Civic Professionalism

Civic Professionalism is a research project that provides 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.

A New Paradigm for Undergraduate Liberal Arts Education

Given the pressure higher education faces to be more pragmatic, new strategies for affirming and furthering the power of community engaged learning in the contexts of an undergraduate liberal arts education are needed. We employ the term civic professionalism to mark the intersection of formal knowledge, vocational exploration/development, and a commitment to the common good. This research is made possible through the generosity of the Teagle Foundation and is led by IA’s Engaged Undergraduate Education Research Group.

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.
A shared basis for evaluating success and ensuring effective collaboration in the implementation stages of the project.

Civic professionalism engages 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?


Recent Presentations

Imagining America, 2014 National Conference, Atlanta GA
Civic Professionalism: Developing an Action Plan for Your Campus, Thursday, October 9, 2014
Civic Professionalism: Innovative Driver of Change or Impossible Dream?, Saturday, October 11, 2014
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


Ongoing Research

September 2013 Status Report
Engaged Undergraduate Education Collaboratory’s Working Paper, “Civic Professionalism: A New Paradigm for Undergraduate Liberal Arts Education”



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, College of Liberal Arts Associate Dean, 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