study across disciplines, the classroom with cooperative and experiential education, the first year with the sophomore year (and beyond), and residential life with curricula. Include media and technological literacy in civic engagement projects. Begin with student orientation. Provide opportunities for honors work. your course or program to foster students development and the practice of habits of mind and engagement. community, and by extension, the public sphere. Acknowledge the importance of place; help students understand context, history and their fellow citizens indeed to think of themselves as fellow citizens, locally and globally. broader social and historical forces. Include U.S. history and the founding documents of the nation. Embed a focus on diversity because diversity is inherent in democracy. Focus on areas of interest: jury service, immigration, cultural identities. staff members expertise, passions, and community connections. Serve students and families in local school systems, a local food pantry, disaster relief, a prison population. Work with the community in defining community needs. courses and student activities, including athletic programs, in the field, in living-learning programs. environmental activism, voter registration, campus causes). room. Use a common book to create a focus on civic issues across campus. Encourage students to write to the press and to authorities or other change agents. Encourage and reward faculty and staff for pilot programs and new pedagogies. quantitative and qualitative, and longitudinally with national and local instruments. Use assessment to raise and address questions for further development of curricula and pedagogy. known. High visibility creates connections with other students and with on- and off-campus supporters (and potential supporters). The Case Studies Detailed information about the various programs previewed in this chapter can be found in the case study section at the end of the monograph. Included in each case study are details about program creation, evolution, and current implementation. Case studies also include information about how program directors assess the impact of civic engagement on various outcomes including retention, student satisfaction, and learning. They also give links to supplementary materials, posted on their Web sites.
34 CHAPTER 8 Action Steps to Move the First-Year Civic Engagement Agenda Forward John N. Gardner, Executive Director, Policy Center on the First Year of College I have been working since 2003 with more than 350 colleges and universities to move first-year improvement efforts to a plan for excellence rather than one focused on retention and revenues. I have worked with colleagues at the Policy Center on the First Year of College and at hundreds of campuses to develop a set of standards of excellence for the first college year that can be used for both aspirational and measurement purposes. Basically, this is a process for institutional self-study and strategic planning to produce an action plan to improve the beginning college experience. I believe very strongly that in moving beyond boutique programs designed to serve retention goals; we can and should make civic engagement a cornerstone of comprehensive institutional plans to promote educational excellence. The authors of the first six chapters provide theoretical and conceptual frameworks for civic education, demonstrate its value to the first college year, and show us resources and strategies for mission-centered programs. Chapter 7 offers readers an introduction to the wonderful variety of ways institutions are already embedding civic engagement in the first-year experience. To conclude the monograph, I would like to offer a series of action steps that educators can adopt to move the civic engagement agenda forward on their own campuses and toward the ultimate goal of having civic engagement play a central role in the nation s higher education for the first college year and beyond. These steps are grounded in my years of work with the first-year experience, now re-focused to implement the ideals and practice of civic engagement in the first year. 1. Focus on purpose. In working with any campus on the topic of improving the first year, my starting place is always the purpose of the first year: what is (are) your institution s purpose(s) overall and for the first year in particular? 2. Review the institutional mission statement. Many institutions have missions that explicitly espouse values of service and citizenship. Review your institutional mission statement to identify statements that underscore these values and expressly link civic engagement initiatives to those statements. If the values of service and citizenship are not currently part of the institutional mission, lobby to have these values embedded. 3. Develop a mission and philosophy statement for the first-year experience. It should be one that emerges from the institutional mission statement and highlights the role and importance of civic engagement in the first college year. 4. Consider including a focus on civic engagement in your next reaffirmation of accreditation. The regional accreditors such as SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) and HLC (the Higher Learning Commission) have new strategies for re-accreditation that allow campuses to pick elements for special assessment and action-planning for improvement. Make civic engagement such a focus. Institutional self-studies present the opportunity to move civic engagement from the periphery to the center. Highly integrated, mandatory experiences have high status and an exponentially greater impact on students. 5. Embed the emphasis and commitment to civic engagement in the institutional strategic plan. This is a simple strategy. The strategic plan is one of the best clues to what the institution values and where it is trying to move. If it isn t in the plan, it isn t very likely to happen. 6. Create a standing committee on civic engagement. One of the best ways for an external observer to detect what a campus values is to ask for a list of the standing committees. These are the real working groups of the campus that make happen what the institution really cares about. 7. Develop a common message about the importance of civic engagement. It is especially important to embed this institutional value in the print and media messages sent to prospective and incoming students. 8. Involve student affairs units. These units can work with their co-curricular groups, such as social and service fraternities and sororities, to require civic engagement activities, including learning through reflection. 9. Make civic engagement a catalyst for strengthening and demonstrating the quality of academic and student affairs partnerships.
