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CEO DATELINE – Groups pledge to advance ‘civic mission’ of postsecondary education

Sept. 30, 2021
By Walt Williams

A coalition of higher education associations and advocacy organizations have formed a new coalition to ensure that civic learning “is both expected and experienced equitably across postsecondary education in the United States.”

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The Civic Learning and Democracy Engagement seeks to focus national discussion on the need to ensure that all college students gain civic, historical, global, and intercultural knowledge and that all students engage with public problems, the coalition said in a statement. 

“There are many ways to prepare students for active and knowledgeable participation in democracy,” said Lynn Pasquerella, president of coalition member the Association of American Colleges & Universities. “We are not recommending a one-size-fits-all approach. What we want to see is a next generation of creative leadership across all higher education institutions to make college-level civic learning expected, equitable, high quality, and inclusive.”

As part of that effort, the coalition will focus on four goals:

Quality and equity: Build commitment and capacity—across postsecondary education—to make civic learning and democracy engagement an expected part of a quality college education for all college students.

Democracy engagement: Engage students with democracy’s history, present and future, in a diverse U.S.

Collaborative problem-solving: Prepare each postsecondary student to work directly on selected public problems that society needs to solve, such as racial healing, health and education.

Policy commitment: Secure policy support for, and robust public investment in, the goals listed above.

In addition to AACU, other coalition members include the American Political Science Association, National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and National Association of Student Personnel Administrators.