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AAC&U highlights Clark's ‘Civic Responsibility by Design’ model in education

November 7, 2017

Clark University’s new interdisciplinary major, Community, Youth and Education Studies (CYES), housed in the Education Department, is among the models singled out in a nationwide project highlighting innovative academic programs that empower graduates for civic and social responsibility.

The Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) recently launched an initiative to focus on ways to make civic learning and democratic engagement an expectation for all students. Clark is among only 13 institutions whose departmental designs will be featured as “Civic Responsibility by Design” case studies on AAC&U’s website. A complete list is online. 

Through various case studies, AAC&U aims to “illustrate the practice of applying a civic lens and the strategies that led to the integration of civic ethos, literacy, inquiry, and action in the majors and areas of specialized studies.” AAC&U is the leading national association concerned with the quality, vitality and public standing of undergraduate liberal education.

Clark’s CYES major is designed to prepare students for engaged scholarship and leadership in the 21st century, working for social justice across a wide range of educational, cultural, institutional and linguistic boundaries and borders. The featured Clark case study will model how the CYES major embeds civic learning and social responsibility in coursework and how the faculty affiliated with the major have employed that lens in the classroom. The project also will explore how the larger institutional climate influenced the major’s design.

“I am a community, youth and education studies major because this major brings together learning about communities and working alongside young people in the community and how those combine to create powerful learning experiences.”

Linda Mindaye '19

Supported by a grant from the Endeavor Foundation, AAC&U states its aim is to “provide guidance to colleges and universities as they tackle one of the most resistant, yet fertile, areas of civic learning by bringing it squarely into where students invest most of their academic attention: their majors.”

The grant also will support national dissemination of some of the exemplary models through a session at AAC&U’s 2018 Annual Meeting Jan. 24-27 in Washington, D.C. A webinar is scheduled in March 2018 for departments wanting to learn more about how to construct civic departmental designs, and seed grants to support departments in their efforts to incorporate public questions, consequences, issues and pedagogies into their major requirements.

AAC&U is the leading national association concerned with the quality, vitality and public standing of undergraduate liberal education. For more information about Civic Prompts: Civic Learning in the Major by Design, visit http://www.aacu.org/civic-prompts.