35 10. Embed civic engagement throughout multiple delivery modes and systems, such as: (a) First-year writing and rhetoric courses, stressing the power of the written word to analyze complex issues and to effect change. Rhetoric courses are grounded in a historical model of engaged citizenry. (b) First-year speech and communications courses, stressing the power of the spoken word to effect change. (c) The first-year seminar. Civic engagement will fit well with the course s inherent interests in integrating faculty, student affairs staff, and students, and in paying attention to holistic development needs of students, helping students to make friends, learn how to interact with faculty and staff outside of class, and get oriented to the external host community. (d) Learning communities. Civic engagement is an ideal form of active-learning pedagogy that can integrate multiple courses in the learning community. (e) Residence hall programming. Many colleges now offer special residence hall theme options, service being one of them. These theme options frequently require students to execute a contract to produce co-curricular deliverables and are excellent vehicles for civic engagement. (f ) Orientation. Orientation, intentionally or unintentionally, is a mirror of what the institution values. If civic engagement is a high institutional value, then there is no better time to introduce it than in orientation. This sets the tone for what is expected and what will follow. 11. Perform an inventory of campus-wide civic engagement activities already under way and then hold a campus-wide summit meeting to showcase these and focus on how to ramp up for the future. Most campuses already have some initiatives under way. Too often these are not coordinated and are even unknown to each other. An early step in moving forward has to be taking stock of what you are already doing. The next steps are instituting procedures for better coordination, communication, synergy, and sharing of resources. 12. Consider whether there should be a czar of service/civic engagement. What if more colleges had a cabinet-level position for advocacy and coordination of civic engagement? Effective, integrated civic engagement requires vested responsibility and accountability. 13. Build assessment into the design and execution of civic engagement activities. You need to know what students are learning, how they are reacting. Analysis of this information provides the basis for continuing improvement. 14. Incorporate civic engagement across the disciplines, to create real traction. The work by Professor Edward Zlotkowski and his American Association for Higher Education-published series Service Learning in the Disciplines is particularly instructive and inspirational. 15. Provide the professional development that faculty deserve and require to incorporate civic engagement in their teaching. Pedagogies of civic engagement must be a priority for the offerings of teaching/learning enhancement centers for faculty development. 16. Form intentional alliances. Who are the natural allies both within the institution and external to the institution? (a) Proponents and practitioners of service learning (b) Campus and state chapters of Campus Compact (c) The American Democracy Project (ADP) of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) (d) Your development office (because many affluent donors believe there is no higher calling than civic engagement and that this is the most important role of higher education) (e) Proponents and practitioners of leadership studies both in the curriculum and co-curriculum (f ) Units/individuals encouraging more active pedagogies, such as those in faculty development and teaching/learning centers (g) Units/individuals charged with improving town/ gown relations (h) Proponents/practitioners for assessing value added educational experiences (i) External community members and organizations that would be natural recipients of benefits of civic engagement (j) Faculty who want to increase student engagement, activism, and perceived relevancy of higher education (k) Educators who seek new structures and platforms that could be vehicles for promoting and improving partnerships between academic and student affairs professionals (l) Educators who want to reduce student boredom and dysfunctional behaviors (m) Those who advocate the reform of the Greek letter social system and see civic engagement as a redemptive force (n) Alumni and trustees who have come to realize the value of civic engagement in their own lives and careers (o) All those who are trying to promote greater student participation in the political processes so essential to a vibrant democracy
36 Conclusion I wish to be very clear that what I am calling for is a dramatic ramping up of civic engagement in the first year of college. The times require this. The students need this. Our campuses, communities, and country need this. The first year is the foundation for the college outcomes we wish to derive for our students, our communities, and our democracy. Therefore, the introduction to and integration of civic engagement needs to be accomplished in the first year of college. Several hundred universities in the American Democracy Project (ADP) have discovered and practice this. Many initiatives, innovations, and best practices from the past two decades provide us with resources for this work: Campus Compact, ADP, Political Engagement Project (PEP) of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, programs of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), and models of statewide systems requirements (e.g., California). We have on our campuses sites of opportunity and models of best practices: first-year seminars, learning communities, service-learning programs, co-curricular programs, and the many more listed above. Civic engagement in the first year is the natural fulcrum for meaningful and transformational education. This monograph, especially in its case studies, makes it clear that we know how to do this. Now it is just a matter of having the will to help these initiatives achieve their natural and powerful educational potential. We can do better! What are we waiting for?
