Making Citizens

How American Universities Teach Civics
David Randall

January 08, 2017


A new movement in American higher education aims to transform the teaching of civics. This report is a study of what that movement is, where it came from, and why Americans should be concerned.

What we call the “New Civics” redefines civics as progressive political activism. Rooted in the radical program of the 1960s’ New Left, the New Civics presents itself as an up-to-date version of volunteerism and good works. Though camouflaged with soft rhetoric, the New Civics, properly understood, is an effort to repurpose higher education.

The New Civics seeks above all to make students into enthusiastic supporters of the New Left’s dream of “fundamentally transforming” America. The transformation includes de-carbonizing the economy, massively redistributing wealth, intensifying identity group grievance, curtailing the free market, expanding government bureaucracy, elevating international “norms” over American Constitutional law, and disparaging our common history and ideals. New Civics advocates argue among themselves which of these transformations should take precedence, but they agree that America must be transformed by “systemic change” from an unjust, oppressive society to a society that embodies social justice.

The New Civics hopes to accomplish this by teaching students that a good citizen is a radical activist, and it puts political activism at the center of everything that students do in college, including academic study, extra-curricular pursuits, and off-campus ventures.

New Civics builds on “service-learning,” which is an effort to divert students from the classroom to vocational training as community activists. By rebranding itself as “civic engagement,” service-learning succeeded in capturing nearly all the funding that formerly supported the old civics. In practice this means that instead of teaching college students the foundations of law, liberty, and self-government, colleges teach students how to organize protests, occupy buildings, and stage demonstrations. These are indeed forms of “civic engagement,” but they are far from being a genuine substitute for learning how to be a full participant in our republic.

New Civics has still further ambitions. Its proponents want to build it into every college class regardless of subject. The effort continues without so far drawing much critical attention from the public. This report aims to change that.

In addition to our history of the New Civics movement and its breakthrough moment when it was endorsed by President Obama, we provide case studies of four universities: the University of Colorado, Boulder (CU-Boulder), Colorado State University in Fort Collins (CSU), the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley (UNC), and the University of Wyoming in Laramie (UW).

We make four recommendations to state legislators across the country:

  1. Mandate a course in traditional American civics as a graduation requirement at all colleges and universities that receive public funding. If the institution itself is unwilling or unable to offer such a course, students must be permitted without penalty to meet the requirement by taking a qualified civics course at another institution.
  2. Establish a public body to set the guidelines for the required civics course, which should at a minimum teach the history, nature, and functions of our institutions of self-government, and which should aim to foster commitment to our form of self-government. The public body should also be charged with reviewing and approving civics textbooks to be used in these courses.
  3. Require that the traditional civics requirement be met only through classroom instruction. Service learning, civic engagement, or analogous extra-curricular activities will not be accepted as a substitute, supplement, or alternative.
  4. End funding for service-learning and civic engagement programs and bureaucracies.

Preface by Peter W. Wood

Civics is an old and integral part of American education, dating from the early years of the republic. Over the course of more than 200 years, instruction in civics changed in response to both national needs and pedagogical fads. This study examines the most recent of those changes, the rise of what we call the New Civics.

What is most new about the New Civics is that while it claims the name of civics, it is really a form of anti-civics. Civics in the traditional American sense meant learning about how our republic governs itself. The topics ranged from mastering simple facts, such as the branches of the federal government and the obligations of citizenship, to reflecting on the nature of Constitutional rights and the system of checks and balances that divide the states from the national government and the divisions of the national government from one another. A student who learns civics learns about voting, serving on juries, running for office, serving in the military, and all of the other key ways in which citizens take responsibility for their own government.

The New Civics has very little to say about most of these matters. It focuses overwhelmingly on turning students into “activists.” Its largest preoccupation is getting students to engage in coordinated social action. Sometimes this involves political protest, but most commonly it involves volunteering for projects that promote progressive causes. At the University of Colorado at Boulder, for example, the New Civics includes such things as promoting dialogue between immigrants and native-born residents of Boulder County; marching in support of the United Farm Workers; and breaking down “gender binary” spaces in education.

Whatever one might think of these activities in their own right, they are a considerable distance away from what Americans used to mean by the word “civics.” These sorts of activities are not something added to traditional civics instruction. They are presented as a complete and sufficient substitute for the traditional civics education.

From time to time, the press picks up on surveys that purport to show the astonishing ignorance of large percentages of college students when they are asked basic questions about the American political order. We hear that 35 percent of recent college graduates mistakenly believe that the Constitution gives the President the power to declare war; that only 28 percent correctly identified James Madison as father of the Constitution; and that more than half misidentified the elected terms of members of Congress.1 These glimpses of the state of civic knowledge may seem to reflect ill on the students, who seem not to remember the most basic elements of their instruction in civics. The truth, however, is that most of these students have never had any basic instruction in civics. They can’t be blamed for what they have never been taught. Their answers merely reflect the neglect of traditional civics instruction at every level of education, from grade school through college.

In issuing this report, the National Association of Scholars joins the growing number of critics who believe that some version of traditional civics needs to be restored to American education. This is a non-partisan concern. For America to function as a self-governing republic, Americans must possess a basic understanding of their government. That was one of the original purposes of public education and it has been the lodestar of higher education in our nation from the beginning.

The New Civics has diverted us from this basic obligation.

While many observers have expressed alarm about the disappearance of traditional civics education, very few have noticed that a primary cause of this disappearance has been the rise of the New Civics. This new mode of “civic” training is actively hostile to traditional civics, which it regards as a system of instruction that fosters loyalty to ideas and practices that are fundamentally unjust. The New Civics, claiming the mantle of the “social justice” movement, aims to sweep aside those old ideas and practices and replace them with something better.

The Aims of This Study

The deeper purpose of this report is to examine the replacement of traditional civics by New Civics. In this introduction, we give an overview of what the New Civics is and how it has muscled aside traditional civics. In the body of the report, we offer a deeper examination of the topic. Part One is a historical study of the rise of New Civics. Part Two consists of four case studies: the University of Colorado at Boulder, Colorado State University, the University of Northern Colorado, and the University of Wyoming. Part Three offers our assessments and recommendations.

The New Civics is a national development, not something limited to the Rocky Mountain States. While it has been in the works for decades, its official moment of arrival might be dated to the publication in 2012 of a White House commissioned study, A Crucible Moment: College Learning & Democracy’s Future. The publication of A Crucible Moment raised several questions for the National Association of Scholars: To what extent has the New Civics has already taken hold in American higher education? What precisely is the New Civics? And what is a proper alternative for civics instruction in higher education?

The first part of our answer to those questions was a forum in the fall 2012 issue of Academic Questions, which published critiques of A Crucible Moment from eminent scholars throughout the country, as well as their ideas for how to reform post-secondary civics education.2 This report is the second part of our answer.

The National Association of Scholars (NAS) is a non-partisan advocacy organization that upholds the standards of a liberal arts education. We view the liberal arts, properly understood, as fostering intellectual freedom, the search for truth, and the promotion of virtuous citizenship. From our founding in 1987, the topic of how higher education informs American self-governance has been among our chief concerns. NAS pursues this concern in a variety of ways, one of which has been the publication of in-depth research reports on what colleges and universities actually do in carrying out their civic mission.

This report thus follows in a long series of studies that have examined the public commitments and roles played by colleges and universities. Like our previous studies, it aims for depth and thoroughness—far more depth and thoroughness than typically is found in think tank-style studies. We believe our efforts to describe matters in such detail serve two important purposes. First, the search for the truth often requires the patience to gather and analyze a large body of facts. We believe that fair-minded thoroughness contributes more to the broader discussion than either anecdote or artificially narrow selection of data. Second, we describe matters in great detail because we believe in the value of context. Especially in describing long-term and complex phenomena, it is crucial to see how the various pieces come together—and where they fail to. Large-scale social and cultural developments have both internal consistencies and inconsistencies. Our studies aim to give due attention to both. Making Citizens is written in this spirit.


New Civics has appropriated the name of an older subject, but not the content of that subject or its basic orientation to the world. Instead of trying to prepare students for adult participation in the self-governance of the nation, the New Civics tries to prepare students to become social and political activists who are grounded in broad antagonism towards America’s founding principles and its republican ethos.

But a casual observer of New Civics programs might well miss both the activist orientation and the antagonism. That’s for two reasons. First, the New Civics includes a great deal that is superficially wholesome. Second, the advocates of New Civics have adopted a camouflage vocabulary consisting of pleasant-sounding and often traditional terms. Taking these in turn:

Superficial wholesomeness. When New Civics advocates urge college students to volunteer to assist the elderly, to help the poor, to clean up litter, or to assist at pet shelters, the activities themselves really are wholesome. Why call this superficial? The elderly, the poor, the environment, and abandoned pets—to mention only a few of the good objects of student volunteering—truly do benefit from these efforts. The volunteering itself is not necessarily superficial or misguided. But, again, context matters. In the context of New Civics, student volunteering is not just calling on students to exercise their altruistic muscles. It is, rather, a way of drawing students into a system that combines some questionable beliefs with long-term commitments. These seemingly innocent forms of volunteering, as organized by the patrons of New Civics, are considerably less “voluntary” than they often appear—especially since more and more colleges are turning such “volunteer” work into a graduation requirement. Some students even call them “voluntyranny,” given the heavy hand of the organizers in coercing students to participate. They submerge the individual into a collectivity. They ripen the students for more aggressive forms of community organization. And often they turn the students themselves into fledgling community organizers. For example, at the University of Colorado at Boulder, the program called Public Achievement includes a sub-program in which college students are sent out to organize grade school students into teams to pick up litter. This is certainly wholesome if taken in isolation, but in context, it is what we call superficially wholesome.

Camouflage vocabulary. The world of New Civics is rife with familiar words used in non-familiar ways. Democracy and civic engagement in New Civic-speak do not mean what they mean in ordinary English. We will deal with many of these terms more extensively when they come up in context, but it will help the reader to start with a rough idea of double meanings of the key words.

A Dictionary of Deception



This is exemplified in a catchphrase used by Syracuse University’s civic program: “Citizen isn’t just something you are. Citizen is something you do.”3 The idea is that students aren’t getting a full education just by reading books, listening to lectures, writing papers, speaking in class, debating with each other, and participating in the social life of the college community. They must also “learn by doing.” Another phrase for this is that students should “apply their academic learning” or “practice” it in the real world. “Active” always means “active in progressive political campaigns.”



Non-blacks who support Black Lives Matter, men who support feminist groups, and non-gays who support LGBTQ groups are examples of allies. Allies are expected to defer in all cases to the opinions of the leaders of the grievance group they support. To venture an independent opinion, or worse, to suggest a criticism of the views or tactics of the grievance group is to invite an accusation of presumptuousness, betrayal, or infringement upon the grievance group’s “safe space.” An articulate ally must be made to shut up.



The “aware” student is up to date with the progressive party line, and knows the current list of oppressions that need to be righted. The “aware” student knows the true meaning of words: “academic freedom,” for example, is really “a hegemonic discourse that perpetuates the structural inequalities of white male power.” “Awareness” requires politically correct purchases and social interactions—reusable water bottles, fair-trade coffee, a diffident approach to pronouns—but it does not require active participation in a campaign of political advocacy. The “aware” student can move higher in the collegiate pecking order by accusing his peers of being less “aware.” Being “aware” requires a lower level of commitment than being “engaged.” “Awareness” is low-energy virtue-signaling.



Thomas Ehrlich’s frequently cited Civic Responsibility and Higher Education (2000) defines “civic engagement” as “working to make a difference in the civic life of our communities and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make that difference. It means promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes.”4 In practice, “civic engagement” hardly ever refers to participation in the machinery of government—jury duty, service in the armed forces, volunteer work as a fireman, and so on. “Civic engagement” overwhelmingly means “political activism for a progressive ‘community’ organization.” Alternative terms include “community engagement,” “democratic learning,” “civic pedagogies,” and “civic problem-solving.”



“Civic ethos” refers to the character traits—the “dispositions” that support civic engagement, civic learning, and so on. These “dispositions” include Respect for freedom and human dignity; Empathy; Open-mindedness; Tolerance; Justice; Equality; Ethical integrity; and Responsibility to a larger good.5 Other people are supposed to be “tolerant” and “open-minded” toward progressives; progressives never have to be tolerant and open-minded toward other people.



“Civic learning” is learning how to be properly civically engaged; civic learning, in other words, teaches students the content of progressives’ political beliefs, how to propagandize for them, and the means by which to enforce them on other people via the administrative state. New Civics advocates are trying to make progressive propaganda required for college students by calling “civic learning” an “essential learning outcome.” Civic learning is supposed to become “pervasive”—inescapable political education.



“Commitment” is an enthusiastic form of being “active.” It signals a student’s readiness to make a career as a progressive advocate in a “community organization,” university administration, or the government. It also signals to progressives entrusted to hire new personnel that a student is a trustworthy employee.



A community is a group of people not defined by their civic status—citizens of America, Colorado, Denver, and so on. Precisely because communities have no civic or legal definition, New Civics advocates use the word to claim that they speak for a group of people, since the claim can never be falsified. While “community” can be used as a generic assertion of power by New Civics advocates, it is most often used 1) in reference to the “campus community,” as a way to assert power within the university; and 2) in reference to a local grievance group, usually but not exclusively poor blacks or Hispanics, on whose behalf progressives assert a moral claim so as to forward their political program.



“Community organization” as a process refers to the Machiavellian tactics used by mid-twentieth-century radical Saul Alinsky to forward radical leftist goals. New Civics advocates use community organization tactics against the university itself, as they try to seize control of its administration and budget; they also train students to act as community organizers in the outside world. “Community organization” as a noun refers to a group founded by Alinskyite progressives, with Alinskyite aims. Community organization signifies the most intelligent and dangerous component of the progressive coalition.



Consensus means that everyone agrees. Progressives achieve the illusion of consensus by shouting their opinions, asserting that anyone who disagrees with them is evil, and preventing opponents from speaking—sometimes by denying them administrative permission to speak on a campus, sometimes literally by shouting them down. “Consensus” is also used as a false claim to authority, especially with reference to “scientific consensus.” Notably, “sustainability” advocates claim (falsely) that 97 percent of scientists believe that the Earth is undergoing manmade catastrophic global warming. Some scientists do, in fact, believe this, but the percentage is a fraction of the oft-repeated “97 percent.” The policy that follows from the 97 percent claim is government-forced replacement of fossil fuels, starting with coal, with expensive and unreliable “renewable sources” of energy. The advocates of consensus desire that nothing contrary to such scientific “consensus” should ever be taught in a university.



To be critical, or to engage in critique, is to attack an established belief on the grounds that it is self-evidently a hypocritical prejudice established by the powerful to reinforce their rule, and believed by poor dupes clinging to their false consciousness. “Critical thought” sees through the deceptive appearance of freedom, justice, and happiness in American life and reveals the underlying structures of oppression—sexism, racism, class dominance, and so on. “Critique” works to dismantle these oppressive structures. “Critical thought” and “critique” is also meant to reinforce the ruling progressive prejudices of the universities; it is never to take these prejudices as their object.



Deliberative democracy is a concept that political theorists have drawn from Jürgen Habermas’ theory of communicative rationality. While formally about the procedures of democratic decision-making, it aligns with the idea of a transcendental, quasi-Marxist Truth, toward which rational decision-making inevitably leads. New Civics advocates in Rhetoric/Communications and Political Science departments frequently use “deliberative democracy” classes and centers as a way to forward progressive goals.



New Civics advocates use “democracy” to mean “radical social and economic goals, corresponding to beliefs that range from John Dewey to Karl Marx.” They also use “democratic” to mean “disassembling all forms of law and procedure, whether in government, the university administration, or the classroom.” A democratic political decision overrides the law to achieve a progressive political goal; a democratic student rally intimidates a university administration into providing more money for a campus New Civics organization; a democratic class replaces a professor’s informed discussion with a student’s incoherent exposition of his unfounded opinion. A democracy in power issues arbitrary edicts to enforce progressive dogma, and calls it freedom.



In “dialogue,” or “conversation,” students are supposed to listen carefully to a grievance speaker, usually a professional activist, and if possible echo what the speaker has to say. The dialogue is never between individuals, but between representatives of a race, a religion, a nationality, and so on. The structure of dialogue thus dehumanizes all participants by making them nothing more than mouthpieces for a group “identity.” Progressive “dialogue” presumes a progressive conclusion, and presumes that non-progressives have nothing worthwhile to say. Non-progressives engage in dialogue to learn the progressive things to say, or to learn how to shut up.



The Supreme Court used “diversity” as a rationale for sustaining the legality of quotas for racial minorities in higher education admissions, first in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978) and then in Grutter v. Bollinger (2003). Academic bureaucrats therefore used the word intensively in the following decades.”Diversity” has spread out to the broader culture as a euphemism and a justification for racial discrimination. In recent years progressives have come to use it as a form of loyalty oath, requiring Americans to affirm diversity as a way to say that they support both the legality and the goodness of preferences for members of the progressive grievance coalition. Progressives cite “diversity” as a reason to prohibit opponents from speaking on campus.



When New Civics advocates talk about “effective” action they mean programs that outlast the immediate period of student engagement. Programs that have an enduring base within the “community” are effective. “Effective” action is action that supports a progressive “community organization,” and that is directed by that community organization.



Those who promote “civic engagement” on college campuses want students to become “engaged citizens,” as opposed to apathetic or self-interested individuals. An engaged citizen works for a progressive advocacy organization, to pressure the university administration or the government to enact progressive goals. Civic engagement never refers to accountable service in government, although it does sometimes refer to electing progressive activists into office, so as to enforce the progressive agenda via the power of the government.



“Experiential learning” is a fancy way to say that reading an engineering textbook doesn’t teach you how to steady a steel beam at a construction site while the guy next to you is goldbricking. In the modern university, the phrase disguises the hollowness of undergraduate education: students take internships and other forms of “experiential learning” because the university has no solid classes to offer them. “Experiential learning” is also useful to businesses looking for unpaid labor. New Civics advocates use “experiential learning” as a way to justify “service-learning”—unpaid labor for progressive advocacy organizations, by way of training students to be progressive advocates.



“Giving back” or “paying forward” was originally a mawkish way of saying that you can pay back the good that has been done to you by doing good to someone else. Progressives use “giving back” to mean that ordinary Americans have received an unearned and sinful benefit of privilege, and must use their good fortune to work for designated grievance groups, presumptively unprivileged, in a way that a progressive organization thinks would be most useful. “Giving back” never refers to the gratitude students should feel for the hard work their parents have done to make a good life for them; “paying forward” never refers to hard work so as to make a good life for their own children.



“Global citizenship” is a way to combine civic engagement, study abroad, and disaffection from primary loyalty to and love of America. A global citizen favors progressive policies at home and abroad, and is in favor of constraining the exercise of American power in the interest of American citizens. A global citizen is a contradiction in terms, since he is loyal to a hypothetical abstraction, and not to an actual cives—a particular state with a particular history. A global citizen seeks to impose rule by an international bureaucratic elite upon the American government, and the beliefs of an international alliance of progressive non-governmental organization upon the American people.



The “grassroots” have democratic authenticity—they’re not professional politicians claiming to speak for the people, and they aren’t made to conform to any sort of hierarchical authority. Real grassroots— citizens coming together to lobby legislators—is intrinsic to the American political system, but when progressives claim to speak for the grassroots, and they mean a drive funded by George Soros and organized by paid activists. These activists declare that “consensus” has been reached by “the people” outside the formal structures of representative democracy. Since “consensus” is achieved by shouting down moderates, compromisers, and gentle souls, genuine progressive grassroots organizations make unaccountable ideological fanaticism the source of decision-making. See Black Lives Matter.



A “high-impact practice” is education that works. Since New Civics advocates define education as progressive propaganda of students and the training of students to be progressive activists, they use “high-impact practice” to refer to effective propaganda and effective activist training. The AAC&U lists “first-year seminars and experiences”; “common intellectual experiences”; “learning communities”; “writing-intensive courses”; “collaborative assignments and projects”; “undergraduate research”; “diversity/global learning”; “service learning/community-based learning”; “internships”; and “capstone courses and projects” as examples of high-impact educational practices.6 This list reveals that these programs are now all used as instruments of the New Civics.



An inclusive college administration hires professors and staff who belong to an aggrieved identity group, under the misapprehension that funding grievance will make it go away. An inclusive student affairs staff will host endless celebrations of, by, and for the aggrieved identity group, silently acclaimed by all observers. An inclusive class spends a great deal of time celebrating aggrieved identity groups, in any subject from algebra to zoology. Inclusion, like diversity, is now used as a loyalty oath to affirm the legality and goodness of discrimination in favor of members of the progressive coalition of the aggrieved. Progressives cite “inclusion” as a reason to prohibit opponents from speaking on campus.



“Ecological interdependence” means that we must destroy oil companies because flowers can’t bloom without bees. There is, of course, real interdependence, ecological and otherwise. Wolves need prey, and prey need wolves to keep down their numbers. The public and private sectors need one another. But “global interdependence” in the language of the progressive left means America must always do what other countries want, because we need them. “Interdependence” means “we are responsible to everyone else”—where responsible in turn means we must do what progressives tell us is for the common good. “Interdependence” universalizes the language of needs and rights, and therefore justifies the expansion of the progressive state to extend to every aspect of life. “Interdependence” means we are morally obliged to renounce our freedom to do as we will.



“Intersectionality” is a way to align progressives’ competing narratives of oppression and victimhood by making every purported victim of oppression support every other purported victim of oppression. Progressive advocates for racial discrimination (“diversity”) must support progressive advocates for suppressing religious freedom (“gay rights”), and vice versa. Practically speaking, the greatest effect of “intersectionality” is that BDS activists—pro-Palestinian activists pushing for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctioning of Israel—are using it as a rationale to remove Jews from positions in campus leadership and from jobs as progressive activists.7 Intersectionality is both a way to whip progressive activists into following a broader party line and, increasingly, a rationale for anti-Semitic discrimination by progressives.



The New Civics seeks to insert progressive advocacy into every aspect of higher education, inside and outside the college. A Crucible Moment summons higher education institutions to make civic learning “pervasive” rather than “peripheral.”8 “Pervasiveness” justifies the extension of progressive propaganda and advocacy by student affairs staff and other academic bureaucrats into residential life and “co-curricular activities”—everything students do voluntarily outside of class. It also justifies the insertion of progressive advocacy into every class, as well as making progressive activism a hiring and tenure requirement for faculty and staff.



Service-learning is founded on the idea that the student who volunteers should also be transformed. The student gives to the community, but in turn learns from the community, reciprocally. This basic idea has been transformed into a euphemism for control by progressive community organizations, since you can’t learn unless the “community” tells you what to do and think. “Reciprocal” is a sign that progressive organizations have seized control of university funds.



“Service-learning” was invented in the 1960s by radicals as a way to use university resources to forward radical political goals. It aims to propagandize students (“raise their consciousness”), to use their labor and tuition money to support progressive organizations, and to train them for careers as progressive activists. It draws on educational theories from John Dewey, Paulo Freire, and Mao’s China. Since the 1980s, “service-learning” has used the name “civic engagement” to provide a “civic” rationale for progressive political advocacy. Civic engagement, global learning, and so on, all are forms of service-learning.



Social justice aims to redress putative wrongs suffered by designated victim groups. Unlike real justice, which seeks to deliver individuals the rights guaranteed to them by written law or established custom, social justice aims to provide arbitrary goods to collectivities of people defined by equally arbitrary identities. Social justice uses the language of law and justice to justify state redistribution of jobs and property to whomever progressives think deserve them. Since social justice can never be achieved until every individual’s consciousness has been raised, social justice also justifies universal political propaganda, to make every human being affirm progressivism, and not just obey its dictates.



“Sustainability” translates thrift, conservation, and environmentalism into a political program aimed at subjugating the free-market economy, as the necessary means to avert “climate change.” It also requires propaganda to kill the desires in people that lead to burning fossil fuels. Since the environment is a “global problem,” the sustainability agenda dovetails with “global citizenship.”



The ability to use social media and graphic design for progressive propaganda and organization. The emphasis on “skills” generally argues that universities don’t need to teach any body of knowledge; the particular emphasis on “twenty-first century skills” further argues that universities don’t need to teach anything discovered before the year 2000. Recent college graduates use “twenty-first century skills” as an argument that they should be employed despite knowing nothing and having no work experience.

A Crucible Moment?

The definitions we have sketched in the preceding section voice our distrust of the New Civics movement. Its declarations about its aims and its avowals about its methods can seldom be taken at face value. This isn’t a minor point. Civics in a well-governed republic has to be grounded on clear speaking and transparency. A movement that goes to elaborate lengths to present a false front to the public is not properly civics at all, no matter what it calls itself.

We began this study in the hope of finding out how far the New Civics had succeeded in becoming part of American colleges and universities. We came to a mixed answer. New Civics is present to some degree at almost all colleges and universities, but it is much more fully developed and institutionalized at some than it is at others. In our study, the University of Colorado at Boulder stands as our example of a university where New Civics has become dominant. But even at universities where New Civics has not attained such prominence, it is a force to be reckoned with. We show what that looks like at the University of Northern Colorado, Colorado State University, and the University of Wyoming.

The word “civics” suggests that students will learn about the structures and functions of government in a classroom. Some do, but a major finding of our study is that there has been a shift of gravity within universities. New Civics finds its most congenial campus home in the offices devoted to student activities, such as the dean or vice president for students, the office of residence life, and the centers for service-learning. Nearly every campus also has some faculty advocates for New Civics, but the movement did not grow out of the interests and wishes of mainstream faculty members. A partial exception to this is schools of education, where many faculty members are fond of New Civics conceits.

The positioning of New Civics in student services has a variety of implications.

First, it means the initiative is directly under the control of central administration, which can appoint staff and allocate budget without worrying about faculty opinion or “shared governance.” Programs like this can become signature initiatives for college presidents, and few within the university, including boards of trustees, have any independent basis to examine whatever claims a college president makes on behalf of New Civics programs. In a word, such programs are unaccountable.

Second, the positioning of New Civics as parallel to the college’s actual curriculum frees advocates to make extravagant claims about its contributions to students’ general education. New Civics is full of hyperbole about what it accomplishes, and even so, it vaunts itself as deserving an even larger role in “transforming” students. Its goal is to be everywhere, in all the classes, and in that sense to subordinate the teaching faculty to the staff who run the student services programs.

Third, the New Civics placement in student services tends to blur the line between academic and extra-curricular. New Civics advocates may hold adjunct appointments on the faculty. Frequently they push for academic credit for various forms of student volunteering. In general they treat the extra-curricular as “co-curricular,” which is rhetorical inflation.

New Civics is about seizing power in society, and the place nearest at hand is the university itself. New Civics mandarins are ambitious, and what starts in student services doesn’t stay there.


In Part I of the report, we trace New Civics to its origin in the 1960s as part of the radicalization of the teachings of John Dewey and the influence of the Marxist pedagogue Paulo Freire. The two ideas born of these influences were that students are better served by being made to “do” things than they are by teaching them with books and ideas, and that the only truly legitimate purpose of education is to achieve a progressive reordering of society. Put together, these premises lead to a single conclusion: students should be initiated into the life of social activism. The purpose of “school” is to turn as many students as possible into community organizers.

While these ideas won many fervent advocates from the 1960s through the 1980s, and became dominant at a few wayward colleges, they failed to persuade the vast majority of faculty members and college administrators. They were instead the preoccupation of a radicalized fringe, often based in schools of education.

During this period, however, higher education was engaged in three other developments that would eventually open the way for the New Civics activists.

Curricular Vacuum

First, colleges and universities dismantled their core curricula and general education requirements. Formerly students had been required to take a collection of specific courses, such as Western Civilization, American History, Calculus, English Composition, and Literature. These courses were required both in their own right and as prerequisites to more advanced courses. This system of instruction was replaced by one that relaxed requirements in favor of “choice.” Colleges varied to the degree in which choices were constrained. Some, such as Brown University, essentially left it up to students to take whatever courses they wanted, subject only to departmental restrictions. Many other colleges settled on “distribution requirements,” which required students to take at least one course in each of several categories, such as “humanities,” but left the student to choose among dozens or even hundreds of courses that met the requirement. Sometimes these distribution requirements have been falsely presented to the public as a “core curriculum,” but that is at best a drastic redefinition of the term. Distribution requirements, unlike a core curriculum, do not ensure that all the students at a college study any particular body of knowledge.

The National Association of Scholars in several previous reports has examined how the elimination of required courses reshaped American higher education. In The Dissolution of General Education 1914-1993 (1996)9, we tracked the disappearance of courses with prerequisites, and showed that the elimination of core curricula resulted in a “flatter” curriculum. The ideal of surmounting a difficult subject step by step, each course building on the last, survived in the sciences, foreign languages, and some technical fields, but it was lost in most of the humanities and social sciences.

Note that civics was one of the subjects that was swept away as a general education requirement and as a stepping stone to more advanced courses.

In our study The Vanishing West (2011)10 we tracked the disappearance of Western Civilization survey courses from 1964—when they were still required at most colleges and universities—to 2010, by which time they were an extreme rarity. In What Does Bowdoin Teach? How a Contemporary Liberal Arts College Shapes Students (2013)11 we traced in fine detail the disastrous consequences of one college’s decision in 1970 to jettison all general education requirements. In our series of reports titled Beach Books12, NAS has examined the common reading programs that many colleges have created in recent years as a way to conjure a modicum of intellectual community in the entropy of the post-core-curriculum campus. Having read nothing else in common, students are encouraged to read a single book, which often turns out to be a book that praises social activism. Examples include Wine to Water: How One Man Saved Himself While Trying to Save the World; Shake the World: It’s Not About Finding a Job, It’s About Creating a Life; and Almost Home: Helping Kids Move from Homelessness to Hope.

Into the curricular vacuum left after the formal version of general education was removed has stepped the New Civics with its comprehensive dream of turning all students into progressive activists.

Mass Higher Education

American higher education in the last half century underwent an enormous expansion. In 1960 about 45 percent of high school graduates attended college. By 1998, more than 65 percent did—a figure that has remained fairly stable since, topping out at 70 percent in 2009.13 That translates into more than 17 million students enrolled in undergraduate studies, with another 3 million enrolled in graduate programs. With the huge increase in students came plummeting standards of admission. The newer generations of college students could not be counted on to have studied or to know things that preceding generations studied and knew, such as the basics of civics. Mass higher education coupled with the dismantling of general education standards ensured that many of these students would never be taught knowledge that previous generations considered basic.

Mass higher education brought greater demographic diversity to the nation’s campuses, but it also laid the seeds for the ideology of “diversity.” The ideology is to be sharply distinguished from the demographic facts. As an ideology, diversity is a recipe for racial and ethnic antagonism. It offers a superficial vision of peaceful interdependence among identity groups, but at the same time it stokes resentments based on the idea that each of these groups has grievances at the core of their American experience, and that these grievances justify a policy of permanent racial quotas.

Civics that embraces the ideology of diversity is civics that treats the ideals of American unity and common experience as illusions. The New Civics plays off American mass higher education as an opportunity to emphasize inequity and unfairness in the nation’s racial and ethnic history and in the current distribution of wealth and power. Attending college itself is portrayed not as a privilege to be earned but as a right that has been historically denied to members of oppressed groups.

Dismantling (Some) Authority

The end of general education requirements and the rise of mass higher education are two of three pre-conditions for New Civics. The third is the dismantling of in loco parentis—the efforts that colleges formerly took to regulate the behavior of students on campus through well-enforced rules. The rules included such things as single-sex dorms, bans on underage drinking, and parietal hours. The end of in loco parentis was connected with the protests of the 1960s and the sexual revolution. But as college moved out of the work of building and fostering normative communities of students on campus, students felt more and more adrift. Reports in the late 1980s registered that one of the chief complaints of college students was “lack of community on campus.” Into this breach stepped the campus bureaucrats responsible for student activities. There followed a series of manifestos from student life organizations that they knew how to bring “community” back to campus. These were among the first steps to programs that elevated “student engagement” over academic study.

The Presidents Step In

These developments made it possible for the New Civics to grow—but it was Campus Compact, an organization of college presidents, which provided the fertilizer. In 1985 service-learning radicals hijacked the newly-founded Campus Compact’s volunteering initiative, and from that moment on hundreds of college presidents began to shovel money and official support to service-learning. At the same time the New Civics advocates started referring to service-learning as civic engagement— a coat of new paint meant to give service-learning a higher status and the appearance of uplifting enterprise. It also helped to paint over the progressive propaganda that was a little too nakedly on display in Service-learning, where the service was typically to a leftist cause. What happened next illustrates the powers of college presidents to shift the course of higher education. The New Civics went from strength to strength in the next decades, both as a revolution from above and as a paycheck for a growing army of civic engage-o-crats.

The New Civics is now everywhere in American higher education—not just as civic engagement, but also as global learning, global civics, civic studies, community service, and community studies. The New Civics is also endemic in leadership programs, honors programs, co-curricular activities, orientation, first-year experience, student affairs, residential life, and more. The New Civics advocates use a variety of labels for their programs, but the vocabulary is much the same. Office of Civic Engagement & Leadership (Towson University), Office of Civic and Community Engagement (University of Miami), Office of Student Leadership and Engagement (University of Tampa), Office of Civic Engagement & Service Learning (University of Massachusetts), Office of Experiential Education and Civic Engagement (Kent State University), Office of Civic Engagement and Social Justice (The New School’s Eugene Lang College), Office of Community and Civic Engagement (University of North Carolina, Pembroke), Office of Civic Engagement and Social Responsibility (CUNY Brooklyn College), Office of Civic and Social Responsibility (University of Nebraska, Omaha), Office of Community-Engaged Learning (Southwestern University), Office of Service Learning and Community Engagement (University of Montevallo), Office of Global Engagement (University of Mississippi), Office of Citizenship and Civic Engagement (University of New England)—there are thousands of these offices across the country, and Centers and Initiatives and Programs too. They all use the same buzzwords and they all do the same thing—progressive propaganda, training cadres of progressive student activists, and grabbing hold of university resources and routing them to off-campus progressive organizations.

National Infrastructure

When we speak of New Civics, we are referring to more than a scattering of like-minded programs at the nation’s many colleges and universities. A national infrastructure buttresses these programs. The Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) finances and coordinates the New Civics with dozens of other activist organizations. Career bureaucrats of the Department of Education use their regulatory power and grant money to aid the New Civics. The accreditation bureaucracies that determine whether a college or university is eligible to receive federal money push “learning goals” that can only be satisfied by creating New Civics programs—and college bureaucrats slip in New Civics programs in the guise of satisfying accreditation “learning goals.” Professional organizations, journals, conferences, and job lists create standard career paths that New Civics advocates can pursue in virtually every college or university. Most important, an ever-growing number of administrators, faculty, and students ensconced as student life officers, education professors, and the like put advocacy of the New Civics at the center of their lives. Each new program plugs into a national network—and follows the example of older programs as it works to take over a new university.

Any effort to change the New Civics on a single campus has to take account of the fact that it is part of an ideologically committed national movement.

Revolutions Soft and Hard

New Civics is dedicated to radical politics, but some programs use softer means. Service-learning is the most innocuous, civic engagement more political, and Harry Boyte’s neo-Alinskyite chain of Public Achievement franchises, which uses college students to organize K-12 students, is the most hard-edged of all. The different forms of New Civics are ultimately variants on the techniques and goals of radical community organization. Service-learning might involve something as innocuous as organizing students to pick up litter from a park—but the point is to accustom them to organizing and being organized, and to “raise their consciousness” in a progressive direction. The New Civics draws students ever farther into the world of progressive politics, seeking to make as many as possible into full-time activists—or at the very least, into full-time academic administrators. Soft-edged or hard-edged, all New Civics steadily pulls students toward progressive activism—pretending to be a nonpartisan civic effort, and on the taxpayer’s dime.

The New Civics advocates redefine “civic” around the techniques of radical activism and discard the idea that civics should provide students a non-partisan education about the mechanisms of government. They likewise redefine “civic” to include the political goals of progressive politics, and they exclude any cause that contradicts progressive goals. The New Civics defines civics to include advocacy for illegal immigrants and “sustainability,” along with the rest of the progressive agenda—but so far as we can tell, not one of the millions of hours spent by students each year on community service, service-learning, and civic engagement has included service for organizations that forward (for example) Second Amendment rights, pro-life advocacy, or traditional marriage. The mission statements of the New Civics virtually define such work as uncivic. It is bad enough that the New Civics is a progressive advocacy machine—but it is worse that the New Civics advocates teach their narrow-minded ideological intolerance to America’s youth as civic religion. The fundamental lesson of the New Civics is that anyone who isn’t progressive is un- American—and to be treated as an enemy of the state.


The New Civics advocates aren’t satisfied with what they’ve already achieved. A Crucible Moment outlined what they want to do now—to make New Civics classes mandatory throughout the country, to make every class “civic,” and to require every teacher to be “civically engaged.” In short, they want to take over the entire university. After that, the New Civics advocates want to take over the private sector and the government as well. Every business and every branch of government is meant to support civic engagement. The same subterfuge that has been used to organize the university will be used to organize the country.

The New Civics advocates have already had disturbing success. More and more colleges are requiring students to take New Civics courses, and the Strategic Plans of universities throughout America now talk about “infusing civic engagement” into every class and every “co-curricular” activity. Every day, the New Civics advocates are pressing forward with their stated plan to take over America’s colleges and universities. They will continue to push to enact every part of their agenda.

Civic Engagement Now: Protest for Every Occasion

That’s for the future—but the New Civics advocates have already changed the country. The point of the New Civics was to create a cadre of permanent protestors, and justify their agitation as “civic”—and they have succeeded. I write this Preface in November 2016, and civic engagement is behind today’s headlines. A few days ago, high-school students around the country walked out from school to protest the election of Donald Trump—and “youth development leaders see the youth-led walkouts as a highly positive form of civic engagement.” Ben Kirshner, the director CU-Boulder’s New Civics program CU Engage, thinks these protests “are a really important statement of dissent.” But he’s only in favor of street protest so long as the protestors don’t express “racist or sexist ideas.” Amy Syvertsen of the Search Institute specifies that “When people make public statements that are driven from a place of hate, and when they minimize the political and civil rights of others, that is a negative form of civic engagement that crosses the line.”14 In other words, radical left protests intended to delegitimate Donald Trump’s presidency before it begins are civic engagement, but any support of Donald Trump crosses the line.

That’s just the New Civics encouraging protest—but the New Civics are also crossing a bright line and starting to fund that protest directly. At Pomona College, the Draper Center for Community Partnerships advertized a November 9 anti-Trump rally in Los Angeles on Facebook and reimbursed transportation costs for students to attend. The Draper Center personnel knew what they were doing: “The Draper Center is organizing a bus that will take students to downtown LA TONIGHT to stand against Trump.” As a result, Pomona College is being sued for violating its 501(c)(3) status, and is liable to sanctions up to and including losing its tax-exempt status.15

The New Civics has been grossly politicized for decades, but now it’s beginning to use university money for directly political activity. The New Civics advocates have preached the identity of progressive politics and civic activity for so long that they’ve forgotten the difference. Draper’s funding of anti-Trump political activity shows where the New Civics is heading nationwide. It also reveals a weakness of the New Civics advocates. They can be sued for political activity, and they can do grave fiscal damage to their host universities in the process. The NAS recommends that citizen groups around the nation look closely at what the New Civics programs in universities are doing, and that they sue their host universities for each and every political act they commit. Lawsuits, and the threat of lawsuits, may actually prod academic administrators to shut down New Civics programs.

This is an extreme remedy, but a necessary one. The New Civics has been creating activist-protestors for decades, but they have now achieved a critical mass. Look at any radical left protest, and like as not you will find a New Civics program somewhere in the background. As the New Civics grows stronger, so will the drumbeat of radical left agitation. Radical demonstration on our streets is now chronic, and that is an achievement of the New Civics. The New Civics is working to make such radical protest a daily occurrence, and America ungovernable save along progressive lines. The New Civics revolution has already begun.


If service-learning, civic engagement, and global civics were just ideas that had bubbled up independently in a few colleges and universities, we would only recommend the reform of the programs that carry them out. NAS recommends that the New Civics be removed root and branch from higher education precisely because each individual program is part of a national movement that is ideologically committed toward radical left politics, with enormous reservoirs of bureaucratic power to repel any attempt to reform it. The New Civics cannot be reformed; it can only be dismantled. And it should be dismantled as soon as possible, before it does worse damage to our country.

The New Civics advocates must be stopped—but they won’t be stopped on campus. There are too many academic administrators and faculty pushing the New Civics forward, and too few who want to resist its progress. Lawsuits can help, but clever New Civics advocates can figure out how to avoid direct political activity. The Department of Education can’t be trusted to help either—although support from political appointees by the incoming Trump administration might make the campaign to eradicate the New Civics easier, too many of the Department’s permanent bureaucrats are allies of the New Civics advocates. State and federal legislatures have to do the hard work of defunding the New Civics. They need to freeze New Civics spending at once, and move swiftly to eliminate New Civics programs entirely. Making Citizens provides detailed suggestions about how precisely this could be done—for example, by tying government funding of universities to reestablishing traditional civic literacy curricula and removing the compensation of class credit from volunteer work. But we make our suggestions in all humility. The disposition of the New Civics is for legislators to decide.

The Full Report

I have written this preface so as to give the full political and educational context of the full report of Making Citizens. I invite the reader to turn now to that work. The first section of the report includes an examination of the history, the present condition, and the ambitions of the New Civics. The second section provides case studies of the decay of the Old Civics and the rise of the New Civics at four universities—the University of Colorado, Boulder; Colorado State University; the University of Northern Colorado; and the University of Wyoming. The end of the report contains our recommendations for how to restore civics education in America to good health.

The New Civics advocates have written histories of their efforts for one another, as a way to give pointers on how to do their work more effectively. We believe this report is the first book-length examination of the New Civics addressed to a general audience—the first report to reveal precisely what the New Civics advocates are doing in the guise of civics education. We look forward to what we know will be a thoughtful critique and development of the ideas presented here. We also look forward to action that will bring an end to the New Civics’ hostile takeover of American higher education.


The New Civics movement has taken over America’s civics education, with the goal of redefining civics education as progressive (=radical left) political activism. The pioneers of this movement, originally members of the 1960s radical left, took advantage of the demolition of the old civics curriculum in the 1960s. The Old Civics had focused on basic civic literacy—knowledge about the structure of our government and the nature of America’s civic ideal--so as to prepare young men and women to participate in the machinery of self-governance. The 1960s radicals replaced the Old Civics with a New Civics of their own, devoted instead to preparing young men and women to be progressive activists.

This New Civics began as “service-learning,” and slowly established itself in the next decades in the fringes of higher education. Service-learning feeds off the all-American impulse to volunteer and do good works for others, and diverts it toward progressive causes. For example, service-learning channels the urge to clean up litter from a local park toward support of the anti-capitalist “sustainability” movement. Service-learning’s main goals in higher education are:

  1. to funnel university funds and student labor to advertise progressive causes.
  2. to support off-campus progressive nonprofits—“community organizations.”
  3. to radicalize Americans, using a theory of “community organization” drawn explicitly from the writings of Saul Alinsky, a mid-twentieth-century Chicago radical who developed and publicized tactics of leftist political activism.
  4. to “organize” the university itself, by campaigning for more funding for service-learning and allied progressive programs on campus. These allied programs include “diversity” offices, “sustainability” offices,” and components of the university devoted to “social justice.”

Service-learning was created in order to divert university resources toward progressive causes.

In 1985, several influential university presidents founded Campus Compact to support student volunteerism and community service. Service-learning advocates took over Campus Compact’s campaign, and from that vantage point inserted service-learning into virtually every college in the nation. They then gave service-learning a new name—“civic engagement”—and used this new label as a way to replace the old civics curriculum with service-learning classes. Service-learning and civic engagement together form the heart of the New Civics.

The New Civics is now endemic in higher education:

  • The presidents of more than 1,100 colleges, with a total enrollment of more than 6 million students, have signed a declaration committing their institutions to “educate students for citizenship.”16
  • The American Democracy Project, an initiative of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) in partnership with the New York Times that now includes 250 AASCU-member colleges and universities, seeks to “produce graduates who are committed to being knowledgeable, involved citizens in their communities.”17
  • Seventy-one community colleges have signed The Democracy Commitment, a pledge to train students “in civic learning and democratic practice.”18
  • More than 60 organizations and higher education institutions participating in the Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Action Network (CLDE) have submitted statements committing them to “advance civic learning and democratic engagement as an essential cornerstone for every student.”19
  • The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching awarded a “Community Engagement Classification” to 240 colleges and universities in 2015.20

As of 2016, the “civic engagement” movement—a combination of federal bureaucrats, nonprofit foundations, and a network of administrators and faculty on college campuses—has already succeeded in replacing much of the old civics education. It now aims for a broader takeover of the entire university. The goal is to give every class a “civic” component, and to make “civic engagement” a requirement for tenure. The advocates of “civics education” now aim to insert progressive politics into every aspect of the university, to advertise progressive causes to the student body in every class and every off-campus activity, and to divert even larger portions of the American university system’s resources toward progressive organizations.

The New Civics advocates want to redefine the entire American civic spirit to serve the progressive political agenda—which is hostile to the free market; supports racial preferences in the guise of diversity; supports arbitrary government power in the guise of sustainability; and undermines traditional loyalty to America in the guise of global citizenship.

The New Civics has replaced the Old Civics, which fostered civic literacy. In consequence, American students’ knowledge about their institutions of self-government has collapsed. According to the Association of American Colleges & Universities’ report A Crucible Moment: College Learning & Democracy’s Future (2012), “Only 24 percent of graduating high school seniors scored at the proficient or advanced level in civics in 2010, fewer than in 2006 or in 1998,” “Half of the states no longer require civics education for high school graduation,” and “Among 14,000 college seniors surveyed in 2006 and 2007, the average score on a civic literacy exam was just over 50 percent, an ‘F’.”21

What the New Civics has produced instead is a permanently mobilized cadre of student protestors, ready to engage in “street politics” for any left-wing cause. In November 2016, for example, when high-school students around the country walked out from school to protest the election of Donald Trump, New Civics advocates described “the youth-led walkouts as a highly positive form of civic engagement.”22 Civic education ought to teach students how presidents are elected, not to engage in political warfare that denies the legitimacy of their fellow citizens’ choice for the presidency.

The New Civics also disguises the collapse of solid education in colleges. The universities’ resort to internships and “experiential education” already conceded that students do not have four years worth of material to study. Now “service-learning” and “civic engagement” classes transform what was at least useful work experience, if not really a college class, into vocational training for work as progressive community organizers—or for careers in college administration running New Civics programs. While the main goals of the New Civics are to advertise progressive causes and divert university resources to progressive organizations, it also works to disguise collapsing standards in education, train community activists, and prepare new personnel to administer New Civics programs.

The New Civics further damages colleges and universities by hollowing out the ideals and the institutional frameworks of a liberal arts education. A liberal arts education aims to introduce a student to the best works of the Western tradition, partly to educate his character toward personal and civic virtue and partly to foster the individuation of character that allows each person to commit himself, as an individual, to private success and public duty. The educational structure that supports the liberal arts takes this education of character to be the first purpose of a college, and one which needs no further justification. In addition to warping the definition of civic virtue by redefining it as commitment to progressive politics, the New Civics also eliminates the idea that the education toward virtue is meant to precede political action, and instead substitutes political action in place of education toward virtue. The New Civics likewise eliminates the liberal arts’ aim to foster the individuation of character, and replaces it with forced mobilization within a community, characteristically defined by race, class, and/or gender rather than by American citizenship. The New Civics then remakes the institutional structure of higher education in its own image: the core curricula that fostered a liberal arts education have been removed, and a new set of core curricula centered on civic engagement, global citizenship, and so on, is rising in their place. The New Civics assumes that a liberal arts education cannot justify itself.

The New Civics’ advocates are very optimistic about their ability to carry out an educational revolution, and they are not yet in a position to carry out all their plans. Yet they have already achieved great success, by following Saul Alinsky’s intelligent recommendation to focus upon capturing institutions and building enduring organizations. The number of New Civics advocates has grown enormously during the last two generations, and these advocates now command a substantial bureaucratic infrastructure. They have already begun to use the regulatory power of the Federal Government to forward their agenda. The New Civics advocates also have prospered by taking advantage of the American public’s trust that people hired to educate their children actually have that object in mind. They abuse that trust by using the anodyne vocabulary of “volunteerism” and “civics” to obscure their radical political agenda. The New Civics advocates are not yet an all-powerful force in higher education—but they are a formidable one, and their strength grows each year. Only concerted, thoroughgoing action can remove them from our colleges and universities.

Readers should be aware that the New Civics movement now extends far beyond college. Project Citizen and similar organizations insert service-learning and the community organizing model into K-12 education,23 and the New Civics advocates insert publicity for progressive causes wherever they can.24 Here we focus on the role of the New Civics in undergraduate education, but we believe that the New Civics must be excised from every part of the American educational system, from kindergarten to graduate school.

This report focuses yet further upon four universities in the two mountain states of Colorado and Wyoming. The University of Colorado, Boulder (CU-Boulder), is a national leader in the New Civics movement. Colorado State University in Fort Collins (CSU), the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley (UNC), and the University of Wyoming in Laramie (UW) retain more of the old focus on civic literacy and volunteerism—but the New Civics vocabulary and bureaucracy frames civics education at these three colleges as much as at CU-Boulder. Moreover, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has awarded a Community Engagement Classification to both CSU and UNC.25 These large public universities serve a student body that is fairly typical of modern American college students. Our close analysis of these institutions complements our study of the New Civics at the national level by providing an in-depth examination of the decay of traditional civics education and its replacement by the New Civics—not yet the masters of our universities, but a pervasive and rapidly growing presence throughout the heartland of America’s higher education.

This study has 9 national findings:

  1. Traditional civic literacy is in deep decay in America. Because middle schools and high schools no longer can be relied on to provide students basic civic literacy, the subject has migrated to colleges. But colleges have generally failed to recognize a responsibility to cover the basic content of traditional civics, and have instead substituted programs under the name of civics that bypass instruction in American government and history.
  2. The New Civics, a movement devoted to progressive activism, has taken over civics education. “Service-learning” and “civic engagement” are the most common labels this movement uses, but it also calls itself global civics, deliberative democracy, intercultural learning, and the like.
  3. The New Civics movement is national, and it extends far beyond the universities. Each individual college and university now slots its “civic” efforts into a framework that includes federal and state bureaucracies, national nonprofit organizations, and national professional organizations. Any university that affiliates itself with these national organizations also affiliates itself with their progressive political goals.
  4. The New Civics redefines “civic activity” as “progressive activism.” It aims to advertise progressive causes to students and to use student labor and university resources to support progressive “community” organizations.
  5. The New Civics redefines “civic activity” as channeling government funds toward progressive nonprofits. The New Civics has worked to divert government funds to progressive causes since its foundation fifty years ago.
  6. The New Civics redefines “volunteerism” as labor for progressive organizations and administration of the welfare state. The new measures to require “civic engagement” will make this volunteerism compulsory.
  7. The New Civics replaces traditional liberal arts education with vocational training for community activists. The traditional liberal arts prepared students for leadership in a free society. The New Civics prepares them to administer the welfare state.
  8. The New Civics also shifts the emphasis of a university education from curricula, drafted by faculty, to “co-curricular activities,” run by non-academic administrators. The New Civics advocates aim to destroy disciplinary instruction and faculty autonomy.
  9. The New Civics movement aims to take over the entire university. The New Civics advocates want to make “civic engagement” part of every class, every tenure decision, and every extracurricular activity.

This study also has 4 local findings:

  1. The University of Colorado, Boulder, possesses an extensive New Civics bureaucracy, but only the fragments of a traditional civics education. The New Civics’ main nodes at CU-Boulder are CU Engage (including CU Dialogues, INVST Community Studies, Leadership Studies Minor, Participatory Action Research, Public Achievement, Puksta Scholars, and Student Worker Alliance Program), service-learning classes, and the Residential Academic Programs.
  2. Colorado State University possesses a moderately extensive New Civics bureaucracy, but only the fragments of a traditional civics education. The New Civics’ main nodes at CSU are Student Leadership, Involvement and Community Engagement (SLiCE), Office for Service-Learning and Volunteer Programs, and the Department of Communication Studies.
  3. The University of Northern Colorado possesses a moderately extensive New Civics bureaucracy, but only the fragments of a traditional civics education. The New Civics’ main nodes at UNC are The Center for Community and Civic Engagement; the Center for Honors, Scholars and Leadership; the Social Science B.A. – Community Engagement Emphasis; Community Engaged Scholars Symposium; and the Student Activities Office.
  4. The University of Wyoming possesses a limited New Civics bureaucracy, and the core of a traditional civics education. The New Civics’ main node at UW is Service, Leadership & Community Engagement (SLCE). UW’s traditional civics education is taught halfheartedly at best, and is in the process of being transformed into a less rigorous distribution requirement.

We make 8 national recommendations:

  1. Restore a coordinated civic literacy curriculum at both the high school and college levels. Civics education should not start at the college level. When students’ first exposure to civics education comes in college, something has gone wrong with their education at the lower levels. States should design their high school and college civics educations as a coherent whole, and make sure that undergraduate civics education provides more advanced education than high-school civics.
  2. Define civics education as civic literacy, in a traditional academic course. Colleges and universities should define civics education as specifically as possible, so as to limit the ability of progressive activists to substitute the New Civics. Civics education should be defined explicitly as a way to learn testable material in class—such as the structure and function of the different parts of the Federal Government, America’s historical geography, and landmark Supreme Court cases and their consequences—and be defined equally explicitly not to include service learning, civic engagement, or any other activities besides reading, writing, classroom discussion, and classroom examinations. (See Appendix 4: Civic Literacy for a sample list of facts and topics that ought to be included in civics courses.) The stated ideals of civics education should make clear that this knowledge is in itself so valuable for any citizen that it needs no further justification.
  3. Redefine civic ideals in non-progressive language. Colleges and universities should use traditional language to define inspirational civic ideals and actions. The definition of civic ideals should emphasize unpoliticized education for participation in government, and explicitly distinguish between civic activity and participation in extra-governmental political pressure groups.
  4. Freeze or curtail all federal and state funding for service-learning and civic engagement. These programs have had bipartisan support back to President George H. W. Bush’s federal-level initiatives in the early 1990s. Yet no matter how well-intentioned these programs, they now are used to advertise progressive causes, support progressive community organizations, and provide jobs for progressives in academic administration. The progressive takeover of these programs can only be kept in bounds by more oversight than it is realistic to expect from a federal or state legislature. Legislatures ought to be able to rely on local administrators doing what they are supposed to do with government funds, and in this case they cannot. Moreover, even if service-learning and civic engagement could be depoliticized, they provide no real college-level education. Public money for service-learning and civic engagement should be capped immediately.
  5. Remove the service-learning and civic engagement bureaucracies from the universities. The administrators in charge of these programs cannot distinguish education from progressive activism. Their career goals are to divert university resources to progressive organizations and to reorganize the university for progressive goals. No further personnel should be hired for these bureaucracies; as New Civics bureaucrats retire or resign, their positions should be eliminated. In due time, these programs need to be de-funded and closed. Presumably attrition will thin the ranks of these administrators before their positions are finally eliminated. The public will support this effort when it learns that the cost savings will be substantial.
  6. Legislators should mandate full and detailed fiscal transparency by all public educational institutions. College administrators hide New Civics expenditures to conceal its expansion, and they will hide New Civics expenditures so as to thwart any effort by legislators or trustees to cap the New Civics. Colleges and universities must have transparent finances, so that college administrators can be held accountable by legislators and the public.
  7. Foster a genuine culture of volunteerism. Many colleges now define volunteer activities as civic engagement. This conflation should be stopped at once. Moreover, all volunteer activities ought to be genuinely volunteer activities—coordinated by volunteers and done by volunteers, without financial support or class credit. Colleges and universities should state explicitly that a “volunteer” activity for which you receive remuneration is really an internship as an administrator of the welfare state.
  8. Create a rival national alliance of educational organizations dedicated to countering and replacing the national alliance of service-learning organizations. The New Civics movement can pretend that its program of progressive activism and advocacy is generic civics education because it has the field to itself. An alternative national alliance of civics organizations needs to work forcefully to promote unpoliticized civics education, focused around civic literacy rather than civic engagement. This alternative national alliance should work to promote traditional civic literacy and dislodge the New Civics, by rallying public opinion and informing federal and state legislators. This alternative national alliance should also provide national civics programs for the use of American universities, aligned toward traditional civic literacy rather than progressive activism.

