Diversity & Democracy: Civic Learning for Shared Futures
Diversity & Democracy Volume 15, Number 3  

Diversity & Democracy
Volume 15,
Number 3
(2012)

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About This Issue
Featured Topic: Shared Futures
Civic Engagement and Student Success: Leveraging Multiple Degrees of Achievement
Linking High-Impact Learning with High-Impact Community Engagement
The Joy of Learning: The Impact of Civic Engagement on Psychosocial Well-Being
Advancing and Assessing Civic Learning: New Results from the Diverse Learning Environments Survey
High-Impact Practices: Promoting Participation for All Students
Perspectives
Toolbox of a Citizen
Campus Practice
Caring for Our Community: Service Learning in the Nursing Curriculum
Community Environmental Scholars: Working “Together, for the Planet”
Pathways to College and to Social Justice Leadership: The University Community Collaborative of Philadelphia
And More...
In Print
Resources
Opportunities

Civic Engagement and Student Success: A Resonant Relationship

# John Carroll University
John Carroll University

Consider crew, one of the oldest sports in American higher education. In crew, a group of rowers adopts a shared rhythm to propel themselves, collectively, forward. With each coordinated stroke, their boat picks up speed until it reaches a critical balance between the rowers’ energy and the water’s resistance. When the rowers coordinate their strengths and movements, they gain velocity, accomplishment, recognition, community, and maybe even a sense of euphoria. In succeeding by a variety of measures, they form the basis of future success, both individually and as a group.

Students’ participation in civic engagement activities can have similar impacts—on them, on their institutions, and on their communities. Through well-crafted curricular and cocurricular opportunities, students are often able to establish a resonant rhythm for success by engaging with the world around them. As illustrated by the recent report A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy’s Future (www.aacu.org/civic_learning/), practitioners define civically engaged learning opportunities in a wide variety of ways. But they generally agree that, when done well, such opportunities are linked to a range of positive—and mutually amplifying—factors.

This issue of Diversity & Democracy showcases researchthat substantiates the connections between civically engaged learning and various positive impacts related to student success, defined broadly. These include traditional outcomes (such as grade point average and graduation rates), as well as measures of more recent national concern (such as learning outcomes, preparation for employment, and personal well-being). Contributing authors summarize research tying specific outcomes to civic engagement and provide recommendations for campus practitioners. They describe programs that align student and community success, and elucidate connections between desired learning outcomes and engagement with diversity. They share practical applications and testify to how a sense of civic responsibility drove their own and their students’ academic accomplishments. Collectively and individually, their work makes a strong case for the resonant relationship between civic engagement and student success.

Our authors also suggest changes that civically engaged practitioners and their students can effect by bringing their work to scale. By moving programs and strategies from scattered and piecemeal to coordinated and pervasive, educators, students, and community partners can multiply the proven positive effects of civic engagement across students and communities. Like rowers building momentum in a communal vessel, they can help propel higher education—and America’s diverse democracy—forward to success in the twenty-first century.

Kathryn Peltier Campbell, editor of Diversity & Democracy

 

Questions, comments, and suggestions regarding Diversity & Democracy should be directed to Kathryn Peltier Campbell at campbell@aacu.org.
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