37 First-Year Civic Engagement: Case Studies 30 Allegheny College 32 Antioch College 34 California State University, Chico 36 California State University, Fullerton 38 Chandler-Gilbert Community College 41 Chapman University 44 The College of New Jersey 47 Colorado State University-Fort Collins 49 Concordia College 51 Fort Hays State University 54 Franklin Pierce University 57 George Mason University-New Century College 60 Hampden-Sydney College 63 Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne 65 Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) 68 Lehigh University 70 Mars Hill College 72 Mercer University 74 Michigan State University 76 Pace University 79 Penn State University, Lehigh Valley Campus 82 Pitzer College, Claremont, California 85 The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey 87 Robert Morris College 89 Salt Lake Community College 91 Suffolk University 93 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 96 Trinity University 99 University of California, Los Angeles 101 University of Michigan-Ann Arbor 103 University of San Francisco 105 University of Wisconsin-Madison 108 Weber State University
38 CASE STUDY ALLEGHENY COLLEGE Civic Engagement in Freshman Seminar: All the News That s Fit to Print Eric Pallant, Ph.D., Professor of Environmental Science In the opening session of my All the News That s Fit to Print class, 15 first-year students list their primary source of news. The range of answers is ample and appalling: The Intelligencer (Doylestown, PA), The Daily Show, WB, Yahoo, their friends, nothing. At least they re honest. FS 101: Descriptive Communication and Inquiry is an introduction to language, both written and oral, required of all first-semester first-year students, though topics vary across disciplines and sections. I have taught this first-year seminar to incoming students since 2002, using the daily edition of The New York Times as sole text. My goals are to create civic literacy, develop wider horizons, promote critical thinking, improve writing, and encourage reflection. Course Dynamics and Objectives, Interwoven I begin by elucidating differences between The Times and other news sources. The Times is global, rather than primarily regional like The Plain Dealer or The Chicago Tribune. Its array of stories extends beyond The Wall Street Journal s focus on business. The Times addresses the journalistic question why? a query given only limited space in USA Today and on TV broadcasts. Most importantly, it provides depth and analysis. Next, I direct students to the top right column of the first page, where according to The Times editors the most important story of the day can be found. Then, I walk students through the regular features of the paper, e.g., Index, Quote of the Day, International, National, Op-Ed. During subsequent classes I select two stories per class (we meet three times per week for 50 minutes). I come armed with half a dozen provocative questions and open the floor to discussion. After two weeks, I make two changes to the class sessions. First, each student in the class signs up for a day when she or he will lead discussion on an article. In order to give the discussion leader an opportunity to select an article, study it thoroughly, and prepare questions for classmates, we debate articles from a paper published a day or two prior. Students responsible for leading discussion the page and title of their story to the class the day before we meet. The second change I make is the venue. We move from a standard seminar room to the college s coffeehouse, where we drink coffee and sit in overstuffed chairs. The atmosphere changes from the formal air of a classroom to the casual, let-it-all-hang-out ambiance of a living room. Conversations heat up. Comments are directed to other students, not just to me. As the class morphs from a faculty-driven course to one led by students, my role shifts toward explaining how to disassemble the articles we discuss. I ask students questions such as, How did the author hook you? and What words did she choose to keep you reading? This parsing of objectivity and a journalist s passion begins to seep into student consciousness. As it does, their skills as critical thinkers and writers learning their craft take off. One of the objectives of All the News That s Fit to Print is that students learn to read and