We make 2 local recommendations:

  1. The University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado State University, the University of Northern Colorado, and the University of Wyoming should cap spending for their New Civics bureaucracies. Funding for any activity labeled as “service-learning,” “civic engagement,” or any other specialized term from the New Civics vocabulary should also be capped, with the long-term goal of its elimination. Any worthwhile activities currently run by the New Civics bureaucrats should be transformed into unpaid, volunteer activity.
  2. The University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado State University, and the University of Northern Colorado should restore their traditional civics education, while the University of Wyoming should improve the way it teaches its required civics course. All four institutions should invest money to make sure the restored civics curriculum is taught in small classes, and if possible with a tuition remission for the students.

Progressive Politics: A Note

This report goes along with a basic claim of the New Civics movement: that it only came about because of a conversation within the discipline of civics education. We trace the history of the New Civics as if that were the case, but that is merely a convenient simplification. The New Civics isn’t a pedagogical movement that happens to have been captured by political progressives; it is, to the contrary, one more opportunistic extension of progressive activism. The rationale of civic pedagogy is a fig leaf.

The Association of American Colleges & Universities’ report A Crucible Moment (2012)—a touchstone document of the New Civics, discussed below at greater length—identifies civics education with political activism “to eliminate persistent inequalities, especially those in the United States determined by income and race,” and with activism about “growing global economic inequalities, climate change and environmental degradation, lack of access to quality health care, economic volatility, and more.” A Crucible Moment’s explicit conflation of civics and progressive activism reveals the real point of the New Civics. There is no substantive distinction between the New Civics and other progressive takeovers of higher education, such as the diversity and sustainability movements. The New Civics is hostile to the free market; supports racial preferences in the guise of diversity; supports arbitrary government power in the guise of sustainability; and undermines traditional loyalty to America in the guise of global citizenship. It is no accident that these components of the modern progressive agenda permeate the New Civics. The purpose of the New Civics is to advance progressive politics.

The reader should keep this broader progressive campaign in mind, even as we focus upon what now goes under the name of civics education.

Part One: Civics Education in America


Civics education has a long history going back to the establishment of service learning in the 1960s. In this chapter we trace that history, describe its present state, and sketch its prospects. The topics are:

  1. Traditional Civics Education: what civics education should be; what universities actually teach; and the history of the Old Civics in America, which focused on civic literacy.
  2. The New Civics’ Origins: the field of service-learning; the explicitly Alinskyite, community-organizing tradition that led to the Public Achievement programs; and the New Civic pedagogy.
  3. Civic Engagement: the field of Civic Engagement as it has emerged since the 1980s and which now explicitly substitutes for the Old Civics.
  4. The New Civics Now: the national infrastructure that supports the New Civics.
  5. Ambitions: what the advocates of the New Civics hope to make of American higher education in the years to come.

This organization repeats a central theme: that service-learning programs in the past, civically engaged programs in the present, and the ambitions of the New Civics advocates all center on advertising for progressive causes, transforming students into progressive activists, and diverting university resources to support progressive organizations. We seek to show the continuity between this movement’s origins in 1960s radicalism and its present nature, even where that nature disguises itself in innocuous civic vocabulary.


This section relies on writings by advocates of service-learning and civic engagement: we present their own description of their aims and actions.

For the section on service-learning, we rely on Timothy K. Stanton, Dwight E. Giles, Jr., and Nadinne I. Cruz, Service Learning: A Movement’s Pioneers Reflect on Its Origins, Practice, and Future (1999), a history of the first decades of the field drawn largely from interviews with the leading pioneers in the field. This is an essential resource, and most other histories of service-learning draw upon it. We rely secondarily on David Busch’s “A Brief History of Service Learning” at the SocialChange101 website: Busch writes concisely, informatively, and authoritatively. For the section on Public Achievement, we rely on articles written or co-written by Harry Boyte, the founder of Public Achievement.

For the sections on civic engagement, and on the ambitions of the civic engagement movement, we rely on several linked documents. The first is the Association of American Colleges & Universities’ report A Crucible Moment: College Learning & Democracy’s Future (2012); the second is The Civic Series, a series of five collections of essays issued by “Bringing Theory to Practice Project (BTtoP),” a private grant-making “initiative” that was a key sponsor of A Crucible Moment. These five essay collections are Civic Provocations (2012); Civic Values, Civic Practices (2013); Civic Studies (2014); Civic Engagement, Civic Development and Higher Education (2014); and Civic Learning and Teaching (2014). We cite these not only because they present a great deal of the theory and practice of civic engagement but also because these works were commissioned to inform action by the Department of Education. Indeed, the Federal Government has already begun to change its policy in accordance with the authors’ description of what civic engagement is and should be. We cite these works above all because their definition of civic engagement is the one that will direct government funding and regulatory power in the next decades.

Traditional Civics Education

What Civics Education Should Be

Civics education has come down to us from the Greeks, who originated the ideal of the cives, the city. As Patrick Deneen notes, a cives was “a particular place with a particular history and particular polity.” Civics education therefore is meant to be “an education in citizenship” as well as “the activity of those who shape and make the laws in a polity, who exercise in common the office of self-governance.” This education consists of three components: knowledge of the history of your nation and the civilization from which it arose; knowledge of how laws are passed and your role as a citizen in governing your country; and education to virtue, since the virtue of governing yourself and commanding your own passions is a prerequisite for joining in the collective self-governance of a free state. While civics education should make citizens capable of engaging in politics, it should not forward any particular political program.26

Every nation has its own version of civics education, tailored to its political order, but for few is civics education so important as it is for the United States. We are a nation founded on the ideals incarnated in our political order rather than on race or religion. To be an American is to be a citizen dedicated to the preservation of the republican order that sustains our national creed, as articulated in the Declaration of Independence: “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”27 By becoming citizens, we are made into Americans out of the nations of the world. Civics education is not optional: an American is nothing if not a citizen, and civics education gives us the capacity to be Americans.28

The details of this civics education have varied over the generations, but our citizens and professional educators generally have assumed that American students need some core knowledge about the history of their country, the nature of its ideals, and the structure of its government In America, civics education usually is meant to instruct students in the history of the United States; enunciate and explain its founding principles; enumerate our constitutional rights; explain the structure, operation, and limits of our government; itemize our duties to our fellow citizens; discuss the interrelation of economic freedom and political freedom; and provide impartial summaries of current policy debates. Above all, civics education is supposed to teach students how to be citizens rather than subjects, how to be self-governing rather than governed, and how to be free without usurping the freedom of others. These lessons collectively have been taken to be necessary to equip students to embrace their civic rights and responsibilities, and assume their birthright as American citizens.

Students are supposed to receive civics education both in secondary school and in college. Colleges and universities are meant both to reinforce the basic civics education students have received earlier and to give them a higher level of knowledge that digs deeper into both the theory and practice of civics. Such college-level civics education is especially important because it should inform students who have just reached voting age and are assuming the rights, responsibilities, and good civic habits of adult citizens. College-level civics education should be the capstone of civics.

What Universities Actually Teach

What civics education should be is a far cry from what it is. High schools do not do a good job of teaching civic literacy—and they do a worse job than they used to. According to the Association of American Colleges & Universities’ report A Crucible Moment: College Learning & Democracy’s Future (2012), “Only 24 percent of graduating high school seniors scored at the proficient or advanced level in civics in 2010, fewer than in 2006 or in 1998,” “Half of the states no longer require civics education for high school graduation,” and “Among 14,000 college seniors surveyed in 2006 and 2007, the average score on a civic literacy exam was just over 50 percent, an ‘F’.”29 In 2010, the National Center for Education Statistics likewise reported that “Twenty-seven percent of fourth-graders, 22 percent of eighth-graders, and 24 percent of twelfth-graders performed at or above the Proficient level in civics.”30 In 2014, comparable statistics were only available for eighth-graders, but these indicated no improvement: “Only 17 percent of all eighth-graders assessed were proficient in U.S. history—meaning they demonstrated competency of subject-matter knowledge, application of such knowledge to real-world situations, and related analytical skills. Only 22 percent exhibited proficiency in civics, and 24 percent in geography.”31 Carol Schneider states that “Only 12 percent of graduating high school seniors are proficient in history.”32 Civics education at the college level should be a capstone— but is now required to provide remediation for the widespread failure of civics education at the K-12 level.

College civics education does not even provide much of that remedial knowledge. In September 2015 the American Council of Trustees and Alumni published a survey of Americans’ knowledge about the Constitution.33 Of the college graduates who took the survey, 35 percent mistakenly believed that the Constitution gives the president the power to declare war. Only 28 percent correctly identified James Madison as the “Father of the Constitution,” whereas 59 percent thought it was Thomas Jefferson. A third of college graduates mislabeled John Boehner as the current president of the Senate. More than half misidentified the correct length of elected terms for members of Congress. Fewer than half of college graduates correctly chose “ratification by three-fourths of the states” in answer to the question, “What is required before a proposed amendment can be approved as part of the Constitution?” A third of graduates could not correctly define the Bill of Rights as the name for the first ten amendments.34 No less than the K-12 schools, America’s colleges and universities evidently are failing at civics education. The advocates of the New Civics are certainly correct in their diagnosis of this aspect of America’s educational failure, even if their prescription has itself contributed to the problem. A Crucible Moment is correct to say that “Far too many students arrive on campus lacking knowledge basic to democracy, and far too many graduate, a few years later, still underprepared for their responsibilities as citizens in our globally engaged and broadly influential democracy.”35

How did America’s civics education come to function so poorly?

The Old Civics

Civics education was not originally the subject of any specialized, professional discipline, but rather blended into education in general. John Pierpont’s National Reader included inspirational civic readings as a matter of course, such as “Account of the Battle of Bunker Hill,” O. Dewey’s “Claim of the Pilgrims to the Reverence and Gratitude of their Descendants,” and Edward Everett’s “Extract from an Oration, delivered at Plymouth, Mass.”36 Charles W. Sanders’ The School Reader: Fourth Book (1842) also included readings such as Willis G. Clark’s “Death of President Harrison,” Lydia Howard Sigourney’s “Family of the New England Farmer,” and Joseph Story’s “Responsibilities of the American People.”37 Story’s “Responsibilities of the American People” gives a flavor of such civic readings: “I call upon you, young men, to remember whose sons you are, whose inheritance you possess. Life can never be too short, which brings nothing but disgrace and oppression. Death never comes too soon if necessary in defense of the liberties of your country.”38

McGuffey’s Fifth Reader (1853) likewise incorporated texts such as Patrick Henry’s “Speech Before the Virginia Convention,” Lord Chatham’s “On the Removal of the British Troops from Boston,” and Daniel Webster’s “Duties of American Citizens” and “Importance of the Union.”39 More generally, “history” was to a considerable extent the inspirational civics under another name.40

The first challenge to this all-round civics education came from the newly professionalizing discipline of history, formed around the model promulgated by German professors of history. From the 1880s onward, a generation of historians sought to reorient American civics education around the new professional history: students would now learn civics not only to inculcate patriotism and improve character but also to practice memory, acquire facts, and make sense of these facts by applying imagination, judgment, and disciplined, methodical thinking. In other words, the intellectual formation of a history professor of Wilhemine Germany was to be superimposed on the education of American schoolchildren—not least to justify the employment of specialized, professionalized history teachers in America’s schools.

This educational program itself faced a new challenge almost immediately. The subject matter of the new professional history focused on the political history of America and Europe. Despite its aspiration to inspire imagination and methodical thinking,41 this history consisted all too often (at least in the polemic of its opponents) of the memorization of dry lists of dates and facts. A series of pedagogical reformers between the 1890s and the 1910s therefore sought to broaden this curriculum to include newer sorts of history—notably social history and economic history—and other disciplines, such as economics and political science. These reformers in effect argued that civics education indeed should be the subject of professional discipline, but that the sub-discipline of political history should not be allowed a monopoly over civics education. This wave of reform culminated in the 1913 Preliminary Statement, the 1915 Report on Community Civics, and the 1916 Report on Social Studies, all of which were significantly influenced by the thought of John Dewey. This last report effectively founded the catch-all discipline of social studies. Social studies included history, economics, political science, psychology—and civics, now given its own name as a focused, quasi-professional subject. This new discipline of civics was meant to be taught alongside the other elements of the social studies curriculum, rather than as a permeating influence upon the whole of education.42 This was America’s Old Civics—a compromise that fused the reforms of the late nineteenth-century and of the Progressive Era. This Old Civics transformed the all-around civics education of the one-room schoolhouse into the departmentalized education of the modern high school.

The Old Civics thus was founded as a mixture of the knowledge of dates and facts needed to provide civic literacy and the Progressive-era pedagogy associated with John Dewey. Civics was supposed to provide basic information about the structure of government and the nature of society, and it was also supposed to form an active citizen capable of taking part in that government. The classic civics curriculum as it emerged from the 1916 Report on Social Studies therefore consisted of a sequence of civics classes taught in conjunction with geography, American history, European history—or, in later variations, with a more interdisciplinary “social studies” substituting for some portion of geography and history. This system—whose goals found an eloquent summary in the Harvard Committee’s General Education in a Free Society (1945) and the Commission on Higher Education’s 1947 report Higher Education for American Democracy—in essence was the civics curriculum that held sway until the 1960s.43

To defend the Old Civics and civic literacy, in other words, is to uphold a system significantly formed first by late nineteenth century professionalization and then by progressive theories of education. It is also the defense of a system that gave a majority of American students at least a sketchy knowledge of their system of government and of the civic virtues, and that encouraged them to think of this knowledge as something to be used as adults rather than just learned and forgotten for a test. The best thing to be said about this system is that it is better than what replaced it.

What immediately replaced it was nothing at all. Much of the Old Civics was taken apart during the 1960s. A new wave of more radically Deweyan pedagogues dismantled a great deal of the traditional educational standards—including much of the traditional civics requirements. The following generation of students were scarcely taught in school how to be citizens. Meanwhile, both the American family and American civil society were undergoing wrenching attrition: these, the traditional schools of virtue and civic practice, were (and still are) both in radical decline.44 The hollowing out of virtue (civic and otherwise) from school, the family, and our civil society provided the fundamental impetus for the renewed desire since the 1980s for a more intensive civics education.

The New Civics Origins

The New Civics in some ways hearkens back to the oldest style of civics education in America, where civics permeated education as a whole. Yet it reflects only the ambition of that oldest civics, not its content: the New Civics substitutes a left-partisan political program for the reverence and love for America expounded by Pierpont, Sanders, and McGuffey. To understand the New Civics properly we must examine in detail its three main sources: the service-learning movement, the neo- Alinskyite Public Achievement movement, and the New Civic Pedagogy.

We discuss these topics in the following order:

  1. Service-Learning: Institutional History
  2. Service-Learning: Theory
  3. Service-Learning: Goals
  4. Service-Learning: Effects
  5. Public Achievement
  6. The New Civic Pedagogy

Service-learning is by far the most important source of the New Civics, and requires examination at length. We thus divide service-learning into four sections—Institutional History, Theory, Goals, and Effects.

Service-Learning: Institutional History

Service-learning, the mainspring of the New Civics movement, claims to found itself on some uncontroversial truths about teaching. Every pedagogue back to the ancient Greeks has emphasized the importance of practice as a complement to theory; the college-larned fool who knows nothing about the real world has been a butt of humor for centuries. That education should be an apprenticeship is traditional; the idea of an internship updates this old concept. At the college level, an internship for an education major or an engineering major seemed common sense.

Service-learning claimed that it was nothing more than a civic variant of this theme, where an internship with a community-service component could join these other forms of internships as a “practical” education. Much of service-learning indeed is vocational training for progressive community activists—but it was not founded with such practical goals primarily in mind.

Institutional Roots

Service-learning traces its institutional roots to organizations such as the Highlander Folk School of Tennessee, which applied ideals of “emancipatory education” drawn from the Danish Folk Schools to the Appalachian South between the 1930s and the 1960s. The Highlander Folk School was closely associated with both the Labor movement and the Civil Rights movement.

The movements of the 1960s, however, provided the immediate framework for service-learning. During this decade, the admirable cause of civil rights used radical pedagogical means that would provide a deeply pernicious precedent for higher education. Civil rights activists “implemented a form of education as service.” The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) set up Freedom Schools as part of the 1964 Freedom Summer, intended both to provide academic instruction for black students in Mississippi and to “empower” both the students and the college volunteer staff. The Freedom Schools’ “Classroom activities included voter registration work and political role-playing.” The general pedagogical attitude, provided for the exceptional circumstances of Mississippi in 1964, encouraged teachers to learn from students’ experiences, to tie classroom content to outside social and political issues, and to make “service” an integral part of learning.

One schoolteacher at the Freedom Schools was Mario Savio; he would import its techniques to the Alternative University set up by the Free Speech Movement at the University of California, Berkeley.45 Education toward activism received a powerful boost from the Civil Rights struggle, both as moral precedent and as a practicum in the procedures of turning education toward activism.

The 1960s also witnessed a flourishing of service-learning-type organizations, including the foundation of the Peace Corps in 1961, Volunteers In Service To America (VISTA, the ancestor of AmeriCorps VISTA) in 1964, and the White House Fellows Program in 1964.46 Significantly, these organizations also drew on Deweyan theory.47 Equally significantly, these organizations served a double purpose—the one humanitarian, used to acquire bipartisan support, and the other more political, intended to channel humanitarian impulses into organizations that softly (and not so softly) forwarded progressive policies. Finally, federal money now supported organizations whose education of character resonated to a progressive tune. Service-learning would inherit from these organizations the combination of Deweyan theory, a civic rationale applied to organizations that promoted progressive causes, and dependence on government money. Among the people trained and employed by these predecessor organizations, along with other organizations devoted to civil rights activism, were the founders of the field of service-learning.48

Service Learning’s Pioneers

Service-learning was founded in the late 1960s and first flourished in the 1970s. Service-learning’s pioneers had mixed professional affiliations: some were teachers or administrators, while others worked in government or community organizing.49 Yet they were all committed to the radical left, and traced their commitment to service-learning to their political commitments.50

Among these service-learning pioneers, Nadinne Cruz (Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs, Stanford University) stated that “Consistently from then until now, I have seen myself mostly as a political activist whose paid job happens to be by choice in the academy. I see myself as having figured out a niche in academic spaces in order to continue work I started in 1963 as a student volunteer caught up in social change. I see the academy as an organizing base from which to do social change work.”51 Kenneth Reardon (Cornell University, University of Illinois) affirmed that, “yes, we have a particular point of view, which is fundamentally looking at redistribution of resources and power within our society, bringing educational programs forward that help support the efforts of local communities to have the chance to participate in decisions and in the economy. It is political.”52 Richard Couto (Vanderbilt University, University of Richmond) recalled that “I saw my work as an extension of social movements of the 1960s,” and “My motivation was political change.” In Couto’s Community Problem Solving (COMPS) seminar, student projects included setting up a computer spreadsheet program for Habitat for Humanity and “assisting the state Planned Parenthood office to develop a program of school-based sex education.”53

As these statements suggest, the service-learning pioneers moved into the academy essentially to pursue radical politics by other means.54 So Ira Harkavy followed up on Lee Benson’s call “for the creation of a national academic-practitioners alliance—a progressive alliance, which actually was formed with progressive unions, civil rights organizers, and academics.” Harkavy, then at the University of Pennsylvania, applied this dictum locally: “We turned it toward West Philadelphia, to the neighborhood, on schooling issues. There the notion of academically based community service started to develop out of a participatory action research mode, asking the question of how universities can change the world.”55

The pioneers’ answer was the field of service-learning.

Ramsey and Sigmon Create Service-Learning

William Ramsey established the first “service-learning” program in 1965, at the Oak Ridge Institute of Nuclear Studies in Tennessee.56 He was joined in 1966 by Robert Sigmon, who explicitly acknowledged that his work with Ramsey was motivated by radical politics and used radical pedagogy: “Experiential education was our venue. We were linking our experiential education alternative with how you feel about destitution and despair.”57

From the beginning, Ramsey’s service-learning involved organized extraction of government money by local organizations, with the ready complicity of federal bureaucrats eager to disburse the funds.58 As this sort of activity came to seem increasingly tangential to nuclear studies, Ramsey and Sigmon transferred themselves to the Southern Regional Education Board in Atlanta.59 They experimented with different terms—“experiential learning, experience learning, work learning, action learning”— and in 1967 they came up with service-learning: “We decided to call it service-learning, because service implied a value consideration that none of the other words we came up with did. … We were looking for something with a value connotation that would link action with a value of reflection on that action—a disciplined reflection.”60

In 1969 a follow-up conference of university faculty and Peace Corps and VISTA officials defined service-learning, and the ensuing Atlanta Service-Learning Conference Report of 1970 framed the introduction of service-learning into higher education.61 It also gave service-learning an enduring definition.


Service-Learning: The Early Decades

From that point on, service-learning began to expand, slowly but surely, through the American system of higher education. The National Student Volunteer Program (1969), now the National Center for Service Learning, provided a national framework to forward service-learning through the 1970s, and from the early 1970s began publishing The Syntegist, “a journal linking academic learning and community service.”62 Two parallel societies also emerged in the 1970s, the Society for Field Experience Education (SFEE) and the National Center for Public Service Internships (NCPSI), eventually to merge as the National Society for Internships and Experiential Education.63 In 1979, the NSVP published Robert Sigmon’s refinement on the principles of service-learning, which emphasized that “this experiential learning is ‘reciprocal’: Both those who provide a service and those who receive it learn from the service. Unless that reciprocity exists, an experience is not true service learning.”64 Reciprocity would remain a key word in service-learning, civic engagement, and all related endeavors. The use of the words reciprocity and reciprocal are enduring signs that a class or program, whatever it calls itself, is really a form of service-learning.

Service-Learning: The Takeover of Campus Compact

Service-learning remained a small, marginal movement until the 1980s.65 The foundation of Campus Compact in 1985, however, allowed for a major step forward in the spread of service-learning. Campus Compact provided an institutional framework for an alliance of colleges and universities to promote service-learning nationwide. As David Busch wrote in A Brief History of Service Learning, this was the point at which “What was once a marginal, not-well-understood form of alternative education was suddenly on the front burner of numerous higher education organizations and on the minds of a growing number of campus administrators and faculty.”66

Campus Compact did not just happen to adopt service-learning; the decision was the result of a deliberate takeover by the advocates of service-learning. Campus Compact at first seemed about to favor a more traditional sense of service and volunteerism, without the radical goals of service-learning, and the service-learning advocates were afraid that this new competition would drive them out of business. Instead, they took over Campus Compact’s new program.

Richard Couto, Michele Whitham (Cornell University), and Timothy Stanton (Cornell University, Stanford University) “strategized how we could influence Campus Compact’s thinking so that it would embrace and support service-learning as well as voluntary service.” They then met with Susan Stroud, the director of Campus Compact.67 Soon thereafter, Campus Compact adopted service-learning. It is not clear how many participants in Campus Compact realized what had just happened. Campus Compact promoted service-learning from then on, with all its radical goals, instead of apolitical service and volunteerism.

Service-Learning's Sponsors

Campus Compact provided service-learning the sponsorship of university presidents throughout America. This is only the most dramatic of the many times when academic administrative sponsorship forwarded the cause of service-learning.68 Support from external nonprofit organizations was also critical for establishing service-learning. Gib Robinson (San Francisco State University) recollected how much he depended upon the support of Ruth Chance, director at the progressive, California-focused Rosenberg Foundation: “She asked hard questions and then empowered me to go do what I wanted. She basically gave me a check and said, ‘Go do it.’”69 Administrative sponsorship, witting or unwitting, has been crucial throughout for service learning’s success.

Service-Learning in Recent Decades

While service-learning began to feed into the “civic engagement” field from the moment it took over Campus Compact’s volunteerism campaign, service-learning also continued its own autonomous life. Further notable developments included the drafting of The Principles of Good Practice for Combining Service and Learning (1989); the passage of the National and Community Service Act (1990); the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development’s (ASCD) sanction of service learning (1993); the passage of the National Service Bill (1993); the publication of the first peer-reviewed service-learning journal, the Michigan Journal of Community Service-Learning (1994); the foundation of AmeriCorps (1994); and the establishment of the National Service-Learning Clearinghouse (1997).70 Service-learning as a national practice was largely established by this point; it has grown in scale since then, but not changed much in character.71

Perhaps the most significant event in these decades was the 1993 reauthorization of the National and Community Service Act. This reauthorization, by way of establishing the parameters for federal fiscal support of service-learning, codified service-learning in federal law.

Federal Definition of Service Learning

This codification made it possible for service-learning to tap the coffers of federal money directly.

Service-Learning: Theory


Service-learning pioneers drew on a large number of “theoretical mentors,” among them radical tactician Saul Alinsky and the anti-war activist Berrigan brothers.72 Within the catalogue of progressive activists and pedagogues, the most influential exemplars for the service-learning movement appear to have been the pedagogy of John Dewey, the institutional example of extension programs at land grant universities, and the 1960s civil rights movement’s initiatives to organize campuses and communities.73 Morris Keeton (founder, Council for Adult and Experiential Learning; Antioch College) takes service-learning’s emphasis on critical reflection to draw directly upon Deweyan pedagogy, while service-learning pioneers more generally believed that Dewey and his cohort of early-twentieth-century progressive pedagogues provided the precedent for service-learning by linking democracy, education, and experiential learning.74 Paulo Freire’s critical pedagogy, designed to radicalize students, was also deeply influential among the service-learning pioneers—although made somewhat more structured, to fit it to the institutional mold of American higher education.75 Dewey and Freire provided the theoretical lodestars of the service-learning movement.


Yet there were still more radical sources for service-learning. One strand drew upon the political re-education pedagogy of Maoist China at the height of the Cultural Revolution. Service-learning pioneer Nadinne Cruz (Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs, Stanford University) began as a radical in the Philippines who drew upon the Chinese model: “We looked to the Cultural Revolution as a way to return people to useful knowledge. We studied Mao….We wanted to emulate the Chinese experiment by sending the bourgeois to the countryside to unlearn the sins of education.”76 Timothy Stanton (Cornell University, Stanford University), who went to China in 1977, also affirmed that his concept of service drew upon Maoist pedagogy—in his case, upon Open- Door Schooling.77

In China, Open-Door Schooling was the slogan used by the Maoist government during the Cultural Revolution to justify moving college students to factories and fields to be “educated” by workers and peasants. Open Door Schooling caused enormous damage to the Chinese educational system: as the Historical Dictionary of the Chinese Cultural Revolution summarizes, “Applying the slogan ‘Open Door Schooling,’ enrollments were massively increased, courses cut savagely in length and heavily politicized in content, and young learners taught to challenge and confront teachers in class and outside.”78 The self-description of Open-Door Schooling also explicitly tied together experiential education and political education: “The young people are gaining much more than professional knowledge in the big classroom of the countryside. Their political awareness is also being heightened.”79

Influential members among the creators of service-learning meant it to be an improved variation of political re-education in Maoist China.


The theory of service-learning emerged from a combination of Deweyan, Freirian, and Maoist philosophies and pedagogies with more immediate radical political inspirations, such as the campaigns of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Cesar Chavez.80 The “pedagogical practice” of service-learning derived from 1960s radicals experimenting with how to integrate academics and “community action,” so as to make “deeper, more relevant education for students.”81 Service-learning was always a “values-oriented” form of progressive political education, intended to make students “better understand the causes of social injustice” and to “take actions to eliminate the causes.”82 Its values were the values of 1960s radicals—hardly changed, the values of modern progressives.


Service-learning also committed itself from the beginning to a definition of civic value that explicitly redefined the values of the university as a whole, and of the American nation.83

The traditional view of education had resisted its politicization: Sidney Hook said in 1968 that “The goal of the university is not the quest for power or virtue, but the quest for significant truth.”84 The service that education was supposed to provide fit broadly into this traditional conception, whether by training character (liberal arts colleges), creating and applying knowledge (research universities), training professionals (professional schools), or making college available to a broad variety of citizens (community college).85 But Seth Pollack (California State University, Monterey Bay) affirms that service-learning assumed a redefinition of the sort of service that education should provide: “The crux of the debate is whether education should provide students with the skills and knowledge base necessary to fit into the existing social structure or prepare them to engage in social transformation.”86

Indeed, “embedded in the debates around the social function of education is a third struggle over the definition of democracy itself.”87 Service-learning is and always has been intended for social transformation, in the Dewey-to-Marx range,88 and it strives for “democracy” defined around the achievement of that social transformation.

Most radically, service-learning aimed to change the entire nature of education.89 At the deepest level, Timothy Stanton claimed that “the ultimate power of learning is its epistemological implication. When we suggest that important learning comes from thinking about community experience, that’s a political matter as well as a philosophical and pedagogical one. … The academy will change when we transform our epistemological paradigms.”90 Service-learning, and above all its community partnerships, are intended as a total challenge to traditional education—as Stanton puts it, to make progressive politics a precondition of how we know the world.

Service-Learning: Goals


A primary aim of service-learning has always been “consciousness-raising”—which is to say, political advocacy to transform college students into progressives. Michele Whitham (Cornell University) recollected that “Dan Berrigan, said to a group of us—white radical student activists who hadn’t really found a niche—‘You know, the most important thing is the transformation of people’s consciousness. Why don’t you start a school?’ This was the inspiration for her later work organizing students in “community activities,” where they would “learn experientially.”91

Richard Cone (University of Southern California) likewise stated that “The only way we change the world is by changing the students we send out to do direct service—changing them so that when they become corporate lawyers, maybe they will be a different kind of corporate lawyer or a different kind of doctor.”92 Michael Goldstein (Urban Corps; University of Illinois) likewise emphasized that “When we did Urban Corps in 1965, we weren’t changing the world. It was the students. The change is what they did. So if we look at outcomes, what we ought to be looking at is how students become part of change.”93 Kenneth Reardon (Cornell University, University of Illinois) put it that “‘True North’ for these pioneers … is the development of thinking people committed to and able to act on behalf of community development and social justice.”94


A second primary aim for service-learning has always been to divert resources for its own benefit. Service-learning’s three main targets are the government, the university, and any organization that can be appealed to with a grant application.


Service-learning has worked to divert governmental money from its first years. Kenneth Reardon recollects that in the Nixon administration he had the University of Massachusetts, Amherst’s Center of Outreach use federal money from the National Student Volunteer Program to place students “in community action and community organizing projects” such as “antiwar activities, anti-imperialism, anti-colonial work, as well as more traditional social service.” Reardon had the students “looking at the structural causes of social inequality.”95

Michael Goldstein likewise channeled funds from the College Work-Study Program to fund the New York City Urban Corps: “By June we had a thousand students at work in city agencies.” The universities were the losers, as the students otherwise would have been working for the university, in the library and elsewhere. Goldstein conceived of this diversion as a way of spreading the benefits of service-learning to poor minorities who otherwise couldn’t participate in service-learning.96 Goldstein’s policy certainly spread the effects of service-learning to a broader portion of the student body, whether or not service-learning actually benefitted them.


The diversion of funds is not just from the government, but from the academy itself: from the beginning, service-learning has also aimed to channel university resources toward radical political ends. Kenneth Reardon recollects that he moved from community organizing to the university in good measure “because that’s where a lot of resources could be mobilized to support the efforts I was interested in. It’s sort of like Willie Sutton, who robbed banks because that’s where the money was.” Richard Couto (Vanderbilt University, University of Richmond) thinks of himself as an agent of “redistributive justice” and believes that in his role at Vanderbilt’s health services department he “reversed the tide of resources in a lot of those communities.”97 In general, service-learning pioneers have made it their priority to redirect university funds—and students—to the programs they favor.98


Service-learning has concerned itself from early on with grant-writing skills. Robert Newbrough recollected that “They wanted me to teach a grant writing course. … I had trouble with that [simulating grant writing], so I moved it into real grant writing, where we found a client organization in the community and wrote grants for them. More and more it grew into the students’ preparing grant proposals.”99 As we shall see below, service-learning courses in rhetoric and communications—remedial writing courses for college students—lend themselves to transformation into such practica in persuading other people to give you money.


The beneficiaries of these university resources were the progressive community organizations that claimed to speak for the communities service-learning intended to benefit. Community organizations were meant to articulate the goals and run the service-learning programs.

The decision to cede control to community organizations was partly a practical recognition that students frequently were more interested in doing something for a semester and then moving on, whether or not their actions did any good. Herman Blake (University of California, Santa Cruz) didn’t “want students to leave things half-done, just for their own benefit.”100 Service-learning advocates phrased this goal in the bland language of effectiveness: service-learning pioneers “wanted to encourage students’ idealism, support it, and make it long-lasting and effective.”101

This goal translated, however, into putting these community organizations in charge of the students. Herman Blake states that his students “had to be under the supervision and control of a community-based organization without public funds. That’s how we provided the service. … They were under the supervision of those communities.”102 The community organizations soon made control over student labor a condition of their participation.

Kenneth Reardon writes that the East St. Louis community organization he worked with demanded full control of the service-learning project, including help to “establish primary relationships with area and regional funders that are not mediated or brokered by the university.”103 In consequence, as Michele Whitham put it, “students became their employees in a sense. If the community organization said they needed X, that’s what the students would undertake with those people in the community.”104 Kenneth Reardon continued to make sure that community organizations would call the shots: “community-based organizations, which are partners and collaborators, evaluate not only their own organizational development, but also the university as a technical assistance provider. Then they identify the projects to be done during the next year.”105

Community control is intimately tied to the larger pedagogical and political agenda of service-learning: Stanton, Giles, and Cruz write that university sponsors placed high trust in the community organizations, and assumed they would teach students “the ‘right’ things.”106 Nadinne Cruz gives an idea of the nature of the community organizations selected as service-learning partners. When she developed the City Arts program while at the Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs in Minnesota, “I connected the program to artists and community-based arts organizations and focused on how they defined their work as change agents, community developers, development organizers, and sustainers of change. …. It included artists … who identified their work in terms of race or ethnicity … I was very conscious about that, especially on issues of class.”107

The commitment to be “not funded by the public” has gone by the wayside, as the Federal Government has extended itself to ever greater funding of putatively independent non-profits, but the control of student efforts by progressive community organizations has continued.


Indeed, “community control” means that service-learning exists to build “capacity” for these community organizations and to “empower” them.108

Service-learning’s focus on capacity building of community organizations is not simply practical, but part of a deliberate practice of radical politics. Kenneth Reardon acknowledges its debt to the “Alinsky-oriented” tactics of community organization to “build the membership, leadership base, and political skills of community-based institutions.”109 Alinskyite influence has continued to affect service-learning as the field developed.110 Hence, as Kenneth Reardon affirms, “We’re concerned not only with their [local residents’] power to decide what their focus is going to be, but also with capacity building of community-based organizations so they can maintain and extend these activities when the university’s focus changes.”111


Since service-learning is centrally about learning the tactics of political change, it was natural for service-learning advocates to apply these tactics to the university itself.112 At Vanderbilt University, Richard Couto taught a class on community assessment that “took as its project a study of diversity at Vanderbilt. The university was the community that we were going to assess.”113 When Couto moved to the University of Richmond, he made this new goal explicit: “Previously I gave my strongest attention to the community organization, putting something in place that would be sustained. Now I put that attention to the university.”114 Nadinne Cruz put it that, “what we’re really trying to do is change educational institutions. They are part of the larger systems that’s creating problems in the community.”115

Jane Permaul used the Field Studies Development Program at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), established in 1980, as a tool by which to make the university itself her target community to be organized through “change agents.”116 Such tactics included getting professorial support by strategic proffers of money. Robert Sigmon (Southern Regional Education Board) recollected that “At SREB [Southern Regional Education Board] we moved all over the South, bribing professors to get students out and to go out themselves and work on projects that community folks had designed.” He said the pitch was, “Mr. Professor, if you will work a learning agenda with these students and give them credit, we’ll give you three hundred dollars for the summer to work with these kids. We’ll pay the kids a hundred dollars a week.”117

Permaul likewise focused on wooing the faculty by providing them with “funded and trained graduate teaching assistants” in exchange for the faculty adding service-learning to their courses.118 This strategy worked, and the incentives prompted many professors to adjust their courses as requested.

Other professionals, such as Sharon Rubin at Ramapo College of New Jersey, used faculty development programs. She included service-learning in training for new faculty, who tend to be eager for teaching tips as well as “more open to some of these ideas” than their older colleagues. Rubin also emphasized experiential learning as an acceptable component of tenure packets.119

As Timothy Stanton put it, “If we truly want to change higher education on behalf of service-learning, then we have to let go of the doing of it and encourage, bribe, and support the faculty to take up the work.”120 Money has always been crucial to service-learning’s success: Gib Robinson (San Francisco State University) recollects of the 1970s that “There wasn’t a whole lot of outside money. So when I got funded, the university said, ‘Well, we don’t know what he’s doing and we don’t know why he’s doing it, but he’s got money, so we’ll let him do it.’ That was crucial.”121

A central point of service-learning, and its derivatives in civic engagement, is for advocates to devote themselves to “organizing” the university to support and finance their political agenda. As Permaul put it, “It’s like crashing a fraternity and making the fraternity change its way of thinking, recruiting, and sustaining its membership.”122 Service-learning’s focus on organizing the university so as to divert funds from it more effectively is intrinsic to the discipline.


The institutionalization of service-learning followed a deeply practical (and Alinskyite) desire to align service-learning with students’ self-interest. Early on, Dwight Giles (Cornell University, Vanderbilt University) met a dean at Vanderbilt who remarked that, “I’ve never met anybody who’s made a career out of experiential learning.”123 This soon would change. Mary Edens (Michigan State University) noticed students were engaging in service-learning with some other ulterior career goal in mind, and had an epiphany. “I thought, ‘Why don’t we work on making volunteer service okay as part of a major?’” So in general, “We began to move from community service to service-learning in a career development model.”124 And indeed an increasing number of students did get such careers. Timothy Stanton recollected that, “I got a letter from one of those students a couple of years after she graduated, in which she told me how she was trying to organize things where she worked and how she was taking the curriculum that we had taught them in New York and applying it, and how well it was helping her. Outcomes like that make me feel like it’s all worth it.”125


Some part of service-learning has also been about changing public policy: Kenneth Reardon recollects that “students did some very good action-oriented policy research for community groups. In some cases, we got New York City to change a major decision that became very public.”126 Reardon refers to work in the late 1980s by the Cornell University Community Research Workshop’s NYC Cooperative Extension Office that 1) pressured New York City to subsidize merchants at the Essex Street Market by limiting rent increases, spending $2 million on “deferred maintenance,” and insuring the merchants against losses during renovation; and 2) a study of New York City’s Auction Sales Program in Bedford-Stuyvesant that concluded with “a strong recommendation in favor of providing City financing for building rehabilitation,” and ended up helping pressure the City to eliminate the Auction Sales Program entirely.127 Helen Lewis (Clinch Valley College, Highlander Research Education Center) in Appalachia had her students start “a movement for a sales tax on coal.” They achieved their aim, and “Now there’s a 7 percent tax on coal.”128 Service-learning devotes considerable efforts toward the short-term goals of advertising progressive causes, diverting funds, and re-organizing the university, but it also has worked, successfully, toward its long-term goal to enact progressive policy.

Service-Learning: Effects


Service-learning has done much to revolutionize American universities, but it has not been unchanged by its sojourn in the academy. Perhaps the most important transformation service-learning has undergone is bureaucratization—a metamorphosis done to justify the field to university administrations and to philanthropic and governmental sponsors. At Cornell University, the service-learning advocates designed and established a “highly structured pedagogy.”129 At Augsburg College, Garry Hesser institutionalized the experiential learning program by means of outside funding.130 Hal Woods needed resources for his service-learning program at the University of Vermont, and so had to seek out funding sources tied to support for academics. He found it in “the federally supported University Year for Action (UYA), which was funded through ACTION in Washington, D.C.”—but as a consequence, Woods had to bureaucratize his service-learning program to satisfy federal reporting requirements.131

Perhaps the most bureaucratizing development of all arose from the need to make service-learning assessable/evaluable, so as to justify the receipt of funding. John Duley at Michigan State University sought out ways to make service-learning an evaluable academic program. He received advice from Paul Dressel, an expert on evaluating academic performance. Dressel advised him to use two models: “the Aviation Evaluation Program for the air force in determining the capability of people to become pilots,” which had “a critical incident technique … developed to document learning acquired through experience,” and the Peace Corps, which assessed returning Corps members for the “kind of cross-cultural learning skills had they needed and acquired.”132 Making service-learning evaluable made it administratively possible to give students college credit for service-learning courses.

Yet many service-learning pioneers acknowledged the tension between their radical goals and service-learning’s institutionalization.133 The very form of service-learning—assessable, for college credit—indeed has extinguished whatever anarchic spark the field once possessed. Service-learning has become an institutional revolutionary movement.


Service-learning today still is meant to align with radical pedagogies and radical political action. It also is supposed to align with feminist pedagogy, which also relies upon concepts such as critical reflection, dialogue, power, and privilege.134 It is supposed to align with critical theory, which critiques “the civic responsibilities of education” so as to provide a “dialectical” solution that relies upon the belief that “education is political.”135 At the personal level, Dr. Tobi Jacobi, Director of the Center for Community Literacy at Colorado State University and enthusiastic advocate for service-learning, described her ideal service-learning student as someone who sees the subject as social-justice work, and described her class as a whole as irreducibly concerned with social justice and activism.136 Service-learning’s bland vocabulary continues to disguise radical activism.137 Service-learning has calcified in form, but its ambitions remain as radical as at its birth.


Metropolitan State University: WMS 3170 - Social Justice: Self and Citizenship: A Service Learning Course

Description: This course focuses upon psychological theory and self-identity in the context of multicultural and social justice issues (classism, racism, sexism, heterosexism, and ableism). Lectures, readings, and discussions are integrated with a required service learning placement involving 30 hours of volunteer work in a setting for the underserved. Students have the opportunity to a) reflect on social oppressions; b) analyze the political systems that surround their communities and institutions; and c) apply their reflections to their career goals and personal development.

Metropolitan State University, MSUDenver Catalog, “WMS 3170 - Social Justice: Self and Citizenship: A Service Learning Course,” preview_course_nopop.php?catoid=13&coid=36705.


CASPER COLLEGE: GNDR 2000 — Gender Studies Learning Service (Spring 2012)

Instructor’s Name: Georgia Wheatley

Course Description: This course will provide students with the opportunity to apply their theoretical understanding of Gender Studies to practical and concrete situations in their community settings. Students will work in a variety of agencies including educational, political, and/or social service agencies; students will chose their site according to their interests and according to faculty recommendations. In addition to the on-site experience, students will meet regularly with the faculty and their classmates to share and analyze their service-learning experience and to engage in critical reflection about gender theory. This course may be repeated for a maximum of 3 credit hours.

Casper College, syllabi-spring-2012/2012sp_GNDR2000_01.pdf.


Service-learning’s promotion of self-reflective consciousness raising in effect means that the student is supposed to be studying himself rather than any external subject: Herman Blake at University of California, Santa Cruz, encouraged service-learning students to “analyze their own experiences and their own history.”138 This focus diverts college students from learning about what other people have thought and discovered to an unproductive concern with studying themselves. Service-learning also fosters pedagogical practices that do not seem appropriate for university education. Nadinne Cruz said of her programs at City Arts in Minneapolis: “We would do rituals or ceremonies that artists could set up. We worked with music, or we would actually do arts activities together, sometimes in silence … Their articulation is often not necessarily talking. I had seminars and reflections that went from 6 P.M. to past midnight, because of the students’ involvement and commitment.”139 Student enthusiasm is all to the good, but more regular hours and more verbal articulation would be preferable.

Service-learning teaches no real skills, save those of a career progressive activist. It aims to transform its practitioners into progressive activists, and it seeks to forward the progressive movement’s substantive political goals.140 Its bureaucratic structure squeezes its original revolutionary zest out of its operations. It transfers public money and student time to the service of progressive organizations purporting to speak in the name of the community. In doing all this, it is the standard-bearer of the New Civics. As A Crucible Moment puts it, “Without question, service learning, in its many manifestations, has been the dominant curricular vehicle for promoting different dimensions of civic learning and engagement with larger communities.”141

Public Achievement

Parallel to and intermixed with the extension of service-learning in higher education, the ideas of Saul Alinsky have also entered into higher education. So have many members of Alinskyite organizations. The most serious such transfer occurred in the late 1980s and early 1990s, via Harry Boyte’s Public Achievement movement. Public Achievement thus arrived later than service-learning, and works to a considerable extent within the service-learning matrix. It is, however, a separate movement that needs to be addressed separately. It is also a smaller movement than service-learning—but one with a harder political edge. Service-learning generally works to forward progressive political ends; Public Achievement works toward these ends with more focus and organization, via the Alinskyite method of community organizing. The Alinskyite tactical model of Public Achievement is what makes the New Civics formidable.


In the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, Saul Alinsky pioneered the theory and practice of community organization as a route toward left political power. In Darwyn Fehrman and Aaron Schutz’s summary, “In Alinsky’s model for social action, oppressed groups first choose specific, “winnable” issues to energize and inspire the group’s members. Wins on these issues show that these groups can be effective and help to establish that the community has the ability to influence an oppressive organization’s decisions.”

Alinskyite community organizations operate via “collective action, confrontation, and conflict” with powerful elites who “rarely voluntarily offer anything of real value to the less privileged.” Alinsky’s community organizing in turn provided the model for Alinskyite youth organizing, which “basically combines Alinsky’s organizing ideology with the field of youth development. … Youth organizers seek to organize large numbers of youths so that they represent a significant force for social change.”142

Alinsky’s acolytes put his technique into considerable effect in the 1960s and 1970s, both by direct activist organizing effort within America and by taking over various Federal Government programs (particularly VISTA) as a way to provide funding for their organizations and causes.143 Successive setbacks, however, forced them toward less immediately radical ambitions. President Nixon’s election signaled that the Revolution would be postponed; President Reagan’s that it would not be receiving government funding any longer. Different tactics were in order.


Where Alinsky took community organization to aim at opposition to all forms of authority, his successors took a subtler point of view. Community organization could influence power structures, work with them, take them over—they need not oppose them directly. Harry Boyte, in particular, was a vector of Alinskyite thought. Between 1971 and 1975, Boyte co-founded the socialist New American Movement, and served on its National Interim Committee; between 1976 and 1981 he was a member of the National Board and Executive Committee of the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee; and from 1981 to 1983 he was the director of the Citizen Heritage Center in Minneapolis.144 From 1983 to 1986, Boyte was Education Consultant for the progressive activist group Citizen Action145—a perch from which Boyte turned to focus his neo- Alinskyite activism upon higher education.

Boyte drew upon the Alinskyite heritage—but a softer-edged version of it. While Boyte first tried to infuse communitarian thought into the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), he concluded that this combination was still excessively committed to leftist dogma. Boyte then reimagined community organizing as public work that abandoned rigid and off-putting commitments to radical ideology.146 When Boyte made his decisive turn into a career in higher education, he brought this softer-edged Alinskyism with him.

Harry Boyte’s great success has come via his creation of Public Achievement in 1990. Boyte’s resume indicates the nature and extent of what he and Public Achievement have achieved since.


Harry Boyte is founder of Public Achievement, a theory-based practice of citizen organizing to do public work for the common good that is used in schools, universities, and communities across the United States and in more than a dozen countries. Boyte has been an architect of a “public work” approach to civic engagement and democracy promotion, a conceptual framework on citizenship that has gained world-wide recognition for its theoretical innovations and its practical effectiveness.

Since coming to the [Hubert Humphrey] Institute [of Public Affairs] in 1987, Boyte has worked with a variety of partners in Minnesota, nationally, and internationally on community development, citizenship education, and civic renewal. Currently, Boyte is head of the [Sabo] Center for Democracy and Citizenship at Augsburg College. He also serves on the board of Imagining America, a consortium of colleges and universities whose mission is to strengthen the public role and democratic purposes of the humanities, arts, and design. … Boyte served as national coordinator of the New Citizenship (1993 to 1995), a broad nonpartisan effort to bridge the citizen-government gap. He presented New Citizenship findings to President Clinton, Vice President Gore and other administration leaders at a 1995 Camp David Seminar on the future of democracy, a presentation which helped to shape Clinton’s “New Covenant” State of the Union that year. Boyte has also served as a senior advisor to the National Commission on Civic Renewal, and as national associate of the Kettering Foundation. He has worked with a variety of foundations, nonprofit, educational, neighborhood and citizen organizations concerned with community development, citizenship education, and civic renewal.

University of Minnesota, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, “Harry Boyte,”


American Commonwealth Partnership

Boyte organized the American Commonwealth Partnership (ACP),147 with the institutional imprimatur of the White House Office of Public Engagement, the Department of Education, the Association of American Colleges & Universities, and the Campaign for the Civic Mission of the Schools. Boyte also served as the ACP’s National Coordinator, and the ACP’s Inaugural Host Institution was Augsburg College in Minneapolis—Boyte’s institutional home. Launched at the White House in January 2012, the ACP “is an alliance of community colleges, colleges and universities, P-12 schools and others dedicated to building ‘democracy colleges’ throughout higher education.” The ACP consults with the Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education “on policies to strengthen higher education’s public engagement and is also helping to organize state level policy initiatives on the topic.” It promotes initiatives the include the Deliberative Dialogue Initiative, the Citizen Alum Initiative, the Student Organizing Initiative, the Pedagogies of Empowerment and Engagement Initiative, the Public Scholarship Initiative, the Campus-Community Civic Health Initiative,148 the Civic Science Initiative, and the ACP Policy Initiative.149 It generally promotes work chronicling the “civic history and mission of higher education”; work emphasizing the “civic nature of the disciplines and professions”; Public Scholarship; Civic Learning; and Community Partnerships.150 

Citizen Alum 

Boyte is a member of the National Steering Committee of Citizen Alum.151 Citizen Alum “counters the image of alumni as primarily ‘donors’ with a vision of them as also ‘doers.’ Alums are allies in education–crucial partners in building multigenerational communities of active citizenship and active learning.”152 

Civic Studies 

Boyte was a co-signer of the Framing Statement (2007) of the discipline of Civic Studies.153 He has since arranged for his institutional home at the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship to co-sponsor the Civic Studies Initiative, with funding from the Kettering Foundation. (See the separate section below.)154 

Imagining America 

Boyte is a member of the board of Imagining America.155 Imagining America (IA) dedicates itself to encouraging civic engagement and service learning among “artists, humanists, designers, and other scholars in the cultural disciplines who passionately wanted to claim engagement at the core of their identities as intellectuals and artists.” (See the separate section below.)156 

Boyte’s resume is also useful as a map of the web of organizations that have forwarded the Alinskyite stream of the New Civics in the last two generations.


Boyte’s Alinskyism was subtler, but the heart of his project remained an effort to insert community activism into schools. In Boyte’s own words, “The challenge today is to revive the organizing skills, the professional sensibilities, and the larger strategic framework of the 1930s.”157 Boyte aimed to train teachers to act as community activists and students to act as the community to be organized. This he did most directly via Public Achievement.

Boyte himself describes Public Achievement as “a youth civic engagement pedagogy developed by the [Sabo] Center for Democracy and Citizenship” in which “teams of young people, ranging from elementary to high school students, work over months on a public issue they choose.” It is meant to develop “initiatives that show the possibilities for spreading democratic populist politics in varied settings, especially in schools and higher education itself.”158

Noelle Johnson’s description provides more detail: “PA teaches concepts such as democracy, power, politics, public work, citizenship, and diversity through hands on projects. …The general format involves K-12 students who work with undergraduates at a college and while learning these concepts, decide on an issue and a problem they want to solve and a project that goes with that.” Undergraduate students act as “‘coaches’ for these students and take on a role that is actively engaging, mentoring and encouraging youth. Through both courses and community engagement the undergraduate students are benefiting from this program as well as the youth they work with.”159

Public Achievement preserves many aspects of Alinskyite youth-community organization: “Both in youth organizing and in traditional PA, members often begin by asking questions about who has power/ resources in the community, how those with power can be challenged, how power can be taken from the powerful, and what power youths already have. … Youth organizers teach young people political skills similar to those usually taught in traditional PA groups.”160 Public Achievement relies on the Alinskyite emphasis on power, which reduces politics to the use of force to defeat hostile opponents.

As Boyte and Blase Scarnati (University of Northern Arizona) wrote, “Public Achievement was founded … as a contemporary version of the Citizenship Education Program (CEP) …Through CEP, African Americans and some poor whites learned skills and concepts associated with community organizing and effective change-making. … Through participation in Public Achievement, young people learn skills, concepts, and methods of empowering public work.”161 Boyte and Fretz reiterate the tie between Public Achievement and community organizing: “One of the primary ways we teach community organizing is through Public Achievement, a youth civic engagement initiative … that trains undergraduates to act like community organizers in schools and to engage in consequential, productive public work that has an impact on the world.”162

Public Achievement, in effect, not only works directly to forward aspects of the Alinskyite program but also educates students to be the proper material for Alinskyite organization as adults: “Generally in PA, college student coaches meet once a week after school with groups of six to eight K–12 students to work on a shared public project. Traditional PA offers students a number of strategies, political skills (collaborative use of power, conflict resolution, negotiation, etc.), and “core concepts” through activities recommended in its manual for coaches.”163 All that a product of Public Achievement needs to become a community organizer or organizee is the oppositional Alinskyite thrust.

Alinskyite youth organization emphasizes that “Political education is also a significant part of most youth organizing models.”164 Public Achievement—as, indeed, the New Civics more broadly—preserves political education as a goal, even where it eschews Alinsky’s direct political oppositionism.


Public Achievement is more directly activist than the usual service-learning.165 On the other hand, Public Achievement differs from more hard-core Alinskyite organizing in that it allows for the possibility of organization that does not immediately seek to oppose established institutions.166 Fehrman and Schutz describe Public Achievement’s “public work” as ranging from the collaborative, such as “creating a community garden,” to open conflicts such as “protesting unfair school policies.” They judge that most PA projects are co-operative—but “co-operative” does not mean “apolitical.” They take PA to be significantly more politically oriented than service-learning, although not quite as political as youth organizing outside of the schools.167

Public Achievement uses the old Alinskyite tactics to create a new generation of politically engaged— radical activist—students and teachers. So Boyte and Scarnati preach “public work,” characterized by “self-organizing, egalitarian, and cooperative efforts by people who would otherwise be divided; practical concern for creating shared collective resources; adaptability; and incentives based on appeals to immediate interests combined with cultivation of concern for long-term community well-being.”168 As with service-learning, Boyte and Scarnati articulate Public Achievement’s goals in nominally apolitical language—yet Boyte and Scarnati immediately follow up this definition by associating civic effort with progressive political campaigning: “the Obama campaign of 2008, with its theme of ‘Yes We Can,’ showed possibilities for introducing civic agency on a large scale by integrating community organizing methods into its field operation.”169 Boyte’s conception of the civic cannot be distinguished from progressive politics.

