Clayton State University has been selected by NASPA -- Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, as one of the lead institutions participating in a national initiative on civic learning and democratic engagement.
As a member of the Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Network (CLDE), a group of higher education-related institutions that have come together with the goal of promoting engagement among college students, NASPA has made a commitment to encourage and highlight the work of student affairs in making civic learning and democratic engagement a part of every student’s college education… much in the same fashion as Clayton State has done through its Strategic Plan. Clayton State’s commitment as a lead institution will run through December 2013.
“This is a great opportunity to showcase Clayton State University and our commitment to student engagement,” says Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Brian Haynes.
As a lead institution in the Civic Learning Leadership, Clayton State’s commitments to the initiative over the next year-and-a-half will include;
* Initiating strategies to work in partnership with groups on and off campus to influence students’ ongoing commitment to civic learning and democratic engagement.
* Include clear and tangible civic learning and democratic engagement activities in your strategic goals and learning outcomes (something Clayton State is already doing, though its Strategic Plan, which includes as one of its goals “Foster learning that engages students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the greater community.”)
* Establish a one-year timeline for goal achievements supporting civic learning and democratic engagement.
* Share broadly through NASPA Clayton State’s efforts and evaluations in order to serve as a model for colleagues.
* Work with students as co-leaders and facilitators of dialogues and programs.
* Create strategies in collaboration with students that increase civic learning and help solve community problems through collective action.
On its part, NASPA will assist Clayton State in creating its collaborative strategies by sharing information gleaned from NASPA’s involvement in CLDE, as well as assisting in finding assessment tools and models to determine student gains in civic learning and democratic engagement.
“We encourage campuses to leverage the excitement around the forthcoming presidential election to directly engage students in dialogues about political-themed issues. As part of the CLDE network, NASPA has committed to supporting development of student led conversations on civic engagement, the political process, and citizenship,” says NASPA President Kevin Kruger in an email to Haynes.
In point of fact, Clayton State has already planned an initiative along these lines, the upcoming annual Constitution Week celebration, from Sept. 17 to Sept. 20.
Kruger also notes that experience from others reinforces the need for Student Affairs to collaborate with faculty and other units, who are also committed to engaging students in their own learning and commitment to democratic engagement. Haynes already has plans along these lines, in collaboration with the Office of Academic Affairs and the Clayton State Campus Coordinator of the American Democracy Project, Dr. Joseph Corrado.