discuss The New York Times beyond the confines of class. That first happens when we move from classroom to coffeehouse. Next, on good days, when discussion becomes so heated it cannot be contained within 50 minutes, it leaps into hallways after class. By mid-semester, students report they are approaching their friends, waving the newspaper, initiating discussions in the dorms and dining halls. Class discussion inevitably causes students to question longheld beliefs. The Times teaches them that many of the topics they once thought were uncomplicated race, poverty, environment, technology, fashion are more complex than when they first formed their early adolescent opinions. To encourage their introspection, I ensure that discussion in class covers the full array of perspectives on a topic, right to left on the political spectrum, so to speak, and that their arguments stick to the facts presented in The Times stories. To initiate critical thinking and reflection, one assignment requires students to describe their favorite sections of the paper and compare their preferences to their academic and post-graduate goals. Often a disjunction appears, and I use the disparity between what students love and what they think will be their vocation as an opening for discussion. For example, one student came to college to be an engineer until he recognized that he loved writing and his favorite section was Sports. Now he is an English major and covers sports for the college newspaper. Students have also reflected on their experience in letters to the President of Allegheny College and to the editors of The New York Times.
39 (See Assessment Quantitative assessments are distributed in all classes at Allegheny College. Responses to two questions speak to the efficacy of The New York Times as source material. Eighty-seven percent of students reported on the standard course evaluations that the readings were effective. The same percentage said they learned very much in the class. For three years, the final assignment of the semester was a letter, using a letter to the editor as a model, written to Allegheny s president. The President has used his discretionary budget to purchase newspapers for the campus, making them available for free from several newsstands. I wanted students in All the News That s Fit to Print to tell the President how they regarded his investment. Without exception, students wrote about how much they had learned after only one semester of taking The Times and then offered thanks for the President s support. In 2006, I changed the final assignment from a letter to the President to a bona fide letter to the editor. In fact, early in the semester I promised an A to any student who succeeded in getting a letter published. One student earned an A for her letter about the ethics of face transplants. More satisfying than her publication, however, was the number of students who sent multiple letters. Another student said of her first-year experience, Being an informed citizen in a democratic society is a responsibility, one that requires effort. Nearly all the first-year student Times readers report their effort is more pleasure than work, with many requesting the opportunity to repeat the class as TAs during their later college years. Because only three can serve at a time, the circle of first-year students in the coffeehouse is typically surrounded by a group of upperclass students eager to maintain their engagement by listening to our daily conversations. One first-year student summed up the experiences of many of her peers. Reading The New York Times, she said, has helped me become a better informed college student. I feel like I have a greater understanding of how the world works, and I ve thought more deeply about issues than I ever have before. Supplemental Materials The complete syllabus for the All the News That s Fit to Print class can be found on Dr. Pallant s home page by clicking on the Classes link. I. Contributor s Name and Contact Information Eric Pallant, Ph.D. Professor of Environmental Science Department of Environmental Science Allegheny College 520 N. Main St. Meadville, PA Phone: Fax: II. Institutional Description a. Allegheny College, Meadville, PA b. Four-year c. Private d. Residential e. 2,000 FTE undergraduates, 590 first-year students f. All students are residential including all first-years.