Boyte particularly emphasizes that he aims for the slow seizure of institutions rather than the useless, feel-good protest so beloved by the callow left. He quotes Bayard Rustin approvingly: “It is institutions—social, political, and economic institutions—which are the ultimate molders of collective sentiments. Let these institutions be reconstructed today, and let the ineluctable gradualism of history govern the formation of a new psychology.”170 This focus on capturing institutions characterizes the entire New Civics movement, but it is particularly strong in Alinskyite organizations such as Public Achievement.


Public Achievement provides room for individual teachers to impose a pedagogy that slips from Public Achievement’s more collaborationist model toward Alinsky’s oppositional model. Fehrman and Schutz write that in their Public Achievement projects in the Social Action Charter High School (SACHS) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, they “tried to push students to engage more directly with power, with forces that prevent significant social change in the areas students were focused on. Thus, … we attempted to shift PA in the direction of a more youth organizing model of civic engagement.”171

Eric Fretz likewise incorporated “Gamaliel training” for community organizing into his Public Achievement classes: “during the first class of the semester, as students introduce themselves, I ask them to name one thing that makes them angry. … a male student raises his hand and says, ‘From everything we’ve said today, I’d say that a good citizen is someone who is angry and obnoxious in relationship with others.’” This class explicitly taught students how to use the techniques of activism in the university.172

The stated pedagogy of Public Achievement should be taken as an Alinskyite minimum; actual practice, as with Fehrman, Fretz, and Schutz, may well be more radical. Public Achievement’s roots in Alinskyite thought make such slippages a predictable result of using the Public Achievement model.


The community-organizing strand of civic engagement has spread far beyond Public Achievement. A notable example from Colorado (although not from the universities in our case studies below) is a document entitled the Community Organizing Handbook—written and sponsored by the Center for Community Engagement & Service Learning (CCESL) at the University of Denver, and posted on the website of the Campus Compact of the Mountain West.173 CCESL wrote the Handbook “for use in trainings, civic engagement programs and courses,”174 and it uses the standard language of progressive advocacy throughout, intermixed with the tactics of community organization.


We are committed to developing active citizens using our student learning outcomes. … [Skills to be acquired include:] Participating in a public action. … [Goals include:] Critically reflect on their own social and cultural identities, and constructively engage with people from groups who have different social and cultural backgrounds, worldviews and perspectives from their own. … Identify the inequalities and injustices that exist in their local and global communities. [p. 3] 

All of us experience privileges and oppressions as part of our formed identity living in society with others. Privilege and oppressions are derived from societal power structures and are generally identified as systemic. Privileges are often referred to as unearned, something you are born into or with. Oppressions are identified as unjust, meaning that it is unwarranted or for no cause of the person’s actual personhood or actions. … It is important to acknowledge and explore how privilege and oppression are part of our individual identities, as well as, our collective identities when working in a group. [p. 7] 

Community organizing is about achieving long-term change through building powerful, public relationships; influencing and negotiating with government, corporations and institutions; achieving direct representation; and holding decision-makers accountable to the public through public actions. It is not about the short-term mobilization of bodies, protests or rallies. [p. 11] 

The facilitator asks participants to identify something in their world that makes them angry or that they want to see changed. 

As they identify a range of social problems (that might include homelessness, racial profiling, a cultural lack of respect for youth, and others) … the facilitator asks each participant what, specifically, they are doing to resolve these issues that they have identified. 

This will raise the tension in the room, because very few people are doing anything about these larger problems they can so passionately identify. This tension is what can motivate people towards action. [p. 22] 

Whitcher, et al., Community Organizing Handbook.

Alinskyite community-organizing pedagogy has the imprimatur of the Center for Community Engagement & Service Learning at the University of Denver; the University of Denver as a whole; and the Campus Compact of the Mountain West. Public Achievement is always Alinskyite education, but Alinskyite education is by no means confined to Public Achievement.

Other parts of the civic engagement program also have an Alinskyite flavor—for example, sociologist Troy Duster cites Saul Alinsky’s community organizing as one of his models for engaged learning and civic engagement.175 There is also continuity of personnel: for example, Maria Avila, who was Director of the Center for Community Based Learning at Occidental College from 2001 to 2011, worked earlier in her career “as a community organizer with the Industrial Areas Foundation, the international network founded by the late Saul Alinsky in the 1940s.”176 Yet Public Achievement is the lineal descendant of Alinskyite organization, and it remains Alinskyism’s most influential vector within higher education.


Harry Boyte has had a nationwide influence, but he has been especially influential in Colorado. 

There are four separate Public Achievement programs in Colorado: 

  • Public Achievement at the University of Colorado at Boulder.177 
  • Public Achievement for Community Transformation (PACT) at Colorado State University.178 
  • Public Achievement at Colorado College.179 
  • Public Achievement at the University of Denver.180 

Boyte organized the American Commonwealth Project (ACP); the ACP’s National Council includes 

  • Cecilia M. Orphan, director of the American Democracy Project from 2006 to 2011, and currently an Assistant Professor in Higher Education at the Morgridge College of Education of the University of Denver.181 
  • Elaina Verveer, Program Advisor to CU-Boulder’s Puksta Scholars Program and Executive Director of the Empowerment Center of East County.182 
  • Jenny Whitcher, formerly Associate Director of the Center for Community Engagement & Service Learning (CCESL) at the University of Denver, and currently Director of Service Learning at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, vice chair of the Puksta Foundation Advisory Council, member of the Advisory Committee of Campus Compact of the Mountain West.183 

Boyte serves on the board of Imagining America. Imagining America’s membership includes 

  • Kira Pasquesi, Co-Director of Imagining America’s PAGE (Publicly Active Graduate Education), and Director of the Leadership Studies Minor Program at CU-Boulder.184 
  • Ben Kirshner, member of Imagining America, and Faculty Director of CU Engage at CU-Boulder.185 
  • Valerio Ferme, member of Imagining America, and Associate Dean of Arts & Humanities at CU-Boulder.186 
  • Jenny Whitcher, member of Imagining America, and Director of Service Learning at Iliff School of Theology in Denver.187 

Boyte has also been a regular visitor to Colorado, where he provides inspirational lectures and participates in professional meetings. He has appeared at, 

  • The University of Colorado at Boulder in October 2005, speaking on “Higher Education: Architects of a Democratic Way of Life.” Boyte also led “a workshop for CU-Boulder faculty and staff on organizing approaches to civic engagement.”188 
  • The University of Denver in January 2007, speaking on “From Me to We: Higher Education and the Democratic Renaissance.”189 
  • The University of Northern Colorado in October 2008, speaking on “The democracy mission of higher education.”190 
  • The 2013 National Meeting of the American Democracy Project/The Democracy Project, held in June 2013 in Denver, as a member of the panel on “Purposeful Work: Educating for Citizen Careers.”191 
  • The University of Northern Colorado in November 2014, speaking on “Reframing Democracy as the Work of the People.”192 

The New Civic Pedagogy


Service-learning provides the largest intellectual and institutional source for the New Civics, while the smaller Public Achievement has played an outsized role as the most notable gateway between Alinskyism’s hard-edged tactical focus on community organizing and the New Civics. Neither of these, however, justified themselves in civic terms. The emergence of that justification, which allowed service-learning and Alinskyite community organization to call themselves civic, was the culminating prerequisite for the emergence of the New Civics. This rationale was largely specious: the New Civics remains a tool used to serve progressive politics. Yet the rationale does exist—and not only as a disguise. New Civics advocates are partly engaged in a manipulative diversion of civics education to serve progressive ends—but partly they genuinely believe that their progressive agitation really is civic activity. The New Civics advocates’ incapacity to distinguish between progressive politics and civic activity derives above all from the New Civic pedagogy.


The New Civics, as the Old Civics, also traces its intellectual history back to John Dewey and the Progressive era. John Dewey’s writings, especially Democracy and Education (1916), fostered three related conceptions relevant to the New Civics: that education should be tied to experience, that education in a democracy should foster the exercise of democratic habits by all citizens, and that subject matter ought to be tied to method.193 Although Dewey did not braid the three strands together himself, the New Civics pedagogy plausibly reads Dewey when it twines these strands together. Since method ought to be tied to subject matter, education toward democracy should be done by way of democratic pedagogy in a sort of vocational training consisting of democratic practice—civic activism of some sort.194

The New Civics also draws on Paulo Freire’s “empowering” critical pedagogy, which was designed to “raise critical consciousness” among the “economically and socially marginalized” so as to enable “students to perceive social, political, and economic contradictions and take action against the oppressive elements of society.”195 Freirian pedagogy shared with Deweyan pedagogy a political focus, but critical pedagogy substituted a left-activist agenda for Dewey’s mixture of civics and early-twentieth-century vintage progressivism. Freirian pedagogues found the civics curriculum a natural home for their efforts: redefine civic engagement as political activism, and confine the prescribed politics solely within the leftist agenda, and much of the Freirian agenda can be—and was—inserted into the civics curriculum. A Deweyan civics that focused on civic practice rather than on civic literacy was uniquely susceptible to takeover by Freirian pedagogues. The Freirians redefined Deweyan education for democracy as education for leftist agitation, framed in the language of revolution.

This new Deweyan-Freirian pedagogy drew spurious plausibility from an increasing sense after World War II that the Old Civics was an insufficient education. Many Americans came to believe that civic literacy was mere dead knowledge, and not sufficient to make citizens. Some part of this new belief was the ordinary response to the effect of making civics something to be tested for in school. Reducing civic knowledge to the framework of a multiple-choice test could not help but remove some zest from learning about how to be a citizen.

This disaffection from traditional civic literacy was also a consequence of the broader consequences of the rise of the managerial state—and, indeed, the transition of the Republic from a land of farms and small towns to a land of large cities and suburbs. This transformation had eroded a good deal of the old civic practices, and the culture that had done so much to sustain them. Young Americans did not receive so thorough a civics education as their forebears, or see the need for one, as government increasingly became the domain of professional classes, and government increasingly became for the people rather than by the people. This truth was significantly exaggerated—American critics of the 1950s often had a dismal view of their country, which hardly seems justified when we look back at it from the 2010s. Nevertheless, the attenuation of the old self-reliant civic culture was real. That reality, in combination with the destruction of the Old Civics curriculum, provided the opening for the New Civics pedagogues.

The shift to the New Civics also took advantage of the increasing political polarization of America after 1960, and presented itself as a compromise between incompatible claims about the proper content of an education for civic literacy. Since right and left could no longer agree on the proper content of civic culture—largely because progressives dissented from much of its traditional contents—those members of the right and left intent upon restoring civics to the curriculum perforce sought a common ground built upon the lowest-common-denominator.

The New Civics’ emphasis on “civic practice” could acquire consensus support, even when knowledge of the history of our country and the mechanics of our government could not.


A great deal of the New Civic pedagogy simply applies the latest theoretical vocabulary to justify the substitution of radical politics for civics education. These theories generally share a profound misapprehension as to the nature of what is civic. The New Civics pedagogues (following the Marxist tradition) conflate the civic with community or society. Donald Harward provides a good example of this misapprehension when he states that an “engaged, or higher, learner” is one who will “know, judge, and act in a community”, and that “the civic” implies “a commitment to community.”196 Timothy Eatman similarly writes that “The term civic, [is] commonly used in reference to community-wide systems and processes.”197

Sixty years ago Hannah Arendt identified the deformation of the modern West in this conflation of the civic with the social: the imperative demand for conformity in the name of society and community colonizes and perverts the political/civic realm. Where the civic realm should promote individuality, the identification of the civic with the social or the communal inverts its dynamics and subordinates all aspects of the individual to the imperatives of the social.198

The New Civics, in its drumbeat of shared responsibility, a common purpose, and a commitment to community, recapitulates Arendt’s prediction that social administration would replace civic freedom. Civics education, properly understood, aims for a flourishing of the individual rather than a forced and pervasive commitment to the community. It is precisely because civics education aims to create free men that it should not seek to mobilize all aspects of students’ lives. The New Civics, by conflating civic with communal and social, works to create a thoroughly administered state—but not a free one.

Civic Engagement


Service-learning, neo-Alinskyite community organization, and the radical New Civic pedagogy came together in the 1990s to form a philosophy and a program broadly described as civic engagement.199 A substantial portion of this shift simply derived from making civic engagement the new term for service-learning. Robert Shumer (University of California, Los Angeles; University of Minnesota) stated that, “The word service confuses people, as does volunteerism. I prefer the term civic engagement. By definition, civic engagement is a voluntary act, with people living in a culture where they have a say about what’s going on. Learning how to do that is the power of service in experiential learning.”200

This shift of terms by itself allowed service-learning to begin replacing the civic ideal. Yet the use of civic engagement reinforced this shift by joining together the aims and techniques of service-learning with Public Achievement’s community organizing and the specifically civic strand of Deweyan-Freirian pedagogy. Civic engagement—in effect, the New Civics—was now in a position to build upon the bipartisan dissatisfaction with the hollowing out of the traditional civics curriculum. The use of civic vocabulary allowed the pedagogy to present itself as nothing more than an updated civics curriculum—along with affiliated pedagogies such as deliberative dialogue,201 intergroup dialogue,202 and collective civic problem solving.203

Yet this vocabulary was profoundly deceptive, for the New Civics substituted in place of the Old Civics a program that was not only educationally inferior but also diverted toward left-activist ends. A shadow of the old civic literacy curriculum usually remained, but the emphasis was on

  1. “civic” volunteer activities, described in progressive terms;
  2. “emancipatory” advertisements of progressive causes; and
  3. community organization, either outright for progressive causes or simply to train students how to organize and be organized.

Overwhelmingly, the goals and techniques of civic engagement echo the content of service-learning and Alinskyite community organization: civic engagement simply repurposes the old progressive agenda in civic language. The new would-be discipline of Civic Studies aims to provide a disciplinary home for civic engagement, and the new and growing campaign for Global Citizenship extends civic engagement to active disengagement of students’ affections from the United States.

Global Citizenship actually directly subverts the purportedly civic goals of civic engagement, because it substitutes loyalty to the globe (defined around progressive policy goals) for loyalty to country. The campaign for Global Citizenship demonstrates most clearly that the transformation of service-learning into civic engagement results in an education that not only hollows out traditional civic literacy but also actively disaffects students from love of their country. Civic engagement is worse than service-learning precisely because it now encompasses and encourages such actively anti-civic movements.



The advocates of civic engagement present their goals as non-political, but their vocabulary reveals their political orientation. In the words of the Coalition for Civic Engagement and Leadership at the University of Maryland, civic engagement “encompasses the notions of global citizenship and interdependence.” By acting “Through civic engagement, individuals—as citizens of their communities, their nation, and the world—are empowered as agents of positive social change for a more democratic world.”204

Yet A Crucible Moment emphasizes the political nature of the New Civics as it emerged in practice from the 1980s onward: “In the late 1980s and 1990s, a formative wedge of socially-minded students were a determining force in the establishment of volunteer service centers that now are commonplace on nearly every campus.”205 The examples A Crucible Moment provides of “civic learning” in practice are all progressive.


Three examples suggest the range of civic learning and real political engagement that a range of students practice. The One Campaign works with the general public and college students to encourage Congress to allocate at least 1 percent of the GDP to alleviate global poverty ( The Interfaith Youth Core, founded in 2002, is building a youth movement that believes “faith can be a bridge of cooperation, strengthening our civil society and promoting the common good” ( Their Interfaith Youth Institute and Better Together Campaign fostered youth-led events in more than 200 campuses last year. The Energy Action Coalition, co-founded by Billy Parish when he was a Yale student, brought twelve thousand students to Washington for its Power Shift 2009—and thousands more in 2011—to learn how to shape legislation and lobby Congress (www. energyactioncoalition. org). Many student activists committed to sustainability (to focus on only one issue among dozens) are doing their social change civic work locally: securing environmental studies majors; green financial investments; and coalitions with presidents, facilities managers, and boards of trustees who have signed on to honor the American College & University Presidents’ Campus Climate Commitment (

A Crucible Moment, p. 45.

Civic engagement likewise promotes the concept of “stewardship of place,” “an ongoing partnership between higher education and local communities that is designed to tackle and ameliorate festering social problems and inequities,” which echoes the goals and tactics of service-learning: “these kinds of reciprocal, long-term, collaborative efforts … provide extraordinary opportunities for the academic community to learn from the insights and judgments of civic communities, with their multiple sources of perspective, energy, skepticism, disagreement, wisdom, and grass-roots decision making. These collaborative civic problem-solving partnerships model democracy in action.”206 “Stewardship of place,” just as service-learning, is another rationale to harness the resources of higher education to forward the efforts of progressive non-profits who claim to speak for “local communities,” via “reciprocal, long-term, collaborative efforts.” This is the meat of civic engagement.

More specifically, the New Civics advocates identify civic action with the following causes:

  1. amnestying illegal immigrants: BTtoP authors Margaret Salazar-Porzio and George J. Sanchez want “practitioners of civic engagement” to recruit students to take “political and civic action” to ensure that “legal status is not a prerequisite and where participation pushes for full consideration of these ‘Dreamers’ as Americans—as students who should have the full civil rights needed to contribute to and shape our democracy.”207
  2. increasing the number of ex-felons on campus: BTtoP author Michelle Fine desires engaged “research on all the ways our institutions … keep students with incarceration on their records out,” presumably with an eye to increasing the number of ex-felons on campus.208
  3. gun control, as a wedge toward pervasive governmental power over the private sector: BTtoP author Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn called for turning private entities—“shopping malls, restaurants, schools, and workplaces”—into public ones, installing security cameras and state police both inside and out, and getting the government involved in business hiring.209
  4. environmental “sustainability”: Sustainability is intended as bait to draw students and faculty to support the New Civics who would otherwise lack interest in it.210 As Dickinson College provost Neil B. Weissman wrote, “sustainability brings citizenship down to earth” and provides a specific way to apply the broad principles of New Civics.211
  5. racial quotas (“diversity”): Donald Harward, former president of Bates College and BTtoP co-founder, wrote that “advocates of the engaged university” must insist that their universities promote affirmative action and seek “to lessen racial and class stratification in the larger society.”212
  6. removing objective standards for admission to college: BTtoP author Michelle Fine desires engaged “research on all the ways our institutions … rely upon test scores we know to be invalid,” presumably with an eye toward ending the use of standardized test scores as a component of college admission.213
  7. the Occupy movement: BTtoP author Todd Gitlin states that “The most important thing to understand is that the eruption of Occupy was a civic achievement.”214


I participated in the Occupy Denver march this past Saturday. It was a long-overdue event with a wide variety of people expressing divergent views in a peaceful, enthusiastic demonstration of civic engagement.

Thad Tecza, Denver

The Denver Post, ELetters, October 19. 2011, eletters/2011/10/19/occupy-denver-and-the-response-from-police-6-letters/15151/.

  1. “critical civic scholarship”: BTtoP author Michelle Fine lauds critical civic scholarship, which makes “visible the circuits of dispossession, resistance, validation as well as the circuits of possibility that link these sites.”215
  2. miscellaneous progressive goals: BTtoP author Paul LeBlanc states that “civic-oriented scholarship infused with diversity and global perspectives” are meant to solve “problems that need to be solved today—whether related to climate change, economic inequity, fundamentalism, or corporate irresponsibility.”216

All but one of these suggestions comes from the Bringing Theory to Practice (BTtoP) series of monographs, which are meant to inform Federal Government practice going forward. The one exception, Neil B. Weissman’s advocacy of civic sustainability, is closely echoed within the BTtoP monographs by articles by Carl Benton Straub and Brian Murphy.


A number of civically engaged educational efforts are based on subject matter that seems uncontroversial. BTtoP author Matthew Countryman gives as an example work to abate lead poisoning from a local community. This effort appears innocuous—but it accustoms participants to the structure of community organization. “Community leaders,” undefined, play a leading role—and what they do is “use the data to pressure apartment owners to comply with local ordinances around lead abatement and to pressure municipal authorities to police apartments more closely.”

Pressure is the key word here. Key absences include seek to understand the costs of lead abatement and seek to understand the motivations of those who oppose lead abatement. The conclusion is also a model: “produce learning and new knowledge in order to challenge and change the status quo through democratic means.”217 Even if this particular case can be justified—and lacking the point of view of the opponents of this campaign, how can one know?—this is education that primes students to work for “community leaders,” to engage in extra-governmental “pressure,” never to seek out the point of view of one’s opponents, and to prize only change and never preservation.

The progressive articulation of civic learning becomes apparent as one moves away from lead poisoning. Donald Harward cites examples of “moving from civic learning to practiced agency and engagement” that include “preparing background briefs for indigent clients seeking public assistance” and “drafting petitions.”218 So too does civic engagement’s divorce from its traditional definition of as participation in government. Barry Checkoway cites examples of civic engagement that include “when people organize action groups, plan local programs, or develop community-based services. They might vote in an election, contact a public official, or speak at a public hearing; they might organize an action group, mobilize around a neighborhood problem, or join a protest demonstration.”219

The organization of effective protest demonstration is at the heart of the new interpretation of civic engagement. Amanda McBride, Director of the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement at Washington University in St. Louis, specifies that “To be effective as a form of civic engagement, the demands of protestors should be focused and clear. The actions should employ the most effective tactics of community organizing. Beyond consciousness raising, these actions force those in power to be disrupted, to be cornered in terms of their reaction.” More briefly, one must “Protest with purpose.”220


The New Civics makes it a point of theoretical virtue to subordinate academic personnel to the demands of community organizers, just as academic research is meant to be subordinated to political activism. Philip Nyden writes that “academic researchers themselves may have a deficit that needs to be corrected by experienced community leaders and activists” [emphasis in the original]. Activists must teach academics how to “pressure elected officials to adopt new policies or to organize community opposition to a corporate policy perpetuating pollution in their neighborhoods.”

The result is politicized research: “It is the organic collaboration between researcher and activist … that produces valuable, rigorous, civically engaged research. In civically engaged scholarship, researchers and citizen activists are equal partners.”221 Some partners, of course, are more equal than others. Nyden’s crucial phrase is “corrected by experienced community leaders and activists.

Not all such community partners are progressive nonprofits. In New York, for example, Hudson Valley Community College’s Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement lists community partners that include the Albany Police Athletic League, Berkshire Bird Sanctuary and Botanical Gardens, Catskill Animal Sanctuary, and Rensselaer County Historical Society.222 On the other hand, in California’s De Anza College, the Vasconcellos Institute for Democracy in Action (VIDA), successor to the Institute for Community and Civic Engagement) advertises 5 VIDA Top Projects in its Community Partners for Service Learning webpage, all of which are progressive activist organizations.


DALE [Deferred Action for Leadership Empowerment] de Anza: “Participants will help eligible undocumented immigrants and their families apply for greater legal and employment security through the DACA and DAPA programs.” 

San Jose Renters’ Rights Coalition: “Join a movement in San Jose to fight back against skyrocketing rents. Housing is a human right! Participants will attend meetings and join some of the most influential non-profits in San Jose in spreading awareness and getting voters to approve a measure to decrease or stabilize rents in San Jose and make the area more affordable to live in.” 

Student Advocacy/Student Representation Campaign: Participants will work as part of a state-wide campaign to create a permanent funding stream to develop student political power by implementing a $2.00 “Student Representation Fee” on the De Anza College Campus. This fee will pay for student organizers, student advocacy trainings, student coalition-building projects and other campaigns to organize, empower, and mobilize the 2.5 million community college students in California.” 

TRANSITion De Anza: Transition is a student group that advocates for better transportation options to De Anza College, including Bus Rapid Transit; a faster, frequent, and reliable form of public transportation. Our goal is to provide viable alternatives to the automobile so more students can get an education without wasting time on slow bus service or stuck in traffic.” 

Make It Fair/Commercial Property Tax Reform (CPTR): “Make It Fair is dedicated to making California’s tax code fair to all by phasing out loopholes in Prop. 13 that have allowed a handful of giant corporations and wealthy commercial property owners to dramatically lower their tax obligations, while everyone else’s taxes have risen and state and local governments are constantly strapped for revenues.” 

De Anza College, Vasconcellos Institute for Democracy in Action: “Community Partners for Service Learning,”; “VIDA Projects 2015-2016,”

Many community partners nationwide are like the Police Athletic Leagues and Bird Sanctuaries. But the preferred partners of the civic engagement movement are like those that De Anza College advertises: the progressive political advocates.


Civically-engaged research frequently concludes that the government should provide more money for civic engagement programs. Flanagan and Levine’s “Civic Engagement and the Transition to Adulthood” (2010), for example, calls for more programs that provide “opportunities for civic engagement,” and cites approvingly the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, which increased funding for AmeriCorps and parallel governmental service corps. They regret, however, that the Kennedy Act “forbids corps members from engaging in political activity of any sort.”223 An exemplary category of civically-engaged research is “participatory action research”—research intended to achieve a real-world goal. Within the world of civic engagement, it generally means gathering information as part of organizing a campaign to pressure the government, usually for more money from the state. The researcher then writes up the results of the campaign for more government money.

Some part of such “research” includes tendentious polling: “We recently completed Polling for Justice, a survey that asked 1,200 young people across New York City about their experiences of what we call circuits of dispossession in education, criminal justice, housing, and healthcare.” As intended, the poll’s results supported a call for left-wing political action: “Through the survey, we have documented unbelievably high rates of negative police interaction between kids of color and police.” This “research” produced no new information, save that of confirmation: “Together, we identify geographic “hot spots” of police activity. And through a secondary analysis of the New York Police Department’s own database, we’ve discovered that these “hot spots” mirror those identified by the police themselves.”224

Participatory-action research is the model for all such civically engaged research: information gathered for polemical purposes rather than out of a disengaged love of knowledge. It resembles traditional research as little as civic engagement resembles traditional civics education.


As with service-learning, the phrase that indicates such diversions is “community partnership.” Students are not just supposed to volunteer, but to volunteer with a “community partner.” This is justified by the ideal of reciprocity—students are supposed to learn from the community. But as with service-learning, “community” means “community partner,” and “community partner” means “progressive, non-profit, non-governmental organization.” Service-learning and civic engagement alike provide volunteer labor for progressive non-profits, where the costs (tuition) are borne either by the students and their families, or via university (hence public) subsidy by way of tuition remission. More largely, they divert resources from the university to the progressive organizations that claim to speak for “the community.” As Caryn Musil puts it, a properly civically engaged university—an “anchor institution”—is a place that “is likely to transform how research is done, where it’s done, the length of time that it’s done for, its purposes, and the way in which higher education redistributes its resources.”225 Overwhelmingly, the New Civics functions as a way to channel free labor to these progressive non-profits.

As Shari Tishman put it in VolunteerMatch’s Engaging Volunteers blog, “At this point, I hope a lightbulb is going off above your head, or perhaps a little birdy singing ‘Opportunity! Opportunity!’ Because for nonprofits, these civically active people are the cream of the potential volunteering crop.”226


Many New Civics initiatives have no purpose beyond securing more funding from the government, whether for New Civics programs or for other preferred recipients. Bernita Quoss and her colleagues summarize the mechanics of one such exercise in “participatory action research” in Wyoming: “During one state’s actions related to welfare reform, undergraduate university students who had been trained in advocacy education … engaged in direct advocacy. These students, most who [sic] were welfare recipients, successfully lobbied the state legislature to define postsecondary education as a form of work under their state’s new welfare law.” Quoss and her colleagues emphasized the importance of the students’ “research” in securing new public money for themselves: “The students’ legislative success cannot be understood apart from the context of the participatory action research (PAR) study that facilitated their actions.”227 Wyoming now would be paying unemployed students to engage in an educational program whose goal was to train these students in activities such as lobbying for more money for unemployed students. Quoss and her colleagues took this as a successful example of the New Civics in action.


Civic engagement provides vocational training to students seeking a career in progressive non-profits, and/or in the college administration supervising New Civics. A 2016 blog posting by New Civics advocate Peter Levine indicated five typical jobs.


  1. two Civic and Engagement Program Officers for the Ford Foundation, one working on American issues and one on Global Issues, “to make civic engagement more powerful and strategic, and government more representative, responsible and accountable”;
  2. one Associate for the Evaluation and Learning Unit of Everyday Democracy, “a national leader in civic participation and community change … [that works] with grass-roots organizers and public officials to bring people together to talk about and work on critical public issues, using a racial equity lens”;
  3. “a Program Director to implement our Legal Diversity Pipeline Programs” for Street Law, Inc.; and
  4. An Action Civics Coordinator for the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship, who “will be responsible for working with K-12 districts, schools and teachers throughout Florida to implement service learning and other active civic learning initiatives.”

Peter Levine, A Blog for Civic Renewal, “job openings in civic renewal (11), June 2, 2016,

On June 22, 2016, the job listings at included 1,963 Civic Engagement jobs.228 The Columbia University Center for Career Education helpfully describes the fields available to Civic Engagement and Advocacy job seekers: “Whether it is to ensure immigrant’s rights, organizing for gay marriage, or against hate speech, many opportunities exist within the field of civic engagement and advocacy.”229

College students trained in the New Civics are prepared mainly for these kinds of career paths.


We are seeking Organizers to work in communities across Wyoming, as we engage voters to elect Democrats in Wyoming and expand opportunities for the Equality State. … Organizers develop skills that can be applied in a wide range of sectors and industries, including training volunteers, careful listening, data reporting & tracking, messaging, and teamwork. They also get first-hand exposure to how a major campaign operates, which is valuable for anyone interested in careers in politics or civic engagement. 

“We’re Hiring Field Organizers!”, Wyoming Democrats, job/were-hiring-field-organizers


Civic engagement courses disguise the lowering of academic standards. As Paul LeBlanc notes, “at most institutions, civic engagement often feels squishy—ill-defined, [and] poorly assessed.”230 The advocates of civic engagement prefer this lack of effective assessment. Barbara Holland states that “it is easier and more appealing to make the case for institutional support by telling individual stories of student and community impact than it is to design formal measurement tools that gather information on outcomes across the diverse forms and goals of civic learning and teaching.”231

Civic engagement and service-learning courses, overwhelmingly, assign work that requires no college education, with a “reflection paper” added on to mimic the form of an academic class. The advocates of these courses usually claim non-academic, unquantifiable successes, such as “increasing students’ sense of social responsibility and citizenship skills.” These skills include “religious and racial tolerance, prosocial decision making, and exploring the intersections between identity and privilege; the ability to work well with others; leadership and communication skills; and, importantly, a sense of being able to effect change in their community.”232

Claims that such courses increase grade-point averages, retention rates, and graduation rates may correlate with lower academic standards: the ability to do well and feel motivated in courses devoid of academic content is not a reliable measure of success.233 Students who take such courses acknowledge that they are uninterested in or incapable of a full four years of college-level coursework, while colleges and universities that offer such courses acknowledge that they are incapable of providing four years of college-level coursework for their students. Service-learning and civic engagement alike register the reduction of a college degree to a hollow credential that is devoid of substantive academic content.

The lowering of standards associated with the New Civics also reflects its involvement in remediation and retention programs. A significant portion of these courses and related endeavors is intended to facilitate the retention of struggling students234—which is to say, these New Civics courses and programs are disguised remediation for students unprepared for college education. To the extent that such coursework is intended for remedial students, as participants as well as beneficiaries, it is a way to disguise the lowering of college standards by providing undemanding courses for unqualified students.


The New Civics grows because people allow it to expand throughout American higher education. Within campuses, political liberals who do not endorse the project generally do not oppose it either. They view it at worst as a clumsy way of bringing about good ends. Among the public at large, the jargon of the education schools usually repels casual readers. The New Civics advocates also disguise these programs’ true purposes with deceptively bland language.

The word democratic signifies progressive; the term civic engagement signifies permanent mobilization. A Crucible Moment provides a perfect example of such prose: “higher education must in this next generation of civic learning investments build a broader theory of knowledge about democracy and democratic principles for an age marked as it is by multiplicity and division.”235 We may translate this sentence as “Progressives must finish taking over the university and turn all college students into progressive activists.” The authors of A Crucible Moment went to some lengths, and quite successfully, to ensure that their prose did not convey their true ambitions clearly.


“Civic Studies” is the latest invention of the New Civics—a way to give civic engagement a disciplinary home within higher education. “The New Civic Politics: Civic Theory and Practice for the Future,” Civic Studies’ organizing manifesto, uses the New Civics’ standard vocabulary to define this would-be discipline:

  1. Civic Studies aims “to understand power broadly” for the “generation of productive public action, and realization of civically valuable outcomes”; and
  2. “The political community in question is not to be associated exclusively with the state or the nation.”236

The website provides an overview of the current state of the emerging field of Civic Studies.237 The subsection on the Civic Agency Syllabi Project—“sponsored by the American Democracy Project (ADP), Imagining America, and the Civic Studies Alumni and organized by the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship”—likewise provides a good cross-section of the sorts of college classes being taught under its rubric. Such courses include Social Construction of Race and Citizenship, Organizing for the Public Good, Community Organizing for Effective Public Policy, Participatory Community Engagement, Building the Public Good: Public Achievement and Organizing, Practicum in Public Achievement, Managing Civic Engagement, and Community Organizing.238 Harry Boyte’s syllabus for The New Civic Politics provides typical goals of such courses.


To provide students in public affairs as well as other disciplines and professions with introductory experiences of civic agency – empowering, consequential, relational public action -- and a 21st century civic politics embodying civic agency;

To analyze obstacles to civic politics, including technocracy, meritocracy, and consumerism;

To provide opportunities for students to help co-create the class;

To strategize about how to spread theory and practice of civic politics

Harry Boyte, The New Civic Politics, Draft October 29, 2013, civic-agency-syllabi/, accessed March 1, 2016.

Erica Kohl-Arenas’ syllabus for Participatory Community Engagement provides some of the progressive intellectual substance lurking behind the civic vocabulary: “Theoretical and historical underpinnings include the work of Paulo Freire, Augusto Boal, bell hooks, and a number of case studies including the muralista movement, Theater of the Oppressed, immigrant organizing, Occupy Wall Street, and community based school reform.”239 Philip Nyden explains that “the creation of an explicitly democratic field of civic studies is a political process” that looks to “solution-oriented research.”240 Students who major in Civic Studies will not be exposed to disengaged scholarship or a pure love of learning.



The origins of “global citizenship” practically lie in the impulse by service-learning advocates to spread their programs to suburban and rural campuses. Service-learning pioneers on suburban and rural campuses have found it easier to persuade students to go overseas for a semester than to drive 50 miles to an urban ghetto, and so “global education,” “global citizenship,” and the like, arose out of the purely practical desire to bring service-learning to the suburbs.

For example, Nicholas Royal and Martin Tillman (Univesity of California, Santa Cruz) used service-learning to teach students “how to interact ethically and effectively with people of diverse cultures and nations.”241 The leftist orientation of such study was as strong abroad as at home. Royal recollects, “I taught a course for many years, Social Change in the Third World, when the Sandinistas were in power in Nicaragua. A student said, ‘How can I go there?’ … in the fall she went to Nicaragua for six months. Then she went back again as a senior sociology student and spent a year there. To me, that was what was exciting: to see that sort of continuity, that students used it that way.”242


These practical roots, however, have had serious consequences. “Global citizenship,” by every traditional definition, is a contradiction in terms. As Patrick Deneen notes, the root of civics education is “the ideal of cives— the ‘city,’ that is, a particular place with a particular history and particular polity.” Civics education always included “a knowledge of one’s own history, at once a focus on the history of one’s nation and more broadly the long tradition from which one’s nation arose—in our case, America and the West.”243 To teach “global citizenship” is to contradict the original notion of civics education.

The Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) has specified that by global citizenship it means something more than a simple broadening of horizons: “we need to differentiate our broad civic objectives from narrower efforts to ‘internationalize’ the curriculum—efforts that are often confused with global learning because of a similar interest in combating parochialism and expanding students’ horizons.” The AAC&U intends something far more radical: its Shared Futures initiative asks of students, “What does it mean to be a citizen in the evolving global context?” and “How should one act in the face of large unsolved global problems?”244

Other definitions of global citizenship also intend to detach students from unique loyalty to the United States, from confidence in its ability to act with sovereign independence, or from a desire for it to do so. Global citizenship is meant to focus on issues that putatively “challenge the centrality of the nation state.”245 Global citizenship intends to align students with “transnational normative judgments of actions and emerging global public opinion” intended to constrain America’s sovereign actions by acting as a “second superpower.”246


Karol Soltan states that global civics is “the most encompassing subfield of the emerging field of the new civics”; and “the subject matter of global civics” is “the encompassing global project,” defined in contrast with “the American project”—that is to say, the United States.247 The texts of global civics are not the Constitution or The Federalist, but the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and the Earth Charter (2000).”248 Meanwhile, global civics is based on theories of “cosmopolitan democracy, the global constitution, and global justice.”249 Global civics intends just as much as global citizenship to foster an alternate locus of loyalty than the United States.


It is also another justification for activist organization. AAC&U’s Shared Futures initiative (2001-) defines global citizenship around an “ethical imperative” to a “civic commitment” that will “take privilege, power, democratic opportunity, and patterned stratification into account” and “apply knowledge and values to real-world problems.”250

According to the AAC&U, liberal education generally should be redefined around the globalizing “commitment to be socially responsible citizens in a diverse democracy and increasingly interconnected world,” and to “help” students “recognize that citizenship in a nation is only one factor in understanding the world.” Students are also supposed to “understand—and perhaps redefine—democratic principles and practices within a global context,” “gain opportunities to engage in practical work with fundamental issues that affect communities not yet well served by their societies,” and “translate global learning into ethical and reflective practice.” Put another way, “Global issues” are meant to “provide students with opportunities to develop important civic knowledge and to engage—globally and locally—in civic practice.”251

AAC&U provides several Campus Models of global learning. Nebraska Wesleyan University’s Global Citizenship Preparation, now renamed the Archway Curriculum, offers a particularly vivid example of what such Global Citizenship entails. The Archway Curriculum integrates “rethinking what diversity means in a global context” with “the ecological ramifications of climate change in a biology class,” and “the difficulties of implementing international climate initiatives in a political science class.” Nebraska Wesleyan is designating “housing areas” to support this program—a Green House, an International House, and “a Sanctuary House that works with local refugee communities.” All students at Nebraska Wesleyan will also be mandated to take a “two-tier experiential learning requirement,” with a total of 65 hours of required service, and encouraged to study abroad—where, “Like service learning,” the “study abroad experience” will be “deliberate and reflective.”252

Global learning and global citizenship use a slight variation of the language of civic engagement to justify the same diversion of university resources to forward the progressive agenda—with an emphasis on those aspects of the progressive agenda that replace patriotic commitment to our country with allegiance to a progressively defined global community.


The global citizenship project takes advantage of college mission statements’ tendency to include good-willed generalities by inserting language that aligns them with the global citizenship project. Some mission statements include “commitments to prepare graduates to thrive in a future characterized by global interdependence.”253 Others connect colleges’ “global” missions” more explicitly to the progressive agenda, and “often link global learning with diversity and multiculturalism.”254


Global learning aims to absorb all undergraduate study by a “transformation of undergraduate education.” This is to be done “By moving global learning goals out of the one or two multicultural course requirements and sharing responsibility for these outcomes across the curriculum.”255 So far this goal has been only partly achieved. New degree programs in Global Studies such as those at the University of Minnesota256 and the University of California, Santa Barbara257 provide a model for global learning’s transformation of undergraduate education, but are not yet mandatory.

Still, there are already harbingers of the future: the College of St. Benedict & Saint John’s University, Colby College, and Montclair State University have begun to redesign their general requirements around global learning. Colby College makes the progressive advocacy of such courses transparent: its diversity requirement—two courses devoted to “progress in overcoming prejudice, privilege, oppression, inequality, and injustice”—makes sure that one such course is about the world outside the United States, and hence an exercise in global learning and global citizenship.258 Drury University’s Core Program also makes global learning melded with service-learning a core requirement for Drury students.259 Global learning has made progress in its assimilatory goals.


The Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) is a major institutional sponsor of global citizenship programs. AAC&U’s efforts via the Shared Futures initiative include its project Liberal Education and Global Citizenship: The Arts of Democracy (2001–5), which “supported a curriculum and faculty development network of eleven institutions that focused their global learning reform efforts on redesigning selected majors.”260

At Brooklyn College, the project created a service-learning center: “ten departments committed themselves to developing new required courses in the major that explicitly addressed globalization and democracy. Each course was also to include an experiential element—internship, field work, or community service in Brooklyn.”261 Generally the project advertised a progressive goal for students to “recognize the construction of their own identities as shaped by the currents of power and privilege, within both a multicultural United States and an interconnected and unequal world.”262

AAC&U’s follow-up project, Shared Futures: General Education for Global Learning (2005-; subtitle since changed to “Global Learning and Social Responsibility”), further aims “to integrate learning across the curriculum.” This initiative connects global learning with “questions of diversity, identity, citizenship, democracy, power, privilege, sustainability, and ethical action.”

Shared Futures’ initial projects funded initiatives at institutions including Arcadia University (Glenside, Pennsylvania), Butler University (Indianapolis, Indiana), California State University, Long Beach, Chandler-Gilbert Community College (Chandler, Arizona), Dickinson College (Carlisle, Pennsylvania), Drury University (Springfield, Missouri), Hawaii Pacific University, Marquette University (Milwaukee, Wisconsin), Mesa Community College (Mesa, Arizona), Otterbein College (Westerville, Ohio), Stephens College (Columbia, Missouri), United States Military Academy (West Point, New York), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Wyoming, Wheaton College (Norton, Massachusetts), and Whittier College (Whittier, California). Shared Futures’ funding range has only increased in the last decade: its General Education for a Global Century project alone now has 32 participating colleges and universities.263 As capstone to AAC&U’s Liberal Education and Global Citizenship project, Saskia Sassen gave a keynote speech at the global learning symposium of the AAC&U’s 2003 Diversity and Learning conference, in which she said that globalization “has the effect of partly unbundling the unitary character of citizenship.’”264 Rather than seeking out a civics education that would defy and counter the forces that seek to dissolve our national bonds, or taking them as a prompt toward a greater emphasis on national unity, education toward global citizenship accommodates, and accelerates, the unraveling of national identity, loyalty, and citizenship.


The global citizenship movement is meant to work jointly with experiential learning, service-learning, and allied movements: “Both global and diversity work often focus on big questions, perspective taking, and learning across differences, which is why the interface with civic problem solving pedagogies is relatively seamless.”265 It is also intended to be inescapable: Hakan Altinay wishes that “it should be impossible to complete a four-year university degree without some exposure to a global civics.”266


Civic engagement—the New Civics—is the braid that ties together service-learning, Alinskyite community organization, Deweyan-Freirian pedagogy, and the new movement of global citizenship. Civic engagement is effectively the name of a real alliance among progressive causes. We have mentioned the Alinskyite Maria Avila already—the Director of the Center for Community Based Learning at Occidental College from 2001 to 2011, worked earlier in her career “as a community organizer with the Industrial Areas Foundation, the international network founded by the late Saul Alinsky in the 1940s.”267 A lengthier extract from her professional self-description illustrates how these different aspects of civic engagement can unite in the career of one person.


Dr. Avila began her career in social work, organizing in the rural areas of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. She earned a degree in Social Work at the Universidad Autonoma de Ciudad Juarez, a BA in Psychology at University of Illinois at Chicago, a MA in Social Service Administration at University of Chicago, and a PhD in Adult and Community Education at Maynooth University, in Ireland. She was Andrew W. Mellon Teaching Fellow with the Center for Diversity and Democracy, and taught in the department of American Studies and Ethnicity from 2012 to 2014, at the University of Southern California. 

She was the founding Director of the Center for Community Based Learning at Occidental College, from 2001 to 2011. Prior to working in higher education, Dr. Avila worked as a community organizer with the Industrial Areas Foundation, the international network founded by the late Saul Alinsky in the 1940s. Dr. Avila has performed volunteer and consulting work with a number of organizations, including Partnerships to Uplift Communities, the Northeast LA Education Strategy, the City of Los Angeles, Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life, and the Council for Social Work Education’s Council on Global Issues. 

Her research focuses on civic engagement, particularly in the use of community organizing practices with the aim to transform the culture of higher education institutions and their surrounding communities. Her participatory and collaborative teaching philosophy and practice is influenced by the Brazilian Educator Paulo Freire’s liberation pedagogy. Central to Avila’s research and teaching is realizing the democratic mission of higher education to collaborate in enhancing democratic values and practices in society. She has given numerous presentations and workshops nationally and internationally, and her research has been supported by the Kettering Foundation. 

California State University Dominguez Hills, “Maria Avila, MSW, PH.D.,”

Alinskyite, community organizer, follower of Freirian liberation pedagogy, Director of the Center for Community Based Learning at Occidental College, recipient of funding from the Kettering Foundation, member of a Council on Global Issues, and scholar whose research subject is also civic engagement and community organizing—Avila incarnates the interwoven components of the New Civics.

The New Civics has made Avila’s career. It has also had a serious effect on American higher education: the efforts to inculcate “societal, civic, and global knowledge” have replaced traditional civics education with progressive advocacy described as “study of a non-European culture and of contemporary cultural diversity (i.e., gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc.) and justice issues, both in the United States and abroad.” This has been done particularly by means such as “service learning programs explicitly designed to involve students with challenging societal issues.268

This civic engagement differs starkly from traditional understandings of active citizenship. Civic engagement is about joining an activist pressure group. Traditional civics is about taking an active role in government. The first choice conceives of political action as joining a likeminded faction that takes no responsibility for governance; the second choice conceives of political action as making oneself accountable to the entire citizenry and taking up the responsibility for governance. Civics education ought to prepare students to take part in the responsibilities of government—but civic engagement educates students to conceive of civics as political agitation by irresponsible pressure groups—all of whom agitate for the agenda of the radical left.

De Anza College in the San Francisco Bay region demonstrates the sort of higher education, and the sort of college students, the New Civics creates. De Anza’s priority is “developing the civic identity of our students” and it “embeds” this goal “in program design and curricula across the campus.” Brian Murphy notes positively that “activism is deeply embedded in the culture at De Anza College. Undocumented students and their allies were deeply involved in the fight for the DREAM Act, students organized for the living wage in San José, and still others participated in annual budget fights in the state capitol.”

Civics education at De Anza contrasts with academic achievement: “Eighty-five percent of our students do not test at college level in math or reading.” But students are civically engaged.269

The New Civics Now

So far we have discussed the history, the theory, and the goals of the New Civics—but we have not given a sense of its institutional scope and nature. In this section we first provide an overview of the scope of the New Civics. We then examine the making of A Crucible Moment as an example of how the national New Civics infrastructure works together. We will also provide biographies of the individuals responsible for producing and promulgating A Crucible Moment, by way of providing individual faces for the broad national movement. Next, we anatomize that infrastructure, looking at the Federal Government, national organizations, university administrative offices, and so on. Finally, we examine the finances of the New Civics. This section sketches the bureaucratic sinews of the New Civics movement at the present moment (the mid-2010s).


The New Civics revolution has been staggeringly successful in the last 30 years. In 1990, Campus Compact’s member universities reported that only “16 percent of their students were involved in service (almost all of it volunteerism); only 15 percent of these institutions had offices to support this work; 59 percent of the presidents characterized the extent of their faculty’s involvement in this work as ‘little’ or ‘not at all.’” A generation later, a 2010 Campus Compact survey revealed that “35% of students enrolled at Campus Compact member schools participated in service, service-learning, and civic engagement activities,” while “95 percent of the member institutions have an office or center coordinating service efforts; [and] 64 percent of the institutions take involvement in activities like teaching service-learning courses and engaging in community-based research into account in promotion and tenure decisions’.”270

The 2014 Campus Compact survey updated these numbers: at the 419 institutions that responded to the survey, nearly 100% had institutional offices coordinating “curricular and/or co-curricular engagement”—and 57% had more than one office. 39% of graduate and undergraduate students, 1,382,145 in total, “served an average of 3.5 hours each week through both curricular and co-curricular mechanisms.” The total number of hours they served in the 2013-2014 academic year was 154,800,240, and their service was valued at $3,490,745,412—almost 3.5 billion dollars.

The amount of work-study dollars had also shifted drastically in the direction of the New Civics: while in 1986 “17% [of surveyed institutions] reported dedicating more than 5% of work study dollars to community engagement,” by 2014 “96% report using 7% or more. Forty-nine percent reported they dedicate greater than 10% to community service.”271 By a different estimate, about one-half of college students in 2010 “report participating in credit-bearing service learning activities during their time in college.”272 That number presumably is higher by now.

The personnel devoted to civic engagement have also grown enormously in number. “In 1986, only 33 institutions had a center or office, and only 22 institutions had a paid director or staff member. In 2014, every institution reported staffing for community engagement. … across all offices at all respondents 2,376 full time staff, 1,184 part-time staff, and 7,027 paid students support the coordination of curricular and/ or co-curricular engagement.” Many of the people staffing these positions are themselves graduates of civic engagement programs: such programs have their greatest successes in providing employment for their own graduates.


Civic engagement personnel are well paid for their services: “Since 2012 there has been an increase in reported salaries [of community engagement center directors]: 59% in 2012 had a salary under $60,000, and only 7% earned over $100,000; in 2014, 62% report a salary over $50,000, with 11% earning greater than $100,000.” Moreover, “158 institutions reported an institution-wide standing committee responsible for overseeing or coordinating community engagement, indicating the integration of engagement into campus governance processes. All but seven reported that a faculty member was on the team, and 82% included a staff person.”273


In 2012, Massachusetts made Civic Learning a requirement in all state colleges and universities. The definition of civic learning is phrased in the language of service-learning and civic engagement: e.g., “The applied competencies component refers to the practical skills and capacities needed to engage effectively in civic activities.” The policy, however, may be discerned from the personnel as well. In May 2015, Dr. John Rieff was appointed the first Director of Civic Learning and Engagement for the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education. His previous job was at University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he was in charge of Civic Engagement and Service-Learning.274

Service-learning is also becoming a requirement in K-12 education: in 2015 the state of Illinois inserted a one-semester civics requirement for the public high schools: “Civics course content shall focus on government institutions, the discussion of current and controversial issues, service learning, and simulations of the democratic process.”275 The Chicago Public schools now have a Department of Social Science & Civic Engagement to implement service-learning, which has been given guidelines to engage in Action with Community Partners.276

All in all, the New Civics is no longer a marginal movement, but a central component of American higher education—and, increasingly, of K-12 education.


In 2012 a White-House-commissioned task force led by the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) published A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy’s Future.277 It called on “the higher education community—its constituents and stakeholders—to embrace civic learning and democratic engagement as an undisputed educational priority for all of higher education, public and private, two-year and four-year.”278 This report is a notable and influential text whose content and creation illuminate the nature of the New Civics movement today.


While Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and President Barack Obama bear ultimate responsibility for the commissioning of A Crucible Moment, the directly responsible individuals were mid-ranking bureaucrats inthe Department of Education.

Martha Kanter, Under Secretary of Education from 2009 to 2013, commissioned A Crucible Moment. Kanter was a childhood participant in the sort of activities that would later be funded by service-learning: “as a ninth-grader at the independent Winsor School [in the early 1960s] she traveled to the South End House in Roxbury to volunteer in a tutoring program run by neighborhood activist Mel King.”279 Kanter then received a BA in Sociology, a Masters in Education from Harvard University, and a Doctorate in Education from the University of San Francisco.280

Kanter spent much of her career in academic administration—including ten years (1993-2003) as president of De Anza College and six years (2003-2009) as chancellor of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District.281 De Anza currently possesses a strongly politicized civic engagement program, theVasconcellos Institute for Democracy in Action (VIDA), whose creation was set in motion (2006) during Kanter’s tenure as chancellor of Foothill-De Anza.282 Both at De Anza and at the Department of Education, Kanter has played the role of the sympathetic progressive administrator who authorizes the initiatives of the New Civics advocates.

Eduardo Ochoa, Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education from 2010 to 2012, assisted Kanter in commissioning A Crucible Moment. Ochoa earned degrees in physics, nuclear science, and economics, became a professor, and moved into academic administration in 1997.283 Ocho resigned his position in 2012 to become president of California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB), a national leader in making the New Civics mandatory for all students.284 Ochoa seems to have had no particular interest in the New Civics before he helped commission A Crucible Moment, but his role in facilitating the extension of the New Civics at the federal level appears to have turned his career toward overseeing the extension of the New Civics at the local level.

Bringing Theory to Practice (BTtoP), which provided major funding for the creation of A Crucible Moment, was founded in 2003, and has made more than 500 grants awards to more than 300 different institutions. BTtoP supports “ongoing campus projects at institutions interested in taking steps toward realizing their missions for learning, well-being and civic development of their students.”285 BTtoP’s two co-founders are Donald W . Harward and Sally Engelhard Pingree.

Donald W . Harward was a professor of philosophy before moving into academic administration; he was president of Bates College from 1989 to 2002. At Bates, Harward provided crucial support for New Civics programs, especially in service-learning, and was a founder of Maine Campus Compact. Bates College now has renamed its New Civics center the Donald W. and Ann M. Harward Center for Community Partnerships, while Maine Campus Compact now gives out a Donald Harward Faculty Award for Service-Learning Excellence. Since 2003 Haward has co-led BTtoP, as well as serving “on the boards of national educational, philanthropic, and social service organizations.”286

Harward exemplifies the university president whose administrativeand fund-raising skills forward the New Civics.

Sally Engelhard Pingree is a philanthropist; she is the daughter of industrialist Charles W. Engelhard, a trustee of the Charles Engelhard Foundation, president of the S. Engelhard Center, and a major donor to the Democratic Party and to various progressive causes. The Engelhard Foundation and the S. EngelhardCenter are both funders of BTtoP; the EngelhardFoundation and BTtoP together funded the AAC&U to help publish A Crucible Moment.287 Pingree is the progressive millionaire whose financial support provides crucial support for New Civics activities.


A Crucible Moment aims to further the New Civics program. Its framework consists of the New Civics standards: Knowledge (whose six categories include only one that corresponds to traditional civic literacy), Skills, Values, and Collective Action.288 In its subject matter, A Crucible Moment focuses on how to teach about diversity, sustainability, inequality, and global interdependence.289 A Crucible Moment also urges colleges to teach students that they must strive to become “globally engaged,” and offers California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB), as a model to imitate. (CSUMB, as we shall see in our analysis below, has become a pioneer in remolding its curriculum to promote progressive causes.)290


The Department of Education commissioned the Global Perspective Institute to write A Crucible Moment.

Larry A . Braskamp, president of Global Perspective Institute (GPI), received his doctorate in Educational Psychology from the University of Iowa, has been a professor and an academic administrator at several institutions, is a Senior Fellow at the Association of American Colleges & Universities, and was Interim President of Elmhurst College in 2015-2016.291 Braskamp founded the GPI in 2008; it is a privately held company that “aims to promote global holistic human development, particularly among the college student population.” Its ultimate aim is “to develop productive, responsible, and fully functioning global citizens.”292 GPI sells the Global Perspective Inventory to colleges to assess “student learning”  in activities including study abroad, leadership programs, service learning, and civic engagement projects.293

GPI appears to be a means for Braskamp to make a private profit from New Civics activities. While Braskamp’s own administrative experience might explain his personal participation in the project to create A Crucible Moment, it is unclear why GPI was awarded the primary contract, since an assessment organization would not appear to be an obvious choice to produce a report of this nature. We have made queries about the awards process for A Crucible Moment to Braskamp, AAC&U, and the Department of Education, but have not yet received information from them.


