Report Calls for Greater Emphasis on Civic Learning in Higher Education

A report from the National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement,

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A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy’s Future, urges educators and public leaders to advance a 21st century vision of college learning for all students—a vision with civic learning and democratic engagement an expected part of every student’s college education.

The report documents the nation’s anemic civic health and includes recommendations for action that address campus culture, general education, and civic inquiry as part of major and career fields as well as hands-on civic problem solving across differences.

A Crucible Moment was prepared at the invitation of the U.S. Department of Education under the leadership of the Global Perspective Institute, Inc. (GPI) and AAC&U. The publication was developed with input from a series of national roundtables involving leaders from all parts of the higher education and civic renewal communities.

This entire report is available as a PDF document and highlights from the report can be accessed here.

The centerpiece of A Crucible Moment is a National Call to Action to be undertaken by a broad coalition of constituents. The National Task Force urges Americans to:

1. Reclaim and reinvest in the fundamental civic and democratic mission of schools and of all sectors within higher education;

2. Enlarge the current national narrative that erases civic aims and civic literacy as educational priorities contributing to social, intellectual, and economic capital;

3. Advance a contemporary, comprehensive framework for civic learning—embracing US and global interdependence—that includes historic and modern understandings of democratic values, capacities to engage diverse perspectives and people, and commitment to collective civic problem solving;

4. Capitalize upon the interdependent responsibilities of K-12 and higher education to foster progressively higher levels of civic knowledge, skills, examined values, and action as expectations for every student;

5. Expand the number of robust, generative civic partnerships and alliances locally, nationally, and globally to address common problems, empower people to act, strengthen communities and nations, and generate new frontiers of knowledge.