40 CASE STUDY ANTIOCH COLLEGE Civic Engagement in Connected Curriculum Janice Kinghorn, Associate Professor of Economics and Associate Dean of the Core Program Eli Nettles, Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Associate Dean of Faculty David Kammler, Assistant Professor of Chemistry Antioch s mission shapes its students civic engagement: An Antioch education is shaped to the mold of human experience. This is a radically democratic education: every theory, every belief, every ideal is re-examined and subjected to the test of experience. We ask our students to bridge the gap between theory and practice. Their work is marked by scholarly rigor and civic engagement. They come to know the world by analyzing it and living deeply within it. They come to know justice by studying it and practicing it. They become humanists in the broadest, deepest sense of the word: citizens and scholars capable of meaningful action, continuous growth, and enlightened leadership. Connected Curricula In 2005, the college undertook an initiative we refer to as our Connected Curriculum : a broad and visionary plan to place Antioch once again at the forefront of experimental education. The goals of this renewal included improved retention, increased civic engagement and deliberate participation in the community, and more rapid development of meaningful reflective skills. At the heart of the Connected Curriculum is a belief in the power of integrated learning, Integration in the Connected Curriculum is multifaceted, and it intentionally links academic disciplines, civic engagement, and cooperative education. At every level and during both work and study terms, students are expected to be, at some level, informed participants who are actively engaged within their communities. Every first-year student enters the Core Program, enrolling in a 15-credit learning community program, taught by four faculty during the fall and spring terms. These programs immerse students thoroughly in the liberal arts, satisfy the general education requirements of the college, and provide a structured environment in which the students learn how to become engaged and effective citizens. Following the successful completion of the Core Program, students enter the Upper-Level Curriculum: a three-year, year-round program of alternating terms of work (cooperative education) and study (16-18 credits of connected and integrated courses) with increasing performance standards, which ultimately culminates in a Senior Project in an individualized major. Civic Engagement in the Classroom: Water Matters and Citizenship Over the past year, Antioch s Core Programs have used a variety of models for bringing civic engagement into the classroom and then reconnecting it to the outside world. This case study will describe two of them. The Core Program, Water Matters, used a long-term class project to connect classroom learning with civic engagement, while the program Citizenship focuses much classroom learning directly on issues of civic engagement. Both models seem to be highly effective in teaching our students not only how to be informed about an issue but also how to become engaged in various communities around these issues. Additionally, students learned how to educate others about the issues they explored. In the spring of 2006, Water Matters, focused on issues of fresh water through the lenses of environmental chemistry, freshwater ecology, literature, and creative writing. This Core examined water issues around the globe, paying special attention to basic sanitation, potable drinking water, and water use and management. This course had a number of smaller in-house projects coupled with local and regional field trips designed to connect students to community water issues such as nearby stream contamination, severely aging infrastructure, and wetland degradation. The Water Matters term-long civic engagement project culminated in WaterFest and the inaugural Eric and Kay Johnson Global Water Symposium, a two-day seminar on freshwater issues, well attended by the Antioch community and the general public. Activities included PowerPoint presentations, poster sessions, and literature readings by students and a number of distinguished guests, as well as distribution of Water Journal, a compilation of student creative and scientific works from this Core Program. Discussions and presentations on local, regional, and global fresh water issues were led by John Huber, the President of the Louisville Water Company, Steve Werner, the Executive Director of Water for People (an international non-profit fresh water development organization), and Vanessa Tobin, Chief of the Water, Environment, and Sanitation Programme Division of UNICEF. The local field trips and the global symposium taught our students how to become informed on important issues, how to
41 educate others about them, and how to become engaged in the community, whether locally, regionally, nationally, or globally. The ongoing program, Citizenship, in the fall of 2006 is focused on issues of citizenship in political science, history, and art. One of the goals of this Core is to eliminate or substantially reduce political apathy that may exist among its participants by improving their knowledge of the American political institutions, political culture, political power, public policy process, rights and responsibilities associated with citizenship, and major challenges and opportunities facing the American politico-economic system ( fall 07 link on Core is antioch-college.edu/academics/registrar/core/0708corelcs.html). The program explores American citizenship through the context of art; students consider how art both influences and reflects who gets to participate as a