GPI subcontracted Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) to do the actual work of producing A Crucible Moment. The four staff members directly responsible for producing the report were Caryn Mctighe Musil (Senior Vice President), Nancy O’Neill (Director of Integrative Programs),Eleanor Hall (Program Associate), and Van Luu (Administrative Assistant). Of these four, Musil was the lead author of A Crucible Moment.

Caryn Mctighe Musil, now Senior Scholar and Director of Civic Learning and Democracy Initiates at AAC&U, received her degrees (BA, MA, PhD) in English, but made her way from the professoriate to education administration by way of founding Women’s Studies minors and programs, and working as Executive Director of the National Women’s Studies Association (1984-90). She has worked at the AAC&U since 1990, in increasingly senior positions. Her current projects include Bridging Cultures to Form a Nation: Community, Difference, and Democratic Thinking; Core Commitments: Educating Studentsfor Personal and Social Responsibility; General Education for a Global Century;and the ongoing Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement, which produced A Crucible Moment.294

A Crucible Moment also preserves the essential goal of the New Civics, the diversion of free student labor for progressive nonprofits, by recommending that universities “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.”295 The overarching goal of A Crucible Moment’s educational vision is “global citizenship,” which encompasses a wide-ranging set of commitments that include “diversity, democracy, civic engagement, social responsibility, and sustainability.”296


The GPI and AAC&U formed a National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (NTF) to write A Crucible Moment. The NTF firstcommissioned Nancy Thomas of The Democracy Imperative to write a backgroundpaper in October 2010 on the current state of civic learning; the NTF then held multiple National Roundtables with 134 New Civics figures around the nation.The NTF then wrote A Crucible Moment, with Caryn Musil (mentioned above)taking the lead role. Other members of the NTF included Derek Barker, Richard Guarasci, Sylvia Hurtado, Donald Harward (mentioned above), Eric Liu, Gale Muller, Brian Murphy, Eboo Patel, Carol Geary Schneider, David Scobey, and Kathleen Maas Weigert.

Nancy Thomas received degrees in Government, Law, and Education, moved from there to academicadministration, and from there to educational nonprofitadministration. She has been director of The Democracy Imperative since 2007, where she has advocated for thespread of the New Civics; she has also directed New Civics“research” at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts University since 2012.297 Thomas advocates for a system of higher education where the “privilege” of academic freedom is secondary to “educating for democracy,” which she equates with “civic learning programs.”298 Thomas is the advocate who advances the New Civics through a dual perch in anonprofit organization and in a university.

Derek Barker has a doctorate in political science, writes on subjects including “democratic theory,” “public deliberation,” and “civic engagement,” and has movedfrom academia to a career as a program officer at theKettering Foundation. The Kettering Foundation funds ways to publicize New Civics research and bring New Civics researchers together, although it does not itself directly fund New Civics research.299 Barker is the mid-levelbureaucrat at a progressive nonprofit organizationwho does the spade work of forwarding the New Civics.

Richard Guarasci received degrees in economics and political science, turned to academic administration, and has been president of Wagner College since 2002. Early in his career at Hobart & William Smith College, Guarasci created a service-learning major; at Wagner, before he became president, Guarasci introduced The Wagner Plan for the Practical Liberal Arts, which requires all undergraduates to take New Civics courses. Guarasci became chairman of the board of Campus Compact in 2014.300 Guarasci is the New Civics advocate who has risen to the university presidency, and uses that position to continue forwarding the New Civics .

Sylvia Hurtado received her degrees in sociology and education, teaches and does research on “Diverse college environments and their effect on diverse college students,” and is now Director of the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) in the Graduate School of Education and Information Sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She serves on the editorial boards of numerous professional journals in education, and on the boards of equally numerous professional associations. Hurtado, and HERI, do research to improve educational outcomes—for example,Hurtado coordinated “a U.S. Department of Education-sponsored project on how colleges are preparing students to achieve the cognitive, social, and democratic skills to participate in a diverse democracy.”301 Hurtado states that “What is so important about what we do at HERI and what is evolving in my work is thinking about the students we educate as social change agents.”302 Hurtado is a “diversity” advocate whose role in the New Civics includes advocacy for racial quotas and institutionalized propaganda .303

Eric Liu graduated from Yale with a BA in history and from Harvard with a degree in law, worked as a speechwriter for President Bill Clinton, and then became Clinton’s deputy domestic policy adviser. He has since become a “civic entrepreneur” advocating for “progressive patriotism,” combining careers as an author, a journalist, the founder and CEO of Citizen University, and the executive director of the Aspen Institute Citizenship and American Identity Program. Liu is a board member of the Corporation for National and Community Service. Liu is the liberal establishmentarian with long years of service in the Democratic Party’s political apparatus.304

Gale Muller (1944-2015) received his degrees in mathematics, educational psychology, and measurements; he spent his career at Gallup, and rose to be its Vice Chairman of Worldwide Research and Development and general manager of the Gallup World Poll. Muller generously served in the organization of various nonprofit organizations, including the Village Foundation (to aid Nebraska youth), the Nebraska Special Olympics, the Community Blood Bank of Lincoln, Nebraska, and the Nebraska Human Resources Research Foundation.305 Muller was the exemplar of the good-hearted, uncoerced, and effective American volunteer, who was persuaded to support the New Civics under a misapprehension as to its true nature.

Brian Murphy received his degrees in political science, moved into academic administration, and succeeded Martha Kanter in 2004 as president of De Anza College. Murphy spearheaded the creation of De Anza’s Institute for Community and Civic Engagement, and in 2011 was a founding member of the Democracy Commitment, which aims to spread the New Civics among community colleges nationwide. He is also a member of New Civics organizations including the International Consortium for Higher Education, Civic Responsibility and Democracy, the American Association of Colleges & Universities, and California Campus Compact.306 Murphy, like Richard Guarasci, is a New Civics advocate who has risen to the university presidency, and uses that position to continue forwarding the New Civics.

Eboo Patel received a doctorate in the sociology of religion, and is the founder and Executive Director of Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), New Civics advocacy group dedicated to organizing “the global interfaith youth movement.” IFYC engages in activities such as “driving complex conversations around identity, diversity, and social justice on campus” so that students can “build the interfaith movement” and “mobilize their campuses.”307 Patel is the “diversity” advocate who ensures that the New Civics uses the language of religious tolerance to disguise the creation of another progressive advocacy group.

Carol Geary Schneider received her degrees inhistory, moved into the world of educational nonprofitadministration, and was president of the Associationof American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) from 1998 to 2016. Schneider made the AAC&U into a leadinginstitutional advocate for the New Civics.308 Schneider,like Musil, is a career administrator at a nonprofitorganization who has devoted decades of her career to forwarding the New Civics in higher education.

David Scobey received his degrees in English, Social Anthropology, and American Studies, and moved into academic New Civics administration partway through his professorial career. He has been Director of the Arts of Citizenship Program at the University of Michigan, Director of the Donald W. and Ann M. Harward Center for Community Partnerships at Bates College, and is now Executive Dean for the New School in New York City. He serves on national New Civics organizations such as Imagining America.309 Scobey is an academic who has turned to academic administration via the New Civics, but has not risen to become a university president.

Kathleen Maas Weigert received her degrees in international relations and sociology, and is now dually employed at Loyola University Chicago as a Professor of Women and Leadership and Assistant to the Provost for Social Justice Initiatives at Loyola University Chicago. She has been an advocate for social justice and the New Civics through much of her career as a professor and an academic administrator; she is the Founding Director of Georgetown University’s Center for Social Justice Research, Teaching & Service.310 Weigert is an academic who has turned to academicadministration via the New Civics, and who represents the pacifistconstituency of the New Civics coalition .


The National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement met with 134 New Civics figures in five Roundtables as part of the process of preparing A Crucible Moment. These five Roundtables included Leaders of national civic organizations and students; Leaders of campus-based civic and political engagement centers, community representatives, and students; Faculty, civic scholars, and higher education researchers; College, community college, and university presidents; and Public policy leaders, foundation leaders, and heads of higher education associationsand disciplinary societies.311 These categories provide a reasonable division of the categories of New Civics advocates, and the membership of the Roundtables alsoprovides a good cross-section of the New Civics leadership nationwide as of 2011.


The very creation of A Crucible Moment demonstrates how nonprofit organizations, federal bureaucrats, and New Civics advocates among the professoriate work together to expand the New Civics nationwide. New Civics advocates in the Department of Education requested an “assessment” of civic learning. They called upon other New Civics advocates who had already received funding from nonprofit organizations to formulate their plans for a further extension of the New Civics, and then received a ready-made report. The Department of Education’s imprimatur rendered these suggestions a strong hint to the nation’s colleges and universities that they advance the New Civics

The Federal Government’s regulatory power and funds were the implicit incentives for compliance: “We therefore charge these stakeholders below to formulate a civic agenda for their groups and to create their own Civic Investment Plans. We offer the recommendations cited below and developed by participants at the national roundtables, as merely a starting point for further action.”312 Bringing Theory to Practice (BTtoP) followed up with companion projects intended to flesh out the vision sketched in A Crucible Moment.313


The hint of federal intervention suggested by the Department of Education’s imprimatur soon received confirmation. The Department of Education followed A Crucible Moment with its own report, Advancing Civic Learning and Engagement in Democracy: A Road Map and Call to Action (2012).314

Advancing Civic Learning refers to A Crucible Moment as galvanizing its own action. It recapitulates the language and rationales of the New Civics, and concludes with a list of recommendations. These promise changes in federal regulations and funding priorities to further the growth of the New Civics.315 Two of the nine recommendations illustrate the mechanics of federal intervention.


A 2016 news article states that “Since the report’s release, dozens of colleges and organizations have created new initiatives related to civic engagement.” Notable initiatives include one at California State University, Los Angeles, where “students must take two courses in civic learning as part of their general education requirements,” and faculty “will develop assignments and projects using an online module created by the Association of College and University Educators.” Wake Forest University has “created a task force to identify areas of institutional strength and weakness across civic ethos, literacy, inquiry and action.” Keene State College “used the report to train student leaders in various campus groups.” In 2014, Massachusetts made “preparing citizens” a requirement for all public colleges and universities in the state.316

Such changes are only the beginning.


Each future step in the extension of New Civics through American higher education will follow some variant of the process by which A Crucible Moment was commissioned, written, and used as a prompt for a myriad of federal “encouragements.” The New Civics infrastructure that produced A Crucible Moment is in place to insert further portions of the New Civics into American higher education.


As the commissioning, writing, and use of A Crucible Moment suggests, the New Civics is not just a few administrators and professors acting independently. It is a national movement with substantial funding, supported by numerous governmental and private organizations.

The New Civics in Colorado and Wyoming, which we will examine in detail, works toward the goals set by this larger national movement and receives significant funding from these larger organizations.

Perhaps as important, this larger structure provides a national culture and a national career track for New Civics personnel: they share a professional and political culture with these peers nationwide, they receive acknowledgment from their peers by means of publications and awards, and they seek professional advancement within a network of Civic Engagement jobs nationwide. The different nodes of the New Civics work together as a whole far greater than the sum of their parts.

The three main components of the New Civics infrastructure are:

  1. Federal Government;
  2. National Organizations; and
  3. Colleges and Universities.

Regional organizations also provide more localized support for colleges engaged in New Civics; in Colorado and Wyoming, for example, Campus Compact of the Mountain West and the Puksta Foundation are a significant component of the New Civics infrastructure. They generally act in the same way as the National Organizations, but on a smaller scale.


Since the 1960s, the Federal Government has paid for programs suffused with a service-learning ethos—the Peace Corps, VISTA (AmeriCorps*VISTA), and the White House Fellows Program. The early 1990s saw an important extension of the federal role: a bipartisan consensus emerged that the Federal Government should subsidize civics education, and Congress and the President approved first the National and Community Service Act (1990) and then the passage of the National Service Bill (1993). As noted above, this round of reform ended with service-learning codified into federal law as an entity entitled to receive federal money. Fundamentally, these bills tied civics education to the expansion of state power—and so by their very nature undercut an education in individual and local self-reliance, since such self-reliance was being taught by the employees of the central state. These programs in particular, and a host of smaller followers, channeled federal money, administrative assistance, and regulatory weight toward the establishment and furtherance of the New Civics. These federal interventions frequently had a progressive tinge; even where they did not have that direct effect, they complemented private efforts that pushed a progressive agenda more forthrightly.

To these general effects we may add that A Crucible Moment and Advancing Civic Learning bear witness to the entry of the New Civics advocates, and their allies, into the federal education bureaucracy. The machinery of federal government now works to forward the New Civics, regulation by regulation and grant application by grant application.

For example, in 2014 the Department of Education awarded at $7.7 million grant to the University of Central Oklahoma’s Student Transformative Learning Record (STLR) “to track, assess and provide information to help college students develop and use skills critical to their workplace, citizenship and personal success.” Students acquired “these skills through experiences in each of the ‘Central Six’ tenets of transformative learning: discipline knowledge; leadership; research, scholarly and creative activities; service learning and civic engagement; global and cultural competencies; and health and wellness.”317 Leadership, service-learning, civic engagement, global and cultural competencies—all these elements of the New Civics are now the prerequisite for a successful grant application.


National organizations such as Campus Compact and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) link hundreds of colleges and universities across America in pursuit of the New Civics.318 (The Talloires Network joins these universities with foreign universities pursuing similar goals.319) A Crucible Moment cites as leaders in the New Civics movement such foundations as “Everyday Democracy, the Kettering Foundation, the National Issues Forum Institute, AmericaSpeaks, The Democracy Imperative, the Public Conversations Project, the Guiding Lights Network, and Public Agenda.” It adds to this list a nineteen-page appendix of national organizations that contribute to the New Civics.320 We provide a partial list of such organizations below, in Appendix 1: The New Civics Infrastructure.

These organizations provide theoretical documents such as A Crucible Moment for both the Federal Government and for colleges and universities across the land. These documents contain goals, organizational frameworks, techniques, and so on, that forward the New Civics. Individual colleges that affiliate with such national organizations therefore affiliate with the New Civics’ structures and goals, wittingly or no.

The Spencer Foundation and others provide funding for New Civics initiatives—often seed money that then can be replaced by direct funding from university endowments or state budgets. Meanwhile, a congeries of national conferences, societies, and journals provide nation-wide intellectual communities for the administrators, graduate students, and professors engaged in the New Civics— intellectual communities that provide moral support and organizational assistance for New Civics advocates at individual colleges and universities.

Such national support has been important since the early days of service-learning,321 and the New Civics advocates still rely upon it. As Robert Hollister states of his experience creating a civics education program at Tufts in the late 1990s, “Because all of us in academia work for organizations that vigorously resist change, we need inter-institutional support in order to dismantle our individual ivory towers.”322

Some of the most notable of these national organizations are Campus Compact, the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U), The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), the Democracy Commitment, the Carnegie Foundation, Imagining America, Alternative Breaks, The International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement, and IMPACT National Conference.

Campus Compact

Campus Compact323 is perhaps the most broadly influential of these organizations. It is a coalition of 1,084 colleges and universities (including all four of the universities we study in detail)324 whose presidents have signed the “Presidents’ Declaration on the Civic Responsibility of Higher Education.”325 In its own description, “Campus Compact has raised the profile of the strategic importance and value of civic learning and engagement nationally, and thirty-four state Compact organizations offer grants and programs that engage students, faculty, and community partners in civic learning and development.”326

This network was founded in 1985 by Brown University president Howard Swearer; Georgetown University president Timothy Healy; Stanford University president Donald Kennedy; and Education Commission of the States president Frank Newman, as a response to perceived civic apathy among college students.327 Campus Compact more recently has articulated its goals in its Presidents’ Declaration on the Civic Responsibility of Higher Education (2000), which proclaims its commitment to the New Civics: “We also challenge higher education to become engaged, through actions and teaching, with its communities. … We must seek reciprocal partnerships with community leaders … We ask other college presidents to join us in seeking recognition of civic responsibility in accreditation procedures, Carnegie classifications, and national rankings.”328

The Presidents’ Declaration states that it is possible to take this approach to education “without a political agenda,” and calls for “robust debate on our campuses” and “community partnerships” between town and gown—but the presidents’ selective endorsement of appropriate civic causes casts doubt upon the effectiveness of their commitment to political impartiality and unfettered argument. Consider the selection pattern for Campus Compact’s annual Newman Civic Fellows Award, given annually to several dozen college students around the country: honorees in 2015 were involved in causes such as sustainable food, LGBT equality, “climate justice,” affordable housing, inner city education, and freedom of speech, but not (for example) pro-life advocacy, support for traditional marriage, Second Amendment rights, or protection from unreasonable search and seizure.329 Neither did the Compact award Fellows interested in prostitution, fatherlessness, drug use, or vagrancy as issues meriting “civic” action. In practice, Campus Compact exclusively lauds as “civic” activities that forward the progressive agenda.


Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U)

The Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U)330 is a major mover in the New Civics movement. The AAC&U has exerted broad influence by “creating useful rubrics for the assessment of civic learning outcomes and has produced research studies and reports on the topic. The AAC&U’s influence has also helped to make civic learning a major goal of Lumina Foundation’s Degree Qualifications Profile.”331 Concretely, AAC&U has inserted Civic Engagement, Global Learning, Integrative Learning, and Intercultural Knowledge and Competence into its Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education (VALUE) Rubrics. These VALUE Rubrics are then used by colleges and universities nationwide as a benchmark they proffer to higher education accreditation organizations as a proof of successful “student learning outcomes.”332 VALUE Rubrics insert the New Civics into every activity colleges and universities undertake as they seek accreditation.

Between 1993 and 2001, the AAC&U and the Ford Foundation co-sponsored American Commitments, a vehicle by which to teach “diversity as a strand in civic preparation.”333 The AAC&U has also pushed for “global citizenship,” an idea it takes to involve “democracy, social responsibility, and civic engagement,” “critical thinking,” “collaborative practice and dialogue,” “diversity,” “justiceseeking and relational education,” and engagement with “questions that cut across national borders and require action from all citizens, thus complicating the relationship

between citizenship and nationality.”

The AAC&U’s “global citizenship” takes as its central aims “strategies that would avoid naive or hegemonic attempts to export the American political system.” Instead it advocates “the goal of becoming justice-centered communities in which learning fosters new capacities for engaged citizenship and aspirational or justice-seeking democracy.” The required pedagogy is “dialogical, deliberative, [and] confrontational.” Within the United States, the AAC&U’s concept of global citizenship calls for affirmative action and “the creation of truly diverse institutions.” In the discipline of global learning, it calls for “study abroad and global service-learning experiences.”334

The AAC&U, as noted above, is also the author of A Crucible Moment.

American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU)

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU)335 has been an especially dedicated advocate “for civic engagement since its 2002 report Stepping Forward as Stewards of Place, which summarized a national survey of its members that captured data on civic learning and engagement activities.” AASCU also funds the American Democracy Project, which “has also funded civic learning activities at many institutions, organized national conferences on civic learning, and encouraged measurement of civic learning outcomes.”336 AASCU’s Civic Engagement Program Partners include The Democracy Commitment (TDC), Educational Testing Service (ETS), GivePulse, icitizen, the Kettering Foundation, the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), the National Conference on Citizenship (NCOC), TurboVote, and the Yellowstone Association.337 Its specific initiatives include Civic Agency, Deliberative Polling, Economic Inequality, Global Engagement, and Stewardship of Public Lands.338

The Democracy Commitment

The Democracy Commitment (TDC),339 founded in 2010, devotes itself to installing the New Civics in community colleges. TDC “now has more than 130 community college campuses in its national network, enrolling over 2,300,000 students.” The substance of TDC is “a commitment by community colleges that their students will receive an education in the practical skills of democracy, and the civic knowledge with which citizens (and non-citizens) can navigate the institutions of public life. These practical skills “can range from community service learning to the civic activism of community organizing. … It can mean partnerships between colleges and local nonprofit and community groups.”340 The Democracy Commitment endorses progressive causes as “civic”: in 2014, the Democracy Commitment’s Student Action Award went to students at De Anza College who organized the campaign that prompted De Anza’s divestment from fossil fuel companies.341 The Democracy Commitment ensures that the New Civics does not confine itself to students at elite colleges, but inserts itself into the education of the entire range of America’s college students.

The Carnegie Foundation

The Carnegie Foundation provides organizing standards for Community-Engaged Colleges—the Carnegie Classification,342 which provides a detailed bureaucratic benchmark for universities to use to reshape their administration. In so doing, they put into practice Troy Duster’s insight into the academic-administrative mind: “Few things animate university administrators and their public relations offices more than rankings with other institutions. So why not have a ‘civic engagement ranking’ of higher education institutions?”343 The Carnegie Classification serves precisely this purpose: as Barbara Holland notes, “Though the classification is not framed as an award, some institutions see it as such, and those institutions that have achieved classification are eager to retain it.”344 The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll serves a similar function.345

The creation of such rankings by itself encourages universities to strive to succeed at them. Such benchmarks serve as an incentive for universities to set up information-gathering procedures about their civic engagement efforts, which are then used to forward the institution’s civic engagement campaign. They also aid in fundraising.346

Imagining America

Imagining America (IA)347 dedicates itself to encouraging civic engagement and service learning among “artists, humanists, designers, and other scholars in the cultural disciplines who passionately wanted to claim engagement at the core of their identities as intellectuals and artists.” IA currently includes more than 100 college and university members and community partners.

Annual programming includes sponsorship of a national conference, and support for “collaborative research and action projects.” IA also “contributes resources to an expanding membership, offers opportunities [to] undergraduate and graduate student leaders, and provides significant leadership to the field of engaged scholarship in higher education.”348 IA’s programs include Page Fellows, which organizes and supports graduate students interested in civic engagement,349 and initiatives include Cultural Organizing Institutes, The Publicly Engaged Scholars (PES) Study, and The Tenure Team Initiative on Public Scholarship (TTI).350

Alternative Breaks

Alternative Breaks351—also known as Alternative Spring Breaks, Alternative Semester Breaks, and Break Away—is service-learning on spring break: “Through Alternative Spring Breaks, students spend their spring vacations on intensive projects focused on topical issues or policy areas (for example, homelessness, hunger, or literacy), providing direct service and meeting with policymakers and activists. Projects take place both far from and adjacent to campuses.”352 Alternative Breaks embeds these breaks in an educational process that is meant to create “lifelong active citizens through these intensive service-learning programs.”

Alternative Breaks are intended to be life-changing, educational episodes of direct service that transform participants from Members (“Not concerned with their role in social problems.”) to Volunteers (“Well-intentioned but not welleducated about social issues.”) to Conscientious Citizens (“Concerned with discovering root causes; asks why?”) and finally to Active Citizens for whom “Community becomes a priority in values and life choices.”

Active citizens, who have learned during their Break “to look critically at the root causes of social issues,” now “find avenues for continued community involvement and support their efforts to take action locally,” “Organize or join small groups of thoughtful committed citizens,” undertake “Post-break direct service, advocacy, and philanthropy,” and make “Life choices that benefit the community.”353

Alternative Breaks, in other words, provides intensive sessions of advertisements for progressive causes, so as to form progressive activists, and it presents the experience as a sort of mission trip.

The International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement

The International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement (IARSLCE) provides the New Civics a professional home. IARSLCE “has created a global platform for disseminating peer-reviewed research on all dimensions and interpretations of civic and community engagement across the spectrum of higher education. IARSLCE has attracted more than four hundred individual members from more than thirty nations and is deeply committed to the mentoring of graduate students as future engaged scholars and civic teachers.”

IARSCLE’s journals, in particular, play a crucial role: professors are supposed to publish, both for tenure and for their professional self-esteem. Journals such as The International Journal of Research on Service- Learning and Community Engagement encourage professors to write up after-action reports of civic engagement and service-learning classes and call it research. These journals allow civically engaged professors to tell tenure committees, and themselves, that they publish academic research.

IMPACT National Conference

The IMPACT National Conference354 traces its roots to the Campus Outreach Opportunity League (COOL), which in turn grew out of an earlier generation of service-learning. COOL was “founded in 1984 to galvanize college students into public and community service in their communities. Staffed by students and recent graduates, COOL’s philosophy is to work with community leaders to identify issues, train student volunteers to accomplish meaningful activities, and reflect on and evaluate the effect of their actions.”355 COOL’s activities included hosting the national COOL conference. In 2003, COOL was acquired by Action Without Borders/, and transformed into the Idealist On Campus program. Since 2007, it has become independent again, under the name IMPACT, and now hosts the annual IMPACT National Conference.356


The New Civics acts within America’s colleges and universities via a large variety of mechanisms. Here we describe three of them: University Administrations; Interdisciplinary Centers and Programs; and Required Courses.


Colleges and universities now possess a great many offices of Civic Engagement, Service Learning, and so on—each staffed with full-time and part-time bureaucrats, often recruited from the graduates of disciplines affiliated with civic engagement and service learning. These offices overlap with the colleges’ and universities’ diversity, sustainability, and social justice bureaucracies. The administrators in these offices provide the administrative backbone behind such programs, and disburse money to support them—often to different components of the broader campus civic engagement establishment, but also to affiliated professors. These administrators insert civic engagement and service learning into hundreds of classes a semester at each university. In so doing, they choose default community partners, head committees, and generally provide the execution of such programs to ensure that they tilt in a progressive fashion, whether or not they are explicitly written to do so. Since such administrators follow career paths that take them from college to college, they spread New Civics from college to college as part of a national professional culture.

Student Affairs professionals play a notable role among academic administrators who forward the New Civics.357 Student affairs administrators forward the New Civics partly by integrating affiliated pedagogies into their other activities, such as in freshman orientation and residential assistant training.358 The New Civics advocates expect these professionals to “provide more arenas for students to develop their public-oriented leadership.” Student affairs staff are charged with boosting the college’s image by training cohorts of students who “can be publicly upheld as contributing to a campus civic ethos, just as athletes are praised for sustaining school spirit.”359

Academic administrators in and out of the student affairs sub-bureaucracy also are often the ones coordinating student government; this conflation of roles tends to insert the New Civics into student government. Furthermore, specialized residence halls often also end up subordinated to the New Civics.

Interdisciplinary Centers and Programs

The New Civics movement has faced significant resistance from faculty in traditional departments. These professors are generally liberal-to-left in their political orientations, and therefore not unfriendly to the progressive agenda, but they have retained a significant portion of the traditional academic vocation toward disengaged scholarship. As the frustrated advocates of the New Civics put it, “faculty are shaped by an academic culture that runs contrary to engagement. They are trained in graduate schools whose courses ignore civic content, and they enter careers whose gatekeepers dissuade them from public work.”360

The New Civics therefore has bypassed the departments by creating centers and interdisciplinary programs free of traditional disciplinary constraints.361 Bates College professor of civic engagement Darby Ray sees these as a measure of progress: “One sign of the putative success of the higher education civic engagement movement … is the presence on many campuses of a center, institute, or office dedicated to service learning, community partnerships, public engagement, social change, and/ or engaged democracy.” These are widely understood to signal serious institutional commitment to civic learning and action.”362

Civic engagement advocates acknowledge the progressive agenda of these centers. BTtoP contributor Nigel Boyle writes that these centers “are underpinned by a range of ethical/political missions that runs along a spectrum of benevolence, from service to social justice.”363 A Crucible Moment likewise emphasizes the importance of centers such as “Center for Collaborative Learning; Women’s Studies; African American Studies; Environmental Studies; American Indian Studies; Interdisciplinary Studies; Deaf Studies; Institute for Technology and Values; Multicultural Studies; Science and the Humanities Programs; Center for Research on Teaching and Learning; [and] Continuing Education Center.”364

These programs are the administrative bastions from which the New Civics now seeks to insert itself, pervasively, into every component of the university.

For example, Northern Arizona University’s interdisciplinary Sustainability Program supports “Action Research Teams” devoted to “Community Engagement, Engaged Pedagogy, and Democratic Activism.”365

Duke University’s Service Opportunities in Leadership program channels students into “a two-semester interdisciplinary program: first, a course on service leadership and social change, then a summer internship where students work ‘on social and political change projects for organizations across the country and abroad.”366

In California, De Anza College’s Institute for Community and Civic Engagement (ICCE) “sponsors a robust and ongoing conversation among faculty, staff, and students about how to engage more students in community-based work, political and social movements, and course projects that integrate current economic and social issues.”367

The University of Maryland, College Park, offers the immersive two-year CIVICUS program: “Students become CIVICUS associates and live, study, and plan service activities together; take five courses, including Leadership in a Multicultural Society; and complete a capstone course that involves an internship or a “discovery”/research project.”368

At Tufts University, the Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service generally “serves as a catalyst and a resource to all parts of the university in order to help faculty and students in all disciplines integrate active citizenship into curricular, extracurricular, and other programs.” More particularly, it directs university resources to pay faculty to redesign their courses to be civically engaged.369

California State University Monterey Bay’s Service Learning Institute provides “professional development activities to strengthen faculty members’ knowledge and skills related to critical civic literacy.” These activities include “working with faculty to help them examine how issues of privilege and oppression have affected their own lives and career paths—a reflective process that is an essential prerequisite to teaching critical civic literacy.”370

These programs (often working with national organizations) also provide career support for student recruits into the civic engagement movement, as they move into graduate school, academic administration, and/or parallel progressive organizations. At Syracuse University, the Engagement Scholars program pays “recent graduates for at least a year after graduation so they can develop careers as civic professionals in central New York State.”371

Finally, these centers function as a sort of “safe space” for faculty members. The Brooklyn Public Scholars Faculty Civic Seminar is “a kind of sanctuary, holding the neoliberal forces at bay that impinge upon community colleges across the country” where “Faculty members discuss their students and their own ‘aha’ moments, their research findings, the institutional battles over civic engagement, and the ongoing efforts to gain institutional recognition for their pathbreaking work.”372 Traditional civics did not concern itself with such matters.

Required Courses

The New Civics now puts significant effort into making civic engagement courses required for all undergraduates—a new core curriculum. Turning civic engagement into a general requirement advertises progressive causes to students earlier in their careers, and with correspondingly greater effect. As Nigel Boyle says of global civics, with wider application, “It would be better for students to become engaged in local civic engagement and study abroad early in their academic careers, before they are ‘branded’ by their disciplines. These practices should be a part of general education, rather than boutique experiences for a select few in certain disciplines.”373

General civics requirements are intended to mold students at the root of their education. Boyle describes a pilot program at Pitzer College’s Institute for Global-Local Action and Study with the aim of “getting students civically engaged as early as possible in their academic careers.” This pilot program ensured that “students are ‘fast tracked’ into early—and repeated—participation in civic engagement courses and projects.”374

Boyle takes global civics in particular to promise massive influence in promoting progressive advocacy: “If global and local initiatives can be infused early in [a] student’s college career, then such learning can become central to the formative intellectual and personal experience of all students, rather than the marginal experience of a few.”375

Some colleges have already begun the transformation. Tulane University in New Orleans requires a basic service-learning course and an advanced service-learning/public service course of all undergraduates,376 and Kingsborough Community College in New York requires students to have “two civic engagement experiences.”377

California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) requires that its students all “complete two service-learning courses as part of their graduation requirements, both of which teach to what we call ‘critical civic literacy.’” CSUMB defines “critical civic literacy” as education in “the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to become aware of and bring about change in these oppressive social structures.” The first critical civic literacy course is “a general education course in the lower division that introduces them to concepts of service, diversity, identity, social justice, and community building.” The second course covers these same subjects through the lens of students’ majors.378

The Old Civics sought to inculcate basic civic literacy and love of country via its core curriculum; the New Civics instead wants “to develop in students the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to become aware of and bring about change in these oppressive social structures.” California State University Monterey Bay’s required courses epitomize the revolution sought by the New Civics.


We estimate that the total expenditure on New Civics in American higher education is at least $40 billion per year.

There are no numbers available to say exactly how much money is being spent nationwide on the New Civics. Our estimate is based on publicly available data.

Dozens of states and hundreds or thousands of colleges and universities spend money on New Civics, and so do a wide network of nonprofit organizations. In 2011, the U.S. House did reduce federal support for service-learning, by eliminating Learn and Serve America from the federal budget—and thus reduced total American expenditure on service-learning by $39.5 million a year.379 On the other hand, the regulatory changes mentioned above now steer a great deal of federal grant money towards the New Civics: net federal support for the New Civics is probably at least level to what it was in 2011. The direct support provided by the Federal Government in any case is fairly small compared to that provided just by private foundations. According to the Foundation Center, these foundations provided more than $853 million dollars for “Civic Participation” between 2011 and 2015—and $225 million for the subcategory of Public Participation, which appears to map most closely to the New Civics.380

The 2014 Campus Compact survey noted above does provide some national information—but only about the 434 Campus Compact member institutions who answered the survey. Of these colleges and universities, “nearly half are private four-year institutions, 37% are public four-year institutions and 15% are public two-year institutions. Thirty-one percent identify as commuter institutions and 20% as minority serving, HBCU, or tribal institutions.”381 The information the survey provides is not comprehensive for the 4,726 institutions of American higher education,382 but it does provide information for an unusually broad sample of American colleges and universities.

At 419 of these 434 institutions, 1,382,145 graduate and undergraduate students served an average of 3.5 hours a week, their total number of service hours in the 2013-2014 academic year was 154,800,240, and their service was valued at almost 3.5 billion dollars. There were service-learning courses on 395 of the 434 responding institutions, with an average of 43 faculty members per campus teaching an average of 69 service-learning courses. 64% of responding institutions required “academic service-learning as part of the core curriculum in at least one major.”

In that same year, community engagement staff were reported to include 2,376 full time staff, 1,184 part-time staff, and 7,027 paid students. 62% of community engagement center directors earned more than $50,000 a year, and 11% earned more than $100,000. Every single institution “reported staffing for community engagement.” Engagement Office/Center budgets were becoming quite large: 32% had annual budgets of more than $250,000, 27% had budgets between $100,000 and $250,000, 16% had budgets between $50,000 and $100,000, 9% had budgets between $20,00 and $50,000, and 12% had budgets of less than $20,000.383

Campus Compact Respondents: Support for Faculty Civic Engagement and Service-Learning
Campus Compact Respondents: Support for Faculty Civic Engagement and Service Learning

Students played an important role in civic engagement—at least some of it presumably paid work. Students had a leading role “in setting the direction of the offices associated with curricular or co-curricular engagement” in 49% of responding institutions. Students also recruited peers in 93% of institutions, helped staff curricular and/or co-curricular engagement offices at 84% of institutions, acted as liaisons to community sites at 72% of institutions, and served on campus service, community engagement and/or service-learning committees at 69% of institutions.

Campus Compact Respondents: Support for "Student Civic Leadership and Skill Building"

97% of responding institutions had partnerships with non-profit/community based organizations, 96% with K-12 schools, 75% with some part of the government, and 72% with international communities or organizations.

Campus Compact Respondents: Community Partner Contributions

Campus Compact, Three Decades of Institutionalizing Change: 2014 Annual Member Survey, pp. 7-8.

Campus Compact’s survey not only provides a sketch of the New Civics nationwide but also allows us to hazard a rough estimate of how much the New Civics costs. At these roughly 400 institutions alone, at least some hundreds of millions are being directed annually towa rd direct support of the New Civics programs, in addition to the billions of dollars of student labor hours being diverted toward progressive causes and organizations. We may add to this the opportunity cost of the New Civics: students at these institutions spent 155 million hours on service rather than on studying just in 2013-14, and the losses to their lifetime knowledge and earning potential must be measured in further billions.

These numbers are for only about 400 institutions out of 4,726 total American institutions of higher education, and these Campus Compact member institutions presumably have invested more money in civic engagement than the average institution. Nevertheless, we may cautiously estimate the total expenditures in America on civic engagement as an order of magnitude greater than is reported in Campus Compact’s 2014 survey. Total direct expenditures and diversion of free student labor should be valued at no less than $40 billion dollars in 2014 alone. The actual total is probably much higher: we have not included the cost of tuition in this calculation, nor the opportunity cost of wasted educational hours.

Even our estimate of the direct costs of civic engagement may be significantly understated—not least because colleges and universities provide no fiscal transparency, and they distribute the costs of civic engagement throughout their administrative structures. At CU-Boulder, for example, INVST Community Studies receives a commitment of $100,000 a year from the College of Arts and Sciences—but that amounts to less than one half of their annual budget.384 In addition, Faculty Director Ben Kirshner is employed by the School of Education, and it appears that his salary is not included in the INVST budget. Grant moneys to forward INVST may not appear in the budget either—and neither do the government grants and loans provided to subsidize the tuition students spend to take INVST classes. The $100,000 a year from the College of Arts and Sciences indicates expenditures that very likely mount to several hundred thousand dollars—and this is only one program, in one university, in one state. Unless state legislators mandate full and detailed fiscal transparency by all public universities, it will not be possible to make a proper accounting of New Civics expenditures.

The advocates of the New Civics want to take over the entire university, as shown below, so they wish to make sure that every dollar in higher education forwards the New Civics. If they succeed in this ambition, then the current amounts devoted to the New Civics will seem trivial by comparison. What we can say with fair certainty is that every year tens of billions of dollars of direct funding and student labor are already being diverted to the New Civics, as well as billions of hours of time that should have been dedicated to education.

America is not so rich that it can ignore the squandering of such vast sums.



Currently, many undergraduates can still avoid service-learning and civic engagement. Where such classes are optional, students can take traditional academic classes instead. Where such classes are requirements, they only delay the student’s entry into traditional courses of study. The civic centers, the multicultural centers, the interdisciplinary centers—students can stay away from them. Indeed, Darby Ray laments that “in centering the civic in a center, we unwittingly marginalize the civic and undermine its full emancipatory potential.”385 As one enthusiast of the New Civics notes, students use the civic label as a shorthand for what to avoid: “These sorts of demarcations (often an asterisk in the course listing) help some students find similar offerings, but they might offer clues to other students that they should steer clear of ‘those’ offerings.”386

Yet if the New Civics advocates have their way, students will no longer be able to avoid the New Civics. The New Civics advocates aim at no small goal: the total transformation of the university. A Crucible Moment, and companion pieces from the AAC&U and kindred organizations, lay out a vision of how the entire university is to be integrated toward “civic ends.” A Crucible Moment takes many pages to lay out the plan.387 Barry Checkoway, however, summarizes the program compactly: “Every single course—from anthropology to zoology—has potential for civic learning,” he writes. “There is a need to infuse the civic into all curricular and cocurricular activities and into all disciplines and fields.”388

This goal may seem unrealistically ambitious—but the New Civics advocates are well entrenched in governmental and academic bureaucracies, and they have already achieved much. Their aims should be taken seriously. We describe the following aspects of the ambitions of the New Civics advocates:

  1. Mission Statements
  2. The Disciplines
  3. Faculty
  4. Students
  5. The World Beyond
  6. Summary


College and university mission statements, general affirmations of civic purpose, will be used as a tool by which to pervade the university with the New Civics: “since institutional mission statements increasingly claim civic intentions, such statements can be used strategically to encourage civic buy-in from a wide range of institutional players—especially senior staff members and trustees, who are accustomed to thinking in terms of broad institutional goals and claims.”389

The New Civics advocates regard those members of the university who actually cherish the university in its own right as objects of manipulation.


The New Civics aims to assimilate every discipline. Checkoway lists ways that faculty members in different disciplines “can integrate the civic into their normal professional work,” and provides examples for professors in psychology, English, physics, and mathematics. The hypothetical psychology professor, for example, “studies the effects of intergroup dialogue on students of diverse social identities. She engages students in courses that affect their understanding of themselves and their commitment to civic action. She appears in the media and makes the case for diversity to the state board of education, a source of great pride to the institution.”390

In all such civically engaged classes, external progressive activists are to insert themselves into the classroom as “civic-learning associates,” with whom the professor must share authority: Donald Harward writes in favor of “developing a cadre of ‘civic-learning associates,’ many of whom might be practitioners in the community or beyond.”391

Even a discipline such as mathematics, whose purely abstract subject matter is proverbially disengaged from the world, is to be subsumed to civic engagement: “A mathematics course could imbue civic topics into the syllabus and into student research projects, using quantitative analysis to explore disparities in public school funding, loan structure variations for low-income home purchasers, and the injustices in court decisions made due to misunderstanding or ignorance of probability and probabilistic evidence.”392

Science, comparatively real-worldly, is to be transformed into “citizen science”: “The ultimate goal of civic engagement and service learning in the sciences is not only to increase all students’ scientific literacy, but also to empower students to be socially effective change agents … everyone can and should participate in science-based activities and activism as engaged members of their communities.”393

The fine arts will not escape either. Carole Lung writes of her preferred best practices: “The retooled university would encourage activist projects like the Yes Men, which couples critical thinking with humor and thrift-store suits.” A complement to humorous critical thinking is participation in a “Complaints Choir,” in which “community members sing their complaints about the cities in which they live.” Lung believes that “Complaints Choirs’ civic participation and emphasis on collaboration have helped to facilitate lasting changes in their respective cities.”394


The New Civics will complement its takeover of the disciplines by transforming faculty into “civic scholars.” Checkoway writes that “faculty members, in their roles as “civic scholars,” can conduct research or teach courses that draw upon their disciplines or fields for the benefit of society. Students can learn about issues of public concern through courses that develop civic competencies, or through co-curricular activities that have a strong civic purpose.”395 The assimilation of the faculty will work all the more easily because the incoming generation of professors has already been subject to the New Civics since high school: “Many newer faculty members participated in service learning or other civic learning activities in their own high school or undergraduate development.”

As a result, “As more of these Gen X and Y faculty enter the academy and move into leadership and governance roles, we will see growing support for an intentional, integrated, strategic agenda that frames community and civic engagement as a force for integrating the forms of scholarship.396


Graduate students, the future professors of America, are the particular targets of efforts to transform them into supporters of and participants in the New Civics. Nancy Cantor and Peter Englot write that “the Imagining America Publicly Active Graduate Education [PAGE] collaborative seeks to inspire and orient the next generation of graduate students differently, with all that portends, and they’re getting the message.

Cantor and Englot quote graduate student Janeane Anderson to illustrate the point of view of such civically engaged graduate students: “Mindsets that consider community-based knowledge as an addendum to scholarly work rather than something that stands alone must be changed in order to effectively integrate community-based expertise within the academy. New generations of academicians must fully embrace their dual citizenship within the academy and the community that surrounds the institution.”Those remaining young professors who still decline the imperative to be civically engaged need not expect a successful career, for tenure and promotion standards will require faculty to engage in “civic” work. Checkoway suggests that “If faculty members were asked to report on an annual basis about the civic effects of their research and teaching, and this were to become an expectation for performance evaluation, then the outcomes would be extraordinary, for both the individual and the institution.”397

A Crucible Moment states explicitly that “institutions need systematically to reward faculty for such new forms of public scholarship and learning. … academic administrators and faculty should adopt promotion and tenure criteria that recognize the scholarly and pedagogical value of investments in service learning and other pedagogies that foster civic development”398

California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) has already started this transformation, and participation in progressive activism has become a tenure requirement at CSUMB.399 Faculty will also operate in a regime that has enacted what Nancy Cantor and Peter Englot call “a somewhat different version of academic freedom (a luxury perhaps more fitting when everyone is more or less alike on campus), and even bucking mainstream renditions of meritocracy.”400 (Parenthetical comment in original quotation.) A “different version of academic freedom” presumably translates to “conformity to progressive beliefs”; “bucking mainstream renditions of meritocracy” also should be translated as “hiring for conformity to progressive beliefs instead of for professional competence.” “Civic learning” will be used to staff the university exclusively with progressive activists.


Civically engaged students are to act as “allies” ready to assist civically engaged faculty in their efforts to elicit support from their colleagues. Should a civically engaged faculty group “organize a workshop on how to integrate civic-mindedness into research and teaching, and then convene a faculty conference,” they can expect support “from allies such as presidents who have platforms on which to campaign, provosts who manage institutional procedures, faculty leaders who are civic-minded already, and students who have more power than they realize.”401 How precisely students are to use their “power” to encourage faculty to be “civic minded” is not spelled out, but the word “power” would seem to imply organized protest more than gentle persuasion.

Civically engaged students are also meant to “educate” both the professors and their fellow students in the classroom. Seth Pollack provides an extensive explanation.


Civically engaged students are also to work to make their fellow students more civically engaged by way of “student-directed reflection.” Lung writes that “Students should review their own and each other’s work frequently. This practice encourages knowledge transfer from student to student, thus allowing works to develop and evolve. … By engaging in critiques, students learn to implement vocabulary, analyze what they are experiencing, and speak publicly.”402

Civically engaged students thus are to take over the classroom from professors, judge their fellow students’ work, assume responsibility for advocating progressive causes to their fellow students, and maintain student conformity to progressive beliefs.


The New Civics advocates want to extend civic engagement to the workforce as a whole. A Crucible Moment recommends that employers “Include key civic and ethical competencies as requirements for hiring” and “Offer ongoing educational opportunities in work environments to continue to develop and practice civic democratic skills.”403 As much as in the university, employment is to be conditioned on conformity to progressive beliefs, and employers are to subsidize progressive political activism.

“Civic partnerships” are meant to be even more ambitious. “Generative partnership” appears only to denote more explicitly ambitious and progressive exemplars of the New Civics. It may, however, be significant that A Crucible Moment cites the Anchor Institutions Task Force as a generative partnership: “Anchor Institutions [institutions committed to transferring their resources to the local communities] describe themselves as being driven by the core values of collaboration and partnership, equity and social justice, democracy and democratic practice, and commitment to place and community. They work closely with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, other government entities, businesses, and private philanthropists.”404 Other generative partnerships emphasize integration of the New Civics with local government and K-12 education.405 “Generative partnership” appears to denominate the alignment of the New Civics not only with the university and nongovernmental organizations but also with the government itself.

The creation of A Crucible Moment, melding nongovernmental organizations, the government, and the university, and forwarding progressive politics in the guise of civic effort, is to be the model for how America is to be governed.


In sum, the New Civics advocates’ vision for the future is:

  1. civic mission statements will leverage a total transformation of the universities
  2. every class will have civic content
  3. professors will be judged for tenure based on their civic engagement
  4. civically engaged students will be given authority to forward the New Civics
  5. the New Civics ultimately will assimilate the workplace and the government

Explicit politicization may be added to this wish list. Peter Levine notes with regret that civically engaged students aren’t “joining an organized political movement of any size,” and notes further that “it’s much easier to participate in politics and civil society if you can employ ideology’s heuristic and if you can join a large movement that has already developed both theory and practice.” He says that “ideology is a resource that can compensate for a lot of time and education.”406

The unstated corollary is that civic engagement should promote a particular political ideology— purely as a matter of making civics education more efficient. Levine’s examples of such agendas include Marxism, liberalism, environmentalism, feminism, and, as the designated opposition, libertarianism and Friedmanite economics.407 The New Civics advocates have already identified ideological commitment as a useful educational resource: a rationale for exploiting that resource surely cannot be far away.

Another item on the New Civics wish list may be to redefine it, under the guise of education, as a human right: “In 2008, six hundred attendees at an international GACER [Global Alliance on Community-Engaged Research] conference endorsed a Declaration of the Global Alliance that states that engagement in civically engaged research is an issue of human rights.”408 Should this proposal gain traction, no college or university would ever be allowed to end support for the New Civics—in the name of human rights.

The New Civics reorganization of higher education will be achieved via its advocates who have already entered the university—younger professors, who are themselves the true-believing products of the first generations of civic engagement advocacy, student affairs professionals, and civically engaged students themselves. These New Civics advocates will direct their civic engagement efforts to the transformation of the university.

Organizations of college presidents will provide a tool for transformation from above,409 and national associations and “local allies”—progressive activists outside the university—will provide assistance.

Finally, federal regulations to require civics education will secure New Civic control. A Crucible Moment has called for that intervention already: “We turn now to the US Department of Education, which initiated the National Call to Action, to the Federal Government as a whole, and to state and local governments that collectively wield power to make civic learning a national priority and a catalytic commitment across all parts of higher education—and beyond.”410 Federal intervention will “Strategically refocus existing funding streams [so as] to spur—from school through college and beyond—civic learning and practice in the curriculum, co-curriculum, and experiential education.”411 Such funding streams will include financial aid for students, subsidized curriculum development, research support, and perhaps the establishment of “a Civic Action Corps”—government funding for the institutionalization of the progressive advocates on a national scale.412

We are not there yet. The New Civics advocates lament how much work is still to be done. They remain cautious about revealing the full extent of their project to the public in plain English: Michelle Fine illustrates the general tactics of the New Civics advocates when she requests that “quiet, down-low, community-based participatory action research needs to be designed in ways that lift up conversations that need to be had locally, intimately, and delicately, not broadcast for policy or systems change—at least not yet.”413

But many of the building blocks are in place. The New Civics advocates and their progressive allies are already entrenched within American universities. The national organizations, the alliance of college presidents, the sympathetic bureaucrats in the Department of Education—they have already begun their work, by means of projects such as A Crucible Moment, and their success provides a model for further campaigns. The New Civics advocates are not ineffective dreamers, but serious and successful tacticians. They are not all-powerful figures—but they are a real force, who must be taken seriously.

We turn now to our case studies of the New Civics in Colorado and Wyoming, to examine in detail the current progress of the New Civics revolution.

Part Two 

Case Studies: Colorado and Wyoming


Why have case studies?

The takeover of civics education is a national phenomenon, but much of its work is at the local level, in particular institutions. In this section we examine four institutions in Colorado and Wyoming: the University of Colorado, Boulder (CU-Boulder), Colorado State University (CSU), the University of Northern Colorado (UNC), and the University of Wyoming (UW). We assess the fate of the traditional civics literacy curriculum in each university, and the extent to which it has been replaced by the New Civics. We offer institutional portraits, made up of classes, programs, and professors. Our report details what is now taught in the name of “civics.”

Why study these universities?

We chose these four universities in the first place because they are public institutions. The insertion of the New Civics is just as extensive in private universities, but the New Civics takeover of public universities is more at issue. They are funded by taxpayer dollars so as to educate a broad spectrum of Americans. If any universities in the country should have a democratic and a civic mission, it is public universities such as those we have studied.

We have also chosen schools that are a rough proxy for the typical American university: neither Ivy League schools nor community colleges, but universities ranging from state flagships to somewhat less prestigious institutions. We have also chosen to study universities in Colorado and Wyoming precisely because they are not in liberal states such as California or Massachusetts. Colorado is a political swing state that is broadly typical of the country as a whole, and Wyoming is a conservative state (with a libertarian streak)—and in both of these states, moderate and conservative, a progressive political movement has made extraordinary headway in the public universities. Our case studies illustrate that the New Civics has permeated America’s entire system of higher education, and not just its radical fringe.

We also chose these universities because they exhibit different stages of the growth of the New Civics. CU-Boulder has been a pioneer in the New Civics, and it demonstrates the broad reach of a mature New Civics program. Colorado State University, the University of Northern Colorado, and the University of Wyoming show how the New Civics appears at an earlier stage of development. Less deep-rooted programs of civic engagement and service-learning, tacked on to more traditional forms of volunteerism, are already at work to subsume traditional volunteerism within the New Civics framework. The combined portrait illustrates how New Civics progresses, how a small New Civics program such as exists at the University of Wyoming will develop in time to the sprawling New Civics programs of CU-Boulder.

Biographies: Campus Compact of the Mountain West

We append to these four case studies a biographical study of the leaders of Campus Compact of the Mountain West (CCMW), the most important regional New Civics organization in Colorado and Wyoming. CCMW coordinates the progress of the New Civics throughout Colorado and Wyoming; we describe the individual professors, administrators and university presidents who make up CCMW, and who are the faces of the New Civics. Learning something about the people who lead a movement is an important part of understanding the ideals and ambitions that shape it.


Our portrait draws heavily on the materials produced by the universities themselves—their administrative policies, their syllabi, the materials that state what they mean to do. These illustrate with their own words the New Civics advocates’ ambitions, pedagogies, and practices. We follow our discussion of the four universities with a short section on the classroom experience at all four universities. We place limited weight here on consideration of how individual classes are taught. Tendentious texts and discussion assignments do play their role in eliminating traditional civic literacy: an American history text that ignores the Founding Fathers is not performing a particularly civic function, and neither are discussion sections on civil rights that silently pass by the Second Amendment right to bear arms. Yet to focus on individual classes is to risk descending to the level of the non-probative anecdote—and to extend unduly a lengthy report. We sketch the classroom experience, but as an adjunct to this report’s central focus on the administrative structure of the New Civics.

We are keenly aware that this limits our ability to judge how effectively the New Civics advocates have transformed the student body. We presume that some students shrug off the New Civics’ progressive advocacy, and some consciously reject it. Yet we take the progressive activists’ own estimation of the New Civics’ effect at face value: they have had real success in molding their students and capturing university resources, even if their triumphs are as yet only partial. The burgeoning numbers of progressive activists formed by such civics education are an imprecise but sufficient measure that the New Civics has been effective enough. When students emerge unchanged from a class in New Civics, it is by dint of a vigorously free mind—for which we may be thankful.


These case studies are thorough descriptions of the administrative structure of the New Civics programs. Because it is easy to get lost in the details, the reader might wish to start by skimming the whole of each section before zeroing in on the particular programs. The sheer abundance of programs, which often overlap, testifies to the lavish resources devoted to the New Civics, the burgeoning lists of staff positions, and the ambitions of the movement’s bureaucratic leaders.

Our preceding analysis of the New Civics as a national phenomenon should inform the reader’s understanding of these case studies.

University of Colorado, Boulder

The University of Colorado, Boulder (CU-Boulder), is the flagship campus of the flagship university in Colorado’s system of public higher education. Founded in 1876, the year Colorado was granted statehood, the university admitted its first students the next year.414 It established its Colorado Springs campus in 1965, a Denver campus in 1973, and the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora in 2006.415 By 2015-16, CU-Boulder enrolled nearly 33,000 students, of whom 27,000 were undergraduates.416 In 2016, U.S. News and World Report listed it in a tie for #89 in its ranking of “national universities.”417

CU-Boulder’s total expenditures for its FY 2016-17 annual budget is $1.58 billion, with $69.4 million of the total in Direct State Funding.418 We have tried unsuccessfully to get the university to disclose what the university spends on New Civics, especially in the extra-curricular domain. In the absence of reliable official figures, we have developed a lowball estimate of $25 million per year, more than one third of CU-Boulder’s direct subsidy from the Colorado state legislature. By contrast, that is almost ten times the Philosophy Department’s budget in 2013-2014 of $2.9 million.419 This chapter concludes with our financial analysis of CU-Boulder’s expenditures on the New Civics.

Our study of the New Civics emphasizes that much of this campus movement is to be found outside the classroom in what used to be called extracurricular activities. But important parts of the new civics are embodied in the curriculum too. Moreover, what little is left of the old civics is to be found in a handful of courses. Before we turn to CU-Boulder’s metastasizing empire of New Civics-style “service learning,” we will examine the remnants of the academic study of old civics, and the contrast between these remnants and other courses that meet the same distribution requirements.

The Hollowed-Out Core Curriculum

The Old Civics ought to be taught as part of a core curriculum— a set of specific courses that all students must take—but CU-Boulder no longer has one. Instead, like many other colleges and universities, it disguises its abandonment of traditional education by calling its distribution requirements a “Core Curriculum.”420 This deception is now so common in higher education that hardly anyone in higher education remembers what a true core curriculum really is—not the academic administrators, not the faculty, and (through no fault of their own) not the students who arrive at college expecting to be educated.

Because they are not required to take even one course in common, CU-Boulder students as a whole do not have any body of knowledge acquired by reading the same books or working from the same syllabi. They do share such things as their knowledge of American popular culture, their saturation with social media, and their experience of spending time together on the Boulder campus—but pleasant as these things are, no one expects them to function as a shared view of America as a self-governing republic. This much we can say from the outset: CU-Boulder students share no academic preparation of any sort, much less one of civics in the traditional sense.

