Undergrad Civic Professionalism

Civic Professionalism: A New Paradigm for Undergraduate Liberal Arts Education

Made possible through the generosity of the Teagle Foundation and led by IA’s Engaged Undergraduate Education Research Group, this project focuses on “Civic Professionalism” as a roadmap for transforming educational practice through a dual focus on faculty work and student learning. It seeks to interweave the traditional strengths of the liberal arts, the values of civic inquiry and reflection, and the practical work of sustaining and supporting our communities and ourselves. We employ the term civic professionalism to mark the intersection of formal knowledge, vocational exploration/development, and a commitment to the common good.

To facilitate the integration of civic professionalism into arts and humanities undergraduate teaching and learning, the group seeks to develop the following products:

  • A shared knowledge base and vocabulary that enables effective collaboration and evidence-based decision-making;
  • An array of course, program, and project models, including models focused on faculty work as the driver of student learning, that are compelling to the variety of institutions participating in the research and by extension, to a larger constituency of undergraduate educators;
  • A shared set of criteria for selecting proposed models for implementation that includes impact on faculty work and student learning; and
  • A shared basis for evaluating success and ensuring effective collaboration in the implementation stages of the project.

Upcoming Presentations

Imagining America, 2014 National Conference, Atlanta GA

Civic Professionalism: Developing an Action Plan for Your Campus

Thursday, October 9, 2014 (11:00am – 12:30pm)

Civic professionalism marks the intersection of academic knowledge, vocational exploration/development, and a commitment to the common good.  Led by IA’s Engaged Undergraduate Education Research Group, participants will deepen their understanding of civic professionalism and develop strategies for integrating this framework into campus priorities by, for example, partnering with campus offices and building aligned community partnerships and projects. They will work with experts, including Dr. Julie Hatcher who is a nationally recognized leader in the areas of civic engagement and faculty development.  This session—focused on capacity building—will include a brief overview of the civic professionalism framework and time for participants to develop campus and community action plans in consultation with research group participants and expert consultants.

Presenters:

Amy Koritz, Director, Center for Civic Engagement, Drew University

Paul Schadewald, Associate Director, Civic Engagement Center, Macalester College

Julie Hatcher, Center for Service and Learning, Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis

Civic Professionalism: Innovative Driver of Change or Impossible Dream?

Saturday, October 11, 2014 (1:30 – 3:00pm)

What is the future for civic engagement in higher education?  Despite clear support for institutions’ public mission, educators continue to face challenges to sustaining and expanding civic engagement initiatives.  One especially timely challenge is how to balance the traditional liberal arts and a commitment to the civic and public good, with increasing pressure to produce vocational outcomes for our students.  The newest challenge, however, comes less from traditional scholars and narrow definitions of research than from increasing pressure to align liberal arts education with career outcomes.  Resistance continues in the form of promotion and tenure reward systems and discipline-based curricula, meaning that advocates for civic engagement face multiple pressure points.

Given the pressure higher education faces to be more pragmatic, new strategies for affirming and furthering the power of civic/community engaged learning in the contexts of an undergraduate liberal arts education are needed.  This seminar will explore the usefulness of “civic professionalism” as one such strategy.  Civic professionalism marks the intersection of academic knowledge, vocational exploration/development, and a commitment to the common good.  It intertwines the knowledge and skills needed for effective practice and the ability to reflect and embody values that help students seek success not only for themselves, but also for the community.

In this seminar, members of IA’s Engaged Undergraduate Education Research Group will briefly discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the civic professionalism framework and their own successes and challenges implementing civic professionalism at six diverse institutions.  Seminar participants will place readings on civic professionalism in the context of the larger challenges facing civic engagement in a liberal arts education and explore what a focus on civic professionalism means for institutional policy, pedagogy, and preparing students to be civic-minded graduates.  Participants will articulate the challenges and opportunities of civic professionalism endeavors in order to inform the future work of Imagining America and the Research Group.

Key questions may include:

How can civic professionalism help protect the transformative role of civic engagement in the liberal arts while also demonstrating the relevance to a skills-oriented public and student body?

How can civic professionalism help faculty teach students to use a critical lens in order to recognize the consequences of innovation and entrepreneurship in their future careers?

In light of the pressure to move toward workforce development, how can higher education institutions facilitate, value, and commit to the public purposes of education?

In preparation for the seminar, participants will be asked to read 3 essays and an overview of the work of the Engaged Undergraduate Education Research Group, including a rubric they created about students’ development of civic professionalism.  Prior to the conference, participants will be encouraged to submit 1 or 2 pressing questions to pose to the other seminar participations for discussion.

Presenters:

Amy Koritz, Director, Center for Civic Engagement, Drew University

Paul Schadewald, Associate Director, Civic Engagement Center, Macalester College

Recent Presentation

Association of American Colleges and University, 2014 Annual Meeting, Washington D.C.

Faculty Roles in Developing Civic-Minded Graduates and Professionals: Promising Practices and Structural Challenges

The current context of higher education presents significant challenges for developing ‘civic professionals’, including curricular fragmentation, an increasing focus on workforce development, and the lack of knowledge about how to fully integrate effective civic practices into the curricula and rewards system. This panel will engage the larger issue of how to build capacity to educate civic-minded graduates by engaging the follow questions: What constitutes civic learning outcomes and how can these outcomes be assessed? What practices can faculty use to reach these outcomes? What are the challenges to deploying these practices and what strategies should be used to overcome them?

Paul Schadewald, Associate Director, Civic Engagement Center, Macalester College; Julie Hatcher, Executive Director, Center for Service and Learning, Associate Professor Philanthropic Studies, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis; Dan Richard, Director Office of Faculty Enhancement, Associate Professor, Psychology, University of North Florida; Kristin Norris, Assessment Director, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis; Amy Koritz, Director Center for Civic Engagement and Professor of English, Drew University

In-Progress Research

Leadership

Principal Investigators
Amy Koritz, founding director, Center for Civic Engagement, Drew University
Paul Schadewald, associate director, Civic Engagement Center, Macalester College

Research Fellows
Robin Bachin, History, American Studies, University of Miami
Brigitta R. Brunner, Communication and Journalism, Auburn University
Giovanna Summerfield, Arts and Faculty Initiatives, Auburn University
Catherine Gerard, Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration, Syracuse University
Kenneth Townsend, Office of the President, Millsaps College

Research Assistant
Amanda Suniti Niskode-Dossett