citizen. Studio assignments complement required readings and critical, written reflections. For example, students created a broadside a political tool to engage with the general public about issues they had studied. Their art expressed issues of citizenship. Assessment We are assessing student civic engagement and its impact on learning, retention, satisfaction, and leadership, at three points: during the first-year Core Programs, during the first cooperative education experience, and across the Upper-Level Curriculum, including the Senior Project. Assessment methods include periodic student surveys, formal Student Evaluations of Instructors and Programs (SEIs), and reflective essays and interviews within the Cooperative Education Program. We plan to assess student performance by comparing our current first-year students to those of the recent past who did not have the foundation of the Core Program or the Co-op Communities. We are currently comparing students civic engagement learning and practice within the various first-year Core Programs. By examining the broad variety of methods currently in use, and the outcomes of these programs, the relative merits of each delivery system can be determined, and then compared to instructors views of program effectiveness as well as student reports of progress and satisfaction. The necessary assessment tools, primarily student surveys and formal SEIs, are currently in use. We will also track the progress of students civic engagement skills, satisfaction, and leadership ability as they progress through our Upper-Level Curriculum. In the past, many graduating seniors integrated moderate to high levels of community involvement into their Senior Projects. By carefully assessing civic engagement early on, we can track the development of skills across the Antioch educational experience among those students who integrate community involvement into their Senior Project. I. Contributors Names and Contact Information Main contact for submission: Janice Kinghorn Associate Professor of Economics and Associate Dean of the Core Program Phone: Eli Nettles Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Associate Dean of Faculty Phone: David Kammler Assistant Professor of Chemistry Phone: Antioch College 795 Livermore Street Yellow Springs, OH II. Institutional Description a. Antioch College, Yellow Springs, OH b. Four-year c. Private d. Residential e. 350 students, 120 first-year students f. Primarily residential Building on the First Year Beginning their second year, students experience cooperative education (work) in an organized co-op community, which includes Place as Text: an academic component that asks students to become responsible, informed citizens within their local community. We believe that this directed civic engagement experience will lay a foundation upon which a student can continue to build skills throughout their Antioch education. The first group of students in this program is in the midst of that experience, and we plan to assess student performance by comparing their cooperative education reflection papers and interviews to those of previous students.
42 CASE STUDY CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, CHICO Civic Engagement in Academic Writing at Chico State Christian Fosen, Assistant Professor of English Jill Swiencicki, Associate Professor of English Cynthia Wolf, Director, First Year Experience California State University, Chico English 130, Academic Writing, focuses on new college students development as scholars and familiarity with the genres and conventions of academic disciplines. The course takes academic inquiry as its starting point, inviting students to select a subject of interest and explore it deeply through research, reflection, analysis, and writing. This version of English 130 has been offered on our campus for 10 years. Though it operates independently of other courses that first-year students take, it conforms to guidelines governing General Education on our campus. Academic Writing and Civic Engagement In a spring 2006 review of Academic Writing, English faculty examined statements by our new campus President about the importance of civic engagement for all students at CSU, Chico. In cooperation with our newly developed First-Year Experience Program and with the support of the Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts, we developed a pilot syllabus for English 130 that kept inquiry and scholarship at the heart of the course, but presented students with a sequence of assignments now focused on civic learning. We first offered this course focus in Fall 2006, and we hope to expand the focus across the Academic Writing Program and link it with other first-year courses. The assignment sequence of Academic Writing asks students to explore civic issues as a mechanism for engaged action. It embodies our goals for the course, which include: 1. Civic Literacy. After reading Terry Tempest Williams The Open Space of Democracy, students write about their past experiences of being civically engaged and reflect on the meaning(s) of those experiences. From this, they develop definitions of civic engagement that connect to their lived experiences. 