CU-Boulder’s distribution requirements oblige undergraduates to take courses in ten different curricular areas. Each area is represented by dozens of courses from which students can choose. Undergraduates can fulfill these requirements by choosing courses scattered through several academic departments that preserve the remnants of CU-Boulder’s Old Civics—but only if they choose to, as one of hundreds of alternatives.

There's No Civics but New Civics

CU-Boulder may not provide its students a traditional education, but it does give them no end of classes to take. The university offers thousands of different courses every semester, including lectures, seminars, internships, studios, and so on. Based on the information provided by the University’s Office of Data Analytics, we calculate that in Spring 2016 the College of Arts and Sciences alone offered some 3,800 Primary Sections of Lectures and Seminars.421 Within these thousands of courses, CU-Boulder supposedly labels civic engagement or service-learning courses as “CE/SL”422—but it does not actually keep a list of the total number of CE/SL423 courses. Only four courses in 15 sections in Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 were explicitly tagged as service-learning: FARR 1000 Farrand Service-Learning Practicum: Special Topics, INVS 1523 Civic Engagement: Democracy as a Tool for Social Change, LING 1900 Service Learning Practicum: Adult Literacy, and SEWL 2020 Civic Engagement. But as Vice-Chancellor Kelly Fox noted, “Service learning is an important aspect of the student experience at CU Boulder and these activities are incorporated into broader course objectives. Service learning activities and are not separately tracked or budgeted.”424

A few of CU-Boulder’s classes provide a traditional civics education; far more educate undergraduates in the New Civics. By our count a minimum of 60 courses have civic-engagement or servicelearning components425—but since there appear to be at least 132 service learning courses taught each year at Colorado State University,426 which has a much smaller New Civics complex than CUBoulder’s, we strongly suspect that a full count of service-learning courses at CU-Boulder would number in the hundreds. CU-Boulder has no designation that marks off traditional civics courses, but by our count, the university has only 11 courses that meet a strict definition of traditional civics— that is, survey courses on the core knowledge about the history of our country, the nature of its ideals, and the structure of its government. (See “What Civics Education Should Be,” above.) For every Old Civics course in the curriculum there are at least 5 New Civics courses—and perhaps 10 or more.

Splinters of the Old Core

Our best approximation is that no more than one third of CU-Boulder students end up taking a course with significant Old Civics content over their entire undergraduate career—and we would not be surprised if the total proportion of students taking such courses was less than one fifth.

Students can take traditional civics courses at CU-Boulder, as well as a penumbra of courses in the humanities and social sciences that offer fractions of the broad knowledge of Western Civilization in general, and traditional civic literacy more narrowly. But these are only a small number of the possibilities available.

Within the Historical Context requirement, there are four proper introductory survey courses that could be part of a civics core curriculum: CLAS 1030/PHIL 1010- 3 Introduction to Western Philosophy: Ancient; PHIL 1020-3 Introduction to Western Philosophy: Modern; HIST 1011-3 Greeks Romans, Kings and Crusaders: European History to 1600; and HIST 1012-3 Empire, Revolution, and Global War: European History since 1600. Courses such as ENGL 3164-3 History and Literature of Georgian Britain and HIST 1123-3 Introduction to British History since 1660 also fulfill the Historical Context requirement, and students can learn a significant amount of the civics curriculum by taking such courses. But students only have to take one such course, from a list of 57 options.427

Likewise, the United States Context requirement gives students a choice from 45 courses. Some of these are indeed useful, such as ECON 4524-3 Economic History of the U.S. and PSCI 3163- 3 American Foreign Policy. Only four, however, could belong in a civics core curriculum: HIST 1015-3 American History to 1865; HIST 1025-3 American History since 1865; PSCI 1101-3 Introduction to American Politics; and PSCI 3054-3 American Political Thought.428

The Ideals and Values requirement lets students choose from 55 courses, some of which contain solid courses such as ENGL/HUMN/JWST-3 3310 The Bible as Literature and GRMN/ HUMN 3505-3 The Enlightenment: Tolerance and Emancipation. Only 3 courses could be in a civics common core: CWCV 2000-3 The Western Tradition; PSCI 2004-3 Survey of Western Political Thought; and (cross-listed with United States Context429) PSCI 3054-3 American Political Thought.430

The Literature and the Arts requirement provides students a choice from 100 courses. None are part of tightly defined civics core curriculum, but a study of literature and the arts is meant to complement the study of civics by teaching students the stories of free men. CU-Boulder offers many good courses that can fulfill this requirement, but only 6 should appear in a liberal arts core curriculum: ENGL 1500-3 Masterpieces of British Literature; ENGL 1600-3 Masterpieces of American Literature; HUMN 1110-3 Introduction to Humanities: Literature 1; HUMN 1120- 3 Introduction to Humanities: Literature 2; HUMN 1210-3 Introduction to Humanities: Art and Music 1; and HUMN 1220-3 Introduction to Humanities: Art and Music 2.431

The Effect of Distribution Requirements: No One Needs to Take a Civics Course

It isn’t impossible to take an Old Civics course within CU-Boulder’s system of distribution requirements. As noted above, Old Civics courses satisfy three of the university’s ten distribution requirements—Historical Context; United States Context; and Ideals and Values.432 The Historical Context requirement can be fulfilled by taking HIST 1010-3 Western Civilization 1: Antiquity to the 16th Century;433 the United States Context requirement can be met by taking HIST 1015-3 History of the United States to 1865;434 and the Ideals and Values requirement can be met by taking PSCI 3054-3 American Political Thought.435

But these three requirements can also be met by taking courses remote from any traditional understanding of civics. The Historical Context requirement, for example, can be fulfilled instead by taking LIBB 1700-3 The History of Communication from Caves to Cyberspace.436 The United States Context requirement can be met by taking INVS 1523-3 Civic Engagement: Democracy as a Tool for Social Change.437 The Ideals and Values requirement can be met by taking SOCY 1004-3 Deviance in U.S. Society.438 CU-Boulder’s distribution requirements retain the traditional civics curriculum only as one option among a myriad of competitors.

Crowding Out the Old Civics

Many CU-Boulder students do still prefer to take Old Civics courses to meet their distribution requirements, rather than some more outré option. In Fall 2015, 322 students fulfilled their Historical Context requirement by enrolling in the revised form of Western Civilization 1: Antiquity to the 16th Century. By comparison, only 19 students enrolled in The History of Communication from Caves to Cyberspace.439 But students could also meet their Historical Context requirement by choosing among 55 other options besides Caves to Cyberspace, including HIST 1218-3 Introduction to Sub-Saharan African History to 1800; HIST 1438-3 Introduction to Korean History; and RUSS 2471-3 Women in Russian Culture: From Folklore to th e 19th Century.440

Likewise, 277 students in Fall 2015 fulfilled their United States Context requirement by taking History of the United States to 1865, while only 25 took Civic Engagement: Democracy as a Tool for Social Change when it was offered in Spring 2016.441 Yet students could also meet their United States Context requirement by choosing among 43 other options besides Civic Engagement, including ETHN 4504-3 Ethnic-American Autobiography; HIST 2516-3 America Through Baseball; and HIST 2636/WMST 2400-3 Women of Color and Activism.442

In Fall 2015, 51 students fulfilled their Ideals and Values requirement by enrolling in American Political Thought, while 291 enrolled instead in Deviance in U.S. Society.443 Students could also choose among 53 other courses to meet their Ideals and Values requirement, including PHIL/WMST 3110-3 Feminist Practical Ethics, INVS 1000-4 Responding to Social and Environmental Problems Through Service Learning, FARR 2820-3 The Future of Spaceship Earth, and SSIR 1010-3 Social Entrepreneurship and Sustainability.444 The smallish enrollment in American Political Thought may reflect its status as an advanced course—but it is striking that CU-Boulder regards Deviance as basic, and American Political Thought as advanced.

A better comparison might be PSCI 1101 Introduction to American Politics, CU-Boulder’s basic government course, which enrolled 319 students in Spring 2016—301 in an enormous lecture, and 18 in a smaller class.445 But although it does satisfy the United States Context requirement,446 Introduction to American Politics does not meet the Ideals and Values requirement. Its absence is the more striking because an advanced political science course such as PSCI 3064-3 Environmental Political Theory does fulfill the Ideals and Values requirement.447 Environmentalism is an ideal at CU-Boulder; America’s government is not.

Hardly Anyone Gets a Civics Education

The comparisons sketched above suggest that a traditional civics course fares reasonably well when students are cast into something resembling a free market of choices. Those choices at CU-Boulder include a large number of courses that are frivolous, trendy, or overtly ideological, but enrollment in a traditional civics course exceeds those of most of its rivals within the university’s distribution requirements.

Yet if many CU-Boulder students do take Old Civics courses, far more do not. Total enrollment in traditional civics courses is far lower than the total enrollment in all their competitors. As noted above, we estimate that a maximum of one third of CU-Boulder students take Old Civics content courses during their entire undergraduate career—and one fifth is a more likely estimate.

Even fewer take the basic American government course, Introduction to American Politics. In the eight semesters and three summer sessions between Fall 2013 and Spring 2016, 2,830 students took Introduction to American Politics or its successor The American Political System.448 That is barely more than ten percent of CU-Boulder’s total undergraduate enrollment of 27,000.

We surmise that still fewer students at CU-Boulder take two or more of the courses that comprise the traditional curriculum in civic literacy. The university’s policy of loose distribution requirements ensure that only a small fraction of CU-Boulder undergraduates receive a traditional civics education.

Sneaking in a New Core

At the same time, CU-Boulder’s distribution requirements conceal the insertion of a new core curriculum formed around progressive advocacy rather than around Western civilization or civic literacy. There are progressive courses marbled throughout Historical Context (LIBB 1700-3 The History of Communication from Caves to Cyberspace);449 United States Context (HIST 2636/WMST 2400-3 Women of Color and Activism);450 Literature and the Arts (ENGL 1230-3 Environmental Literature);451 and Ideals and Values (SOCY 1004-3 Deviance in U.S. Society).452

In addition, virtually all 97 courses of the Human Diversity requirement are tailored to subject CU-Boulder students to progressive advocacy. The choices in the Human Diversity requirement include subjects such as COMM 3410-3 Intercultural Communication; ECON 4626-3 Economics of Inequality and Discrimination; ETHN 3136 /WMST 3135-3 Chicana Feminisms and Knowledges; HONR 1810- 3 Honors Diversity Seminar; LGBT 2000/WMST 2030-3 Introduction to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Studies; and WMST 3670-3 Gender, Race, Sexuality and Global Migration.453

The Contemporary Societies requirement is also partly a way to require students to take courses in progressive advocacy. Of its 51 courses, only PSCI 1101-3 Introduction to American Politics, cross-listed with United States Context, belongs in a civics core curriculum. Some are innocuous, like PSCI 3022-3 Russian Politics, but many are courses designed to forward the progressive agenda, such as BAKR 1600-3 Creating a Sustainable Future; ETHN 2232-3 Contemporary African American Social Movements; and WMST 2600-3 Gender, Race, and Class in a Global Context.454

In addition, a great many New Civics courses satisfy distribution requirements. Students can fulfill Contemporary Societies with INVS 3000-(3- 4) Innovative Approaches to Contemporary Issues Through Service Learning, INVS 4302/PSCI 4732- 3 Critical Thinking in Development, or PRLC 1820- 3 Community Issues in Leadership;455 Human Diversity with ETHN 3201/INVS/LDSP 3100-3- 4 Multicultural Leadership: Theories, Principles and Practices or INVS/EDUC 2919-3 Renewing Democracy in Communities and Schools;456 Ideals and Values with INVS 1000-4 Responding to Social and Environmental Problems Through Service Learning or LDSP 1000- 3 The Foundations of 21st Century Leadership;457 United States Context with INVS 1523-3 Civic Engagement: Democracy as a Tool for Social Change;458 and Literature and the Arts with FARR 2002-3 Literature of Lifewriting.459

CU-Boulder just makes these courses one option among many now. When they decide to make progressive advocacy and New Civics courses mandatory, they can simply change the courses they have already put into the distribution requirements into a new, required core.

How CU-Boulder Organizes Leftist Activism

The marginalization of the Old Civics comes into even stronger relief when we turn to CU-Boulder’s elevation of the ideal of “civic engagement.” Again, the term “civic engagement” sounds like a commitment to the ideals and values that the Old Civics seeks to uphold. But the resemblance is superficial.

CU-Boulder has replaced the Old Civics with an enormous New Civics infrastructure, dedicated to 1) training a core of committed progressive activists; 2) extending the New Civics into every corner of CU-Boulder, both inside and outside the classroom; and 3) working to sustain itself by securing money and personnel.

CU Engage is the administrative heart of the New Civics, and contains those programs devoted exclusively to propagating the New Civics throughout CU-Boulder—including INVST, the Leadership Studies Minor, Public Achievement, and CU Dialogues. Yet CU Engage does not include all of CU-Boulder’s New Civics initiatives. The New Civics advocates have marbled service-learning classes throughout CU-Boulder’s offices and disciplines, in addition to CU Engage franchises such as INVS 1523-3 Civic Engagement: Democracy as a Tool for Social Change. The New Civics advocates have also incorporated service-learning into CU-Boulder students’ residential life, via the Residential Academic Programs. Finally, CU-Boulder’s Office of Outreach and Engagement labels 16 further miscellaneous New Civics initiatives.460

Together these programs ensure that “More than 13,000 [out of more than 30,000] CU students participate in some form of community service and more than 3,500 are engaged in academic service learning.”461 At the financial expense of tens of millions of dollars and at the educational expense of its undergraduate students, CU-Boulder has committed itself to building a giant infrastructure aimed at turning students into political activists for the radical left.

Investing in Personnel: Training Radical Cadres

The heart of the New Civics at CU-Boulder is the INVST (International & National Voluntary Service Training) Community Studies Program. This program is the equivalent of a major in progressive activism. INVST provides vocational training to a dedicated corps of New Civics advocates among the CU-Boulder student body—200 students each academic year.462

INVST was founded in 1990, as a two-year undergraduate “Peace ROTC” that combined “intergenerational activism with academics.” It was intended to produce scholar activists—“engaged citizens and leaders who work for the benefit of humanity and the environment.” The program aimed to instill a “lifetime commitment” to apply “direct service” and “social advocacy” so as “to analyze and solve community and global problems.”463

INVST’s enlarged descendant possesses the same mission: “develop community leaders” by using “service-learning to expose students to the root causes of problems[,] and to offer solution-based strategies for sustainable social and environmental change.”464 INVST also works to make sure its students receive financial aid,465 provides a scholarship for INVST students going on to graduate study at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, and provides career resources directing students to conferences, scholarships, awards, fellowships, graduate schools, internships, and jobs.466

INVST’s Inclusion Commitment and its declaration Commitment to Anti-oppressive Education both make clear that the program’s goals are radical.467 The Commitment sets out INVST’s determination to advance “anti-oppressive education” by attacking the “privileged,” demolishing the idea that “information is unbiased,” and “critiquing” whatever is thought to be “normal.” INVST’s radicalism is substantiated by the organizations it lists as Campus Allies (e.g., Ethnic Studies Department, Environmental Studies Department, Sociology Department, The Office of Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement)468 and Community Partners (e.g.,, Fossil Free CU, Northern Colorado Dreamers United, OUT Boulder).469

In practice, INVST focuses on providing free student labor for progressive nonprofits, as students learn to “do campaign work, volunteer recruitment, coalition building, resource development, tutoring, tabling, social media … meeting facilitation, consensus decision-making, conflict resolution, fundraising, grant proposal writing, grassroots organizing, lobbying and public speaking.”470

Community Leadership Training: Progressive Activism 101

INVST’s original core program is now the INVST Community Leadership Program (CLP), a two-year program that trains 18 students each year in the theory and practice of “transformative service-learning for social and environmental justice.” In this program, students take two theoretical courses (INVS 3302/WGST3302 Facilitating Peaceful Community Change and INVS 4402 Nonviolent Social Movements) and four “skills-training classes.” The theoretical courses teach the political theory and the craft of progressive activism, encourage students “to examine themselves as potential change agents,” and “Focus on food justice, sustainability, activism and multicultural social justice.”471

The first two skills-training classes (INVST 3391 The Community Leadership Internship, Part 1, INVST 3392 The Community Leadership Internship, Part 2) require students to “serve at least 6 hours per week as interns with community-based organizations” such as “Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence (SPAN), Intercambio: Uniting Communities, Natural Capitalism Solutions, New Era Colorado, the Philanthropiece Foundation and the Community Foundation of Boulder County.”472

Students in the next two classes (INVS 4931 Community Leadership in Action, Part 1, INVS 4932 Community Leadership in Action, Part 2) design their own “community service projects,” such as founding “the Student Worker Alliance Program (SWAP), a free English tutoring program for immigrant workers on campus” and fighting to pass “Colorado ASSET, state legislation that would help immigrant youth attend college.”473

Students are also required to take part in “two month-long summer service-learning experiences,” the Domestic Summer Service-Learning Experience and the International Summer Service Learning Experience. Recent examples of these summer experiences include volunteering “with the Black Mesa Water Coalition, a youth-led grassroots organization,” attending “Casa Taos, a retreat center for activists,” working in “Annunciation House … a shelter for refugees seeking political asylum,” and learning about “alternative economic models” in Nicaragua.474 INVST CLP also sponsored a Sustainability Spring Break in March 2015, in which students returned to work for Black Mesa Water Coalition.475

INVST provides additional Community Studies Electives for majors. Notable among regularly offered courses is INVS 1523 Civic Engagement: Using Democracy as a Tool for Social Change, which “educates and inspires students for civic engagement.”476 One of INVST’s occasional electives, taught in Spring 2013, was INVS 3402 Another City is Possible: Re-Inventing Detroit, Michigan, “about sustainable activism in the twenty-first century, using Detroit as an example of a thriving community that is recreating itself through grassroots activism.”

Activism For Everyone

INVST also offers four elective courses open to all students at CU-Boulder— the introductory INVS 1000 Responding to Social and Environmental Problems through Service-Learning, the two theoretical courses at the beginning of the INVST CLP sequence (INVS 3302/ WGST 3302 Facilitating Peaceful Community Change and INVS 4402 Nonviolent Social Movements), and the Public Achievement course INVS 2919/EDUC 2919 Renewing Democracy in Communities and Schools.477 These are gateway classes, structured to entice as many CU-Boulder undergraduates as possible into these New Civics programs.

INVST also sponsors a Youth Council for Public Policy (YCPP), which allows high-school students to take two INVST classes, INVS 1513 Civic Engagement: Using the Electoral Process as a Tool for Social Change and INVS 1523 Civic Engagement: Democracy as a Tool for Social Change. YCPP is avowedly nonpartisan, but it focuses on educating “people as young as age 13 on the most pressing environmental and social justice concerns reflected in public policy,” and it “actively promote[s] environmental sustainability in the state of Colorado and around the world.” YCPP gives INVST a way to enmesh high school students in its campaign to recruit activists and advocate for progressive causes.478

Leading to the Left

The Leadership Studies Minor (LSM) also trains a cadre of progressive activists—although it includes non-progressive tracks, including one available for ROTC students. LSM students are supposed to take a Foundations Course (LEAD 1000 Becoming a Leader), a Capstone Course (LEAD 4000 Capstone), and three electives. The Capstone course requires students to “Complete a leadership challenge project”—unpaid labor—with partner organizations that include progressive options such as Boulder County Arts Alliance, Immigrant Legal Center of Boulder County, Watson University, and Women’s Wilderness.479

LSM’s electives also include a great many courses that double as advocacy for progressive causes, such as HONR 1810 Honors Diversity Seminar, LDSP 2410 Dynamics of Privilege and Oppression in Leadership, ETHN 3201 Multicultural Leadership: Theories, Practices & Principles, LDSP 4932 Community Leadership in Action, ETHN 3671 People of Color and Social Movements, and INVS 4931 Community Leadership in Action. A CU-Boulder student can acquire a Leadership Studies Minor while taking electives solely drawn from the INVST program.480

The associated Leadership Residential Academic Program (LRAP) gives a clearer sense of what “leadership” means at CU-Boulder. LRAP states that “culturally competent, multicultural, social justice leadership” increases “students’ understanding of: power, privilege, oppression, empowerment and, therefore, the history and function of the social constructs of identity (race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, age, and ability status) are studied.”481 Leadership in this patch of Colorado is a fig leaf for advocating for progressive dogma.

Public Achievement: Boyte-Bots at Boulder

In addition to training progressive activists through INVST and LSM, CU Engage also oversees a local franchise of Public Achievement, Harry Boyte’s neo-Alinskyite hard core of the New Civics. Public Achievement at CU-Boulder (run jointly by INVST Community Studies, the Institute for Ethical & Civic Engagement, the School of Education, the Boulder Valley School District, the “I Have a Dream” Foundation of Boulder County, and other local organizations) is generally like every other Public Achievement program around the nation: a means of recruiting undergraduate students to organize K-12 students in support of progressive causes. Public Achievement teaches undergraduates to be community organizers and it softens up K-12 students to be malleable organizees. By channeling progressive activism toward community organizing in local K-12 schools, CU Engage’s Public Achievement program creates a Boulder-area synergy of unpaid New Civics advocacy at the K-12 and undergraduate levels.

CU-Boulder established the Public Achievement (PA) program in January 2008, in cooperation with the Boulder Valley School District. It currently operates at Angevine Middle School and Centaurus High School in Lafayette, as well as Creekside Elementary School and Columbine Elementary School in Boulder. As in all Public Achievement programs, CU-Boulder’s PA sends unpaid undergraduate “coaches” to apply neo-Alinskyite organizational techniques in the local high schools.482 There the Coaches engage high school students in progressive activism—“undertake community-based projects that address social issues that express their values and beliefs.”

Public Achievement also provides vocational training for students who wish to make a career of mixing teaching with progressive activism. The program boasts that it has prepared students for graduate study, Teach for America, the Peace Corps, and “full-time or summer employment with youth leadership organizations.”483

Public Achievement offers a sequence of two practicum courses as the means for students to engage in progressive activism in school: INVS/EDUC 2919 Renewing Democracy in Communities and Schools and INVS 4999 Teaching Social Justice.484 Renewing Democracy introduces students to “the interplay between democracy, education, and social change,” and to “youth-focused civic engagement, multiculturalism, classroom management, and facilitation techniques.”485 Teaching Social Justice educates students to “investigate progressive pedagogical and community organizing strategies,” not least to advance “the mission of Public Achievement” and to build “the infrastructure necessary to ensure civic engagement is a common experience on campus and in the Boulder County community,” and to focus on “issues of social justice and environmental sustainability.”486

Public Achievement also offers a Critical Civic Inquiry Summer Institute (CCISI), which extends Public Achievement’s community-organizing efforts among high school students into the summer vacation. The CCISI “provides an opportunity for a select group of 8-12 students to develop advanced community organizing, research, and leadership skills.”487

Current Public Achievement projects focus on issues such as Immigration, “School Discipline & The School to Prison Pipeline,” Police Brutality, Racism and Stereotypes, and Global Education.488 Past initiatives include a 2014 march, chant (“What do we want? Peace! When do we want it? Now!”), and rally for Martin Luther King Day;489 a 2014 march, chant (“Si, se puede”), and rally to commemorate Cesar Chavez;490 and a 2015 march, chant (“Who’s got the power? We’ve got the power! What kind of power? People power!”), and rally for Martin Luther King Day.491

Puksta Subsidizes Progressive "Scholars"

CU-Boulder’s cadres in INVST, LSM, and PA need financial support, and CU Engage also houses and directs CU-Boulder’s branch of The Puksta Scholars Program (PSP). PSP directs external funding from the Puksta Foundation so as to provide external scholarship support of $4,500 a year, renewable for up to four years, to students specializing as progressive activists. In return, Puksta “scholars” are supposed to create a civic engagement project.492 The Puksta Foundation suggests “Justice Issue Areas(s)” that include Affordable Housing; Community Organizing; Criminal Justice; Immigration; Peace; Political Process; Poverty; Racism; Refugees and Migration; Sexism; Sexuality, Gender, and LGBTIQA.493

The 2015-2016 Puksta Scholars at CU-Boulder have uniformly progressive interests;494 while attendees at the Puksta Foundation’s 2015 Fall Inter-collegiate Retreat, they “formed working groups to share resources and explore collaboration in five broad issue areas: education, poverty / prisons / homelessness, public health, gender and LGBTQ, and immigration.” The Puksta Scholars also received an Alinskyite community organizing PowerPoint, Power-Mapping for Social Justice; or, Strategic Planning for Long-Term Civic Leadership. Advancing the Common Good Through Community Organizing.495

Recent Puksta Scholar Chelsea Canada’s civic engagement project illustrates the nature of a Puksta-funded civic engagement project. In Canada’s two-part project, she first offered “free dance classes that were followed by facilitated dialogue surrounding women’s suffrage, and then voter registration,” and then created a video of “women leaders in the community,” so that “young women could reflect on the stories of these women within their own community to drive them to make change.”496

Something is Missing From This Picture

What of CU-Boulder’s other efforts, parallel to INVST and Public Achievement, intended to support the substance and the spirit of Old Civics? As far as we can tell, CU-Boulder provides undergraduates none. The closest approximations are two programs in the Law School. The Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project has law students undertake service learning as Teaching Fellows who “are placed with civics and government teachers in underserved schools to spend a semester or a year teaching about the Constitution,” and also coach high school students for the Colorado Marshall-Brennan Moot Court Competition.497 The associated Colorado Law Constitution Day Project has law student volunteers visit high school classrooms for one day and teach a lesson on the First Amendment.498 But these are in the Law School, not the undergraduate colleges.

At the undergraduate level, CU-Boulder’s Center for Western Civilization, Thought & Policy (CWC) identifies courses throughout CU-Boulder that count toward a certificate in Western Civilization, as well as offering a handful of in-program courses such as CWCV 2000 The Western Tradition. These courses approximate some aspects of a traditional civics education.499 And even though the CWC does aid civic literacy, CU-Boulder is not aware that it does. CU-Boulder trumpets a great many New Civics programs as contributing to its students civic development, but not the CWC.

CU-Boulder’s Old Civics is nothing more than a small program not intended to provide a civics education as such, and two tiny programs run out of the law school. By comparison INVST and Public Achievement are giants— and they are only a portion of CU-Boulder’s New Civics.

Service Learning: Here, There, and Everywhere

CU Engage focuses on training a cadre of progressive activists, but CU-Boulder also provides “service learning” across the curriculum, in courses hosted by a large number of departments and programs. There is no one office that coordinates service-learning at CU-Boulder. These courses enlist students to provide labor for progressive organizations while taking courses in Art History, Business, Education, Engineering, English, Environment, International English Center, Linguistics, The Program for Writing and Rhetoric, Spanish, and Women’s Studies, among others. The School of Engineering,500 the programs concerned with the Environment,501 the Department of Spanish,502 and the Program for Writing and Rhetoric (PWR) provide the largest concentrations of service-learning.

PWR’s Writing Initiative for Service and Engagement (WISE) especially focuses on having students “research and produce written, spoken, digital, and/or multimedia projects about, with, and/or for university and non-profit agencies that deal with pressing social issues such as literacy, poverty, food security, and environmental justice.” WISE courses “that have contained a service learning/civic engagement component” include Grant Writing; Rhetorics of Sustainability; Civic Engagement and New Media; Cross-Cultural Writing for International Students; Multi-Cultural Rhetorics; On the Border: U.S. and Mexico; Field Studies in Civic Engagement; and Composing a Civic Life.503 At CU-Boulder, even learning to write a proper sentence has been suborned to progressive activism.

I'm From CU Dialogues and We Need to Have a Conversation

The New Civics has taken over a great many programs entirely, as well as large numbers of individual courses—but other classes at CU-Boulder don’t lend themselves so easily to vocational training in progressive activism. Nevertheless, CU Engage provides a way for instructors in these courses to inject a further dose of progressive advocacy.

CU Engage does this by persuading instructors to adopt classroom dialogues, which are part of the CU Dialogues Program. CU Dialogues was founded in 2007 as “a Civic Engagement course implemented in the Sewall Residential Academic Program (RAP),” and has grown from that beginning to a regular program within CU Engage, providing about 70 dialogues a year to classes in disciplines including History, English, Anthropology, Sociology, Communication, Writing, Economics, Business, Spanish, Women’s Studies, and Film Studies.504 CU Dialogues “create experiential learning opportunities and generate open discussion of difficult or controversial topics in courses across a range of disciplines”—which is to say, in these “facilitated” dialogues, progressives are invited to speak at individual classes and extracurricular events at CU-Boulder.505

Topics suggested to faculty include race, stereotypes and policing; immigration policy and immigrants’ experiences; gender identity and perspectives on gender; income inequality; communication across social, cultural, or political differences, and diversity and experiences of inclusion/exclusion.506 Dialogue guest specializations include discrimination/ profiling based on race; feeling excluded or targeted because of religion; transgender identity; living as an undocumented person in the US or elsewhere; experiences related to politics/political activism; and civic engagement or volunteer experiences.507

Such dialogues taught one student to “understand and connect the issues of oppression and classism”; another “learned that gender issues are attached to or are [contributing] factors to many other injustices and problems our society faces … everything is related somehow.”508 CU Dialogues also provides a course, EDUC 2800 Dialogue Across Difference, as a practicum so students may learn to become dialogue facilitators for CU Dialogues and other such programs.509

I'm From CU Dialogues and We Need to Have Another Conversation 

CU Dialogues doesn’t just persuade instructors to veer off topic so they can give progressive activists privileged access to for-credit classes. It also runs extracurricular programs called community dialogues. CU-Boulder students (Resident Advisors, Hall Councils, Student Government, International Students, Student Organizations, Student Resource Groups) and administrative units can all request “community dialogues.” Suggested topics for students include sexual assault; campus climate; building a sense of community in residence halls; and relations between students and permanent University Hill residents. Suggested topics for administrative units include Cultural Conflict based on Race/Ethnicity; Power, Privilege and Policing; Diversity and Inclusive Excellence; Labeling based on Political Affiliation/Perspective; Gender-Based Stereotyping; and Economic/Social Inequality.510

The “dialogues” that result from these efforts appear to be both propagandistic and banal. For example, one student in a community dialogue reported his novel insight that students of color feel “uncomfortable being here at CU.” He concluded, “Talking about issues of race and racism is important.”511 CU Dialogues ensures that if students don’t come to this conclusion in class, they will come to it in the student lounge.

Service-Learning Where You Sleep 

CU-Boulder’s New Civics advocates are not satisfied with spreading progressive advocacy in classes and club meetings; they also infiltrate their dogma into the dormitories. The Residential Academic Programs, in which (mostly first-year) students “live together in the same residence hall, share academic experiences by participating in seminar classes taught in the residence halls, have access to faculty offices within the residence halls, and engage in residence hall activities that reinforce the academic theme,” also frame student residential life around New Civics. The Communication and Society, Farrand, Global Studies, Leadership, Sewall, and Sustainability and Social Innovation RAPs all contain service-learning and civic engagement classes.512

Students at Sewall RAP, for example, are required to take SEWL 2020 Civic Engagement, a one-credit course that “Explores the concept of citizenship through readings, discussion, and service learning. Working with Sewall faculty mentors, students discuss citizenship and related topics and learn concretely about aspects of the larger community by choosing a local community organization, becoming actively involved in its programs, and presenting their work at a culminating symposium.”513

Farrand RAP “offers several service-learning classes each semester. Service learning gives students the chance to apply what they study in their classes to real-life situations, such as a homeless shelter, a humane society or a tutoring program. These classes include Gandhian Philosophy; Nutrition, Health and Performance; and Global Women Writers.”514

The New Civics advocates are partly using the RAPs as a way to extend their propaganda into undergraduates’ residential life—and partly taking advantage of CU-Boulder’s academic structure to give students an incentive to take New Civics classes. Most CU-Boulder students have to take large lecture classes in their first years; students in RAPs are allowed special opportunities to take small classes, limited to RAP members. The New Civics advocates take advantage of undergraduates’ desire to take a class where they can get individual attention, and use it as a way to steer them into New Civics classes.

You Can Never Leave

The New Civics advocates do their best to make sure that progressive advocacy is inescapable on-campus—and the Study Abroad program also channels students taking semesters away toward more New Civics activities. CUBoulder students studying in London, for example, attend a program run by CAPA: The Global Education Network. There they take yet another service learning class, this time involving work for the Global Civic Engagement Institute. The Institute “teaches about community activism through observation and participation in important local, national, and trans-national agencies. … as students connect ideas with action, they can explore potential pathways to a career in the civic or political sphere and related areas.”515 CU-Boulder’s Study Abroad is really New Civics Abroad.

CU-Boulder’s affiliation with Alternative Breaks also transforms student vacation time into New Civics sessions. In Spring 2016, 30 Alternative Breaks site leaders led 149 CU-Boulder participants to 13 locations, to perform 6,240 hours of service. They worked on Immigration, Indigenous Rights, LGBT Advocacy, Rebuilding Homes, Reproductive Justice, Youth Science Education, Mustang Rescue, E-Waste Recycling, Disability Advocacy, Environmental Conservation, HIV/ AIDS, Homelessness and Poverty, and Human Trafficking.516 Alternative Breaks, as much as Study Abroad, works to make sure that CU-Boulder students have no time off from New Civics.

Research for Ready Money

The New Civics campaigns vigorously to extend progressive advocacy throughout every nook and cranny of CU-Boulder—but it also works to sustain itself financially. CU Engage funds Participatory Action Research (PAR)—research intended to affect policy, generally by offering a justification for funding a favored progressive organization—to secure more university funding both for itself and for allied New Civics programs on campus.

CU-Boulder’s Undergraduate Participatory Action Research vividly illustrates this tactic as it uses its research as a rationale to ask for more money from CU-Boulder. In 2014-15, the first Undergraduate PAR produced a report entitled Students of Color are motivated agents of change: Why aren’t we joining your programs? Students of Color’s main conclusion was that Students of Color should get a financial subsidy so that they could participate in civic engagement and service-learning programs. CU Engage announced that the research would inform their strategic planning going forward, and called for more such PAR projects.517

The Graduate Fellowship in Community Based Research also funds 3-5 doctoral students each year, “to train a generation of scholars in the practices and principles of community-based research”; 2015-2016 projects included Julia Daniel’s Community-Based Police Accountability Research, done in partnership with Black Lives Matter 5280.518 These fellowships take PAR to its logical conclusion, by getting the university to fund activists to learn how to request more money from the university.

Civic Engagement with a 401 (A) Retirement Plan

CU Engage complements its work in progressive advocacy and fundraising by providing jobs for many graduates of its programs as staff or teachers—and by doing so, also ensures the supply of a reliable, continuing source of recruits to staff the New Civics programs at CU-Boulder. Becca Kaplan (INVST Community Studies, Instructor) “graduated from the INVST CLP [in 2007),”519 Trevor Moore (Public Achievement Coordinator, Public Achievement) “served as a coach, teaching assistant, and program coordinator for CU-Boulder’s Public Achievement program,”520 and Haley Sladek Squires (INVST Community Studies, Instructor) “is an INVST Community Leadership Program alumna, Class of 2009.”521 A significant fraction of current students in INVST, the LSM, and PA presumably may also expect employment at CU Engage after they graduate.

CU Engage also supports the careers of its program faculty by allowing them to publish after-action reports about civic engagement and call it research. Ellen Aiken (Program Co-Director, CU Dialogues) writes on “the use of dialogue to build understanding across cultural differences in community settings,”522 Roudy Hildreth (Associate Director, CU Engage) “is co-author of Becoming Citizens: Deepening the Craft of Youth Civic Engagement (Routledge, 2009),”523 and Ben Kirshner (Faculty Director, CU Engage) “examines youth organizing, participatory action research, and new forms of digital media as contexts for learning and social justice change.”524 The expectation that professors should produce useful research as a condition of their employment has been diverted toward producing tactical manuals of progressive activism for other New Civics advocates.

CU Engage finally supports the New Civics by directing grant funds at its disposal, such as the Faculty Fellows in Community-Based Learning Program525 and the Children, Youth and Environments (CYE) Award,526 toward CU-Boulder staff and faculty engaged in the New Civics. CU Engage’s control of these funds augments the resources available to the New Civics significantly beyond CU Engage’s formal budget.

The New Civics Summed Up: A Perpetual Money-Grabbing Machine

Civics at CU-Boulder has been fundamentally transformed. While the Old Civics at CU-Boulder has largely withered away, the New Civics complex has grown to an extraordinary size. CU Engage, the administrative heart of the New Civics at CU-Boulder, itself encompasses several sprawling programs, and service-learning is so pervasive that there is no longer a single office to co-ordinate it. The New Civics now includes large portions of campus residential life, and a dedicated office (CU Dialogues) capable of inserting the New Civics into any class. Perhaps most importantly, CU-Boulder’s New Civics complex now includes the means to lobby for more money and to provide itself new staff. The New Civics at CU-Boulder is self-perpetuating and pervasive. CU-Boulder’s New Civics is so successful that it has already approached the upper limits of what is possible for a nominally voluntary program.

Next We Take Over the University

The New Civics advocates at CU-Boulder therefore have decided that progressive advocacy on campus will no longer be a matter of free choice. Several years ago Peter Simons, then the director of the Institute for Ethical and Civic Engagement (CU Engage’s institutional predecessor), stated that, “Our long-term goal is to have all of our 30,000 students civically engaged in one way or another.”527 CU-Boulder will fulfill this goal by making civic engagement mandatory.

CU-Boulder’s Flagship 2030, its strategic plan for the next generation at CU-Boulder, suggests how CU-Boulder will approach this goal. CU-Boulder’s states that “By 2030, CU-Boulder … will require at least two semester-long experiences tailored to complement academic coursework and cocurricular activities.”528 CU-Boulder will also “create a new framework for promoting interdisciplinary degree programs and rewarding faculty success in interdisciplinary teaching, research, and creative work,” as well as extending “our existing strengths in multi- and interdisciplinary engagement more fully into curriculum and degree offerings.” In addition, CU-Boulder will “provide professional and financial incentives to recognize and reward interdisciplinary excellence and innovation.”529 CU-Boulder also plans to create a Colorado Undergraduate Academy, where “each student will work with an advisor to construct a unified set of curricular and extracurricular activities, such as civic engagement and international experiences.”530

Together, these initiatives sketch how CU-Boulder will transform the New Civics into a requirement for undergraduate education, remold faculty teaching and scholarship around the New Civics, and provide a model for an undergraduate education formed entirely around the New Civics.

How Much Does It Cost?

The New Civics is already a significant drain on CU-Boulder’s resources—and therefore a significant burden to Colorado taxpayers.

As noted above, CU-Boulder’s total expenditures for its FY 2016-17 annual budget is $1.58 billion, with $69.4 million (4.4%) of the total in Direct State Funding.531 $7.6 million of that total was spent on Public Service in Fiscal Year 2016 (FY16),532 significant amounts of which include New Civics activity—but this must be a small fraction of the New Civics expenditures, which are also folded into CU-Boulder’s spending on Instruction ($463 million), Research ($307 million), Academic Support ($128 million), Student Services ($93 million), Scholarships and Fellowships ($126 million), and so on.533 We have tried to get the university to disclose what it spends on New Civics, especially in the extra-curricular domain, but we have had limited success. CU-Boulder may not be stonewalling us in particular, but it has organized its internal accounting to be as opaque as possible on matters like this. The university as a whole appears resistant to financial transparency.

In the absence of reliable official figures, we have developed a lowball estimate of $25 million per year spent on the New Civics.

To arrive at this figure, we first look at the directly budgeted expenditures for CU Engage: $614,234 in FY15 and $915,179 in FY16.534 This number must refer to direct program costs rather than to “overhead” costs: CU Engage’s 13 staff salaries and pensions alone must cost more than CU Engage’s FY16 budget. Furthermore, CU-Boulder acknowledges that this expenditure is only a fraction of the total actually spent. Kelly L. Fox, Senior Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer at CU-Boulder, writes that the budgets for civic engagement programs do not “account for significant civic engagement and public service activities that are part other programs, courses, or student, faculty, and staff activities … [in one program] we identify budgets that support civic engagement and public service activities, but more often than not those support costs don’t account for the significant amounts of faculty, staff, or student time that is expended in sponsored outreach or service activities.” Fox adds that “At CU Boulder we are committed to incorporating civic engagement and public service activities into our normal course of doing business.”535

To account for these hidden costs, we use a proxy—data provided by the University of Delaware in its 2015 application to the Carnegie Foundation for classification as a Community-Engaged College.536 The University of Delaware provided hard financial data for one civic engagement administrative unit:

The Office of Service Learning annual budget for fiscal year 2013 was $229,000, which supported one professional staff position and one graduate student, student stipends, supplies, and travel to participate in academic service learning, faculty support for community-based research, and an annual summer Service Learning Scholars program, in which 20–25 students spend 10 weeks immersed in a faculty and community partnered co-mentored project.537

CU Engage alone includes 13 faculty and staff and 2 student assistants,538 and coordinates far more extensive programs than the University of Delaware’s Office of Service Learning. If we multiply Delaware’s budget by 13, simply to account for CU Engage’s 13 paid staff positions, we arrive at a figure of about $3 million. If CU-Boulder spends two “hidden” dollars in administrative expenses— including faculty time and staff salaries and pensions—for every one dollar it openly budgets to CU Engage, this would bring its total up to the $3 million we arrive at by using the proxy data from the University of Delaware. This seems to us a cautious quantification of Senior Vice Chancellor Fox’s somewhat imprecise statement that CU-Boulder incorporates “civic engagement and public service activities into our normal course of doing business.”

There are further dedicated administrative personnel marbled throughout CU-Boulder, managing service learning, running RAPs, and so on. Assume there are no more than 13 further such positions, and use the same proxy data from the University of Delaware, and we add another $3 million ($6 million total) to CU-Boulder’s real budget for civic engagement. Since CU-Boulder spent $3,651,446 in FY16 just for its Study Abroad Office, where “Service learning activities that are included as a part of the Study Abroad experience are not separately tracked or budgeted,” we believe this estimate is also cautious.539

There appear to be at least several dozen civic engagement and service learning courses taught each year at CU-Boulder: if we assume that the equivalent of no more than 13 instructors a year are teaching service-learning courses, we add another $3 million ($9 million total). Add in administrative support throughout the university (Outreach, Advancement, Student Affairs, and so on), as well as miscellaneous financial awards whose moneys are not directly administered by CU Engage, and the costs should easily add another $1 million ($10 million total). The direct administrative costs of the New Civics at CU-Boulder should be taken, at a very lowball estimate, at $10 million dollars.

To this we may add the costs of tuition spent on New Civics courses. CU-Boulder states that each year “3,500 [students] are engaged in academic service learning.”540 One 3-credit course at CU-Boulder’s Arts and Sciences costs $1,446 for an in-state student; the costs to students, government (by way of subsidy of student loans), and the university together should come to another $5 million ($15 million total). Some of these courses are less than 3 credits—but some students, especially in INVST, Public Achievement, and the Leadership Studies Minor, take more than one New Civics course a semester. Direct administrative costs and tuition together should come to at least $15 million a year.

We may add housing costs to this total. At least 1,000 students a year live in Residential Academic Programs organized around the New Civics. The surcharge to be in a RAP is generally $850 a year541—but the ordinary cost for room and board at CU-Boulder is already $13,590.542 Splitting the difference between $850 a year and $14,440 a year, we may call it $7,500 a year for 1,000 students— another $7.5 million ($22.5 million total). CU-Boulder budgeted $5,714,128 for the 14 RAPS in FY16—and Vice Chancellor Kelly Fox writes that “Service learning and civic engagement are embedded within the Residential Academic Program experience. These activities are not separately tracked or budgeted.”543 If we assign ca. 40% of those costs to the New Civics, we may add $2.5 million and bring the total to $25 million—more than one third of the state of Colorado’s direct subsidy of $69.4 million to CU-Boulder in 2016-2017.

We would welcome hard figures from CU-Boulder that would allow us to make a precise accounting of the New Civics’ cost. We strongly suspect that those hard figures would give us a number substantially greater than $25 million. We do not attempt to estimate a great many items that should be included in an accounting of the costs of the New Civics, including:

  1. administrative overhead;
  2. pensions for New Civics staff and faculty;
  3. student fees for New Civics activities;
  4. the Student Affairs budget;
  5. budgets of overlapping bureaucracies dedicated to progressive advocacy (Offices of Diversity, Sustainability, and so on);
  6. all student housing costs; and
  7. university fundraising and publicity dedicated to the New Civics

We believe that these items alone would easily double our estimate—and even this list does not account for incalculables such as opportunity cost and reputational cost. We can say with fair confidence that CU-Boulder’s expenditure on New Civics is more than one third of what CU-Boulder requests annually from the state of Colorado.

We also know that these costs are rising rapidly: CU Engage’s budget alone increased almost 50% between FY2015 and FY2016, from $614,234 to $915,179.544 Even if CU Engage’s budgetary increase is significantly higher than the average cost increase for New Civics programs, the total cost of the New Civics is probably rising more than 10% a year. And we can say with absolute certainty that the New Civics advocates want to devote all of CUBoulder’s $1.58 billion a year to forwarding the New Civics.

Colorado State University 

Colorado State University (CSU) is a more professionally oriented counterpart to CU-Boulder. Located in Fort Collins, CSU was established as a land-grant institution in 1870, as Colorado Agricultural College (CAC); the first students enrolled in 1879. In 1935, CAC’s name was changed to Colorado State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, and in 1957 to Colorado State University. Today, Colorado State University remains focused on the more technical fields, including science, technology, engineering, veterinary medicine, and agriculture. It currently enrolls about 32,000 students.545

CSU’s total expenditures for its FY 2016-17 annual budget is $1.1 billion, with $134.5 million of the total in direct state funding.546 In the absence of reliable official figures for New Civics spending at CSU, we have developed a lowball estimate of $15 million per year—more than 10% of what CSU receives directly from the state of Colorado. This chapter concludes with our financial analysis.

As at CU-Boulder, the New Civics at CSU substitutes progressive advocacy for education both inside and outside the classroom. In this chapter we will survey CSU’s New Civics domain from the classroom to the dorm room. We will also explore the remnants of CSU’s Old Civics, and see how well they fare against the rival efforts of the New Civics.

While CSU’s New Civics bureaucracy broadly resembles CU-Boulder’s, on a somewhat smaller scale, there are several notable differences in its administrative structure:

  1. While CU-Boulder administers most of its New Civics via the single administrative unit of CU Engage, CSU administers its New Civics through several different programs, including Student Leadership, Involvement and Community Engagement (SLiCE), the Leadership Program and Minor, and the Department of Communication Studies.
  2. While CU-Boulder has no office to coordinate service-learning, CSU runs its service-learning classes through two offices: the TILT Service Learning Program within SliCE, and the administratively separate Office for Service Learning and Volunteer Programs.
  3. While CU-Boulder’s New Civics programs include massive intrusions into students’ extracurricular and residential life, CSU’s New Civics programs have a far more modest presence outside the classroom. Many fewer of CSU’s residential halls are explicitly yoked to the New Civics.
  4. While CU-Boulder’s Honors Program remains independent of the New Civics, CSU’s New Civics have captured the University’s Honors Program.

The Bored-Out Core

The Old Civics cannot be taught properly at CSU because, like CU-Boulder, CSU has removed the core curriculum within which the Old Civics ought to be taught. Also like CU-Boulder, CSU has substituted distribution requirements for a “core curriculum,” and pretended nothing has changed because it falsely labels these distribution requirements a “University Core Curriculum.”547 CSU students share no body of knowledge about their birthright of Western civilization—and, as a consequence, share no civic knowledge.

CSU’s “All-University Core Curriculum” requires students to take courses in eight different curricular areas, each of which offers students dozens of alternatives. Students can satisfy these requirements by choosing courses from among the tattered scraps of the Old Civics—but they have a myriad of alternatives that will satisfy their distribution requirements just as well.

Nothing but New Civics

CSU concentrates on giving students choices, regardless of how little traditional education they receive. In Fall 2016, the university offered 1,961 different courses, in 4,184 sections.548 A few of these classes give students a traditional civics education, but they are far outnumbered by their New Civics rivals. We count a minimum of 132 service-learning courses549 taught each year at CSU, while no more than 5 courses meet a strict definition of traditional civics. For every Old Civics course in the curriculum there are more than 26 New Civics courses.

The Ragged Old Core

Most of the courses that meet CSU’s distribution requirements have no connection to traditional civics. This situation contrasts to CU-Boulder, where some courses that meet distribution requirements contain fragments of traditional civics. For example, where CU-Boulder offers ENGL 3164-3 History and Literature of Georgian Britain, CSU offers General Psychology. A course such as General Psychology may be worthwhile in itself, but because this course and others like it fulfill the CSU Social and Behavioral Sciences requirement, they sidetrack students from taking other courses that would contribute to civic literacy.

Within the Historical Perspectives requirement, there are four proper introductory survey courses that could be part of a civics core curriculum: HIST 100 Western Civilization, Pre-Modern; HIST 101 Western Civilization, Modern; HIST 150 U.S. History to 1876; or HIST 151 U.S. History Since 1876.550 Students who didn’t want to take one of these four options had 17 other choices.551 The alternative to Western Civilization is a course such as World History or Asian Civilizations; the alternative to U.S. History is a course such as Native American History or Natural Resources History and Policy.

Similarly, the Social and Behavioral Sciences requirement can be fulfilled by taking POLS 101 American Government and Politics—but students could also take one of 20 alternatives.552 The only alternative with civic content is POLS 103 State and Local Government and Politics. Most were courses such as General Psychology or General Sociology.

CSU’s Arts and Humanities requirement does offer students some bits and pieces of Western Civilization among its 48 choices, such as E 232 Introduction to Humanities or PHIL 120 History and Philosophy of Scientific Thought. But students can also satisfy this requirement with choices such as D 140 Understanding Dance, ETST 240 Native American Cultural Experience, or LSPA 320 Spanish for Heritage Speakers.553

"Distribution Requirements" Mean "Get Out Of Civics Free"

CSU students can take some Old Civics courses to satisfy their distribution requirements. Two of the eight distribution requirements in CSU’s “All-University Core Curriculum,” Historical Perspectives and Social and Behavioral Sciences, can be met with courses that can give students an approximation of a traditional civics education. But students can also fulfill these two requirements by taking courses that are not at all civic in any traditional sense of the word. Students may meet the Historical Perspectives requirement by taking ETST 252 Asian-American History or HIST 116 The Islamic World Since 1500.554 Students can fulfill the Social and Behavioral Sciences requirement by taking ECON 240 Issues in Environmental Economics or SOWK 110 Contemporary Social Welfare. CSU’s distribution requirements provide a horde of rivals to the traditional civics curriculum.

Civics Sinking

Our best approximation is that slightly over one half of CSU students take at least one of the five CSU Old Civics survey courses over their entire undergraduate career—but we doubt that more than 60 percent take even two such courses.

In Fall 2016, 1,603 students fulfilled their Historical Perspectives requirement by taking one of four equivalents of a civics course: HIST 100 Western Civilization, Pre-Modern (210 students),555 HIST 101 Western Civilization, Modern (219 students),556 HIST 150 U.S. History to 1876 (342 students),557 and HIST 151 U.S. History Since 1876 (832 students).558

Students who didn’t want to take one of these four options had 17 other choices.559 In Fall 2016 1,077 students fulfilled their Historical Perspectives requirement by taking just 4 of those 17 other choices: ANTH 140 Introduction to Prehistory (182 students),560 HIST 170 World History, Ancient-1500 (322 students),561 HIST 171 World History, 1500-Present (401 students),562 and NR 320 Natural Resources History and Policy (172 students).563 Even more narrow choices included HIST 115 The Islamic World: Late Antiquity to 1500 (80 students)564 and ETST 250 African American History (47 students).565 Perhaps one-half of CSU students voluntarily take one of the four courses that together provide the comprehensive knowledge of Western and American history needed for a civics education.

That same semester, just 356 students fulfilled their Social and Behavioral Sciences requirement by taking POLS 101 American Government and Politics.566 Most students took one of the 20 alternatives.567 In Fall 2016 3,353 students fulfilled their Social and Behavioral Sciences requirement by taking just 4 of those 20 other choices: JTC 100 Media in Society (436 students),568 PSY 100 General Psychology (1716 students),569 SOC 100 General Sociology (609 students),570 and HDFS 101 Individual and Family Development (592 students).571 Each of these courses alone attracted more students than POLS 101 American Government and Politics. More progressive choices included ECON 240 Issues in Environmental Economics (102 students)572 and SOC 105 Social Problems (493 students).573

Civics Education: For the Few Who Bother

As these numbers indicate, free choice by students is an unsteady pillar for the traditional civics courses at CSU. Most of the alternatives that CSU students take are not frivolous, trendy, or overtly ideological—although some are—but neither do they provide an education in civics.

Within the Historical Perspectives requirement, perhaps half of students do choose one of the four basic history courses needed for a civics education—but even so, one half of that half slide by with HIST 151 U.S. History Since 1876, the course that tells students the least about the long history of our civilization or the founding principles of our government.

Within the Social and Behavioral Sciences requirement, POLS 101 American Government and Politics, CSU’s basic American government course, is overwhelmed by courses such as PSY 100 General Psychology and SOC 100 General Sociology. Even if students want to take this course, CSU has a limited capacity. In Fall 2016, CSU offered only three sections of POLS 101 American Government and Politics, with a total capacity of 459 seats; in Summer 2016, it provided one further summer class with 30 seats.574 At that rate, a maximum of 3,792 students could take the course during their 4 years at CSU—not quite 12% of all undergraduates.

CSU’s substitution of distribution requirements for a core curriculum ensures that only a tiny portion of its undergraduates receive a traditional civics education.

Preparing the Way for a New Core

CSU’s distribution requirements also cloak the formation of a new core curriculum of progressive advocacy. CSU has interspersed progressive courses throughout Arts and Humanities (ETST 240 Native American Cultural Experience), Historical Perspectives (ETST 250 African American History), and Social and Behavioral Sciences (ECON 240 Issues in Environmental Economics).575 In addition, virtually all 97 courses of the Global and Cultural Awareness requirement are tailored to subject CSU students to progressive advocacy. The choices in the Global and Cultural Awareness requirement include subjects such as E 142 Reading Without Borders; ECON 211 Gender in the Economy; ETST 256 Border Crossings: People/Politics/Culture; and SOC 220 Global Environmental Issues.576

These courses are not yet mandatory. Yet when CSU decides to require progressive advocacy and New Civics, the courses they have already put into the distribution requirements will be available to form a new, required core.

Civic Engagement is Progressive Advocacy, No Matter How You Slice It

Little remains of the Old Civics at CSU—but CSU has substituted in its place a thriving New Civics complex. CSU’s Student Leadership, Involvement and Community Engagement (SLiCE) acts as the equivalent of CU Engage at CU-Boulder, the administrative heart of the New Civics on campus. SliCE has grown enormously over the last generation: in 1986, its institutional predecessor “consisted of one graduate student and three work-study undergraduate students.”577 It now possesses 13 full-time staff and 3 graduate assistants.578 The University Honors Program and the Department of Communication Studies also manage large portions of the New Civics at CSU.

Unlike CU-Boulder, CSU co-ordinates CSU’s service-learning from two offices: the TILT Service Learning Program within SliCE, and the administratively separate Office for Service Learning and Volunteer Programs. Key Service Community (KSC) and Leadership Development Community (LDC) are the equivalents to the Residential Academic Programs at CU-Boulder, although smaller in scope.

