Civic Engagement

Please read and reflect on the following executive summary for this proposal,
or even better, the full proposal given here: CivicEngagementProposal.pdf.
Then please read and contribute to the commentary for this proposal.

Executive Summary: Civic Engagement
Authors: Tom Arcaro and Bud Warner

Elon University is poised to make the transformation from an institution that does civic engagement very well into a national model of a fully integrated civically engaged university. Through utilizing the strengths of all of our many constituencies – faculty, staff, administrators, community partners, alumni, parents and students- this QED plan offers some beginning points for a campus wide discussion about how most effectively to make this transformation.  By rethinking the university both in terms of structure and overall campus culture, student learning will be transformed as will our entire campus community. 

Though the term ‘civic engagement’ is variously defined within academia, four over-lapping domains of civic engagement have been identified. These domains include the following, and each will inform and guide our movement toward being a model civically engaged campus community:

  • The social service realm
  • The social advocacy realm
  • The political realm
  • The business realm

The sociologist C. Wright Mills wrote of “personal troubles and social issues,” noting that many people experience their own concerns without understanding them in a broader context.  The overall goal of this QEP for both students and the larger academic community is to enhance and deepen the ability of all community members to make the connections between the local and global, the personal and the social, that is, to become more civically engaged. There are three specific goals of this QEP proposal:

Goal 1:  Students will develop a deeper understanding of the Burlington/Alamance County region, its history and current challenges.
Goal 2: Students will develop a deeper understanding of how issues in Burlington/Alamance County connect to or reflect broader regional and global issues and challenges.
Goal 3:  Students’ involvement in local, regional, and global issues and challenges will increase through an improved infrastructure to coordinate and promote curricular and co-curricular civic engagement activities and through providing more opportunities for students to practice civic engagement

Key action elements of this QED include:

  1. The establishment of a Center for Civic Engagement that would serve to (i) further coordinate the wide array of existing civic engagement activities, (ii) initiate and administer new programs (see below), and (iii) seek external funding for existing and new initiatives
  2. A fall lecture series for both first and second year students designed to achieve the three goals outlined above
  3. The establishment of an East Burlington Resource Center
  4. Creating Ashoka-model Training for Trusteeship Grants
  5. Expanding the existing Service Sabbatical program
  6. Expanding service-learning and community-based research

Though establishing reasonable indicators of the broader success for this QEP will be difficult, specific and measurable benchmarks can be identified for each of the elements of the proposal.

The full proposal is given here: CivicEngagementProposal.pdf.

Please read the comments on this proposal and post your own thoughts/responses (or e-mail

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