2. Critical Thinking and Reflection. Students read texts about the purposes and limits of civic engagement, keep research logs with thorough annotations, and develop a six-page (minimum) research narrative essay describing what they are learning about their subject and the research process. They learn information literacy skills and begin research on a public issue that they feel needs attention/ reform. Professors used New York Times coverage of the immigration bill protests and academic essays on immigration history to model the deliberative, critical aspects of this work. 3. Experiential Learning and Democratic Citizenship Skills. Students used their research experience to reflect on the meaning of engagement in argumentative essays. Working in groups, they then facilitated roundtable discussions of their research at a Town Hall Meeting for the campus community. Two sets of concurrent sessions provided 120 students, along with faculty, staff, and community members the opportunity to discuss key issues and create resolutions or action plans. This segment of the course is analogous to a service-learning component and is supported by a grant from Community Action Volunteers in Education, a campus group. 4. Civic Action. Students end the course by writing collaborative letters to our campus President suggesting practical strategies for campus change that emerged from the Town Hall Meeting. Connecting to Previous Work and New Community The Academic Writing pilot asks students to use writing to inquire into the key issues of our time. Our most important goal for English 130 to help students develop into scholars has now been fused with a better-defined purpose for their scholarship: to consider their role in the university and to extend their vision for that role into the public sphere. We also wanted to help students take ownership of the civic engagement experiences that are often required of them in high school. Students on our campus often report that they volunteered in high school because they were required to do so and that they are done with that. By providing students with a way to reflect about and perhaps critique these civic experiences, we aim to increase their understanding of the impact that participating citizens can make in a democracy. Connecting Across Campus The Civic Engagement pilot in Academic Writing, taught by English faculty, involves key stakeholders across campus. Our
43 Dean of Undergraduate Studies has successfully used the syllabus as a starting place for developing an integrated first-year curriculum focused on civic learning to be offered in fall New syllabi with civic learning outcomes in common with English 130 were created for Political Science (American Government); Communication Studies (Small Group Communication); and University Life, our campus s First-Year Studies (FYS) course. The First-Year Experience (FYE) coordinator has offered the pilot syllabus as a model for civic learning instruction in other first-year courses. Assessment Because this is a writing course, our attention during the pilot focused on how well its civic engagement theme delivers outcomes related to reading, research, and writing. At the same time, we hope to use our experiences in the academic writing pilot as an impetus for change across the first year. For example, how could an integrated curriculum, in which first-year courses share readings, research practices, and co-curricular experiences, enhance student engagement and civic literacy? A random sample of portfolios from six sections of English 130 will be collected and read for evidence of students proficiency with research, written argument, and critical thinking; readers will be faculty from across the disciplines. Civic Learning Outcomes to be assessed are students abilities in the areas of 1) public problem solving; 2) interpersonal participation skills, especially across differences; 3) knowledge of civic and community issues; 4) knowledge of community values; and 5) a sense of responsibility for the common good. These outcomes will be assessed by reviewers who will score students in these areas during the Town Hall Meeting, with results checked against students self-reports in these areas at the end of the semester and in follow-up surveys administered in the spring term. Our campus s Institutional Research organization, our campus Retention Programs Office, and our FYE Office will cooperate to evaluate the effect of the fall 2007 pilot on student retention, social integration, GPA, and satisfaction with the first-semester experience. An embedded ethnographic approach used in the FYS, coupled with a follow-up case study approach the next spring will allow us to analyze student learning, development of academic skills, degree of student-faculty interaction, and the impact of curricular innovations on students in this program. I. Contributors Names and Contact Information Main contact for the submission: Dr. Christian Fosen Assistant Professor, English English Department Taylor Hall Phone: Dr. Jill Swiencicki English Department Taylor Hall Dr. Cynthia Wolf English Department Taylor Hall California State University, Chico Chico, CA II. Institutional Description a. California State University, Chico, Chico, CA b. MA-granting comprehensive university c. Public/state university d. Residential campus e. 13,813 FTE undergraduate students 2421 FTE First-year students f Undergraduate residential and commuter students 2459 Residential and commuter first-year students 1905 University housing capacity (all first-year students)