Administrative heart, University Honors Program, activities run by the Department of Communication Studies, wide-ranging service-learning, and miscellaneous efforts including residential life—together these provide a portrait in full of the New Civics at CSU.

Radical Cels at CSU

The first core of the New Civics at CSU is the Community Engagement Leaders (CELS) program, sponsored by TILT Service Learning in SliCE. CELS “supports a select group of sophomore and junior level community-engaged students interested in linking their passion for service-learning and community action with their academic major.” These students aim to create “a more peaceful, compassionate, and sustainable world through local and global community initiatives,” focusing on issues such as “education, environmental stewardship, public health, civility, justice, youth development, poverty, sustainable development, elder care, etc.” CELS, in other words, is devoted to creating CSU’s cadre of radical activists.

CELS students also “participate in a community-based service experience with a non-profit or nongovernmental organization of their choice.” This program provides activism training: “students chosen as CELS will have the opportunity to develop and realize their potential as community leaders and scholarship in local, national, and global levels.” The CELS requirements include “6 credit-hours in approved service-learning classes.” The certificate also requires “150 hours of service in partnership with an approved community organization of your choice.”579 CELS ensure that its students receive proper vocational training as activists—and ensures that local progressive organizations receive their tithe of free student labor.

Cheer-Leaders for the Left

CELS isn’t the only program at CSU that trains radical cadres: students can get the same training in the President’s Leadership Program and the Interdisciplinary Minor in Leadership Studies, both run out of SliCE.

CSU students in the President’s Leadership Program (PLP) take six courses worth 14 credits: IU 170* – A Call to Lead: Theories and Foundations (2 credits); IU 171 – A Call to Lead: Social Change Model (2 credits); IU 270* – Leadership Styles I: Personal Application (2 credits); IU 271 – Leadership Styles II: Prominent Leadership (2 credits); IU 470* – Effective Leadership I: Success as a Leader (3 credits); and IU 471 – Effective Leadership II: Vision and Change (3 credits). Effective Leadership I and II require “collaboration with Homeward 2020- Fort Collins’ ten year plan to end homelessness.” PLP students are also expected to “participate in retreats, service projects, and internships that allow them to apply their knowledge and training.”580

The Interdisciplinary Minor in Leadership Studies requires students to take 2-3 further courses: one qualifying “capstone experience” course from the student’s major for 3 credits, and 1-2 semesters of IU 486, 487 or 498 Practicum/Internship/Research for 4 credits. The Leadership Minor as a whole requires a total of 21 credits. The Minor interprets leadership as “a process of people working together to effect positive change, rather than a position of one person or the powerful elite.” Each class in the minor possesses “a significant service-learning component that addresses pressing societal issues such as poverty and sustainability.” The Minor further stipulates that “both experiences in, and commitments to, civic engagement and multicultural competence are required.” Students who complete the Minor have skills that include the ability to “Engage in principled dissent, accepting and appreciating other world-views,” “Practice humanitarian skills and value social responsibility towards current social issues,” and “Practice collective efficacy and civic responsibility.”581

Leadership at CSU is also a practicum in progressive advocacy.

Radical Rehetoric

Where CU-Boulder’s Program for Writing and Rhetoric (PWR) focused on creating The Writing Initiative for Service and Engagement (WISE), CSU’s New Civics advocates in their Department of Communication instead have concentrated upon creating yet another pipeline to form radical cadres among the student body. The Department of Communication provides a specialization track in Rhetoric and Civic Engagement, which channels even more students toward progressive advocacy in the guise of learning about “a wide array of communication practices, ranging from political speeches to social movements.” Courses in the specialization track include SPCM 401 Rhetoric in Contemporary Social Movements, SPCM 407 Public Deliberation, SPCM 408 Applied Deliberative Techniques, SPCM 523 Feminist Theories of Discourse, and SPCM 540/ETST 540 Rhetoric, Race, and Identity.582

One recent CSU student, Hailey Duke, illustrates the job choices that the Rhetoric and Civic Engagement track promotes: “As a student at Colorado State University I focused on Rhetoric and Civic Engagement, Women and Gender Studies, and various Social Justice missions. I was Vice President of Students United for Reproductive Justice and the undergraduate representative on the Center for Women’s Studies and Gender Research Executive Board. These experiences lead to internship opportunities at Northern Colorado AIDS Project and Denver Urban Ministries.”583

Pact with Harry Boyte

CSU trains radical activists through programs housed in CELS, Leadership, and the Department of Communication. CSU’s SliCE also oversees another local franchise of Harry Boyte’s neo-Alinskyite Public Achievement, Public Achievement for Community Transformation (PACT). CSU’s New Civics advocates use PACT in the usual way, to direct undergraduate progressive activism toward community organizing in local K-12 schools and to soften up K-12 students to be malleable organizees. SLiCE, the School of Education, and the School of Social Work co-sponsor PACT at CSU.

As at CU-Boulder, “PACT coaches … guide the youth through the six stages of Public Achievement, ending with a community action project in the spring that brings positive, constructive change to their community. These stages ensure learning, growth, and the development of essential skills of dialogue, deliberation, research, campaigning, and exercising the vocabulary of citizenship.” PACT is supposed to model continuing activism: “youth can replicate their PACT experience using the six steps they learned here and continue to make positive, longlasting change in their own neighborhoods.”

PACT “prides itself in its commitment to diversity and multiculturalism,” students in PACT “learn acceptance of multiple identities, cultural competence, and emphasize the importance of having an open mind,” and free student labor for progressive nonprofits is phrased as “Assisting an existing organization or service in completing their goals to address a community issue.” Examples given of community action include creating “an End Racism Now event and Recycle It! environmental campaign.” PACT explicitly contrasts its activities with ordinary community service, such as “tutoring, picking up trash, or making holiday cards for troops.”584

Dollars for "Scholars"

CSU’s students specializing as progressive activists also need financial support, and SliCE provides them scholarship support from several Civic Engagement Scholarships,585 including the Puksta Scholars Program.586 Yet SliCE provides the greatest amount of dedicated support for its student cadres through the PRAXIS program.

PRAXIS, which takes its motto from Paulo Freire’s The Pedagogy of the Oppressed,587 coordinates, provides training for, and funds up to $2,000 for student “community service or action” projects. These projects are two to four semesters long, and are meant to involve “leadership training and service-learning experiences” and collaboration “with a local community partner (e.g., non-profit agency)” to be selected from a list of appropriate community partners provided by the SLiCE office.588 PRAXIS requires student project teams to take part in two training sessions (“leadership training retreats”), a mission clarification session (“learning circle”), an after action report (“reflection circle”), and a publicity event (“PRAXIS Showcase”).589

Chosen issues “can be local, national, or global in scope but must affect the Fort Collins community in some tangible way”; SLiCE’s “Examples of local issues include housing/homelessness, health, drugs/alcohol, transportation, and working with special populations like senior citizens, youth, and people with disabilities. Some national issues with local impact include environmental sustainability and immigration.” SLiCE prefers “projects that are structured, sustainable and specific.” It will not support “Fundraisers, political campaigns, and projects that have the potential to cause harm.”590

PRAXIS-funded projects include “No More Injustice/Enslaved … a two day event, [during which] 527 participants walked through a human trafficking simulation highlighting sexual slavery, war slavery, and work slavery. After the simulation, participants were encouraged to connect with various nonprofit agencies tackling this issue.”591

Honoring Advocacy

So far the New Civics at CSU largely parallels the New Civics at CU-Boulder. Yet the New Civics advocates at CSU have stolen a march on their peers at CU-Boulder by one important initiative—the partial takeover of CSU’s University Honors Program (UHP). The UHP provides an “enriched” program of study for ca. 400 academically talented students in each class of CSU undergraduates—smaller classes only open to honors students and separate Honors sections of regular courses, the possibility of living in a dedicated Residential Learning Community, and a scholarship.592

The New Civics bureaucracy has infiltrated this program, and made leadership and community service part of the UHP.593 Honors students can add an Enriched Academic Experience to a regular course by means that include a “service-learning activity.”594 In the Upper Division Honors Program, Honors students are required to undertake an “in depth study” that may include “an applied or civically engaged project.”595 The UHP provides an Enrichment Award that may be applied to “Leadership development programs” and “Community service activities.” Several recent Enrichment Awards have subsidized participation in Alternative Spring/Winter Breaks.596

Honors courses are frequently exercises in progressive advocacy—for example, HONR 192 The Global Environment; HONR 192 You Are What You Eat; and HONR 392 If You Are So Smart…? Economic and Social Class in Contemporary America. 597 Some are also vehicles for the New Civics. HONR 492-001 Philanthropy in Action – Passion to Service “empowers students to maximize their potential to serve others through the lens of assisting in alleviating material poverty” by “practical hands-on experience.” Honors Study Abroad in Zambia centers around “purely experiential learning” and “community projects.”598

Meanwhile all HONR 192 courses include “an orientation component,” a one-hour orientation class that account for 20% of the grade for the class. The orientation class gives students “an active learning environment that enhances student connections to other honors students, the campus, and the Honors curriculum. Peer mentors conduct weekly sessions that emphasize campus engagement, activity, and community.”599

CSU’s University Honors Program does not require the New Civics, but it “encourages” Honors students to participate in “significant community service and leadership activities throughout your college career.”600

The New Civics advocates have taken over CSU’s University Honors Program for the same reason that their peers at CU-Boulder took over the Residential Academic Program. Students naturally desire smaller, better classes; New Civics advocates channel that desire so that students are funneled into participation in the New Civics.

Service-Learning Tilted to the Left

CSU’s New Civics advocates also make sure that their progressive advocacy extends far beyond the training of radical cadres. Beyond these core training programs, New Civics advocates have inserted service-learning classes into a wide variety of disciplines, to direct free student labor toward progressive organizations. CSU’s service-learning is run from both the TILT Service Learning Program within SliCE and the administratively separate Office for Service Learning and Volunteer Programs (SLVP).601

TILT provides a list of 132 courses that “have historically offered experiential, service-learning components.” These generally have innocuous names, such as ART 456 Advanced Illustration or INTD 476 Interior Design Project; a few have more progressive titles, such as ERHS 498 Independent Study – Improved Cookstove Intervention for Nicaraguan Families or ETST 365 Global Environmental Justice Movements.602

TILT’s Service-Learning Faculty Manual, Fourth Edition (2007) and the SLVP Teaching Guide both illustrate CSU service-learning’s alignment with the radical national movement’s dual goals to remake students into progressive activists and provide free labor for progressive non-profits.603 TILT recommends as service-learning partners United Way, AmeriCorps, Student Leadership, Involvement & Community Engagement (SLiCE), PRAXIS, Key Service Community, Alternative Semester Breaks, and Service@CSU.604 This list is not exclusively tilted to the left, but most of these partners are progressive.

TILT also provides mini-grants, usually $500 to $1,000, which “fund the development of new service-learning courses or initiatives, the improvement of existing ones, and[/]or the implementation of community-based research projects.” Two top awards in Fall 2015 were $1000 to Maricela DeMirjyn, Ethnic Studies, for her course on Borderlands Healing Practices, and $2,000 to Karina Cespedes and Ernesto Sagas, Ethnic Studies, for their course Human and Environmental Sustainability Service-Learning in Cuba.605 By this means, TILT is extending service-learning ever further into the curriculum—as well as directing more funds to New Civics advocates.

In addition, the SLVP’s Service Integration Project (SIP) includes a Faculty Scholars Program (“a six-week training program including a stipend for participation and implementation of service-learning”), a Faculty Fellow Program (“a ten-month fellowship to engage faculty in service-learning teaching, research, professional service, dissemination of outcomes, and peer mentoring”), disbursement of faculty/community mini-grants, and training, information, and awards.606 CSU then provides several further financial awards for undergraduates involved in service-learning.607 Service-learning at CSU is already extensive; and it directs its funds both to support service-learning cadres in their current efforts and to seed new service-learning classes throughout the university.

On to Alinsky, At All Deliberate Speed

CSU’s Department of Communication Studies has also created another distinctive New Civics program, unparalleled at CU-Boulder—or at the University of Northern Colorado or the University of Wyoming, for that matter. CSU’s Center for Public Deliberation (CPD) (founded 2006) provides undergraduates further opportunities to engage in progressive advocacy for course credit, by way of supporting public deliberation initiatives. The CPD is “Dedicated to enhancing local democracy through improved public communication and community problem solving,” by supporting public deliberation in Northern Colorado.608

The CPD is mostly a one-man project by Professor Martín Carcasson, whose writings (posted on the CPD website and given its official imprimatur) provide insight as to what Carcasson intends by public deliberation.609 Most relevant is Carcasson’s Beginning with the End in Mind: A Call for Goal-Driven Deliberative Practice.610 Carcasson lists six goals of deliberation: issue learning, improving democratic attitudes, improving democratic skills, improving institutional decision making, improving community problem solving—and improving community action. Public deliberation, in other words, aligns with the Alinskyite community organizing focus of other parts of the New Civics agenda.

There is some tension between public deliberation’s focus on process and community organizing’s focus on progressive ends, “between serving as an impartial resource and as a catalyst for action,”611 but Carcasson takes public deliberation to serve the long-term goals of community action. Public deliberation helps community organization to coordinate and collaborate with one another, and to become more effective by avoiding simplified adversarial tactics: “deliberation can not only lead to more individual and community action on common problems, but also to a more collaborative and inclusive kind of individual and community action.”612

Public deliberation is supposed to work as a complement to community organization: “Deliberative practitioners may very well be community organizers in many ways, but they are community organizers with a particular long-term focus and a value set that prioritizes inclusion and equality.”613 Carcasson’s conclusion re-emphasizes the complementary roles of public deliberation as process and the progressive ends of community organization: “part of the long-term goal for our field is to bring them together and erase the distinction.”614

The CPD relies heavily on unpaid undergraduates who earn course credit for their work: “Students accepted into the program earn upper level SPCM credits while acquiring a wide range of critical 21st century skills and experiences that will be applicable to many contexts, including facilitating collaborative problem-solving, issue analysis, convening, community organizing, meeting design, and reporting.” These students too are being trained to be progressive activists.

30-40 undergraduates at a time work for the CPD, with an intake of about 15 new students each semester. New students receive 3 credits their first semester for SPCM 408 Applied Deliberative Techniques, and at least 1 credit their second semester for SPCM 486 Practicum. Students may continue to work for the CPD and receive an indefinite number of credits by repeating SPCM 486 Practicum.615

Martín's Minions

The Department of Communication also provides a Deliberative Practices specialization for undergraduates who wish to promote public deliberation—yet another track to channel students into progressive activism. Undergraduates who take SPCM 407 Public Deliberation learn the theory behind public deliberation; those who take SPCM 408 Applied Deliberative Techniques receive credit for work with the CPD. Any graduate student may take SPCM 508 Deliberative Theory and Practice and also receive credit for work with the CPD.

The Department of Communication Studies also hosts an associated Deliberative Practices Specialization in its MA program, “designed for those who want to emphasize public deliberation and work extensively with the CPD .” There are usually 3 graduate students admitted to the track each year, and they contribute to the CPD’s research and projects. Among the course requirements for the Deliberative Track, those which are designed to tie directly to the CPD are SPCM 408 Applied Deliberative Techniques; SPCM 508 Deliberative Theory and Practice; 6 credits in connection with the applied research project, SPCM 695 Independent Study; SPCM 686 Practicum; and “an applied research project supervised by faculty experts in public deliberation.”616

New Civics Workout: Stepping Up and Getting in Leadershape

So far we have focused on CSU’s New Civics in the classroom—but the New Civics at CSU also extends beyond the classroom into different extracurricular aspects of student life. The New Civics extends into CSU students’ extracurricular life via programs that include the Campus Step Up and LeaderShape retreats.

Campus Step Up is a university-funded weekend retreat of progressive advocacy and activism training, where students “expand their awareness on issues of diversity and cross-cultural communication” and “spend time in a safe environment focusing on self-reflection, education, and personal growth regarding their perceptions of social justice, multicultural, and global issues.” The ultimate goal for Campus Step Up “is to give students the skills to act on the issues and causes that they are most passionate about.”617

LeaderShape is a national organization that hosts six-day conferences for college students nationwide; it advertises that, “You’ll also participate in exercises which explore the concept of “inclusive leadership” and how to create communities which value respect, openness, and diverse opinions.” LeaderShape includes what appears to be community organization training: “you’ll begin work developing your own vision for the future which defines a bold change for your community, group, cause, or organization back home.” Some progressive advocacy may be included as well: “You will discuss how core ethical values, thoughtful decisions, and courage all play critical roles in sustaining integrity and fostering trust and respect.”618

Both of these extracurricular activities are channels for further New Civics advocacy.

Service-Learning is the Key to Leadership 

In addition to these extracurricular programs, CSU’s New Civics advocates also work to put progressive activism into the dormitories. Precisely paralleling the New Civics takeover of CU-Boulder’s RAPs, the Key Service Community and the Leadership Development Community frame student residential life around the New Civics.

The Key Service Community (KSC) “is a first-year residential learning community developed around the theme of ‘student leadership and civic engagement.’”619 KSC students take 2 Service Cluster classes together their first semester: “a 3-credit Introduction to Service-Learning class, combined with a 3-credit focused course that relates to the theme of your cluster.” Students may choose from 4 possible Service Clusters. All KSC students also take “a 3-credit introduction to service-learning course: KEY 192 Public Problem Solving through Service- Learning.” KSC students ideally develop “a deeper understanding of the root causes and broader social issues that contribute to community problems.” Their service-learning “is intended to help students learn and care about others and develop the skills and attitudes to become ‘multicultural community builders.’” The Key Service Cluster seminar requires students to “incorporate service projects and activities that will help you meet the minimum of 1-2 hours of service required per week for your participation in the community.”620 Previous service projects include Ram Serve, a service trip to Colorado State’s Environmental Learning Center, Colorado State’s Reach Out Program, The Sustainability Living Fair, and United Nations World Food Day.621

The Leadership Development Community (LDC) is a residential learning community in Colorado State’s Durward Hall that “provides you with a safe, inclusive, and fun learning community in which you are supported through the college transition with like-minded individuals.” LDC students “have the opportunity to continue the development of their leadership skills through a variety of involvement opportunities and participation in service projects, peer facilitation, and experiential learning.” LDC students also “have an opportunity to strengthen and expand their own knowledge of ethical leadership and civic engagement.” LDC students gain competences that include Multicultural and Intercultural Competence.622 They are also supposed to “Complete a REAL Leadership Preparation Certification,” which requires them to “Fulfill 20 hours of community service in the fall semester, and an additional 20 hours of community service or a pre-approved involvement activity during the spring semester.”623

The New Civics advocates have taken over fewer residential programs at CSU than at CSU-Boulder, but they direct them more intensively toward progressive advocacy.

No Break From New Civics

CSU’s New Civics advocates also work to direct time away from campus toward progressive advocacy. CSU students can engage in service-learning and volunteering while studying abroad. Service-learning programs affiliated with Colorado State include Alternative Break, Global Sustainability & Service in Nicaragua (non-credit), Community Education & Health in Zambia, Comparative Education in Panama City, Panama (non-credit), Human & Environmental Sustainability in Cuba (non-credit), Integrated Social and Ecological Field Methods in Belize, Integrated Social and Ecological Field Methods in Kenya, Learn and Serve in Ghana, West Africa, Peace Corps, and SLICE Alternative Breaks.624

Moreover, CSU’s Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Program also includes a service-learning course at the Todos Santos Center in the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur.625 CSU/UADY Leadership Experience also applies service-learning to a study-abroad program in Mexico’s Yucatan.626 Colorado State’s volunteer organization partner, African Impact, also recently organized a service learning program in Zambia that provided service in community education and public health.627

CSU’s franchise of the Alternative Breaks program also transforms vacation time into New Civics sessions. At CSU, “Past trips have focused on such social/cultural issues as hunger, AIDS/ HIV, housing, homelessness, issues facing Native American living on reservations, environmental conservation, education, economic sustainability, and women’s issues.” Roughly 200 students take an Alternative Break service-learning trip each year; “group meetings” bracket the trip, so that participants can “get to know group members, learn about the service site, cultures, and issues of social and environmental justice, as well as to adequately process the trip and continue creating change.”

Listed Alternative Break destinations include Atlanta, Georgia (“Partnering with the International Rescue Committee (IRC), this trip focuses on providing opportunities for refugees to thrive in America”); Detroit, Michigan (“this trip will focus on building community and volunteering with various populations in Detroit such as people experiencing homelessness and the lgbtq community”); and Nogales, Arizona (“partnering with both No More Deaths and Humane Borders, participants will gain insight into the perspective of an immigrant crossing the border”).628

When We're Older, We'll Be Boulder

The next step for CSU will be to enlarge its New Civics complex. CSU’s 2016 Strategic Plan’s “Goal 3: Student Learning Success” and “Goal 5: Engagement” indicate that CSU intends such an enlargement. These goals include “More active/engaged learning in high-impact practices that promote curricular and co-curricular engagement and integration, service learning, and experiential learning,” via participation in “Honors, SLICE, OURA [Office of Undergraduate Research and Artistry], Presidential leadership, etc.” Improvement in “Levels of undergraduate student engagement” will be assessed by “measurable improvements on NSSE [National Survey of Student Engagement] benchmarks.”

CSU will also focus on developing further “partner agreements” and “recurring partners” with “new partner agencies or communities,” and “Establish Engagement Hubs”. In addition, CSU will “Improve opportunities for scholarship of engagement,” assessed by “Reported scholarship of engagement activity in student and/or faculty portfolios.” All this will further CSU’s larger goals to “Engage students in educational experiences that provide opportunities for deep learning,” and to “Collaborate with stakeholders (campus-wide, local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity that increases CSU’s relevance and value to the State of Colorado.”629

When CSU has achieved these goals, its New Civics complex will be at least as large as CU-Boulder’s is now.

The New Civics in Dollars

As at CU-Boulder, the New Civics is already a significant drain on CSU’s resources—and in consequence a significant burden to Colorado taxpayers.

As noted above, CSU’s total expenditures for its FY 2016-17 annual budget is $1.1 billion, with $134.5 million (12.2%) of the total in direct state funding.630 CSU is as little forthcoming as CU-Boulder about the details of its budget, but we do know that the Lory Student Center, which houses Student Leadership, Involvement and Community Engagement (SLiCE)—the heart of CSU’s New Civics complex—has a total budget of $31.3 million.631 Moreover, Pamela Norris, the Director of SliCE, writes more precisely that she administers “9 full-time, 5 graduate student, 30 student staff,” and that she oversees “$2 million of office budgets and accounts.”632 This $2 million roughly tallies with the figure we have derived from the University of Delaware,633 which suggests that each full-time staff person implies a budget of a bit more than $200,000.

There are further dedicated administrative personnel marbled throughout CSU, in places such as TILT and the Center for Public Deliberation: assume there are no more than 9 further such positions, and we add another $2 million ($4 million total). There appear to be at least 132 service learning courses taught each year at CSU:634 if we cautiously assume that the equivalent of no more than 20 instructors a year are teaching service-learning courses, we add another $4 million ($8 million total).

Add in administrative support throughout the university (housing, Student Affairs, and so on), as well as miscellaneous financial awards whose moneys are not directly administered by SLiCE, and the costs should easily add another $1 million ($9 million total). The direct administrative costs of the New Civics at CSU should be taken, at a lowball estimate, at $9 million dollars.

To this we may add the costs of tuition and fees spent on New Civics courses. One 3-credit course at CSU costs $1,656 in tuition and fees for an in-state student.635 Multiply $1,656 by 25 (the average class size at CSU)636 by 132 (the number of service-learning classes), and the total costs to students, government (by way of subsidy of student loans), and the university together should come to another $5.46 million ($14.46 million total). Some of these courses are less than 3 credits— but some students, especially in the Community Engagement Leaders (CELS) program and the Interdisciplinary Minor in Leadership Studies, take more than one New Civics course a semester. Direct administrative costs and tuition should come to at least $14.46 million a year.

We may add housing costs to this total. 76 students a year live in the Key Service Community (KSC),637 and another 35 in the Leadership Development Community (LDC),638 both of which are organized around the New Civics. The ordinary cost for room and board at CSU is $11,862;639 Assigning only half this cost to the New Civics, we may call it $5,931 a year for 111 students—another $658 thousand ($15.12 million total). Round down our total estimate to be cautious, and that brings the total to $15 million—more than one tenth of the state of Colorado’s direct subsidy of $134.5 million to CSU in 2016-2017.

We strongly suspect that detailed figures from CSU would give us a number substantially greater than $15 million. We do not attempt to estimate a great many items that should be included in an accounting of the costs of the New Civics, including

  1. administrative overhead;
  2. pensions for New Civics staff and faculty;
  3. student fees for New Civics activities;
  4. the Student Affairs budget;
  5. budgets of overlapping bureaucracies dedicated to progressive advocacy (Offices of Diversity, Sustainability, and so on);
  6. all student housing costs; and
  7. university fundraising and publicity dedicated to the New Civics

We believe that these items alone would easily double our estimate—and even this list does not account for incalculables such as opportunity cost and reputational cost. We can say with fair confidence that CSU’s expenditure on New Civics is more than one tenth of what CU-Boulder requests annually from the state of Colorado. We can say with absolute certainty that the New Civics advocates want much more of CSU’s $1.1 billion a year to forward the New Civics. We presume their ultimate goal, as with their peers nationwide, is to use CSU’s entire budget to forward progressive advocacy.

University of Northern Colorado

The University of Northern Colorado (UNC) is a comprehensive university that continues to emphasize “its historical role in the preparation of educators.”640 UNC was founded in 1889 as the State Normal School of Colorado, dedicated to educating future teachers. It changed its name to the Colorado State Teachers College in 1911, the Colorado State College of Education in 1935, and Colorado State College in 1957. It assumed its present name in 1970.641 As of Spring 2016, UNC enrolled about 11,400 students, including almost 8,800 undergraduates; 9,000 students are at UNC’s main campus in Greeley.642

UNC’s total expenditures for its FY 2016-17 annual budget is $228 million, with $39 million of the total in direct state funding.643 In the absence of reliable official figures for New Civics spending at UNC, we have developed a cautious estimate of $9 million per year. This chapter concludes with our financial analysis.

At UNC as at CU-Boulder and CSU, the New Civics advocates for progressive causes both in the classroom and outside. In this chapter we will examine UNC’s New Civics network throughout the campus. We will also inspect what is left of UNC’s Old Civics, and compare its state with that of the rival New Civics.

UNC’s New Civics bureaucracy is roughly the size of CSU’s. UNC’s New Civics broadly resembles CU-Boulder’s and CSU’s, but its administrative structure varies significantly:

  1. UNC administers much of its New Civics, including its service-learning classes, via the Center for Community and Civic Engagement—UNC’s equivalent of CU Engage at Boulder and SliCE at CSU.
  2. UNC’s New Civics administrative structure nevertheless is far more diffuse than either CU-Boulder’s or CSU’s. UNC runs its New Civics via a large number of offices and programs, including the Student Activities Office, the Social Science Community Engagement major, and the Center for Honors, Scholars and Leadership.
  3. UNC’s New Civics programs have a far more modest presence outside the classroom than at either CU-Boulder or CSU. Unlike the other two universities, it appears to have no residential halls explicitly yoked to the New Civics.
  4. UNC’s New Civics has even deeper control of the University’s Honors Program than has its counterpart at CSU.
  5. UNC plans to create a Global Leadership Program as part of its New Civics complex.

Coreless in Colorado

UNC is as ill-prepared to teach the Old Civics as CU-Boulder or CSU, since it too eliminated its core curriculum. It too has also disguised this abolition by calling its distribution requirements a “Liberal Arts Core.”644 UNC students take no courses in common, possess no academic knowledge in common—and share no civic knowledge in common.

UNC’s “Liberal Arts Core” requires students to take courses in eight different curricular areas, and provides students dozens of alternatives in each area. Students may take some of the few remaining Old Civics classes to fulfill these requirements—but there are hundreds of alternatives in total that they may choose instead.

University of Northern Colorado, university of New Civics

UNC offers students a wide course selection rather than a traditional education; it is not so rich a choice as CU-Boulder and CSU provide, but those universities each have triple the enrollment of UNC. In Fall 2016, UNC offered 944 different undergraduate classes, many divided into multiple sections.645 New Civics classes far outnumber their Old Civics rivals: we count a minimum of 100 service-learning courses taught each year at UNC—more than 10% of the total number of courses offered at UNC.646 UNC offers only 7 courses that meet a strict definition of traditional civics. There are more than 14 New Civics courses at UNC for every Old Civics course.

The Old Core Fades Away

Our best approximation is that two-thirds of UNC students take at least one of the seven UNC Old Civics survey courses over their entire undergraduate career— but we doubt that more than 75 percent take even two such courses.

UNC offers a few courses that make up a traditional core curriculum, but it offers far more numerous alternatives. These include both slices of the broad knowledge of Western Civilization and civic literacy (like CU-Boulder) and broad alternatives to such knowledge (like CSU).

Within UNC’s History requirement, there are four proper introductory survey courses that ought to be part of a civics core curriculum: HIST 100 Survey of American History from Its Beginnings to 1877, HIST 101 Survey of American History from 1877 to the Present, HIST 120 Western Civilization from Ancient Greece to 1689, and HIST 121 Western Civilization from 1689 to the present.647 Students who didn’t want to take one of these four options had 8 other choices.648 The alternatives to Western Civilization include African Civilization and History of Mexico.

Likewise, the Social and Behavioral Sciences requirement can be met by taking PSCI 100 United States National Government or PSCI 105 Fundamentals of Politics—but students can also take one of 33 alternatives.649 The alternatives to United States National Government include Contemporary France or World Geography.

The Arts and Humanities requirement can be fulfilled by taking MIND 180 Great Ideas of the Western Tradition—but UNC students can instead take one of 55 alternatives.650 The alternatives to Great Ideas of the Western Tradition include ENG 213 Survey of British Literature I and CHIN 201 Intermediate Chinese I. Many of these courses have some value—but they are fragments of or alternatives to a traditional core curriculum.

Dismantled Civics in the Distributed Curriculum

UNC students may satisfy three of the eight distribution requirements in the “Liberal Arts Core” by taking Old Civics courses—Arts and Humanities, History and Social and Behavioral Sciences.651 But students may also satisfy these three requirements by selecting courses that are scarcely civic, or not at all. The Arts and Humanities requirement can alternatively be fulfilled by taking MUS 150 History of Rock and Roll or MAS 110 Contemporary Chicano Literature.652 The History requirement can be met by taking AFS 101 Development of Black Identity or HIS 118 History of Mexico.653 The Social and Behavioral Sciences requirement can be met by taking ANT 212 North American Indians or SOC 221 Sociology of Gender.654 UNC’s distribution requirements do retain the traditional civics curriculum—as an unmarked path among a hundred roads.

Civics, Interrupted

Many UNC students do still choose to take Old Civics courses so as to fulfill their distribution requirements. In Fall 2016, 760 students fulfilled their History requirement by taking one of four equivalents of a civics course: HIST 100 Survey of American History from Its Beginnings to 1877 (398 students), HIST 101 Survey of American History from 1877 to the Present (128 students), HIST 120 Western Civilization from Ancient Greece to 1689 (174 students), or HIST 121 Western Civilization from 1689 to the present (60 students).655

Of course, students who didn’t want to take one of these four options had 8 other choices.656 In Fall 2016, 445 students fulfilled their History requirement with five alternatives: AFS 100 Introduction to Africana Studies (166 students), AFS 101 Development of Black Identity (89 students), HIST 110 African Civilization (62 students), HIST 112 Asian Civilization I: From Prehistory to 1500 (64 students), and HIST 118 History of Mexico (64 students).657

That same semester, just 271 students fulfilled their Social and Behavioral Sciences requirement by taking PSCI 100 United States National Government (138 students) or PSCI 105 Fundamentals of Politics (133 students).658 Most students took one of the 33 alternatives.659 In Fall 2016 1,923 students fulfilled their Social and Behavioral Sciences requirement by taking just 4 of those 33 other choices: ANT 110 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (394 students); GEOG 100 World Geography (512 students), PSY 120 Principles of Psychology (628 students), and SOC 100 Principles of Sociology (389 students). Each of these courses enrolled more students than PSCI 100 United States National Government and PSCI 105 Fundamentals of Politics combined. More progressive choices included GNDR 101 Gender and Society (184 students) and SOC 237 Sociology of Minorities (91 students).660

Also that same semester, just 23 students fulfilled their Arts and Humanities requirement by taking MIND 180 Great Ideas of the Western Tradition.661 Most students took one of the 55 alternatives.662 Among the alternatives that fulfilled the Arts and Humanities requirement, courses with greater enrollments included FILM 120 Introduction to Film (102 students), MAS 110 Contemporary Chicano Literature (38 students), MT 296 Musical Theatre History (32 students), and MUS 150 History of Rock and Roll (203 students).663

Civics for Some

The traditional civics at UNC do moderately well in a regime of free student choice. Within the History requirement, perhaps five in eight UNC students (63%) voluntarily take one of the four history courses that together would form the comprehensive knowledge of Western and American history needed for a civics education. Within the Social and Behavioral Sciences requirement, PSCI 100 United States National Government and PSCI 105 Fundamentals of Politics are overwhelmed by courses such as GEOG 100 World Geography and GEOG 100 World Geography. Within the Arts and Humanities requirement, a trivially small number of UNC students took MIND 180 Great Ideas of the Western Tradition; more took MAS 110 Contemporary Chicano Literature or MT 296 Musical Theatre History, and more than eight times as many students took MUS 150 History of Rock and Roll.

Many of the alternatives that UNC students take are not frivolous, trendy, or overtly ideological—although many are—but even the solid courses do not provide an education in civics. We estimate that two-thirds of UNC students take at least one UNC Old Civics survey course— but we doubt that more than three quarters take two.

UNC’s basic American government courses, PSCI 100 United States National Government and PSCI 105 Fundamentals of Politics, reach only a small fraction of UNC students. Even if students want to study the civics curriculum, UNC has a limited capacity to provide it. In Fall 2016, UNC’s two basic government courses had a capacity to seat 280 students; at that rate, a total of 2,240 of UNC’s 8,800 undergraduates could take these courses during their 4 years at UNC—a little more than 25% of all undergraduates.664

The New core Curriculum

While UNC’s old core is fading away, a new one is rising in its place. UNC has progressed farther than CU-Boulder or CSU, for it has already begun to create this new core curriculum.

UNC requires all students to take 40 hours from its Liberal Arts Core (LAC). Within the LAC, UNC students must take courses in six Areas of Basic Core Courses, as well as at least one course apiece in Multicultural Studies and International Studies.665 These last two requirements make up the first building blocks of a new, progressive core at UNC.

International Studies requires students to take courses that aren’t part of their national educational core. A few of the 44 courses are good (Great Ideas of the Western Tradition, cross-listed with the Arts and Humanities requirement), some are innocuous (JAPN 101 Elementary Japanese I), and many are sessions of progressive advocacy (COMM 223 Intercultural Communication, GNDR 285 Gender in Global and Cross Cultural Perspectives, SOC 235 Social Change in a Global Context).666

While International Studies includes some alternatives to the new core, Multicultural Studies is more straightforwardly a requirement to take courses in progressive advocacy. Most of the 20 courses are along the lines of AFS 100 Introduction to Africana Studies, HISP 102 Hispanic Cultures in the United States, and SOC 240 Gender, Race, Class, and Sexuality. Both requirements serve together to make progressive advocacy a substantial part of the UNC core.

UNC greatly magnifies the effect of these two requirements by an ingenious stipulation: the university allows students to double-count courses to fulfill both its Basic Core Courses requirements and its Multicultural Studies and International Studies requirements.667 Students, therefore, have an incentive to choose cross-listed courses—not least because taking such double-counted courses frees them to take more Elective courses so as to complete their 40-hour Liberal Arts Core requirement.

Students seeking to fulfill their Social and Behavioral Sciences requirement can choose PSCI 100 United States National Government or PSCI 105 Fundamentals of Politics—but they will also fulfill their International Studies requirements if they choose PSCI 110 Global Issues, FR 116 Contemporary France, GER 116 Contemporary Germany, ANT 110 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, or MUS 245 Introduction to Ethnomusicology.668 They will also fulfill their Multicultural Studies requirement if they take ANT 212 North American Indians, HISP 102 Hispanic Cultures in the United States, GNDR 101 Gender and Society, MAS 100 Introduction to Mexican American Studies, SOC 221 Sociology of Gender, or SOC 237 Sociology of Minorities.669

Students seeking to fulfill their History requirement can take courses in the Western Civilization and American History surveys—but they will also fulfill their Multicultural Studies requirement if they take AFS 100 Introduction to Africana Studies or AFS 101 Development of Black Identity.670

UNC’s decision to allow International Studies and Multicultural Studies to satisfy its other requirements in its Liberal Arts Core makes such cross-listed courses the default choice for students. Indeed, it means that UNC has placed International Studies and Multicultural Studies at the center of its Liberal Arts Core—a half-formed replacement core curriculum, which puts a progressive stamp on UNC students’ common knowledge.

And the old core curriculum has been replaced. In Fall 2016, 138 students took PSCI 100 United States National Government.671 At that rate, 1,104 of 8,800 UNC undergraduates will take the course during their four years at UNC—not quite 12% of the student body, although summer school enrollments, up to 50 a summer,672 might push the total number to 15% of UNC undergraduates. By way of comparison, we may note that GNDR 101 Gender and Society, a rival to PSCI 100 United States National Government that fulfills both the Social and Behavioral Sciences requirement and the Multicultural Studies requirement, enrolled 184 students in Fall 2016;673 at that rate, 1,472 UNC undergraduates (17%) will take Gender and Society during their time at UNC.674

UNC’s structuring of its course requirements has some role in encouraging more students to decide to take GNDR 101 Gender and Society than PSCI 100 United States National Government. As UNC’s new core solidifies, we may expect ever more students to take Gender and Society and ever fewer to take United States National Government.

As at CU-Boulder and CSU, UNC has established a large number of New Civics programs at the same time as it has dismantled its Old Civics. UNC’s Center for Community and Civic Engagement runs much of the New Civics, including its service-learning and engaged classes, and the Student Activities Office (renamed the Office of Student Life during 2016) runs a significant additional portion.

The New Civics at UNC, however, are disjointed. There is no encompassing administrative authority or organized coordination. The programs collectively are a hydra, where each separately pursues the same radical goals via the same New Civics techniques. One major node of the New Civics at UNC is the Social Science Community Engagement major, which allows UNC students to major in progressive activism. Students specializing as progressive activists receive university recognition via the Engaged Scholar Awards. A second node is the Center for Honors, Scholars and Leadership, which educates cadres of progressive activists via the Honors Program, the Leadership Studies Minor, and the Stryker Institute for Leadership Development.

Beyond this academic core, students provide labor for progressive organizations in service-learning and engaged classes in a wide variety of disciplines. These are run by the Center for Community and Civic Engagement. The New Civics also extends beyond the classroom into different extracurricular aspects of student life. Alternative Spring Break transforms vacation time into New Civics sessions, and the New Civics extends into UNC students’ extracurricular life via programs that include Community Engaged Scholars Symposium and Catalyst: A Social Justice Retreat.

The programs collectively work to make the New Civics present in much of student life at UNC.

Community Engagement is a Social Science

The first head of the New Civics hydra at UNC is the Social Science Community Engagement major, which allows UNC students to major in progressive activism: “Through research and civic engagement assignments and activities, students will be introduced to a variety of community-related careers and opportunities.” Community Engagement majors are required to take courses including ANT 100 Introduction to Anthropology, SOC 100 Principles of Sociology, and one of AFS 100 Introduction to Africana Studies, WS 101 Women in Contemporary Society, or MAS 100 Introduction to Mexican American Studies. Community Engagement majors must also take SOSC 350 Community Research and Engagement (“Participation in the Greeley community through service learning and research. Students will learn social science research methods and conduct their own community-based research projects.”)

Community Engagement majors must also take 6 courses (18 credits) in at least 3 departments, from a list of courses apparently selected to contribute to a knowledge of community engagement. Examples of these Community Engagement Electives include AFS 340 The Black Family; AFS 399 Community Study Project; ANT 355 Medical Anthropology; ECON 365 Urban and Housing Economics; ENST 291 Sustainability and Capitalism; GEOG 310 Urban and Regional Planning; ENST 355 Introduction to Environmental Health; PSCI 203 Colorado Politics; PSY 323 Health Psychology; SOC 333 Social Class and Inequality; and SOC 340 Juvenile Delinquency.675

The Social Science Community Engagement major works to create a cadre of radical activists.

Progressives do the Honors

The second head of UNC’s New Civics hydra is the Center for Honors, Scholars and Leadership, which runs both the Honors and Leadership programs. UNC’s Center has been colonized by the New Civics for more heavily than has CSU’s University Honors Program.676

The Honors Program requires applying students to have a minimum GPA, but it also screens them via essay questions in their admissions packet. Students applying to the Lower Division Honors Program must answer one essay asking for lists of interests including community service, leadership activities, and co-curricular activity, and another essay asking the student to “identify an issue or problem in the world that you would potentially be interested in working on.”677

The Lower Division Honors Curriculum requires students to take HON 101 Introduction to Honors & Critical Thinking, a LIB-prefix Research Skills course, and four courses from a list that includes HON 100 Connections Seminar, HON 200 Connections Seminar, LEAD 100 Contemporary Leadership Theory, LEAD 200 Risk and Change in Leadership, HON 395 Special Topics, HON 492 Study Abroad, and HON 492 International Student Exchange.678

The content of these courses is mostly New Civics. HON 101 Introduction to Honors & Critical Thinking, required of all Honors students, includes “intercultural competencies,” “engaged learning opportunities,” and “community-based projects.” HON 200 Connections Seminar is also “Civic & Community Engagement – an Engaged Course.” The class “provides an engaged learning approach to active citizenry.” LEAD 100 Contemporary Leadership Theory focuses “on the Social Change Model through engaged leadership opportunities.” LEAD 200 Risk and Change in Leadership “provides experiential learning opportunities” and explores “the complex nature of engaged leadership.”679

Students in the Upper Division Honors Program may take Experiential Learning Options to fulfill up to 6 course credits.680 Students may fulfill an Honors Elective with a Service Learning course, and the Upper Division Honors Curriculum’s In- Depth Study may include “an applied or civically engaged project.”681

The Honors Program also works to create a cadre of progressive activists.

Leadership at UNC: Straight-Up Left Activism

The third head of UNC’s New Civics hydra is the Leadership Studies Minor (LSM). LSM is “firmly committed to the teaching and practice of social justice.” The LSM asks “students to practice advocacy through experiential learning,” so as to “promote a just society by cultivating a program and community that fosters inclusivity and challenges injustice.” The purpose of the minor “is to develop students to become socially just and ethical leaders,” who “apply social and ecological justice” and have demonstrated “engaged leadership practice within a systemic and global framework.” Students can engage in applied course wok that includes leading “a community awareness campaign.”682

The LSM requires students to take 9 credit hours of Core Leadership Classes. The four Core classes are LEAD 100 Introduction to Leadership (“engaged leadership opportunities”); LEAD 200 Risk and Change in Leadership (“experiential learning opportunities”); LEAD 492 Leadership Internship; and LEAD 497 Senior Leadership Seminar: Global Justice and Responsiveness (“focusing on application in a global justice and responsiveness context”).683

Students must then take one of three Elective Courses to fulfill their Ethics Foundation requirements, and two further Electives chosen from a list of 34 Global & Cross Cultural Foundation (GCCF) courses. GCCF courses include AFS 420 African American Leadership and Politics; ECON 335 Environmental and Resource Economics; GNDER 285 Global and Cross Cultural Perspectives of Women; HESAL 301 Foundations and Praxis of Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership; LEAD 250 Leadership in a Global Community: Living Glocal; MCS 101 Multiculturalism in the United States; and SOSC 350 Community Research and Engagement.684

The Leadership Studies Minor provides a third channel by which to transform a cadre of UNC students into radical activists.

What's Studied Abroad Won't Stay Abroad

UNC’s New Civics advocates are preparing a fourth head of the hydra. Starting in Fall 2018, the Global Leadership Program (GLP) will provide a scholarship for Leadership Studies Minor students to study abroad in the summer after their Sophomore year, by way of preparation for a “synthesis presentation” at the end of their Senior year.685 The GLP will direct students from a foundation in the LSM toward “furthering their education and experience as a global citizen,” and acquiring “the opportunity to further question their assumptions about the world and incorporate a broader perspective into their leadership development.”686

The tentative plan for the GLP curriculum is that it will require

  1. prerequisite courses Introduction to Leadership and Risk and Change in Leadership;
  2. Faculty-led Study Abroad Experience in the summer after Sophomore Year;
  3. a Fall Junior Year presentation about the student’s GLP experience;
  4. further work on “global topics and issues” in Spring Junior Year;
  5. an “engaged experience/project” on a related local issue the summer after Junior Year;
  6. a Fall Senior Year interview of “a GLP alumni or a leader in their field of study”;
  7. continued “work with GLP cohort” during Fall Senior Year; and
  8. a Spring Senior Year presentation on the student’s entire GLP experience.

Students will receive 6 credits in Advanced Leadership Lab for this program, 1 credit for each semester (Fall, Spring, Summer).687


Robyn Keller

Harry Boyte, the founder of Public Achievement, came to speak at the University of Northern Colorado on November 11, 2014, as a contributor to the University’s annual Schulze’s Interdisciplinary Speaker Series.688 His speech, “Reframing Democracy as the Work of the People,” was co-sponsored by the Community Engaged ScholarsSymposium, which was held that same weekend.689 The Symposium is an annual event directed towards students and faculty alike, and provides an opportunity to share information on “community issues” and “community engaged teaching.”690 Although most attendees at the Symposium were students, few attended the speech. The audience consisted of about 60 faculty members, administrators, and staff, including UNC president Kay Norton and an assortment of vice presidents and deans.

Boyte was introduced in glowing terms by Deborah Romero, Director of Engagement at UNC, and received with loud applause by the audience. The theme of Boyte’s speech was “community”—or, as he frequently called it, “togetherness.” The question he posed was “How do we bring community into civic education?” Boyte’s answer: “Byfinding a connection between community and the universities.” A good example of this, he stated, was to use service-learning as a means to achieve this “connectedness.” Achieving “individual success” in higher education was wrong: rather, there needed to be an ethos of contributing to democracy and a good society. Boyte also argued that freedom in America shouldn’t always default into “individual freedom.” Peopleought to think of themselves more as one unified community and less as individuals.A partnership between the government and its citizens was necessary to attain this “community”—and education could play a key role in creating this partnership.

Boyte then stated that America’s individualistic society has caused people to think only about themselves rather than thinking as a “community.” In order to combat this tendency, Boyte encouraged professors to train students as “citizen professionals”—people who treat a worksite as a “citizen-site,” a place where they have a responsibility to be good neighbors. To do this properly, citizen-sites have to be created in every sortof workplace setting. If, for example, a student sets up a business, he must also helpthe poor and find ways to empower them—Boyte at this point showed the audiencea picture of George Segal’s Depression Bread Line (1991), a sculpture of five menqueuing for food during the Great Depression. He then repeated comments aboutthe statue, and its relationship to the idea of the “citizen-professional,” that he had made at greater length in a 2008 article:

“The Breadline” portrays citizens in an urban environment ... the figures are drained of energy. Their faces are vacant; their posture droops. They are “the masses,”anonymous and miserable. The message, I realized, is that Roosevelt saved a helpless people and that professionals’ role is to rescue people and solve problems. 

The professionals who do this are not in the least malevolent but are rather infused with good intentions. When I talk with students about the possibility that their efforts to help the poor and oppressed might disempower people, they react with shocked disbelief. But disempowerment invariably resultsfrom interventions that erode the capacities and confidence of those withoutcredentialed expertise.691

Boyte said that a student who acts as a “citizen-professional” should find a way tohelp the community he is in and “empower” those less fortunate. If he did, he couldturn a worksite into the citizen-site it was supposed to be.

Boyte’s audience greeted his argument with approving nods.

Engaging Money

UNC’s New Civics advocates and student cadres have to be paid, and faculty and students specializing in civic engagement receive university recognition via several financial awards. UNC reserves one category of its Summer Support Initiative to provide faculty up to $3,000 toward summertime work on “projects in the area of engaged research, scholarship, or creative works. Projects in this category involve the applicant in partnership with groups or communities in a reciprocal and mutually beneficial relationship in which the needs, assets, knowledge and active participation of all parties are incorporated into the project.”692 The Award for Excellence in Social Science Engaged Research provides $1,000 “to a faculty member [in the social sciences] who has demonstrated exemplary scholarship in engaged research and civic engagement.”693

The Bob & Bonnie Phelps Family CAP (Contribute, Achieve, Pay it Forward) Awards give up to $5,000 of tuition, fees, housing costs, and/or student loan debt repayment to three students annually, “whose lives demonstrate an exceptional and exemplary personal commitment” to contributing (“by volunteering time and personal skills, talents, abilities, experience and passion around issues in service to the community”), achieving (“by displaying a bias toward action and performance, overcoming obstacles and setbacks, and accomplishing goals”), and paying-it-forward (“by impacting the lives of others in meaningful and positive ways through random and planned acts of kindness, caring, and ‘giving back.’”)694

UNC also distributes Engaged Scholar Awards “to recognize and honor outstanding efforts and achievements made toward the development and practice in the field of community engagement between UNC constituents and community partners.” There are three categories of awards: community-based learning; community-based research; and community partner building.695

The Stryker Institute for Leadership Development also provides support for women from “underrepresented groups.”696 These underrepresented groups include “person of color, trans-woman, GLBTQI, person with undocumented status, first-generation college student, has dependents, non-traditionally aged, has a disability.”697

Stryker provides an annual educational scholarship of $7,500 and an iPad, which also allows recipients to participate in Social Justice and Identity workshops (“discussions about oppression, privilege, race, class, gender, sexuality, and activism,” Leadership Development Seminars, Community Engagement (“mentor youth from local middle schools”), and listening to Special Guests (“Outstanding leaders who make a difference share their stories”).698

Scads of Service-Learning at UNC

Beyond this academic core, UNC New Civics advocates in the Center for Community and Civic Engagement arrange for students to provide labor for progressive organizations in service-learning and engaged classes.699 CCCE coordinates “engaged learning opportunities” in more than 62 departments—more than 250 engaged courses, of which 108 are undergraduate and 148 are graduate. Of these courses, 40% (ca. 100 courses) are service-learning, field or community-based, 25% (ca. 62 courses) are practica courses, and 35% (ca. 88 courses) are internships. 15% of all courses at the University of Northern Colorado are Engaged, 33% of the University’s faculty use service-learning in at least one course, and 20% of the faculty “incorporate community-based research into their courses and scholarship.”700 The university cites as subject matter that “engaged courses address: Cultural & Linguistic Awareness, Education and/or Literacy, Immigration/Refugee Assistance, Senior Citizens, Vulnerable Youth.”701

Service-learning and Community-based learning Courses include SOSC 350 Community Research and Engagement (“students work to conduct interviews with participants at the Global Refugee Center (GRC) on their migration histories and on their level of self-sufficiency[, which] are used by the GRC in their grant reporting activities”) and THEA 255 Creative Drama (“students explore a social issue relevant to the campus community and create an interactive theatre piece and perform these in the residence halls”).702

Co-Curricular Catalyst

UNC’s New Civics also extend beyond the classroom into the extracurricular aspects of student life. Alternative Spring Break transforms vacation time into New Civics sessions,703 and the New Civics extends into UNC students’ extracurricular life via programs that include Community Engaged Scholars Symposium and Catalyst: A Social Justice Retreat.

Community Engaged Scholars Symposium (CESS) brings together faculty, students, and other “members of the university community to share information about community issues and community engaged teaching, learning and research.” Students (presumably in “engaged courses”) are required to attend the Symposium, students and faculty give presentations on engaged class projects and engaged research, and attendees take part in “mini round table sessions about pressing community issues.”704

In Catalyst, UNC “pays faculty, students, and staff to listen to progressive advocacy and learn activism techniques: “Participants and facilitators will examine their personal identities; the dynamics of oppression on an individual, systemic, and institutional level; and be introduced to concepts of advocacy for oneself and others. Catalyst’s ultimate goal is to give participants the skills to act on the issues and causes that they are most passionate about.”705

Both of these extracurricular activities are channels for further New Civics advocacy.

All Your Campus Belongs to Us

UNC plans to enlarge its New Civics complex, and has devoted an entire administrative document to outline its strategy: UNC Community and Civic Engagement Plan: Institutionalizing Public

Engagement. This plan was originally scheduled to go into effect during the years 2013-2016, but many of its ambitions are as yet unfulfilled. UNC’s goals and strategies include:

  • “develop clarity, expectations and criteria for recognizing engaged scholarship as it pertains to the annual review, and promotion and tenure guidelines. Research and design this with reference to Carnegie Classification criteria for an Engaged Campus, as well as models from other institutions”
  • “collaborate with Student Support Services and Student Affairs Professionals to identify ways to support and infuse community and civic engagement to further enrich students’ academic, social, cultural, ethical, and intellectual growth”
  • “Collaborate with Housing and Residential Education, especially with Diversity Mentors, to support leadership and engagement opportunities on main and extended campus and beyond”
  • “collaborate and support UNC’s Sustainability Plan and the council’s work, to educate, research and implement new sustainable practices through university engagement or in partnerships with community engagement initiatives”
  • “Work with deans, directors, chairs, and personnel hiring authorities and review committees to determine current practices and to develop plans to intentionally infuse engagement criteria into new hiring plans”706

In short UNC is officially committed to integrating the New Civics into its entire academic and administrative structure. UNC’s New Civics advocates aim to make progressive advocacy pervasive—required and inescapable.

The New Civics: What's in Your Wallet?

As at CU-Boulder and CSU, the New Civics already significantly drains CSU’s resources—and in consequence is a significant burden to Colorado taxpayers.

As noted above, UNC’s total expenditures for its FY 2016- 17 annual budget is $228 million, with $39 million (17.1%) of the total in direct state funding.707 UNC does not provide a detailed breakdown of its New Civics expenditures either, so here too we must estimate the numbers. UNC’s Center for Community and Civic Engagement (CCCE) is the center of the university’s New Civics complex: the CCCE has two full-time staff members, one part-time staff member, and two graduate students.708 Using the University of Delaware as a proxy,709 we calculate that the CCCE directs about $600 thousand in expenditures.

There are further dedicated administrative personnel marbled throughout UNC—for example, the Director of CCCE, Deborah Romero, is a faculty member in the Department of Hispanic Studies, although she spends most of her working time as a CCCE administrator,710 while the faculty for the Social Science Community Engagement major are employed by the Economics and Africana Studies departments.711 If we assume there are at least 8 further such positions, including the Center for Honors, Scholars, and Leadership, we add another $1.9 million ($2.5 million total).

There are about 100 service-learning courses taught each year at UNC:712 assume that the equivalent of no more than 15 instructors a year are teaching these courses, and we add another $3 million ($5.5 million total). If we add in administrative support throughout the university (Study Abroad, Student Affairs, and so on), as well as miscellaneous financial awards whose moneys are not directly administered by CU Engage, the costs should easily add another $500 thousand ($6 million total). The direct administrative costs of the New Civics at CU-Boulder should be taken, very cautiously, at $6 million dollars.

