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Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Resources

A selection of resources (publications, webinars, videos, conference presentations) available from initiatives spanning national organizations and government.


  • Public Sphere Pedagogy
    CSU Chico developed the Town Hall Meeting and Great Debate, now adopted by other colleges and universities around the state, as part of a broader effort to bring entering college students into full-fledged community participation. The practices, which Chico groups under "Public Sphere Pedagogy," result in measurable gains in engagement, persistence, and student success. See the online toolkit or recorded webcast.

Organizations and Governmental Initiatives

  • American Commonwealth Partnership
    ACP is a broad alliance of higher education, P-12 schools and educational groups, philanthropies, businesses and others, part of a coordinated effort with the White House Office of Public Engagement, the Association of American Colleges and Universities, and the Department of Education, to begin a year of activity called, “For Democracy’s Future – Reclaiming Our Civic Mission.” ACP’s role is to “deepen the civic identity” of educational institutions, moving engagement from activities to strong commitments to education as a public good.

  • American Democracy Project (ADP)
    The American Democracy Project (ADP) is a multi-campus initiative focused on higher education’s role in preparing the next generation of informed, engaged citizens for our democracy. The project began in 2003 as an initiative of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), in partnership with The New York Times. 

  • Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement
    This effort is part of the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U)'s ongoing commitment to help all students achieve the essential outcomes of a 21st century liberal education, including personal and social responsibility - an important cornerstone of the LEAP essential learning outcomes advanced by AAC&U. This national initiative is in partnership with the Department of Education and the Global Perspectives Institute.
  • The Democracy Commitment
    A national initiative providing a platform for the development and expansion of community college programs, projects and curricula aiming at engaging students in civic learning and democratic practice across the country.

  • DemocracyU
    Goal is to spread the word about higher education’s civic mission and to show that fixing our democracy is something that young people care deeply about, and have much to contribute to.

  • Public Agenda
    Public Agenda helps communities and the nation solve tough problems through research, engagement and communications.


Below is a small representation of information available on this topic. We encourage our web users to access the links in the national initiatives section above for a full breadth of available resources.

Additional resources can be found using the Corporation for National and Community Service's National Service Learning Clearninghouse.

  • A Crucible Moment: College Learning & Democracy’s Future (.pdf)
    This publication from AAC&U examines the state of the field and offers a national plan of action to enhance civic learning and democratic engagement. The Appendix contains two templates, one for colleges & universities and one for organizations and groups outside of higher education to engage in an assessment and potential actions

Content Contact:
Judy Botelho
(562) 951-4749
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Last Updated: June 13, 2014