44 CASE STUDY CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, FULLERTON Learning Communities for Civic Engagement Maruth Figueroa, Acting Coordinator of Freshman Program Marlene Gallarde, Sociology Department Faculty Freshman Programs at California State University, Fullerton, facilitate smooth and vital transitions from high school to academic success in higher education, university life, and civic engagement. Students are engaged as scholars, citizens, and community members through active learning, multiculturalism, and the advancement of critical thinking skills. Connecting first-year students in active and challenging ways to California State University, Fullerton s core value where learning is preeminent inspires student engagement and commitment as developing professionals and productive citizens in local and global communities. Freshman Programs learning communities were established in 1997 as collaboration between academic and student affairs. Through building a sense of community and belonging, student learning is enhanced and the quality of student life improves. The curricular and co-curricular components of our program focus on the following three goals: academic success, campus involvement, and civic engagement. Freshman Programs is the home of four year-long learning communities: Fullerton First Year, Compass, Live n Learn, and Freshman Future Teachers. During the fall semester, Freshman Programs students connect with caring faculty, identify student resources, and make new friends through University Studies 100, a three-unit college success general elective course. Freshman Programs curriculum includes a community-based service-learning experience during the spring semester in pre-screened organizations to assist students with career exploration, community networking, critical thinking, problem-based learning, and communication skills. Service-Learning Component All students in a Freshman Programs learning community engage in hours of service-learning as part of a Sociology 101 or Geology 110T course. The Sociology 101 course is an introduction to sociology as an academic discipline and perspective. Throughout the semester, students apply sociological concepts and theories to their service-learning experiences. In each of a series of service-learning papers, students identify and define six sociological concepts from the readings and/or lectures, explain how they fit with their service-learning experience, and reflect on these connections. The Geology 110T course is an investigation of the causes of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. It looks at ways of understanding hazards, predicting catastrophes, and preparing for potential disasters. As part of the service-learning component, students work with community organizations providing disaster preparedness plans and presentations. Research suggests that students in the service-learning semesters out-performed the students in the non-service-learning semester; both overall, and on the second midterm and the final exam differences were more pronounced on essay questions, as opposed to multiple choice questions (Strage, 2001). Strage attributes the performance differences to the hands-on engagement the students experience in the service-learning component. Course Resources: Faculty Development and Peer Mentoring Faculty teaching these courses receive intensive service-learning course development training through the Faculty Development Center (workshops and/or individualized sessions) and the Center for Internships and Service-Learning. In addition, trained peer mentors are part of the instructional team because research has shown they improve the classroom learning environment. Walker and Taub (2001) and Schwitzer and Thomas (1998) have shown that the first-year seminars contribution to the students success during their first semester is directly correlated to the level of peer mentor participation in the classroom, t(273) =.444, p.01. Assessment Freshman Programs has served more than 3,000 first-time firstyear students since Data from Institutional Research and Analytical Studies revealed that 55% of Freshman Programs students who completed the program graduated in four years, compared with a six-year graduation rate of 47% for California State University, Fullerton, students, based on the 1997 cohort of first-time first-year students. (See graphs below.) The learningcommunity-in-action of Freshman Programs promotes students academic success. References California State University, Fullerton. Institutional Research & Analytical Studies.
45 index.htm Freshman Programs. Strage, A. (2001). Service-learning as a tool for enhancing student learning outcomes in a college-level lecture course. Michigan Journal of Community Service-learning, 7, Schwitzer, A. M., & Thomas, C. (1998). Implementation, utilization, and outcomes of a minority freshman peer mentor program at a predominately white university. Journal of The Freshman Year Experience and Students in Transition, 10 (1), Walker, S. C. and Taub, D. J. (2001). Variables correlated with satisfaction with a mentoring relationship in first-year college students and their mentors. Journal of The Freshman Year Experience and Students in Transition, 13 (1), Graph 1: Student Enrollment in Freshman Programs Freshman Programs began with one learning community, Fullerton First Year, in 1997 and has evolved to serve more than 450 first-time first-year students in four distinct and purposeful yearlong learning communities. I. Contributor s Name and Contact Information Main contact for submission: Maruth Figueroa Acting Coordinator of Freshman Programs Phone: Fax: Marlene Gallarde Sociology Department Faculty Phone: Fax: CSU-Fullerton P.O. Box 6846 Fullerton, CA II. Institutional Description a. California State University, Fullerton Fullerton, CA b. Four-year institution c. Public d. Commuter campus e. 25,053.7 FTE undergraduate students 4,012.9 FTF f. 7% of first-year students live on campus. 93% of first-year students are commuters. Supplemental Material and follow hot button to Civic Engagement. Graph 2: Student Retention from First to Second Year. When compared to the national average, Freshman Programs student are more likely to be retained into their second year. 6-year graduation rate. Graph 3: Freshman Programs are more likely to graduate within six years compared to the non-freshman Programs students.
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