To this number we may add tuition and fees. CCCE coordinates about 100 service-learning courses;713 average class size at UNC is 23;714 and in-state tuition and fees for a three-credit course is $1,325.715 If we multiply these numbers together, the costs to students, government (by way of subsidy of student loans), and the university together should come to another $3 million ($9 million total). Some of these courses may be less than 3 credits—but some students, especially in the Social Science Community Engagement major, the Honors Program, and the Leadership Studies Minor, take more than one New Civics course a semester. Direct administrative costs and tuition should come to at least $9 million a year.

We do not add housing costs to this total, since there appear to be no residence halls dedicated to the New Civics. This is a lowball estimate, however, since UNC’s Department of Housing & Residential Education states that its values include “Social Justice” and “Civic Engagement.”716 By a slightly looser definition, we could add to our estimate the entire UNC Housing budget, as well as all student expenditures for on-campus room and board.

We cautiously estimate total New Civics expenditures at UNC at $9 million, more than one fifth of the state of Colorado’s direct subsidy of $39 million to UNC in 2016-2017

We would welcome hard figures from UNC that would allow us to make a more precise estimate of the cost of the New Civics. We strongly suspect that those hard figures would give us a number substantially greater than $9 million. We do not attempt to estimate a great many items that should be included in an accounting of the costs of the New Civics, including

  1. administrative overhead;
  2. pensions for New Civics staff and faculty;
  3. student fees for New Civics activities;
  4. the Student Affairs budget;
  5. budgets of overlapping bureaucracies dedicated to progressive advocacy (Offices of Diversity, Sustainability, and so on);
  6. all student housing costs; and
  7. university fundraising and publicity dedicated to the New Civics

We believe that these items alone would easily double our estimate—and even this list does not account for incalculables such as opportunity cost and reputational cost. We can say with fair confidence that UNC’s expenditure on New Civics is at least one fifth of what UNC requests annually from the state of Colorado. And we can say with absolute certainty that the New Civics advocates want to devote all of UNC’s $228 million a year to forwarding the New Civics.

University of Wyoming

Wyoming established its University in 1887, as a land-grant institution. The main campus is in Laramie, and there is an additional campus at Casper. The University of Wyoming (UW) has almost 14,000 students, some 10,200 of whom are undergraduates. Most of UW’s students (74 percent) are state residents.717 The state government has close ties with the University, which is the only university in the state.

UW’s total expenditures for its FY 2016-17 annual budget was first planned at $270 million, but a state funding crisis in the summer of 2016 reduced its budget by at least $30 million for that fiscal year, to less than $240 million.718 UW received $187 million in direct state funding in FY2015-16;719 as of this writing the numbers are not yet final for FY2016-2017, but should be no greater than $157 million. In the absence of reliable official figures, we have developed a cautious estimate of $2.5 million per year for UW’s spending on New Civics. This chapter concludes with our financial analysis.

As in CU-Boulder, CSU, and UNC, the New Civics at UW directs itself at students both inside and outside the classroom. In this chapter we will examine UW’s Old Civics, and contrast it with the campus’ burgeoning New Civics.

UW’s New Civics bureaucracy is much smaller than CU-Boulder’s, CSU’s, or UNC’s. It is embryonic—but it contains all the parts needed for expansion.

  1. UW’s Office of Service, Leadership & Community Engagement (SLCE), the equivalent of CUBoulder’s CUEngage, CSU’s SliCE, and UNC’s Center for Community and Civic Engagement, runs much of UW’s New Civics complex, including its service-learning classes.
  2. UW’s lacks most of the New Civics programs present at CU-Boulder, CSU, and UNC, but its service-learning classes are the kernels of New Civics programs to come.
  3. UW’s Honors Program is being prepared for takeover by the New Civics.
  4. UW has a smaller number of extracurricular New Civics programs than do CU-Boulder, CSU, and UNC.

UW has more Old Civics remaining than its peers in Colorado—and less of the New Civics. UW’s New Civics complex is limited in extent—smaller than UNC’s or CSU’s, and far more rudimentary than CU-Boulder’s. Service, Leadership & Community Engagement (SLCE), the New Civics’ administrative kernel at UW, runs much of the New Civics complex, including its service-learning classes. Several New Civics courses are the kernels of future New Civics programs. Alternative Breaks transforms vacation time into New Civics sessions, Study Abroad provides opportunities to extend service-learning to semesters away from UW, and the New Civics extends into UW students’ extracurricular life via programs that include the Multicultural Student Leadership Initiative, the Rainbow Leadership Series, and the Good Mule Project. The programs collectively work to make the New Civics present in significant portions of student life at UW.

The New Civics programs at UW extend the New Civics throughout UW, both inside and outside the classroom. They are limited in extent, not yet as pervasive as at CU-Boulder, CSU, or UNC.

A Remnant Core

The University of Wyoming retains the core of the Old Civics: it is the sole university in this study that requires all students to take one course in civics. The university does not do so of its own volition, but rather to obey a 1925 mandate by the state legislature.720 UW’s rationale for the course is: “In order to prepare students to be active citizens, a university education should provide graduates with an understanding of the history, cultural context, and principles of the institutions by which they are governed. Wyoming state statutes require this study, [and] the USP endorses its importance for developing responsible citizenry.”721

UW used to require students to take (or test out of) just one course: POLS 1000 American and Wyoming Government. The university has begun to loosen the rigor of this requirement, and has turned it into a U.S. & Wyoming Constitutions distribution requirement.

Students now have a choice from six courses that satisfy the civics requirement: ECON 1200 Economics, Law, and Government; HIST 1211 US to 1865; HIST 1221 US from 1865; HIST 1251 History of Wyoming; POLS 1000 American and Wyoming Government; and POLS 1100 Wyoming Government.722

Students are now allowed to satisfy U.S. & Wyoming Constitutions with ECON 1200 Economics, Law, and Government; HIST 1211 US to 1865; or HIST 1221 US from 1865—a course on national government—so long as they can pass a Wyoming Government Exam (1 credit hour), and satisfy that aspect of the civics requirement by scoring at least 70 percent in a one-hour exam with 10 true/false questions and 40 multiple-choice questions. Students also have two opportunities to take a “Challenge Exam” on American and Wyoming Government—140 multiple-choice questions and 10 true/false questions— and will satisfy UW’s civics requirement by receiving a score of at least 70 percent. Students who fail this exam twice must take a course on Wyoming government’.723

UW structures its requirement so that students who study hard can get out of taking a class on American and Wyoming Government or Wyoming Government; their reward is the chance to fulfill their requirement instead by taking Economics, Law, and Government; US to 1865; or US from 1865. The requirement frames UW’s core civics education as an unpleasant obligation, to be avoided if possible—but at least the university still requires students to acquire a minimum of traditional civic knowledge.

In Fall 2016, 149 students were enrolled in ECON 1200 Economics, Law, and Government;724 115 in HIST 1211 US to 1865; 119 in HIST 1251 History of Wyoming;725 674 in POLS 1000 American and Wyoming Government (455 in 3 on-campus classes; 219 online); and 39 in POLS 1100 Wyoming Government.726 1,096 students were enrolled in total. If we multiply the 674 students in American and Wyoming Government, by 8, then 5,392 out of 10,200 undergraduates at UW take the university’s basic civics course in the course of four years, almost 53%. The remaining 47% of UW undergraduates presumably take the multiple choice examination instead.

UW obeys its legal mandate to provide a civics education for its students, but it attempts to minimize its commitment. The message that this is a chore for the university to complete rather than an ideal it cherishes is amply communicated to UW faculty and students.

Old Civics vs. New Civics

UW retains a civics requirement, but it still prizes the number of course choices it can provide above providing a solid traditional education. The university offered several thousand courses in Fall 2016, many divided into multiple sections.727 UW provides no overall list of New Civics courses, but in 2010 alone SLCE awarded 11 Community Engagement Mini-Grant Awards to implement community engagement or service-learning courses.728 We believe that by a lowball estimate there are at least 25 service-learning courses a year at UW. UW lists 6 courses for its U.S. & Wyoming Constitutions requirement. New Civics courses probably outnumber Old Civics courses by at least four to one.

The Dead Weight of the Distribution Requirements

The University of Wyoming integrates its civics requirement into a standard set of distribution requirements, the University Studies Program (USP). The USP includes Communications courses in any of a wide number of disciplines, a First Year Seminar in any of a similarly broad number of departments, and courses in Quantitative Reasoning, Physics and the Natural World, Human Culture—and the civics requirement, U.S. and Wyoming Constitutions.729 A few of the hundreds of courses (129 alternatives for Human Culture alone) that can satisfy these distribution requirements can contribute to a traditional civics education, such as CLAS 2020 Classical Greek Civilization or POLS 4810 Seminar in Political Philosophy.730 On the whole, however, UW’s distribution requirements do nothing to forward the civics education of its students.

Oddly, neither HIST 1110 Western Civilization I nor HIST 1120 Western Civilization II can fulfill USP requirements.731 Perhaps as a result of that neglect, only 39 students out of UW’s 10,200 undergraduates enrolled in HIST 1110 Western Civilization I at UW in Fall 2016.732

Yet many progressive courses do satisfy USP requirements. Courses that fulfill the Communications requirement include AAST 4233 Race, Ethnicity, Gender and Media, COJO 4260 Rhetoric and Social Justice, and WMST 4700 Feminist Theories. First Year Seminars include EDST 1101 Fight the Power: Diversity and Social Justice, ENR 1101 Climate Change: Thinking Like a Planet, and UWYO 1101 The Challenge of Sustainability: Project Based Learning. Courses that fulfill the Human Culture requirement include CHST 4470 Chicano Folklore, HP 3152 Race and Racism, WIND 2700 Gender and Disability, and WMST 2000 Intro to LGBTQ/NS Studies. The Physics and the Natural World requirement can also be satisfied by ATSC 2100 Global Warming: The Science of Humankinds Energy Consumption.733 UW’s USP distribution requirements skew toward providing education with a progressive stamp.

Meet the New Core, It Ain't Like the Old Core

UW’s College of Arts and Sciences adds further distribution requirements for its students in Science, Foreign Language, Non-Western Perspectives, and Upper Division Courses Outside Your Major.734 The Non-Western Perspectives requirement is a way to insert the new progressive core curriculum. Fall 2016 courses that fulfilled the Non- Western Perspectives requirement included AAST 3670 African Diaspora; AIST 2340 Native American Literature; ANTH 3420 The Anthropology of Global Issues, and ENGL 4600 Studies: Feminist Theories.735 Other courses that have satisfied the Non-Western Perspectives requirement (under the name Global Awareness) have included COJO 4231 Minority Media Ownership, PHIL 3520 Global Justice, and WNST 4520 Gender and Sexuality in Postcolonial Writing.736

The College of Arts and Sciences may also still have a Diversity in the US requirement for its students, which forces them to take further progressive courses. The College certainly had the requirement until the introduction of the new USP distribution requirements in 2015. The Arts and Sciences faculty apparently voted in Fall 2014 to eliminate both the Diversity in the US and the Global Awareness requirements,737 and neither requirement appears in the College’s current list of requirements—although the new Non-Western Perspectives requirements appears to have replaced Global Awareness.738 Yet although the Diversity in the US requirement appears to have disappeared, the Fall 2016 UW class schedule still lists which classes meet the “A&S Core Diversity in US” requirement. Examples include AST 1000 Introduction to African-American Studies, AMST 3400 Popular Music and Sexualities, EDST 2480 Diversity and the Politics of Schooling, NURS 3020 Cultural Diversity in Family Health Care, and SOWK 4060 Diversity and Difference in Social Work.739 The shadow of the Diversity requirement certainly still exists, and perhaps the requirement itself.

The new, progressive core is forming in UW via the College of Arts and Sciences—with some assistance from the University-wide requirements to take courses, especially First Year Seminars, which skew toward progressive advocacy. Moreover, the language of the mission statement of the University Studies Program, which articulates the rationale of UW’s distribution requirements, already uses the language of the New Civics: “University Studies encourages students to become active citizens in a diverse democracy. Through multi-and inter-disciplinary inquiry, students gain the perspectives necessary to deal with complex issues, appreciate the viewpoints of others, function effectively in multicultural communities, understand the responsibility to participate in democratic society, and communicate clearly in a civic environment.”740 This language prepares the way to insert a progressive, New Civics core into UW’s all-university course requirements.

New civics at UW: Small, But Growing 

UW has more Old Civics remaining than its peers in Colorado—and less of the New Civics. UW’s New Civics complex is limited in extent—smaller than UNC’s or CSU’s, and far more rudimentary than CU-Boulder’s. Service, Leadership & Community Engagement (SLCE), the New Civics’ administrative kernel at UW, runs much of the New Civics complex, including its service-learning classes. Several New Civics courses are the kernels of future New Civics programs. Alternative Breaks transforms vacation time into New Civics sessions, Study Abroad provides opportunities to extend service-learning to semesters away from UW, and the New Civics extends into UW students’ extracurricular life via programs that include the Multicultural Student Leadership Initiative, the Rainbow Leadership Series, and the Good Mule Project. The programs collectively work to make the New Civics present in significant portions of student life at UW.

The New Civics programs at UW extend the New Civics throughout UW, both inside and outside the classroom. They are limited in extent, not yet as pervasive as at CU-Boulder, CSU, or UNC.

Still, they are growing.

SLCE of Wyoming

UW’s Office of Service, Leadership & Community Engagement (SLCE) is the New Civics’ administrative kernel at UW; SLCE runs much of the New Civics complex, including its service-learning classes. SLCE’s Service-Learning also provides Community Engagement Mini- Grant Awards, usually “between $200 and $700, [which] are available to fund the implementation of new community engagement or service-learning projects as well as the continuation of established projects in existing courses.” In 2010, eleven grants ranging from $500 to $1,500 were awarded to courses including Communities of Story Tellers; Partnering with the Community through Grant Writing; Campus Sustainability; Professional Writing in the Community; and Environmental Stewardship: First Year Experience.

SLCE has worked in the past with Colorado Campus Compact’s Engaged Faculty Institute (EFI), which provides “training and support for faculty who are currently, or hope to, implement service learning into their curriculum.” SLCE now supports its own on-campus Engaged Faculty Learning Community, in collaboration with the Ellbogen Center for Teaching and Learning.741 The faculty participants do not appear to be recompensed, but they no longer have to travel to Colorado to learn how to incorporate service-learning into their courses.

Civic Honors

UW’s Honor’s Program has also begun to integrate itself into the New Civics. The Honors Program advertises itself as providing “co-curricular opportunities,” “the breadth of knowledge needed by citizens,” and instruction in “how to become engaged citizens and to understand the ethnic and cultural diversity of America and the world.”742 The 2014 External Review Report of the Honors Program also stated that “With the WHO [Wyoming Honors Organization] community service activities and study abroad programs, the Honors Program has embraced the concept of participatory, experiential honors education. In addition, several honors courses incorporate hands-on, experiential elements.”743 The Honors Programs has not yet been formally restructured as a vessel for the New Civics, as its counterparts have been at CSU and UNC, but that change presumably will come soon enough.

Courses in New Civics: Kernels of Programs to Come

Just as the UW Honors Program has been prepared to turn into a full-blown New Civics program, so other New Civics programs are present in embryo—as service-learning or civic engagement courses. Several service-learning courses offered in Fall 2016 appear by their titles and descriptions to be exercises in New Civics that are also intended to lay the groundwork for the formation of permanent New Civics bureaucracies.

EDST 1101 FYS: Citizen Factory (24 students enrolled) introduces students “to active learning, inquiry of pressing issues, and individual and collaborative processing of ideas. Open to all, the course will appeal to any student with an interest in the public schools or schooling for democracy.”744 Citizen Factory presumably is the seed of a Public Achievement franchise at UW.

CNSL 1101 FYS: EPIC Leadership (24 students enrolled) “is an innovative survey course providing students with a basic understanding of what it means to think and act like a leader no matter what their role is in an organization, group or community. It covers eighteen fundamental and timeless leadership principles that every effective leader should understand.”745 Meanwhile, the Wyoming Leadership program offers the course CNSL 2000 Intro to Student Leadership,746 while UWYO 3000 Student Leadership in Supplemental Instruction teaches students “peer leadership, best practices in supplemental instruction, and student reflection. Will strengthen leadership knowledge and skills and introduce effective methods for group facilitation and SI curriculum.”747 These two courses appear to be the core of a forthcoming Leadership Studies Minor.

In Fall 2015, students could take UWYO 1101 Ignite Your Passion: Creating Change Through Service and Action, in which students provided “service in the local Laramie community,” acquired “a foundation for understanding the role of public scholarship, community engagement, and social action,” and learned to “examine and critique strategies for social and environmental change, while becoming familiar with the expectations and responsibilities for successful community engagement.”748 This course will be the core of a Wyoming INVST.

UW’s New Civics advocates will build their administrative infrastructure out of such classes.

New Civics classes at UW appear to be concentrated in the First Year Seminars749 and the University of Wyoming (UWYO)750 classes. These programs should be taken to be components of the New Civics bureaucracy at UW.

New Civics Here, New Civics There

The New Civics also extends into UW students’ extracurricular life via several programs, including the Multicultural Student Leadership Initiative, the Rainbow Leadership Series, and the Good Mule Project.

The Multicultural Student Leadership Initiative (MSLI) “is an involvement opportunity for students who support diversity and want to make a difference during their time at UW. MSLI is dedicated to supporting students in their first year on campus by developing their leadership skills and building a supportive social network through mentoring.” MSLI includes Mentoring and Leadership Development, the latter of which includes “leadership development workshops and special community building activities.”751

The Rainbow Leadership Series (RLS) coordinates the community organizing of gay (“LGBTQ”) students by way of “leadership development opportunities.” The RLS calls on participating students to commit to involvement in one of the opportunities on campus; better understand the role collaboration plays in social change; develop an individual call to action, encouraging others to collaborate in their cause; find a common leadership purpose with other participants in the series; and take part in a leadership activity that promotes social change.752

The Good Mule Project (GMP) is a conference promoting progressive advocacy and activism: “a student-led initiative at the University of Wyoming fostering a community of dialogue and action around issues of multiculturalism and diversity through the lens of social justice activism.” At one Toolbox Workshop, participants learn about “Lobbying!” from Melanie Vigil, who “is the Graduate Assistant for Community Engagement in the SLCE Office. Having a strong passion for LGBT advocacy, Melanie has lobbied, testified, and organized for important LGBT legislation both in the State of Wyoming and on a national level.” Ms. Vigil instructs participants “how to be an effective social justice advocate by learning how to write strategic letters/emails to elected officials, how to testify, and how to navigate difficult conversations with adversaries.” GMP Consciousness Workshops include Identity Windows, Privilege, Roots and Shoots: Deconstructing the Cycle of Oppression, and Subordinate and Dominant Groups.753

All of these extracurricular activities are channels for further New Civics advocacy.

You'll Find New Civics Everywhere

UW’s New Civics advocates, following the playbook of their peers in Colorado, also extend progressive advocacy into time away from the campus. They have made sure that UW’s Study Abroad provides service-learning in semesters away from UW, notably by way of a service-learning program in Kenya that has been run out of UW-Casper since 2004.754 In the summer of 2016, the University offered the latest iteration of this service-learning study-abroad course, EDEL 4975/EDCI 5480 International Cultural Immersion & Service Learning in Kenya. Participating students “will make an impact during tree-planting activities in Karura Forest, an ‘urban forest’ and environmental jewel under threat from developers. By planting trees, you will stand in solidarity with Kenya’s Green Belt Movement.” The course syllabus added that students “will also examine ways in which the course will have influenced them as citizens of a “globalized” world.”755

The Alternative Breaks franchise at UW also transforms vacation time into New Civics sessions. The Summer 2016 trip “will focus on environmental sustainability, education and maintenance of Glacier National Park, with stops in Jackson, WY and Yellowstone National Park.” At the University of Wyoming, the program is advertised as providing “a sharpened sense of civic duty.”756

I'm Growing Bigger and Better in Every Way 

UW’s plans to expand civic engagement are as yet modest. In its draft Strategic Plan 2015-2020, UW states as one goal among many that it wishes to “Expand the engagement of undergraduates in faculty scholarship and service learning experiences.” This is to be done by expanding “the funding opportunities for research and creative activity internships,” considering “the inclusion of undergraduate research in majors as a capstone experience” and creating “a budget line-item of $250,000 per biennium supporting undergraduate research,” and by expanding “the funding and credit-bearing opportunities for service learning and community engagement.”757

These goals will leave UW’s New Civics complex substantially smaller than its Colorado rivals. Still, in Wyoming as in Colorado, the New Civics is growing.

UW Still Spends on New Civics, Even as It Tightens Its Belt 

As noted above, UW’s total expenditures for its FY 2016-17 annual budget was first planned at $270 million, but a state funding crisis in the summer of 2016 reduced its budget by at least $30 million for that fiscal year, to less than $240 million.758 UW received $187 million in direct state funding in FY2015-16;759 as of this writing the numbers are not yet final for FY2016-2017, but direct state funding should be no greater than $157 million (65%).

UW’s Office of Service, Leadership & Community Engagement (SLCE), the core of its New Civics, has one full-time position, two graduate student employees, and two undergraduate employees;760 judging by the University of Delaware proxy information,761 it probably disposes of $500 thousand. Further support to the New Civics from administrative personnel marbled throughout UW should amount to at least as many personnel: we may add another $500 thousand ($1 million total).

UW provides no list of service-learning courses, but in 2010 alone SLCE awarded 11 Community Engagement Mini- Grant Awards to implement community engagement or service-learning courses.762 We believe that by a lowball estimate there are at least 25 service-learning courses a year at UW, taught by the equivalent of 4 instructors; this would add another $1 million ($2 million). If we multiply 25 classes by an average undergraduate class size of 29,763 and multiply that number in turn by in-state undergraduate tuition and fees for a three-credit class of $505, we get a figure of $366 thousand ($2.366 million). Miscellaneous administrative costs should probably add $150 thousand; cautiously, we may put that total at $2.5 million.

We do not attempt to estimate a great many items that should be included in an accounting of the costs of the New Civics, including

  1. administrative overhead;
  2. pensions for New Civics staff and faculty;
  3. student fees for New Civics activities;
  4. the Student Affairs budget;
  5. budgets of overlapping bureaucracies dedicated to progressive advocacy (Offices of Diversity, Sustainability, and so on);
  6. all student housing costs; and
  7. university fundraising and publicity dedicated to the New Civics

We believe that these items alone would easily double our estimate—and even this list does not account for incalculables such as opportunity cost and reputational cost.

$2.5 million is a much smaller figure than at CU-Boulder, CSU, or UNC—but it is $2.5 million spent in a year when UW has had to cut more than $30 million dollars from a budget of $270 million. It is $2.5 million spent at a time when UW may eliminate 85 salaried positions,764 and is considering eliminating the entire department of Philosophy.765 It is $2.5 million that the University of Wyoming can ill afford.

The Classroom Experience

Our four case studies examined the administrative structure of civics education, and the self-understanding by administrators and faculty of what they intend to teach in these classes. Student experiences, however, are an essential component of civics education. What follows is a sketch of the classroom civics experience at CU-Boulder, Colorado State University, the University of Northern Colorado, and the University of Wyoming. We focus on the introductory course to American government at each.

University of Colorado, Boulder

Although only a small fraction of CU-Boulder students take the class, PSCI 1101: Introduction to American Politics is the closest equivalent at CU-Boulder to a standard civics course. The syllabus for Dr. Vincent McGuire’s section, for example, states that “The purpose of this class is to create better citizens.”766 Dr. John Griffin listed his goals in more detail: “I hope that students would gain a sense of their opportunities to impact their community, whether it be voting, making contributions, participation in campaigns, valuing their opinions, understanding how opinions are shaped, and how opinions affect decision-making.”767 PSCI 1101 is required for all Political Science majors at CU-Boulder. According to Griffin, increased interest in public policy among incoming freshmen has also increased enrollment in the course.768 On the other hand, Dr. Vanessa Baird believes that many students take this course under the mistaken belief that PSCI 1101 is a required course for their major, when it is really only required for political science majors and minors.769

PSCI 1101, like many freshmen surveys at CU-Boulder, repeats a good deal of high school material. Baird states, and many students agree, that PSCI 1101 is taught at so basic a level that it bores students who are itching to move on to advanced material in their chosen majors.770 The difference in how the material is treated at the college level emerges in the course of the semester—but the most distinctive aspect of the course, unfortunately, is immediately apparent: the class size. PSCI 1101 is generally taught as a massive lecture of up to 360 students, with far more students than even the most overcrowded high school class—although a student enrolled in a Residential Academic Program (RAP) will take a section of the class whose enrollment is no greater than 45. In the larger lectures, iClickers allow for instant polling and quizzes during the lecture: Griffin says that these allow him to interact with students beyond the first few rows, and to gauge in real time the effectiveness of the lectures.771 Discussion sections of 30 students apiece provide further limited opportunities for students to do more than listen to a lecture.

PSCI 1101’s different sections share large similarities in focus and structure. The professors concentrate on giving students 1) increased knowledge about the structure of American Government; 2) improved critical thinking skills; and 3) improved communication skills. Of these, only the first is easily identified in each syllabus, but the latter goals are nevertheless essential.

Since professors want students to focus on learning the structure of American government and the philosophy underlying it, many avoid discussing current events. This allows for a cool examination of the relevant evidence, where discussion proceeds unimpeded by contemporary partisan passions. Professors also want students to understand basic aspects of political science as a way to understand the way government works.772

Most sections use a broadly similar civics textbook: Samuel Kernell’s The Logic of American Politics is the most common. Professors usually supplement the textbooks with reference charts providing basic facts about the Constitution and the structure of the Federal Government.773 Baird uses a textbook to supplement her use of William Riker’s The Art of Political Manipulation and several shorter texts, including FDR’s Fireside Chats. Riker’s book provides a series of historical case studies to demonstrate that politicians often frame choices for voters as a way to make sure that their “free choices” arrive at outcomes that politicians prefer.774

Baird and Griffin stated that they needed to assign textbooks because incoming students lacked basic knowledge about the structure of the Federal Government.775 Griffin, who recently taught the largest section of this class, added that the textbooks were valuable because he could use them to explain the basics of the Federal Government without wasting valuable lecture time.776 Baird, who taught a much smaller section, also stated that students needed basic textbooks to provide the foundation of factual knowledge necessary to understand the in-class discussions—although textbooks also encouraged students to believe, erroneously, that they had mastered the subject when they had finished the book.777 Many professors noted that their students had an overconfident and uncritical estimate of both their factual knowledge and their ability to grapple intelligently with course material.

The textbooks militate against the discussion-based pedagogy outlined by Baird. Most of the textbooks’ agendas are written tendentiously, with the Democrats as the designated White Hats. Kernell, for example, illustrates his discussion of Civil Rights purely from the identitarian coalition of the present-day Democratic party—African Americans, feminists, Hispanics, and gays—and soft-pedals worries that coercive and arbitrary governmental action done in the name of identitarian civil rights may abrogate individual civil rights, equality under the law, and the rule of law itself. In so doing, Kernell gives short shrift to arguments for limiting the Federal Government’s power for good or ill: he takes the constitutional revolution during and after the Civil War to have superseded Madison’s argument that strong state governments are necessary to check central tyranny.778 Kernell also glides over complications in the modern partisan landscape, such as the inspiration that pro-life activists take from the Dred Scott decision, which they take as a model for protection of the rights of the unborn.779

McGuire differs from most professors who teach the course, as he uses Hamilton, Jay, and Madison’s The Federalist rather than a textbook. He believes that The Federalist engages students with the Constitution at a more rigorous level than a textbook, and that it helps students give proper weight to the importance of state governments in the constitutional framework. For McGuire, The Federalist more than fulfills the remedial tasks allotted to textbooks, for it acts as an authoritative commentary upon the Constitution. It invites students to engage with the thoughts and voices behind the Constitution’s composition, and it piques interest without resorting to controversies ripped from the headlines.

Like Baird, McGuire also uses an alternative to a textbook: Murray Edelman’s The Symbolic Uses of Politics. McGuire considers Edelman’s work to be a valuable counterweight to the data-driven social scientific analysis so prevalent in the academy’s approach to politics, since Edelman argues that many of the most important drivers of political life are symbolic and unquantifiable. McGuire hopes that students will learn that there is more to Political Science than polling.780 Books such as Edelman’s and Riker’s provide excellent material for discussion within these smaller courses, and the actual class discussions do justice to the books. Students learn so much more civics in small classes that it suggests that all civics classes should be capped with enrollments that allow significant class discussion.

Professors generally intend their lectures to help students learn how to communicate and to think critically (in the original sense, rather than as a euphemism for “assent to progressive beliefs”) and independently. Baird requires students to write short arguments, in order to teach them how to gather appropriate evidence from their readings. She also directs in-class discussion to this same end: “If the students cannot connect the appropriate logical dots for their own thoughts and assertions, how can they be expected to hold others – educators, reporters, politicians, even acquaintances – accountable for their arguments?”781 McGuire urges students to “create your own personal set of ideas.” These ideas “may be the same as your friends or your parents but they must be yours, not theirs.”782

These invitations to discussion provide the college-level material that distinguishes PSCI 1101 from high school civics classes, but there are clear limitations. Massive lectures tend to rely on expensive textbooks which provide a shallow and partisan treatment of the material, rather than on focused works that can spark thought and discussion. If it is impossible to reduce the size of these lecture sections, perhaps it would be wise to adopt the use of The Federalist. The Federalist’s essays, which are free online, foster knowledge of American Government, critical thinking, and clear communication. They do so without relying on arguments about divisive current events—and the Federalist certainly counts as a text that educates students at the college level.

Colorado State University

POLS 101 American Government and Politics is generally taught by instructors at CSU—in Fall 2016, the only sections were taught by two instructors, Holly Boux and Pamela Duncan, and an assistant professor, Matthew Hitt, who began teaching at CSU that semester.783 The relegation of the course to the junior and untenured members of the department suggests that the Political Science department considers it to be a low priority. So too does the Political Science department’s decision to offer only three large lectures of the course a semester. American Government and Politics classes are too large to allow for the intimate discussion that provides a proper education, and they are too few to serve much more than political science majors. CSU’s basic class in American government is only offered to a few students, and the Political Science department does not make it a priority.

We have had limited success in persuading instructors at CSU to provide information about their courses. We have some information about the instructors. Students regard Pamela Duncan as a liberal who allows her political views to slip into her teaching: “you can easily pick up on the fact that she leans on the liberal side of politics … she hates Bush, which she makes clear during every lecture, no matter what we’re supposed to be talking about.”784 Holly Boux “is not an awful teacher if you buy into the classic liberal college political class. Basically all she cares about is feminism and the social system … just don’t be too far right on the political spectrum if you want to get a good grade.”785 While an instructor’s political affiliation has no necessary connection with how they teach, CSU’s American Government and Politics apparently is taught with a liberal skew.

The textbook choice for the course reinforces that skew. Pamela Duncan uses Edward Greenberg and Benjamin Page’s The Struggle for Democracy786—a generally solid textbook, but one with a liberal skew. Struggle’s Introduction, for example, emphasizes American democracy rather than its status as a republic, and states that “it should be easy to see how and why the democratic ideal can be used as a measuring rod with which to evaluate American politics.”787 Greenberg and Page also write about “anti-communist hysteria”788 without mentioning the existence of Communist spies such as Lauchlin Currie, Laurence Duggan, David Greenglass, Alger Hiss, and Harry Dexter White. Greenberg and Page’s catalog of minorities threatened by unbridled majority rule conforms with the progressive identarian coalition;789 it does not include, for example, the progressive state’s majoritarian suppression of freedom of conscience by the traditionally faithful. Duncan’s choice of textbook is not grossly slanted in its politics, but neither is it entirely impartial.

CSU’s American Government and Politics course appears to be taught with professional competence. For example, although we have cited Pamela Duncan for liberal textbook selection and for student comment that emphasizes how she teaches with a liberal slant, Duncan also assigns the Constitution.790 Duncan may skew toward the left, both in her teaching and her text selection— but she also teaches the nuts and bolts of how our country works. Her students should leave her course with a solid knowledge of American government.

University of Northern Colorado

We have failed to persuade professors at UNC to agree to be interviewed about their courses; we therefore possess less direct information about UNC than we would like. What information we have is about Dr. Gregory Williams, who will teach the only two sections of United States National Government at UNC in Fall 2016. A recent news article provides some insight into Williams’ political beliefs.

We note the possibility that dislike of capitalism could inform Williams’ pedagogy.

Williams’ text selection for the Fall 2014 rendition of United States National Government adds some weight to this suspicion.791 Williams assigns a subscription to The New York Times and four main texts. These texts are:

  1. William Hudson’s American Democracy in Peril—which takes one of the perils to be big business: “Ways must be found to provide workers and other citizens with a more direct voice in corporate decision making. Just as the abolition of aristocratic privilege was a prerequisite for democracy in the eighteenth century, twenty-first century democracy may require the abolition of business privilege.”792
  2. Chuck Collins and Felice Yeskel’s Economic Apartheid in America, co-authored with the organization United for a Fair Economy and Class Action, which is very dour about free markets: “Capitalism has been concerned with the project of extracting value from the earth and human laborers for the owners of capital. Capital accumulation (great wealth) comes from successfully getting more work out of people than you pay them and consuming more of the earth’s resources than you put back. Obviously this leads to human impoverishment and environmental ruin, which is why we are in this predicament.”793 Collins and Yeskel’s textbook concludes with a peroration toward anti-free-market activism: “We encourage you to think of yourself as part of a fair-economy movement, to become involved in building a fairer economy for all. … Social movement rely on such messengers … Speak out. Take action from the values that you know to be true. Expect change. Prepare to make history.”794
  3. Stephen E. Ambrose and Douglas G. Brinkley’s Rise to Globalism, which colors its narrative of American foreign policy with a soft spot for Democratic presidents and sustained disdain for Republican ones. The description of George W. Bush’s administration is typical: “Fear dominated our collective emotional life from 2001 to 2008, and the Bush administration sought to capitalize on it: WMD, anthrax, Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, Homeland Security, the never-ending war on terror. During the Bush years, there was a repressive aura about life in Washington that unfortunately demoted our most cherished civil liberties to luxuries of the past.”795 Ambrose and Brinkley’s recapitulation of contemporaneous anti-Bush polemics.and equivalent passages about earlier incidents in American foreign policy, are not ideally suited for an introduction to American foreign policy.
  4. Glenn Greenwald’s No Place To Hide, a memoir of Greenwald’s role in the Edward Snowden affair and polemic against America’s intelligence agencies.796

These politically partisan writings are odd choices for texts in an introduction to United States National Government. While we hope that Dr. Williams teaches the only United States National Government classes at UNC with scrupulous impartiality, the circumstantial evidence does not reassure us.

University of Wyoming

Although students now may choose from 6 courses to fulfill their Civics (“V” ) requirement, most schools and departments still recommend that students take POLS 1000 American and Wyoming Government.797 Yet UW has now entered upon CU-Boulder’s path, where the list of courses that meet the “V” requirement will probably lengthen until a course on the Constitution is only one of a large number of options. Departmental recommendations to take a traditional course on the Constitution therefore will have diminishing effect. In any case, UW already gives conflicting recommendations to its students, who are encouraged to take a Challenge Exam ($80 sitting fee, students are allowed to take the test twice before being required to take the class) rather than a full course on the Constitution.798 According to Dr. Oliver Walter, these exams already exempt around 100 students from the course per year.799

UW’s cost-cutting also leads it to cram large numbers of students into each POLS 1000 course. In the upcoming semester (Fall 2016), UW will offer two lecture sections, which have enrollments limited to 200 and 252 students. 5 sections of the class will be taught online, with enrollments capped between 40-50 students each. In addition, a special section taught by Dr. Maggi Murdock is limited to 15 international students. Those students who already have received an American Government credit may take the 1-credit course POLS 1100 Wyoming Government, whose enrollment is limited to 40. This course is also online. UW’s cost-cutting puts students into mammoth lectures and on-line classes works, and thus severely limits students’ ability to benefit from civics education.

The overwhelming majority of UW students still take POLS 1000, despite UW’s efforts to trim their numbers, relegate them to online courses, and stuff them into overcrowded lectures. What do they experience in class? While a few students say that they do find the class better than the high-school equivalent, and useful for getting them used to college-level study, most say that it is an almost exact reproduction of their high school course in American and Wyoming Government, and they leave the class feeling that they have wasted their time.800 Professors, for their part, say that students feel the course is a useless requirement, and so are almost impossible to motivate. Moreover, the professors affirm that the course as it now stands indeed is a useless requirement—that it is required by law, and there is no other reason to teach it.801 Since the professors share their students’ lack of enthusiasm, they make no attempt to make the course challenging, exciting, or even minimally rigorous. A typical syllabus has no attendance requirements, no aspiration to make students into better citizens, and few texts aside from The Challenge of Democracy, a universally required,802 confusing,803 and expensive textbook. The Challenge of Democracy tends to judge the Constitution by whether it lives up to left-egalitarian standards that emphasize equality of economic outcomes rather than equality of opportunity; where it is not simply factual, it provides a soft-left skew to civics education.804

UW’s dereliction is longstanding. According to Dr. Oliver Walter, who has been teaching for the UW Political Science department since 1970, POLS 1000 used to be taught through recorded lectures. When these were found to be unsuitable, POLS 1000 became an on-campus correspondence course.805 The online sections of POLS 1000 essentially update the correspondence course to the digital age, and they require social-media style discussion posts by the students. The 200- and 250-person lectures actually are an improvement on the older system—especially because they at least have weekly discussion sections limited to 30 students apiece.806 Still, the only decently sized POLS 1000 section at UW is the 15-person international section. If a student wants a solid education in American and Wyoming Government at UW, it’s better to be born in Lagos than in Laramie. As civics instruction in UW now stands, students may actually be better off fulfilling their Civics “V” requirement with the proffered alternatives in Economics and American History, if only because they will be able to take slightly smaller classes.

Professors teaching POLS 1000 insert new topics into the syllabus partly because they think it is genuinely useful for civics education, but partly to provide students something more interesting than a repetition of their high school civics classes. Dr. Andrew Garner teaches students basic statistical principles and their use for surveying mass opinion, so that students can learn how to analyze the effect of structural forces on voting behavior. The example he offers is that of the 2012 presidential election, where he takes the average voter’s perception that the economy was doing well to have been the decisive factor in President Obama’s re-election. Garner uses John Zaller’s The Nature and Origin of Mass Opinion to teach this subject matter.807 Dr. Murdock assigns her international students a constitution-writing exercise in order to show them what concerns guided the writing of the US and other constitutions.808 Other professors, unfortunately, decide to liven up the course by assigning newspapers and online news sources.809 The result tends to be sterile wrangling about current events.

As Garner notes, it is difficult to get American students interested in any required class at any university, and universities have generally given up the effort to do more than cater to their students’ fleeting desires. The student-as-imperial-customer simply does not want to take required courses.810 Given this general attitude, a required civics class will always have one strike against it. But the way civics is taught at UW exacerbates this general difficulty, despite the efforts of some teachers to provide interesting material or to teach smaller course sections.

Dr. Jason McConnell states why UW’s failure matters. It is imperative for all UW students to understand Wyoming’s government, both to act properly in civic affairs themselves and because Wyoming citizens without a college education inevitably will look to UW graduates for guidance in civic matters.811 UW has a chance to use POLS 1000 to offer a consistent, thought-provoking introduction to civic knowledge for the benefit of all residents. If UW does not take up the challenge to provide this introduction, who will?

Biographies: Campus Compact of the Mountain West

Since this report makes a close study of four colleges in those two states, it will help to know who are Colorado and Wyoming’s local New Civics leaders. We cannot describe them all. We will instead give a brief account of the leaders of Campus Compact of the Mountain West, since this is the most influential regional New Civics organization in Colorado and Wyoming. It is also a way by which the different New Civics advocates at each university can coordinate their efforts.

Campus Compact of the Mountain West (CCMW) is the regional associate of Campus Compact for Colorado and Wyoming; it includes 22 university and college presidents from those two states. While it is formally a coalition of college and university presidents, it acts as a general sponsor and coordinator of the New Civics throughout those two states. CCMW’s Board of Directors, staff, and advisory committee double as the central promoters of the New Civics in these two states.812

It is worth emphasizing that New Civics advocates in almost every college and university in Colorado and Wyoming know each other personally through their common membership in CCMW, and their attendance of CCMW meetings and CCMW-sponsored events. The New Civics’ effectiveness in Colorado and Wyoming depends upon the common membership and personal acquaintance built upon membership in CCMW, as well as in other regional organizations such as the Puksta Foundation.

Paul Alexander is the Director of the Institute on the Common Good at Regis University—Regis University’s administrative center for New Civics. Alexander has degrees in Economics and Community Dialogue. Alexander represents the connection between the New Civics and progressive nonprofit organizations: he worked for more than twenty years in such nonprofits, and has spent eight years as Degree Chair for Regis University’s Master of Nonprofit Management Program.813 Alexander exemplifies the use of the New Civics as a staffing tool for progressive nonprofit organizations.

Board of Directors

Paul Baumann is the Director of the National Center for Learning and Civic Engagement (NCLCE) at Education Commission of the States (ECS). Baumann’s first career was as a music teacher, and he received his doctorate in Education Policy. ECS is a national organization advocating for state-level changes in education policy; NCLCE, based out of Denver, works to have state legislators pass laws to insert the New Civics into all levels of education.814 Baumann is the bureaucrat working to make the New Civics mandatory by way of legislation in every one of the fifty states.

Andrew Dorsey has been the President of Front Range Community College since 2009. Dorsey has degrees in economics, business administration, and counseling psychology. He spent his career as a legislative director, in nonprofit administration, and as a professor, before moving into academic administration. Dorsey has provided his imprimatur for the New Civics, but he does not appear to have forwarded New Civics activities himself, other than by joining the Board of Directors of CCMW.815 Dorsey is the president who provides the New Civics access to a community college system, but appears to be interested in the New Civics for the utilitarian purpose of providing internships and jobs for his students.

John Fitzgibbons, S.J., is the President of Regis University. He was ordained in 1985, and has received degrees in philosophy, English, Divinity, and moral theology. He has served in both church and academic administration, and has been president of Regis since 2012. Fitzgibbons appears to have no personal commitment to the New Civics, but as Regis’ president has adopted the university’s longstanding institutional commitment to the New Civics.816 Fitzgibbons’ presence registers the extension of the New Civics into America’s system of Catholic higher education.

Michele Haney has been the President of Red Rocks Community College since 2008. Haney received degrees in political science and counseling, and worked as a professor before moving into academic administration. While Red Rocks has a service-learning program, there does not appear to be a major institutional commitment by Red Rocks to the New Civics.817 Haney, like Dorsey, provides the New Civics access to a community college system, but appears to be interested in the New Civics for the utilitarian purpose of providing internships and jobs for her students.

John Trujillo is the Vice President & Senior Portfolio Manager Private Wealth Management at UMB Bank. Trujillo received his degrees in finance and business administration, has made a career in finance, and serves on the boards of several philanthropic organizations. One of these organizations, INROADS, works to provide internships and jobs for racial minorities—but includes “community service and leadership projects.”818 Trujillo represents the financial class that supports the New Civics, under the misapprehension that it is engaged in genuinely philanthropic activities.


Stephanie Schooley has been Executive Director of CCMW since 2010. She received her degrees in History and Conflict Resolution, and she has served as an AmeriCorps VISTA member. She has made her career at Campus Compact, where she has worked to develop and implement the New Civics.819 Schooley is the mid-level bureaucrat who is devoting her career to spreading the New Civics throughout Colorado and Wyoming.

Jami Hiyakumoto is AmeriCorps Program Director. She received degrees in education and nonprofit management, and has worked in nonprofits and public service for more than twenty years.820 Hiyakymoto, like Schooley, is a mid-level bureaucrat who is devoting her career to spreading the New Civics throughout Colorado and Wyoming.

Amy Ezhaya is SECond Mission AmeriCorps VISTA Leader. Ezhaya received her degrees in International Relations and Education. She has worked with AmeriCorps VISTA for several years, focusing on student veterans.821 Ezhaya is a junior bureaucrat devoted to spreading the New Civics; she represents the capture by the New Civics of patriotic devotion to America’s veterans.

Katie Kleinhesselink is Director of Members Services. She has a degree in Public Administration. She was introduced to “community engagement” as an AmeriCorps member, and has since worked in community organizing, service learning, and community engagement throughout the Mountain West.822 Kleinhesselink is the professional progressive activist the New Civics seeks to create, now early in her career.

Ashley Edinger is Campus Vote Coordinator. Edinger, currently anundergraduate at the University of Denver working on a BA in Socio-legal Studies and Political Science, has worked as a Public Achievement Coach, where “she has introduced over 150 high school students to civic engagement, and has coached them through public work initiatives built around social justice issues they are passionate about.” She has also worked as a Democracy Fellow at New Era Colorado, “participating in andleading grassroots field campaigns surrounding voter registration, ballotmeasures, and other local issues.”823 Edinger is another example of the professional progressive activist the New Civics seeks to create, now preparing for her career.

Advisory Committee

Ryan Campbell is the Compact Service Corps and Student Programs Coordinator, Metropolitan State University. His background is in outdoor education and recreation professions.824 Campbell coordinates the New Civics program at Metropolitan State University.

Loree Crow is the Associate Director for Honors, University of Northern Colorado. Her degrees are in Social Science, Business Administration, and Educational Leadership.825 Crow coordinates a major New Civics program at the University of Northern Colorado; she represents the New Civics infiltration of the academy via “Honors Programs.”

Anne DePrince is the Director of the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning, University of Denver. She has received a doctorate in psychology.826 DePrince coordinates the New Civics program at the University of Denver.

Cara DiEnno is the Associate Director, CCESL, University of Denver. She has received degrees in environmental studies, biomedical sciences, and environmental communications. DiEnno manages DU’s Public Achievement program; her work “is grounded in her own commitment to social justice and engagement.”827 DiEnno helps DePrince coordinate the New Civics program at the University of Denver; her presence in the CCMW Advisory Committee registers the regional importance of Harry Boyte’s neo-Alinskyite community organizing.

Rena Dulberg is the Director of Community Service, Academic Affairs, Johnson & Wales University. She has received degree in Psychology and Conflict Resolution; she led the New Civics (“Community Leadership Institute”) unit within Johnson & Wales, and now is rising to higher administrative positions as Director of Campus Academic Initiatives.828 Dulberg has coordinated the New Civics program at Johnson & Wales, and is ascending to a position where she can promote the New Civics throughout her university

Shanna Farmer is the Community-Based Research Coordinator, Colorado State University Pueblo. Farmer has received degrees in Political Science and Organizational Leadership. Farmer runs the Regional Access to Graduate Education (RAGE) Program at Colorado State University- Pueblo.829 Farmer coordinates the New Civics program at CSU-Pueblo; the name of the program she runs, RAGE, registers the cult of anger that the New Civics promotes.

Jane Fraser is the Professor and the Chair of the Department of Engineering, Colorado State University-Pueblo. Fraser has received degrees in mathematics and Industrial Engineering & Operations Research. She has spent part of her professional career promoting STEM education, including via the Colorado Alliance for Minority Participation.830 Fraser represents the capture by the New Civics of the desire to increase solid technical education among America’s student body.

Margit Hentschel is the Director of the Office of Service-Learning, Colorado State University. Hentschel is working on her doctorate in Peace Education.831 Hentschel coordinates a major New Civics program at Colorado State University.

Veronica House is the Associate Faculty Director for Service-Learning and Outreach in the Program for Writing and Rhetoric, University of Colorado Boulder. She has received degrees, in English, French, and Poetry.832 House coordinates a major New Civics program at CU-Boulder; her presence registers the New Civics’ infiltration of introductory and remedial writing programs.

Brandon Kosine is currently a Psychology Instructor at Casper College and Interim Dean of the School of Social and Behavioral Science. He was formerly was Associate Director in the Wyoming Union at the University of Wyoming, where he ran the Service, Leadership & Community Engagement Office and the Campus Activities Center. He has received degrees in Psychology, Clinical Psychology, and Counselor Education & Supervision. Among his initiatives are the institutionalization of service-learning at the University of Wyoming, and leadership of the UW Safe Zone program, “a program designed to increase the overall campus community’s understanding and awareness of issues faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning (LGBTQ) and other marginalized persons.”833 Kosine has planted the New Civics in Wyoming; he also registers the alignment of the New Civics with gay activism.

Brittany McGarry is the Student Activities Coordinator, Johnson & Wales University. McGarry received her BA in Communications, and her Masters in College Student Development. McGarry did a year of service at AmeriCorps VISTA/Maine Campus Compact, and has also engaged in New Civics and sustainability activities during her time in graduate school.834 McGarry registers the New Civics takeover of Student Affairs; she also registers the New Civics’ success in placing progressive activists into academic administration.

Erin Olsen is the Coordinator of the Office for Service, Leadership, and Community Engagement, University of Wyoming. She has received degrees in International Business, Spanish, and Counselor Education.835 Olsen, the successor of Brandon Kosine, represents the second-generation New Civics bureaucrat, who transforms a small New Civics program into a large one.

Deborah Romero is the Director of Engagement, University of Northern Colorado. She has received degrees in applied languages, educational psychology, and education.836 Romero coordinates the New Civics program at the University of Northern Colorado.

Peter Simons is the emeritus Director of the Institute for Ethical and Civic Engagement, University of Colorado Boulder, now renamed as CU Engage. Simons has received degrees in Psychology, Public Administration, Liberal Studies. Simons made CU-Boulder into the foremost center of the New Civics in Colorado and Wyoming.837 Simons represents the now-retired New Civics advocate who successfully implanted New Civics into higher education during the course of his career.

Sarah Steward is the Career and Community Engagement Coordinator, Naropa University. She received a BA in Sociology and Management and an MS in College Student Personnel.838 Steward coordinates a New Civics program at Naropa University.

Candace Walworth is the Chair of Peace Studies at Naropa University. Walworth states that she teaches and researches “socially engaged spirituality, the socially engaged imagination, and the practice of dialogue in conflict transformation”; she works via Naropa’s Interdisciplinary Studies on “peace, social justice, and sustainability.”839 Walworth registers the New Civics infiltration of interdisciplinary programs.

Gretchen Wheeler is the Director of the Center for Learning through Service, Casper College. She has received an MA in communication and performance. Wheeler institutionalized service-learning at Casper College, by creating the Center that she now directs.840 Wheeler coordinates and promotes the New Civics program at Casper College.

Sandy Wurtele is the Associate Dean for Community Partnerships & Programs, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. She has received degrees in psychology and clinical psychology.841 Wurtele is head of UCCS’s Service-Learning Internship and Community Engagement Center (SLICE), the major New Civics program at UCCS.


Good civics instruction is necessarily historical in character. It must describe institutions that developed in time for specific reasons. But good civics instruction must also teach civic virtues. We teach civics to make students into competent, confident, and patriotic participants in our nation’s public life. Civics courses and programs should not aim to sow disaffection and foster resentment. Above all, they should not aim to recruit students to political causes, create partisan sentiments, or treat the ideals of any political movements as though they are the civic virtues themselves.

In enunciating these goals, we recognize a high hurdle. Many administrators, faculty members, staff, students, and others have abandoned the principle of impartiality in education. Others no longer even recognize when they abandon impartiality. As a result we have reached a situation in which many people no longer see the value of teaching civics, except as a means of advancing their own political agendas.

The current emphasis on “civic engagement” is an enticing diversion. We call on the public high schools and universities in Colorado, Wyoming, and across the country to reassess this commitment, and for legislators and governors to take a hard, critical look at what really transpires under this seemingly positive rubric. This report is a good place to start. Do we really want to marginalize most of the content of the Old Civics? Is the New Civics a worthwhile replacement? Teaching students to become political activists and community organizers no doubt has its attractions. But teaching them to become activists and organizers who are ignorant of how their governing institutions actually work has no merit.

Colorado and Wyoming, no less than the other states, need a citizenry that understands how their government works. That means understanding elections, juries, grand juries, the courts, the police, legislative bodies, the division of powers, checks and balances, the Constitution, federalism—and the many other components of what used to be recognized as the substance of civic competence. It also means understanding the legitimate avenues of dissent and protest. All of this can and should be taught without favoring any political party or cause, except the cause of fostering the integrity of our free and self-governing republic. Civics education should teach students how and why to love America, with both head and heart.

Declare Principles

Reform of civics education will go nowhere without first finding clarity of purpose. The post-national, progressive left accomplished that for the New Civics with the publication of A Crucible Moment. The enthusiasm among campus activists for New Civics deeply complicates the effort to return to non-partisan ground. Some on the political right would prefer to respond with yet another version of politicized civics instead of championing educational ideals that are above politics. What we need, however, is a powerful summons to those national ideals. The place to begin is for each state to forge a declaration of those principles that can attract support from across the political spectrum and that does not use coded language to smuggle back in the partisanship that has undermined real civics education.

Restructure and Set Standards for the Civics Curriculum

We recommend that Colorado and Wyoming create as part of their public education a rigorous, civics curriculum designed to meet the needs of students today and in the decades to come. This would be a new curriculum, not a restoration of one from the past, but it would incorporate the best features of Old Civics courses. The new curriculum would coordinate what is taught at the high school and at the college levels. It would emphasize knowledge, not activism. Its premise would be that citizens in a self-governing republic need to be educated to understand the institutions of self-government.

The foundation of civics instruction should be restored to the middle school curriculum, but high school and college provide the capstones of civics education. This report and our recommendations focus on what should happen at the level of higher education.

College-level civics courses can only be taught properly in coordination with a high-school civics curriculum. The two parts of the coordinated civics curriculum should include a High School Civics Curriculum and a College Civics Curriculum.


  1. a one-year course on the history and structure of the American government. This course should include and test for knowledge on documents such as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, extracts from the Federalist Papers, and the Emancipation Proclamation.
  2. a one-year course on American history from the Mayflower to the present. This sequence should include significant material on the Revolutionary War and the Constitutional Founding. Throughout, it should be designed to include significant biographical material on exemplary Americans— civic heroes—and to provide both our constitutional history and its historical context.
  3. a culminating state-level examination on civic literacy. This test should require serious study—the current (2016) College Board Advanced Placement examination in United State Government and Politics offers a reasonable model for rigor,842 although states should provide their own tests rather than rely on a monopoly provider of educational assessment. This test will provide a means of assessing civics instruction in the high school, and a tool that colleges can use to test whether incoming students possess sufficient civic literacy to take a college-level course.


  1. a civics literacy test (for which the high school exit examination can substitute) to determine whether incoming students have basic civic literacy. Students who have not passed that test must take a remedial civics literacy course that will cover the material they should have learned in high school. Students who have completed this course must take the civics literacy test again; they will not be allowed to graduate, or progress to more advanced civics instruction, until they pass this test.
  2. a college civics curriculum. This will be a sequence of required courses for all students.

College Civics Curriculum: Structure and Content


We start with a recommendation that we realize is not now within practical reach for most public universities in the United States. In the short run, institutional commitments to the regime of “distribution requirements” is too strong to permit serious consideration of new required courses. But we sketch an alternative based on new required courses as an ideal that may help to guide curricular changes in the long term.

The larger idea of a core curriculum that teaches all students the core history, ideas, and literature of Western civilization is meant not least to be a civics education. Just as high-school civics is meant to be taught in complement with American history, college-level civics should be taught in complement with a broader core curriculum—a classical liberal education to furnish the mind of a well-educated free citizen. This broader core curriculum ought to include the following courses:

  1. a two-semester history of Europe (“Western Civilization”), from Periclean Athens to the present, which highlights the historical development of republics and democracies, and the intellectual, social, and cultural developments that have sustained the birth of free government in Europe;
  2. a two-semester history of the United States, repeating at the college level the history of the United States; and
  3. a two-semester civics sequence, fostering students’ ability to engage in intelligent discussion and argument about the core political texts of our republic, and to integrate associated historical material as a supplement (but not a replacement) to close reading of these texts’ actual words.

The two courses in the civics sequence should consist of:

  1. The American Founding. This course should focus on the texts and debates of the period between 1763 and 1796. It should include extracts from philosophical inspirations such as the works of Locke and Montesquieu; revolutionary polemics by figures such as John Adams and Thomas Paine; close discussion of the work of Thomas Jefferson, including the Declaration of Independence and the Notes on the State of Virginia; the Constitution; the Federalist; the Bill of Rights; and George Washington’s Farewell Address (1796), which signaled the establishment of stable government in America.
  2. The American Debate. This course should focus on the political debate among the different heirs to the Founding Fathers, and the debate’s institutionalization in the party system. This course should include significant materials on the Jacksonian challenge to the remnants of social and political deference in America; the crisis of slavery and secession that led to the Civil War and reshaped America’s constitutional order; the Progressive and New Deal remodelings of the American constitution; a survey of contending philosophies of constitutional interpretation; and a parallel survey of notable judicial decisions from Lochner v. New York (1905) to District of Columbia v. Heller (2008).

In both courses, the curriculum should emphasize tensions among ideals within the constitutional system—how different liberties can come into conflict, how some may be irreconcilable, and how some are subject to compromise leaving mutual dissatisfaction among contending parties. The civics curriculum, in other words, should teach students to understand their opponents, to live with their political to-do lists unfulfilled, and, most importantly, to understand that true civic engagement includes an appreciation for the constitutional order, whose preservation should be deemed a virtue outweighing any substantive political goal.


In the short run, a more practical alternative to establishing new course requirements would be to adapt the distribution requirement system.

While a core curriculum would serve the purposes of civics education best, a civic literacy distribution requirement on the model of the University of Wyoming, where students select from a limited number of courses on history, government, and political theory, is a second-best option. Civics courses should be put into their own distribution requirement rather than in broader requirements such as “Social and Behavioral Sciences,” which encourage students to take courses in Psychology or Sociology rather than courses in specifically civic knowledge. Courses that contribute to civic literacy should also double-count against other distribution requirements, so as to encourage students to take these courses.


These classes should focus on educating students exclusively on the content of civics. They should not be exercises in partisanship or ventures in social activism. Students will study historical documents and read serious secondary books and articles in quantities appropriate for college-level courses. They will learn the tools of analysis and critique, and be able to converse and argue about any key idea in both oral and written forms. While these courses will go into depth on the topics of how our government works and why it is organized as it is, they will also help students to acquire some of the civic virtues that higher education is especially suited to provide:

  • how to listen respectfully and tolerate differences of opinion;
  • how to make truth claims of universal validity for which “opinions differ” is an insufficient answer;
  • how to engage in rational argument rather than groundless assertion in support of one’s opinion;
  • how to argue both sides of any question as a way of learning to take seriously opposing opinions and as a way to discover the truth; and
  • how to engage in the life of the mind joyfully, fearing to say nothing and fearing to hear nothing.

Freeze Funding for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement

To restore civics education in the United States, boards of regents, trustees, other responsible authorities, and representatives of the public will have to take steps to correct the diversion of resources and institutional priorities into what we have called the New Civics. This diversion takes several forms, but is especially prominent in “service-learning” and what are often called “civic engagement” or “global civics” classes and activities.

We have made the case in this report that the New Civics is, in essence, a political movement. Its goals are to recruit students to become progressive activists; to provide free labor for progressive organizations; to crowd out (or discredit) other points of view; and to establish campus norms in which progressive ideals are treated as unquestionable. Generally the New Civics is planted in an attitude that anything un-Progressive is un-American.

Restoring civics education will require going against a campus culture in which the New Civics is already well-established and well-positioned to resist developments that threaten its dominance.

The first step towards challenging that dominance is to freeze the funding of the New Civics programs, starting with service-learning. Perhaps some of these service-learning programs have value for students, but that should not be assumed. The tables need to be turned: responsible authorities should require good evidence that service-learning is anything more than a jobs program for progressive ideologues.

Reforms within the system might include:

  1. Service-learning ought to have lists of partner community organizations that span the political spectrum, and which make it as easy (for example) for service-learning to include teaching gun safety as an NRA instructor as it is to work in a shelter for illegal immigrants.
  2. Civic engagement should be reformed in its ideological presumptions so as to prize work for pro-life organizations as much as work for environmental organizations.
  3. Conflict-of-interest rules should be tightened, such that no civics or service-learning grant money disbursed by a university can be awarded to a university staff member.

These reforms will not happen without strong public pressure. The staff administering such programs are so thoroughly progressive that they cannot be relied upon to administer such programs impartially, or to recognize their own conflicts of interest. And we should recollect the power of any administrator, who is, after all, hired to make decisions.843 New Civics bureaucrats will always do what they think is best—radical politics disguised as education—until someone tells them that they can’t.

Reformers will also have to anticipate that service-learning and civic engagement administrators will unleash a campaign of students eager to testify to the educational value of such programs. After all, the main skill-set of these administrators consists of organizing students to do their bidding. The students have been primed to demonstrate, exhort, occupy, and issue demands on behalf of the political causes favored by the public employees who run these programs.

Government oversight is impractical: the Education Committee of the Colorado House of Representatives (for example) cannot and should not be in the business of examining the content of every service-learning and civic engagement class in the state. Since the administrators of such programs cannot be relied upon to execute them impartially, and the regulatory bureaucrats of the federal and state education departments also have been captured by the institutions they are supposed to regulate, all New Civics programs should have their funding frozen immediately. In due time, these programs need to be de-funded and closed. Presumably attrition will thin the ranks of these supernumerary employees before their positions are finally eliminated. The public will support this effort when it learns that the cost savings will be substantial.

Legislative Initiatives: Containing and Eliminating the New Civics

A comprehensive campaign to halt the New Civics takeover of higher education should include as many as possible of the following legislative initiatives:

  1. Legislators should freeze all Federal and state funding for the New Civics (service-learning, civic engagement, global civics, and so on), with no further adjustments for inflation.
  2. Legislators should end hiring of new personnel for New Civics program, with the long-term goal of eliminating all New Civics personnel.
  3. Legislators should mandate that no institution of higher education that receives public money can require students to take any New Civics class.
  4. Legislators should mandate that no institution of higher education that receives public money can affiliate with Public Achievement, or any other organization devoted to community organizing.
  5. Legislators should mandate that no institution of higher education that receives public money can insert New Civics into student residential life.
  6. Legislators should mandate that no institution of higher education that receives public money may fund students or give them academic credit for participating in volunteer activities
  7. Legislators should mandate that no institution of higher education that receives public money may make faculty participation in the New Civics a contributory factor toward receiving reappointment, tenure, promotion, eligibility for sabbatical leave, or other faculty appurtenances.
  8. Legislators should mandate that no government money (grant, fellowship, loan) may be used toward tuition for any New Civics class.
  9. Legislators should mandate that no Federal or state administrative regulation may promote the New Civics.
  10. Legislators should mandate that no Federal or state administrative regulation may use New Civics activity as a plus-factor or requirement for awarding any public money.
  11. Legislators should mandate that no institution of higher education that receives public money may support community organizing or political advocacy.

This containment of the New Civics must be carefully tailored to counter bureaucratic maneuvers such as renaming civic engagement programs and moving them into different sub-units of the university. When the Tennessee legislature voted in 2016 to defund the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Chancellor of the University subverted the legislature’s intent by moving all the subprograms of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion into different administrative units.844 When legislatures do move to freeze the New Civics, the New Civics’ defenders presumably will use the same tactics so as to preserve its programs under different names. The campaign to freeze the New Civics must be carefully drafted and administered in good faith by watchdogs who are familiar with the subterfuges often employed in higher education.

To prevent such bureaucratic maneuvering to hide university expenditures on the New Civics, legislators must mandate full and detailed fiscal transparency by all public educational institutions.

It is worth repeating here that A Crucible Moment cites “student affairs professionals” among those engaged in “The central work of advancing civic learning and democratic engagement in higher education.”845 The containment of the New Civics advocates in academic administration must be sure to include these student affairs professionals.

“Leadership” programs are usually shells for the New Civics.846 They also should be frozen, save in ROTC military science courses.

What about Academic Freedom?

By recommending that new required courses be created and that some current programs be eliminated, we raise issues that are sure to be debated in the rhetoric of academic freedom. We take these matters very seriously. Academic freedom is a foundational concept in higher education. In that sense, it is like civics education itself: an indispensable part of liberty and self-government. But also like civics education, the concept of academic freedom is susceptible to misuse by those who seek political advantage rather than truth.

Course requirements as part of college degree programs do not infringe academic freedom. There is no barrier on academic freedom grounds to requiring civics education courses.

Likewise, academic freedom does not wall off existing courses or non-academic programs from external review, de-funding, and possible elimination. Academic freedom arguments on these issues are red herrings, but reformers need to anticipate that they will come up.

A further point should be emphasized: academic freedom is justified on the grounds that university members have specialized training in their subject areas. The public defers to academics’ professional competence, and hence grants them the large autonomy of academic freedom. But neither academics nor academic bureaucrats have special qualifications to judge the attributes of citizenship. Citizens are the best judges of one another’s civic virtues. If they are going to delegate civics education, it can only be to their elected representatives, whose qualification is the only relevant one—a democratic mandate, articulated via an election. If universities are to be deputed to engage in citizen-training, despite their lack of professional qualifications for the job, their personnel do so as agents of the citizenry and its elected representatives, and not as autonomous professionals. Academic freedom does not apply to civics education. Any publicly funded university should teach precisely the civics education the elected legislature requires. Indeed, if a state university is going to teach civics education at all, the legislature has a special obligation to oversee the content of that education, and not to defer to the university. A private university may teach whatever civics curriculum it likes, of course—but students would be advised to avoid colleges where the professors and staff have decided they know best what makes a good citizen.847

Fund Small Civic Literacy Classes

Some of the money that would have been used to fund the New Civics should be redirected toward funding the civics classes we have recommended. The cost of these courses will be far less than the current cost of the New Civics. In that sense, these are reforms that will more than pay for themselves.

This redirection of funding should be done both as a sign of the real importance our government assigns to civics, and as a way to make civics classes appealing to students. Public universities now tend to teach civics classes, when they teach them at all, as enormous lectures or as distance-learning classes. These two formats are uninspiring to teachers and students, and ensure that even a properly structured civics class will not have much effect. The civics literacy classes should:

  1. Be capped at 30 students per class. This will improve the quality of civics education substantially. It will also distinguish these classes from the large lecture classes that constitute the bulk of freshman education at public universities.
  2. Be tuition-free. Public subsidy of higher education ought to make its first priority be a proper civics education for students. Taking civics classes should cause no fiscal hardship

Provide a Supportive Professional Environment for Civic Literacy

The states should also fund an educational framework that encourages the teaching of civic literacy. Measures should include:

  1. Frame professorial career tracks to encourage the teaching of traditional civics. Measures may include the creation of separate departments focused upon teaching the civics curriculum; giving due weight to teaching traditional civics in tenure decisions; and establishing a tenure track that relies more on teaching traditional civics than on research.
  2. Funding support for traditional civics. Such measures may include teaching development funds, salaries for teaching assistants, and salary bonuses for good teachers of traditional civics.
  3. Fund journals and professional associations dedicated to traditional civics. States should help traditional civics teachers to create and maintain a supportive national professional framework.
  4. Require K-12 history and social studies teachers to take advanced courses on traditional civics. This will improve civics instruction at the K-12 level, and also give civics professors the incentive of the opportunity to teach advanced courses in their specialties.
  5. Fund graduate students who wish to specialize in traditional civics. This will ensure a continuing supply of properly trained professors.

Foster a Genuine Culture of Volunteerism

Colleges and universities should foster real volunteerism by removing all subsidies and academic credit from volunteer activities. It should also return administrative support for such activities to the unpaid, volunteer level, so as to model what proper volunteer activity should look like. Schools may provide a minimum of administrative support, but all that volunteer groups really need are a bulletin board, paper, and thumb tacks.

No position dedicated to volunteer activity should receive any salary, whether full-time or part-time

Universities should provide non-remunerative awards to honor students who have been noteworthy volunteers. The selection panel for such awards should include members of local volunteer organizations whose partisan commitments are evenly distributed across the political spectrum.

Any worthwhile activity now done via service-learning or civic engagement, such as work for United Way or an animal shelter, should be done instead by volunteers.

Unite Non-Progressive Civics Organizations

The infrastructure of progressive civics education organizations exerts nationwide pressure on civics education in a leftist direction, and provides a professional environment for progressive activists employed in civics education. Non-progressive civics organizations should unite so as to form an equally capacious professional environment for civics education teachers and administrators. A great many people interested in civics education drift into the progressive organizations because there is no alternative to them. Give such people a choice—a nationwide alliance of civics education organizations large enough to rival the progressive network—and many of them will avoid the progressive network. This sort of institution building is a necessary component of the reform of civics education— in Colorado, in Wyoming, and nationwide.

Institutes such as the Jack Miller Center, which works to support traditional civic literacy programs on college campuses nationwide, do wonderful work.848 Much more, however, needs to be done—and that work needs to be coordinated. These united organizations should engage in activities that include:

Establish a Traditional Civics Ranking Organization. Universities love to compete; provide them a certificate that shows they are superior at traditional civics, and they will strive to win it. Frame this ranking so that the highest achievement is reserved for those institutions that have eliminated their New Civics programs root and branch.

Market this Ranking to the Private Sector. Colleges that give degrees to students who take New Civics courses are marketing uneducated students to employers. If employers begin to use the traditional civics ranking as a way to tell which college graduates have actually taken real college courses, it will encourage universities to eliminate their New Civics programs.

Lobby states to adopt the Traditional Civics Ranking for their certification requirements. The best way to ensure that universities teach traditional civics, and to eliminate the New Civics, is to adopt these criteria in state certification requirements.


Not every person involved in the New Civics is engaged exclusively in progressive advocacy. Thia Wolf at California State University, Chico went to some length to make CSU-Chico’s Great Debates (required for all first-year students) bipartisan.849 But this is a very rare exception indeed, in a sphere overwhelmingly dominated by forthright progressive advocacy.

Boyle and Scarnati cogently articulate the stakes: “Higher education is an ‘upstream’ institution that shapes the citizenship identities and practices of students throughout their lives. As colleges and universities discuss and practice the civic politics of public work, they will help recreate foundations for civic agency in multiple places.”850 These are the words of the advocates of the New Civics, as they seek to take over civics education—indeed, higher education as a whole—and turn it into a device for progressive advocacy, a device to provide cheap labor for progressive non-profits, and, ultimately, an auxiliary to a progressive party-state. We should take them at their word: the content of civics education is the content of our children’s minds, and a progressive takeover of the colleges will end up as a progressive takeover of the country. We have been warned.

This takeover can and must be stopped—but only by the sustained attention of the American people to prevent it from happening. It will take, indeed, democratic civil engagement, by individuals, the institutions of civil society, and the government at all levels, to prevent the New Civics advocates’ exploitation of our universities. That sort of campaign will indeed be an educative experience, and we will be the better as citizens for having conducted it, and triumphed. We must only be careful to make sure that the elimination of civic engagement, service learning, and the other tools of progressive takeover in our schools does not itself become part of our education within the classroom: organizing our children would be to hand the New Civics advocates an ironic triumph

In the meanwhile, a proper education to civic literacy will not only instill the knowledge necessary to act as a citizen, but also provide an alternative to the New Civics’ progressive agenda. We must not cede the ideals of democracy and citizenship to misuse by leftist activists, and we must provide our own articulation of those ideals, in theory and in practice. It will be a long, hard campaign to triumph over the advocates of the New Civics—but we have models to imitate for such campaigns, in Washington, the soldiers at Valley Forge, and many other Americans who fought for the freedom of their posterity. As they fought to bequeath us a free republic, so we may fight to bequeath one to our children. We have the better cause; let us be worthy of it. 


1 GfK, “Constitution Day,” ACTA Survey Findings, August 28–30, 2015, There are even more dismal results in the Annenberg Public Policy Center’s 2016 survey. “Americans’ knowledge of the branches of government is declining,” PR Newswire, September 13, 2016,

2 Academic Questions (Fall 2012): articles by Charlotte Allen, Mark Bauerlein, Patrick J. Deneen, Donald A. Downs, Daniel J. Flynn, Mary Grabar, Neil W. Hamilton, K. C. Johnson, Thomas K. Lindsay, and Diana Schaub, pp. 325- 76,

3 Maxwell Program in Citizenship and Civic Engagement, Syracuse University.

4 Thomas Ehrlich, Civic Responsibility and Higher Education (Phoenix, 2000), p. vi.

5 The National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement, A Crucible Moment: College Learning & Democracy’s Future (Association of American Colleges & Universities, 2012), p. 4, https://www.AAC&

6 Association of American Colleges & Universities, “High-Impact Educational Practices: A Brief Overview,” excerpting George D. Kuh, High-Impact Educational Practices: What They Are, Who Has Access to Them, and Why They Matter (AAC&U, 2008), http://www.AAC&

7 Seffi Kogen, “How BDS Is Pushing Jewish Students Out of Social Justice Activism,” Forward, September 4, 2016,

8 A Crucible Moment, p. 2.

9 National Association of Scholars, The Dissolution of General Education: 1914-1993 (Princeton, NJ, 1996),

10 Glenn Ricketts, et al., The Vanishing West, 1964-2010. The Disappearance of Western Civilization from the American Undergraduate Curriculum (Princeton, NJ, 2011),

11 Peter Wood and Michael Toscano, What Does Bowdoin Teach? How a Contemporary Liberal Arts College Shapes Students (New York, 2013),

12 Most recently, David Randall, Beach Books: 2014-2016. What Do Colleges and Universities Want Students to Read Outside Class? (New York, 2016),

13 Floyd Norris, “Fewer U.S. Graduates Opt for College After High School,” New York Times, April 25, 2014,

14 Stell Simonton, “Student Walkouts a Fine Form of Civic Engagement, Say Youth Development Leaders,” Youth Today, November 15, 2016,

15 Matthew Reade and Ross Steinberg, “President Oxtoby Denies Wrongdoing as IRS Complaint Filed Against Pomona College,” The Claremont Independent, November 16, 2016,

17 American Association of State Colleges and Universities, American Democracy Project,

18 The Democracy Commitment, About Us.

19 Association of American Colleges & Universities, National Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Action Network, https://www.AAC&

20 Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. “Carnegie Selects Colleges and Universities for 2015 Community Engagement Classification,” January 7, 2015.

21 A Crucible Moment, p. 7.

22 Stell Simonton, “Student Walkouts a Fine Form of Civic Engagement, Say Youth Development Leaders,” Youth Today, November 15, 2016,

23 Project Citizen: A Portfolio-Based Civic Education Program,

24 E.g., Brian D. Schultz, Spectacular Things Happen Along the Way: Lesson from an Urban Classroom (New York, 2008).

25 Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, “All Community Engagement Classified Institutions: 2010 and 2015,” p. 2,

26 Patrick J. Deneen, “An Unbalanced Crucible,” Academic Questions 25, 3 (2012), pp. 338-40.

27 Declaration of Independence, Charters of Freedom, National Archives,

28 Cf. George Thomas, The Founders and the Idea of a National University: Constituting the American Mind (Cambridge, 2015).

29 A Crucible Moment, p. 7.

30 National Center for Education Statistics, “The Nation’s Report Card: Civics 2010,” May 2011,

32 Carol Geary Schneider, “To Democracy’s Detriment: What Is the Current Evidence, and What if We Fail to Act Now?”, in Donald W. Harward, ed., Civic Provocations (Washington, D.C., 2012), p. 8.

33 GfK, “Constitution Day,” ACTA Survey Findings, August 28–30, 2015,

34 GfK, “Constitution Day,” ACTA Survey Findings, August 28–30, 2015,

35 A Crucible Moment, p. 8.

36 John Pierpont, The National Reader: A Selection of Exercises in Reading and Speaking (Boston, 1828), pp. 200-09, 242-49.

37 Charles W. Sanders, The School Reader. Fourth Book (New York, 1842), pp. 47-49, 279-80, 299-301.

38 Sanders, School Reader, p. 301.

39 McGuffey’s Newly Revised Rhetorical Guide; or Fifth Reader of The Eclectic Series (New York, 1853), pp. 92-94, 327-39, 458-61.

40 David Warren Saxe, Social Studies in Schools: A History of the Early Years (Albany, 1991), p. 30.

41 Saxe, Social Studies in Schools, pp. 30-50.

42 Saxe, Social Studies in Schools, esp. pp. 51ff; C. Gregg Jorgenson, John Dewey and the Dawn of Social Studies: Unraveling Conflicting Interpretations of the 1916 Report (Charlotte, NC, 2012).

43 General Education in a Free Society: Report of the Harvard Committee (Cambridge, MA, 1945), esp. pp. 73-78, 132-50, 213-20; James J. Carpenter, “‘The Development of a More Intelligent Citizenship’: John Dewey and the Social Studies,” Education and Culture 22, 2 (2006), 31–42; Ronald W. Evans, The Social Studies Wars: What Should We Teach the Children? (New York, 2004), esp. 21-45.

44 Robert D. Putnam, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community (New York, 2000); William Damon, Failing Liberty: How We Are Leaving Young Americans Unprepared for Citizenship in a Free Society (Stanford, 2011), p. 40.

45 David Busch, “A Brief History of Service Learning,” SocialChange101,

46 Lisa Gallagher, Eric Planowski, and Kyra Tarbell, Faculty Guide to Service-Learning: Information and Resources for Creating and Implementing Service-Learning Courses (Denver:, p. 4. For the VISTA connection, see also Timothy K. Stanton, Dwight E. Giles, Jr., and Nadinne I. Cruz, Service Learning: A Movement’s Pioneers Reflect on Its Origins, Practice, and Future (San Francisco, 1999), p. 59.

49 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 53.

50 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 54.

51 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 85; and see also p. 110.

52 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 138.

53 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 75; Richard A. Couto, “Civic Leadership,” in Richard M. Battisoni and William E. Hudson, eds., Experiencing Citizenship: Concepts and Models for Service-Learning in Political Science (Sterling, VA, 2006), p. 221.

54 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, pp. 80, 93.

55 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 83.

56 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 64.

57 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 140.

58 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, pp. 65-66.

59 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 67.

60 Dwight E. Giles, Jr. and Janet Eyler, “The Theoretical Roots of Service-Learning in John Dewey: Toward a Theory of Service-Learning,” Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning 1, 1 (1994), p. 78; Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 67.

61 Busch, “Brief History,”; Southern Regional Education Board, Atlanta Service-Learning Conference Report (1970),

62 Sally Berman, Service Learning: A Guide to Planning, Implementing, and Assessing Student Projects, SecondEdition (New York, 2015).

63 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, pp. 155-57.

64 Berman, Service Learning.

65 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 5.

66 Busch, “Brief History,”; Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, pp. 5-6.

67 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, pp. 166-68.

68 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 182.

69 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 184.

70 Berman, Service Learning; Gallagher, Planowski, and Tarbell, Faculty Guide to Service-Learning, p. 4.

71 For a handy summary in graphical form of the structure of a service-learning class, see Service-Learning in the Curriculum: A Three-Phase Developmental Model,

72 Timothy K. Stanton, Dwight E. Giles, Jr., and Nadinne I. Cruz, Service Learning: A Movement’s Pioneers Reflect on Its Origins, Practice, and Future (San Francisco, 1999), p. 192.

73 Goodwin Liu, “Foreword,” in Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. xii.

74 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, pp. 4, 193.

75 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, pp. 112, 193; and for the influence of Freire, also see pp. 56, 69, 125, 136-37, 192; Liu, “Foreword,” p. xi.

76 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, pp. 41, 84.

77 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 114.

78 Guo Jian, Yongyi Song, and Yuan Zhou, Historical Dictionary of the Chinese Cultural Revolution (Lanham, MD, 2006), p. 246; John Cleverley, In the Lap of Tigers: The Communist Labor University of Jiangxi Province (Lanham, MD, 2000), p. 161.

79 Staff Reporter, “Open Door Schooling Is Good,” China Reconstructs 25, 7 (July 1976), p. 12,

80 USCDornsife, “History of Service-Learning,”

81 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, pp. xv, 1.

82 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, pp. 3, 5.

83 Laurence R. Veysey, The Emergence of the American University (Chicago and London, 1970), pp. 73-74; Seth S.Pollack, “Early Connections Between Service and Education,” in Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 13.

84 Cited in Pollack, “Early Connections,” p. 13.

85 Pollack, “Early Connections,” pp. 15-16.

86 Pollack, “Early Connections,” pp. 16-17.

87 Pollack, “Early Connections,” p. 16.

88 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 102.

89 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 77.

90 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, pp. 228-29.

91 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, pp. 55-56.

92 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 89.

93 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, pp. 237-38.

94 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 77.

95 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, pp. 43-44.

96 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, pp. 70-71, 73, 124.

97 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 81; and see p. 151.

98 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 139.

99 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 126.

100 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 128.

101 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 85.

102 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 128-29.

103 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 138.

104 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 116.

105 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 137.

106 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 139.

107 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 111.

108 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, pp. 119, 136-37.

109 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 137.

110 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 226.

111 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 137.

112 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 131.

113 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 151.

114 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 152.

115 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 240.

116 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, pp. 146-47.

117 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 141.

118 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 146.

119 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, pp. 147-48.

120 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 154.

121 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, pp. 183-84.

122 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 146.

123 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 196.

124 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, pp. 96, 99.

125 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 185.

126 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 115.

127 Kenneth M. Reardon, “Undergraduate Research in Distressed Urban Communities: An Undervalued Form of Service-Learning,” Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning 1, 1 (1994), pp. 44-54.

128 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 134.

129 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 112.

130 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 149.

131 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, pp. 117, 119-20.

132 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, pp. 159-60.

133 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, pp. 173, 231-32.

134 Kathleen Flecky, “Foundations of Service Learning,” in Kathleen Flecky and Lynn Gitlow, eds., Service Learning in Occupational Therapy Education (Sudbury, MA, 2011), p. 4.

135 Flecky, “Foundations of Service Learning,” p. 4.

136 Tobi Jacobi, Interview by Craig Keller, June 16, 2015.

137 Flecky, “Foundations of Service Learning,” p. 4.

138 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 133.

139 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 111.

140 See also the critiques in John B. Egger, “No Service to Learning: “Service-Learning” Reappraised,” Academic Questions 21, 2 (June 2008), pp. 183-94; and Carl L. Bankston III, “The Civic Education Crusade: A Heretic’s Analysis,” Society 50, pp. 629-34.

141 A Crucible Moment, p. 58.

142 Darwyn Fehrman and Aaron Schutz, “Beyond the Catch-22 of School-Based Social Action Programs: Toward a More Pragmatic Approach for Dealing with Power,” Democracy & Education 19, 1 (2011), p. 4,; and see also Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 143 (note 4).

143 Stanley Kurtz, Radical-in-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism (New York, 2010), pp. 161-63.

144 “Biographical Note - Harry C. Boyte,” Register of the Boyte Family Papers, 1941–1981, Duke University Libraries, p. 4,; Harry Chatten Boyte,

146 Gary Dorrien, “Democratic Organizing, Social Ethics, and Economic Democracy,” Syndicate, February 10, 2016,

147 University of Denver, Center for Community Engagement & Service Learning, Public Good Newsletter 11 (Winter 2012), p. 4,

149 DemocracyU, “About DemocracyU and American Commonwealth Partnership,”

150 The American Commonwealth Project: Colleges and Universities as Agents and Architects of Democracy, p. 3,

151 Citizen Alum, National Steering Committee,

152 Citizen Alum, About,

153 Tufts University, Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, “Summer Institute of Civic Studies – Framing Statement,”

154 Augsburg College, Center for Teaching and Learning, “Civic Studies Initiative,”

155 University of Minnesota, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, “Harry Boyte,”

156 Imagining America, “History,”

157 Harry C. Boyte, “Public Work: Civic Populism versus Technocracy in Higher Education,” in David W. Broan and Deborah Witte, eds., Agent of Democracy: Higher Education and the HEX Journey (Dayton, 2007) p. 93.

158 Boyte, “Public Work,” p. 95.

159 Noelle Johnson, “Public Achievement: Transforming Education,” AASCU’S American Democracy Project,

160 Fehrman and Schutz, “Beyond the Catch-22 of School-Based Social Action Programs,” p. 5.

161 Harry C. Boyte and Blase Scarnati, “Transforming Higher Education in a Larger Context: The Civic Politics of Public Work,” in Peter Levine and Karol Edward Soltan, eds., Civic Studies (Washington, D.C., 2014), pp. 85-86.

162 Harry C. Boyte and Eric Fretz, “Civic Professionalism,” Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement 14, 2 (2010),, p. 75.

163 Fehrman and Schutz, “Beyond the Catch-22 of School-Based Social Action Programs,” p. 4.

164 Fehrman and Schutz, “Beyond the Catch-22 of School-Based Social Action Programs,” p. 4.

165 Fehrman and Schutz, “Beyond the Catch-22 of School-Based Social Action Programs,” p. 4.

166 Fehrman and Schutz, “Beyond the Catch-22 of School-Based Social Action Programs,” pp. 4-5.

167 Fehrman and Schutz, “Beyond the Catch-22 of School-Based Social Action Programs,” p. 4.

168 Boyte and Scarnati, “Transforming Higher Education,” p. 78.

169 Boyte and Scarnati, “Transforming Higher Education,” p. 80.

170 Boyte and Scarnati, “Transforming Higher Education,” p. 83.

171 Fehrman and Schutz, “Beyond the Catch-22 of School-Based Social Action Programs,” pp. 2, 5.

172 Eric Fretz, “Practicing Politics in Higher Education: Community Organizing Strategies for the University,” Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement 12, 2 (2008), pp. 71, 76, 84-85, 87.

173 Campus Compact of the Mountain West document: Jenny Whitcher, Frank Coyne, Sarah McCauley, and Sarah Rauenhorst, Community Organizing Handbook, 2nd Edition (University of Denver, Center for Community Engagement & Service Learning, 2010),

174 Whitcher, et al., Community Organizing Handbook, p. 3.

175 Troy Duster, “Engaged Learning as a Bridge to Civic Engagement,” in Donald W. Harward, ed., Civic Values, Civic Practices (Washington, D.C., 2013), pp. 43-45.

176 California State University Dominguez Hills, “Maria Avila, MSW, PH.D.,”

177 University of Colorado, Boulder, Public Achievement,

178 Colorado State University, Lory Student Center, “SLiCE Engagement Programs: Public Achievement for Community Transformation,”

180 University of Denver, Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning, Public Achievement,

181 University of Denver, “Orphan, Cecilia, PHD,” ; University of Denver, Orphan Curriculum Vitae June 2016,

182 University of Colorado, Boulder, Puksta Scholars Program, “Elaina Verveer,”

183 Iliff School of Theology, Jenny Whitcher,; Campus Compact of the Mountain West, Jenny Whitcher,

184 Imagining America, “Kira Pasquesi,”

185 Imagining America, “University of Colorado-Boulder,”; University of Colorado, Boulder, CU Engage, “Who We Are,”

186 Imagining America, “University of Colorado-Boulder,”; University of Colorado, Boulder, College of Arts & Sciences, “Valerio Ferme,”

187 Imagining America, “Iliff School of Theology,”

188 University of Colorado, Boulder, CU Boulder Today, “Civic Engagement Expert To Address Importance Of Democracy Education In Oct. 27 CU-Boulder Talk,” October 17, 2005,

189 Annalise Kinkel, “Public Good lecture series ties humanities with civic engagement,” University of Denver Magazine, November 13, 2006,

191 21st Century Citizens: Building Bridges, Solving Problems,

192 University of Northern Colorado, News Central, “Fall Schulze Speaker Series Concludes Nov. 11 with Harry Boyte,”; University of Northern Colorado, UNC Community Engaged Partners Workshop Luncheon, “Reframing Democracy as the Work of the People,”

193 John Dewey, Democracy and Education: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education (New York, 1916), esp. chs. 7, 11, 13.

194 E.g., Dwight E. Giles, Jr. and Janet Eyler, “The Theoretical Roots of Service-Learning in John Dewey: Toward a Theory of Service-Learning,” Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning 1, 1 (1994), pp. 77-85; Henry Chatten Boyte, “A Different Kind of Politics: John Dewey and the Meaning of Citizenship in the 21st Century,” The Good Society 12, 2 (2003), pp. 1-15.

195 David Busch, “A Brief History of Service Learning,” SocialChange101,

196 Harward, “Why Now? The Civic as a Core Part of What Higher Learning Means,” in Harward, ed., Civic Provocations, p. 16.

197 Timothy K. Eatman, “Afterword: Reflections on the Center of the Civic,” in Ashley Finley, ed. Civic Learning and Teaching (Washington, D.C., 2014), p. 69.

198 Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition: The Second Edition (Chicago and London, 1998), pp. 38-41.

199 For a select bibliography of recent works by practitioners in the field, see Iain Mac Labhrainn and Lorraine McIlrath, eds., Higher Education and Civic Engagement: International Perspectives (Aldershot, 2007); John Saltmarsh and Edward Zlotkowski, Higher Education and Democracy: Essays on Service-Learning and Civic Engagement (Philadelphia, 2011); Michael T. Rogers and Donald M. Gooch, eds., Civic Education in the Twenty-First Century: A Multidimensional Inquiry (Lanham, MD, 2015); Omobolade Delano-Oriaran, Marguerite W. Penick-Parks, and Suzanne Fondrie, eds., The SAGE Sourcebook of Service-Learning and Civic Engagement (Los Angeles, 2015); Forrest Clingerman and Reid B. Locklin, eds., Teaching Civic Engagement (Oxford, 2016).

200 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 103.

201 Caryn McTighe Musil, “A ‘National Call to Action’ from the National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement,” in Harward, ed., Civic Provocations, p. 72; A Crucible Moment, p. 55.

202 Musil, “National Call to Action,” p. 72; Patricia Gurin and Biren (Ratnesh) A. Nagda, “Intergroup Dialogue and Civic and Service Learning: Toward Mutually Engaged Learning,” in Finley, ed. Civic Learning and Teaching, pp. 34-41; A Crucible Moment, p. 55.

203 Musil, “National Call to Action,” p. 73; A Crucible Moment, p. 55.

204 Cited in Reid B. Locklin with Ellen Posman, “Discourse, Democracy, and the Many Faces of Civic Engagement: Four Guiding Objectives for the University Classroom,” in Forrest Clingerman and Reid B. Locklin, ed., Teaching Civic Engagement (Oxford, 2016), p. 8.

205 A Crucible Moment, p. 45.

206 Schneider, “To Democracy’s Detriment,” p. 10.

207 Margaret Salazar-Porzio and George J. Sanchez, “The Logic of Civic Possibility: Undocumented Students and the Struggle for a Higher Education,” in Harward, ed., Civic Values, Civic Practices, p. 72. Also see Fine, “Critical Civic Research,” p. 39.

208 Michelle Fine, “Critical Civic Research,” in Harward, ed., Civic Provocations, p. 39.

209 Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn, “Individual Liberty and Civic Practices: Citizen, Consumer, Combatant,” in Harward, ed., Civic Values, Civic Practices, pp. 73-81, esp. pp. 78-79.

210 Neil B. Weissman, “Sustainability & Liberal Education: Partners by Nature ,” Liberal Education 98, 4 (Fall 2012),, [p. 7].

211 Weissman, “Sustainability & Liberal Education,” [pp. 3-4]. See also Carl Benton Straub, “The Civic within the More-than-Human World,” in Harward, ed., Civic Values, Civic Practices, pp. 3-4; and Brian Murphy, “Civic Learning in Community Colleges,” in Jill N. Reich, ed., Civic Engagement, Civic Development, and Higher Education (Washington, D.C., 2014), p. 19.

212 Matthew J. Countryman, “Diversity and Democratic Engagement: Civic Education and the Challenge of Inclusivity,” in Harward, ed., Civic Provocations, p. 49. See also “Organizing Your Civic Seminar,” in Harward, ed., Civic Provocations, p. 82.

213 Fine, “Critical Civic Research,” p. 39.

214 Todd Gitlin, “Social Media, the Occupy Movement, and Civic Values,” in Harward, ed., Civic Values, Civic Practices, p. 20.

215 Fine, “Critical Civic Research,” p. 36. See also Seth Pollack, “(Social) Justice for All (Undergraduate Degree Programs): Institutionalizing Critical Civic Literacy in the Undergraduate Curriculum,” in Finley, ed. Civic Learning and Teaching, p. 17.

216 Paul LeBlanc, “Making Civic Engagement Matter to More Students: Expanding Our Reach and Improving Our Practice,” in Reich, ed., Civic Engagement, Civic Development, and Higher Education, p. 27; A Crucible Moment, p. 46.

217 Countryman, “Diversity and Democratic Engagement,” p. 52.

218 Donald W. Harward, “Introduction and Framing Essay,” in Harward, ed., Civic Values, Civic Practices, p. xv.

219 Barry Checkoway, “Civic Engagement, Civic Learning, and Higher Education,” in Harward, ed., Civic Provocations, p. 25.

220 Amanda Moore McBride, “Protests and Beyond: Civic Reengagement,” Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement,

221 Philip Nyden, “Public Sociology, Engaged Research, and Civic Education,” in Levine and Soltan, eds., Civic Studies, pp. 109-10.

222 Hudson Valley Community College, Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement, “Community Partners for Spring 2016,”

223 Constance Flanagan and Peter Levine, “Civic Engagement and the Transition to Adulthood,” Future Child 20, 1 (2010), pp. 173-75,

224 Fine, “Critical Civic Research,” 38.

225 Musil, “National Call to Action,” p. 73.

226 Shari Tishman, “The Difference Between “Civically Engaged” and “Volunteer” (and How to Turn One into the Other),” October 17, 2011, Engaging Volunteers: The VolunteerMatch Blog for Social Change Organizations,

227 Bernita Quoss, Margaret Cooney, and Terri Longhust, “Academics and Advocates: Using Participatory Action Research to Influence Welfare Policy,” The Journal of Consumer Affairs 34, 1 (2000), pp. 47-61.

228,, downloaded June 22, 2016.

229 Columbia University, Columbia University Center for Career Education, Civic Engagement and Advocacy,

230 LeBlanc, “Making Civic Engagement Matter,” p. 26.

231 Barbara Holland, “Strategies for Understanding the Impact of Civic Learning and Teaching,” in Finley, ed. Civic Learning and Teaching, pp. 22-23.

232 A Crucible Moment, pp. 13, 61.

233 A Crucible Moment, p. 12; Christine M. Cress, et al., A Promising Connection: Increasing College Access and Success through Civic Engagement (Boston, 2010).

234 Cress, et al., A Promising Connection.

235 A Crucible Moment, p. 31.

236 Tufts University, Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, “Summer Institute of Civic Studies – Framing Statement,”

237 Civic Studies, [“Home,”]

238 Civic Studies, “Civic Agency Syllabi,”, accessed March 1, 2016.

239 Erica Kohl-Arenas, Participatory Community Engagement, Spring 2014,

240 Nyden, “Public Sociology, Engaged Research, and Civic Education,” p. 112.

241 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 103; and see also pp. 106-07, 109.

242 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 105.

243 Deneen, “An Unbalanced Crucible,” pp. 338-39.

244 Kevin Hovland, Shared Futures: Global Learning and Liberal Education (Washington, D.C., 2006), p. 19. See also Richard Detweiler, “Is the Civic a Culturally Dependent Concept? Are Democratic Practices?”, in Harward, ed., Civic Provocations, esp. p. 57.

245 Hovland, Shared Futures, p. 7.

246 Hakan Altinay, “A Global Civics?”, in Harward, ed., Civic Values, Civic Practices, p. 86.

247 Karol Edward Soltan, “The Emerging Field of a New Civics,” in Levine and Soltan, eds., Civic Studies, p. 16.

248 Soltan, “Emerging Field of a New Civics,” p. 17.

249 Soltan, “Emerging Field of a New Civics,” p. 17.

250 Hovland, Shared Futures, p. 9.

251 Hovland, Shared Futures, pp. 16-17, 28.

252 Association of American Colleges & Universities, Toolkit Resources: Campus Models & Case Studies, “An Integrative Approach to Global Learning at Nebraska Wesleyan University,” May 2013, https://www.AAC&

253 Hovland, Shared Futures, p. 11.

254 Hovland, Shared Futures, p. 12.

255 Hovland, Shared Futures, p. 17.

256 University of Minnesota, Institute for Global Studies, “Global Studies Major,”

257 University of California, Santa Barbara, Global & International Studies,” “Global Studies Major,”

258 Hovland, Shared Futures, pp. 13-15; Colby College, Colby College Catalogue 2015-2016, “Academic Requirements,”

259 Hovland, Shared Futures, pp. 31-32; Drury University, Drury Core,

260 Hovland, Shared Futures, p. 19.

261 Hovland, Shared Futures, p. 22; and for other funded initiatives, all progressive, see pp. 22-24.

262 Hovland, Shared Futures, p. 23.

263 Hovland, Shared Futures, p. 24; Association of American Colleges & Universities, “Shared Futures: Global Learning and Social Responsibility,” https://www.AAC&; Association of American Colleges & Universities, “General Education for a Global Century Participating Institutions,” https://www.AAC&

264 Hovland, Shared Futures, p. 23.

265 A Crucible Moment, p. 63; Hovland, Shared Futures, p. 28.

266 Altinay, “A Global Civics?”, p. 83.

267 California State University Dominguez Hills, “Maria Avila, MSW, PH.D.,”

268 Hovland, Shared Futures, p. 6.

269 Murphy, “Civic Learning in Community Colleges,” pp. 19-21.

270 Matthew Hartley, “An Engagement for Democracy,” in Harward, ed., Civic Provocations, p. 51; Campus Compact, Annual Membership Survey Results 2010. Executive Summary, pp. 2, 5, 8,

271 Campus Compact, Three Decades of Institutionalizing Change: 2014 Annual Member Survey,, pp. 4-5.

272 Ashley Finley, A Brief Review of the Evidence on Civic Learning in Higher Education (2012), https://www.AAC&, p. 1.

273 Campus Compact, Three Decades of Institutionalizing Change: 2014 Annual Member Survey, p. 6.

274 Academic Resource Conference 2016, “Civic Learning as a Goal for Every Undergraduate: The Massachusetts Experience in Public Higher Education,”; Massachusetts Board of Higher Education Policy on Civic Learning: Summary,

275 Diane Rado, “Civics class required for high school graduation will push the envelope,” Chicago Tribune, September 7, 2015,

276 Chicago Public Schools, Civic Engagement & Service Learning, “Guidelines,”

277 A Crucible Moment, https://www.AAC&

278 A Crucible Moment, p. 2; and see A Crucible Moment, p. 49; Schneider, “To Democracy’s Detriment,” p. 7.

279 “Martha Kanter ’70 is uncapping human potential,” Brandeis Now, December 8, 2009,

280 New York University Steinhardt, Faculty, “Martha Kanter,”

281 “Martha Kanter ’70 is uncapping human potential,” Brandeis Now, December 8, 2009,

282 De Anza College, Vasconcellos Institute for Democracy in Action: “Community Partners for Service Learning,”; “VIDA Projects 2015-2016,”; President’s Task Force on Community and Civic Engagement, Plan for De Anza College’s Institute for Community and Civic Engagement, March 6, 2006,

283 California State University Monterey Bay, Office of the President, “Biography, President Eduardo M. Ochoa, Ph.D.,”

284 Pollack, “(Social) Justice for All (Undergraduate Degree Programs),” p. 17 (note 1).

285 Bringing Theory to Practice: “What We Do,”; “About Bringing Theory to Practice,”

286 Bates College, News, “Students, faculty and staff honored for service-learning,” March 31, 2005,; Bringing Theory to Practice, “Who We Are,”; Illinois Wesleyan University, “Panel of Presidents,”; Bates College, Harward Center, “About,”

287 Bringing Theory to Practice, “Who We Are,”; Sally E. Pingree,

288 A Crucible Moment, p. 4.

289 A Crucible Moment, pp. 19, 22.

290 A Crucible Moment, p. 10.

291 Association of American Colleges & Universities, “Larry A. Braskamp,” https://www.AAC&; Loyola University of Chicago, “Larry A. Braskamp,”; Elmhurst College, Office of the President, “About Interim President Braskamp,”

292 Christie Lee, “Speaking With An Expert: Larry Braskamp Shares His Thoughts On SAS,” News from the Helm, Semester at Sea, March 19, 2014,; Manta, “Global Perspective Institute Inc.,”

293 Global Perspective Inventory: Brochures,; Fees,; Washburn University, Global Perspective Inventory,

294 Association of American Colleges & Universities, Caryn McTighe Musil, https://www.AAC&

295 A Crucible Moment, p. 30.

296 Kevin Hovland, “What Can Global Learners Do?” Diversity and Democracy, Spring 2014, Vol. 17, No. 2. https://www.AAC&

298 Nancy L. Thomas, “The Politics of Learning for Democracy,” Association of American Colleges & Universities, https://www.AAC&

299 Association of American Colleges & Universities, “National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement,” https://www.AAC&; Kettering Foundation, Derek Barker, Program Officer,; Kettering Foundation, What KF Does & Doesn’t Do,

300 Association of American Colleges & Universities, “National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement,” https://www.AAC&; Wagner College, Dr. Richard Guarasci, President,; Wagner College, News, “President Guarasci named chairman of Campus Compact board,” April 2, 2014,

301 Association of American Colleges & Universities, “National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement,” https://www.AAC&; University of California, Los Angeles, Sylvia Hurtado,

302 Joanie Harmon, “Q&A: Sylvia Hurtado and how universities can help students embrace diversity,” UCLA Newsroom, October 27, 2014,

303 Sylvia Hurtado, Josephine Gasiewski, and Cynthia Lua Alvarez, The Climate for Diversity at Cornell University: Student Experiences (March 2014), esp. i-viii:

304 Association of American Colleges & Universities, “National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement,” https://www.AAC&; Citizen University, Eric Liu,

305 Association of American Colleges & Universities, “National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement,” https://www.AAC&; Gallup, “Gale D. Muller, 1944-2015,”

306 Association of American Colleges & Universities, “National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement,” https://www.AAC&; Brian Murphy, Long Biography,; Brian Murphy, Memberships/Organizations,

307 Association of American Colleges & Universities, “National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement,” https://www.AAC&; Interfaith Youth Core, Build Pluralism on Campus,; Interfaith Youth Core, Interfaith Leadership Institutes,

308 Association of American Colleges & Universities, “National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement,” https://www.AAC&; Association of American Colleges & Universities, Carol Geary Schneider, https://www.AAC&

309 Association of American Colleges & Universities, “National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement,” https://www.AAC&; Campus Compact, David Scobey,; David Scobey CV,

310 Association of American Colleges & Universities, “National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement,” https://www.AAC&; College of Saint Benedict & Saint John’s Univeristy, “CV – Kathleen Maas Weigert,”

311 A Crucible Moment, pp. 89-95.

312 A Crucible Moment, p. 38.

313 “How Support Available from Bringing Theory to Practice Can Make a Campus Seminar Happen and Subsequent Campus Seminar Reporting,” in Harward, ed., Civic Provocations, p. 83.

314 United States Department of Education, Advancing Civic Learning and Engagement in Democracy: A Road Map and Call to Action (2012),

315 United States Department of Education, Advancing Civic Learning, pp. 3, 21-25.

317 University of Central Oklahoma, “US Department of Education Awards $7.7 Million Grant to UCO,”

318 Musil, “National Call to Action,” pp. 72-73.

319 Robert M. Hollister, “Building a University-Wide College of Citizenship and Public Service,” in Reich, ed., Civic Engagement, p. 54; Tufts University, The Talloires Network, “Who We Are,”

320 A Crucible Moment, pp. 57-58, 97-115.

321 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, pp. 186-87.

322 Hollister, “Building a University-Wide College of Citizenship and Public Service,” pp. 52-53.

323 Campus Compact,

324 Campus Compact, Membership, List of Members by State, by-state/list/.

325 Campus Compact’s membership overlaps strongly with the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s (CFAT) Community Engagement Classification, which it awards every five years to qualifying colleges and universities among an applicant pool of several hundred institutions of higher education. CFAT defines “community engagement” as “collaboration” between universities and the “larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global)” in order to “enrich scholarship, research, and creative activity; enhance curriculum, teaching and learning; prepare educated, engaged citizens; strengthen democratic values and civic responsibility; address critical societal issues; and contribute to the public good.” In 2015, 199 out of the 240 institutions that received the Carnegie Classification were Campus Compact members. Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, “Carnegie Selects Colleges and Universities for 2015 Community Engagement Classification,” January 7, 2015.; Campus Compact, “Campus Compact Members Are Overwhelming Majority of NewCarnegie Recognized Institutions,” January 16, 2015.

326 Holland, “Strategies for Understanding the Impact of Civic Learning and Teaching,” pp. 25-26.

327 Campus Compact, Who We Are, Mission and Vision. Education Commission of the States

328 Campus Compact, Presidents’ Declaration on the Civic Responsibility of Higher Education,

329 Campus Compact, Initiatives, Awards Programs, Newman Civic Fellows Award, The 2015 Newman Civic Fellows.

330 Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), https://www.AAC&

331 Holland, “Strategies for Understanding the Impact of Civic Learning and Teaching,” p. 25.

332 Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), VALUE Rubrics, https://www.AAC&

333 Hovland, Shared Futures, p. 3.

334 Hovland, Shared Futures, pp. 4-6.

335 American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU),

336 Holland, “Strategies for Understanding the Impact of Civic Learning and Teaching,” p. 26.

337 American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), Civic Engagement Program Partners,

338 American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU): Political Engagement Project (PEP),; Civic Agency,; Deliberative Polling,; Economic Inequality,; Global Engagement,; Stewardship of Public Lands,

339 The Democracy Commitment,

340 Bernie Ronan, “Community Colleges and the Work of Democracy,” The Democracy Commitment,; Murphy, “Civic Learning in Community Colleges,” p. 23.

341 “Students Win National Democracy Award,” De Anza College,

342 New England Resource Center for Higher Education, Carnegie Community Engagement Classification,

343 Duster, “Engaged Learning as a Bridge to Civic Engagement,” p. 46.

344 Holland, “Strategies for Understanding the Impact of Civic Learning and Teaching,” p. 25.

345 Holland, “Strategies for Understanding the Impact of Civic Learning and Teaching,” p. 24; Corporation for National & Community Service, President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll,

346 Holland, “Strategies for Understanding the Impact of Civic Learning and Teaching,” pp. 24-25, 29.

347 Imagining America,

348 Imagining America, “History,”

349 Imagining America, “History of Page,”

350 Imagining America, “Initiatives,”

351 Break Away, [“Home,”]

352 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 142 (note 2).

353 University of Colorado, Boulder, Volunteer Resource Center, “About CU Alternative Breaks,”; University of Colorado, Boulder, Volunteer Resource Center, “Posters,”; Break Away, [“Home,”]

354 Impact National Conference,

355 Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, p. 142 (note 1).

356 Impact National Conference, “History,”

357 A Crucible Moment, pp. 47-48.

358 A Crucible Moment, p 57.

359 A Crucible Moment, pp. 33, 48.

360 Checkoway, “Civic Engagement,” p. 26.

361 Checkoway, “Civic Engagement,” p. 27.

362 Darby K. Ray, “Civic Diffusion: Moving the Center to the Center,” in Reich, ed., Civic Engagement, p. 55.

363 Nigel Boyle, “Integrating Global and Local Civic Learning (Early and Often),” in Reich, ed., Civic Engagement, p. 73.

364 A Crucible Moment, p. 46. We have replaced the commas with semi-colons in this list, for clarity.

365 Musil, “National Call to Action,” p. 73; Boyte and Scarnati, “Transforming Higher Education,” pp. 83-85; Northern Arizona University, Sustainable Communities: “Programs,”; “Community Engagement, Engaged Pedagogy, and Democratic Activism,”

366 A Crucible Moment, p 62.

367 Murphy, “Civic Learning in Community Colleges,” p. 21.

368 A Crucible Moment, p 62.

369 Hollister, “Building a University-Wide College of Citizenship and Public Service,” pp. 51-53.

370 Pollack, “(Social) Justice for All (Undergraduate Degree Programs),” p. 16.

371 Eatman, “Afterword,” pp. 72-73.

372 Caitlin Cahill and Michelle Fine, “Living the Civic: Brooklyn’s Public Scholars,” in Reich, ed., Civic Engagement, p. 69.

373 Boyle, “Integrating Global and Local Civic Learning,” p. 74.

374 Boyle, “Integrating Global and Local Civic Learning,” pp. 74-75.

375 Boyle, “Integrating Global and Local Civic Learning,” p. 75.

376 A Crucible Moment, p. 52; Tulane University, Newcomb-Tulane College, “Undergraduate Core Curriculum 2015-2016,”, pp. 7-8.

377 Cahill and Fine, “Living the Civic,” p. 68; Kingsborough Community College, “Civic Engagement,”

378 Pollack, “(Social) Justice for All (Undergraduate Degree Programs),” p. 17 (note 1).

379 J. B. Wogan, “After an initial boost, service learning lost federal support,” Poltifact, November 21, 2012,

380 Cynthia Gibson, “Taking Civic Engagement to the Next Level,” Philantopic, November 17, 2015,

381 Campus Compact, Three Decades of Institutionalizing Change: 2014 Annual Member Survey, p. 2.

382 National Center for Education Statistics, Fast Facts,

383 Campus Compact, Three Decades of Institutionalizing Change: 2014 Annual Member Survey, pp. 3-6.

384 University of Colorado, Boulder, CU Engage, INVST Community Studies, “Our History,”

385 Ray, “Civic Diffusion,” p. 55.

386 Daniel M. Shea, “Civility In and Out of the Academy,” in Harward, ed., Civic Provocations, p. 45.

387 A Crucible Moment, pp. 14-15, 31-38, 52-55.

388 Checkoway, “Civic Engagement,” pp. 26-27. See also Harward, “Introduction and Framing Essay,” p. xix; Eatman, “Afterword,” p. 71.

389 Ray, “Civic Diffusion,” p. 56.

390 Barry Checkoway, “Civic-Minded Professors,” in Reich, ed., Civic Engagement, pp. 77-78.

391 Harward, “Introduction and Framing Essay,” p. xix. See also A Crucible Moment, p. 39.

392 Harward, “Introduction and Framing Essay,” p. xviii.

393 Christina P. Colon and John Rowden, “Blurring the Roles of Scientist and Activist through Citizen Science,” in Finley, ed. Civic Learning and Teaching, p. 45.

394 Carole Frances Lung, “Retooling the University: Critical Thinking, Creative Play, Collaboration and Participatory Public Art,” in Finley, ed. Civic Learning and Teaching, pp. 63, 66-67.

395 Checkoway, “Civic Engagement,” p. 26.

396 Holland, “Strategies for Understanding the Impact of Civic Learning and Teaching,” pp. 20-21.

397 Nancy Cantor and Peter Englot, “Civic Renewal of Higher Education through Renewed Commitment to the Public Good,” in Reich, ed., Civic Engagement, p. 7.

398 Checkoway, “Civic-Minded Professors,” pp. 78-79.

399 A Crucible Moment, pp. 47, 61.

400 Cantor and Englot, “Civic Renewal of Higher Education,” p. 9.

401 Checkoway, “Civic-Minded Professors,” p. 79.

402 Lung, “Retooling the University,” p. 64.

403 A Crucible Moment, p. 40.

404 A Crucible Moment, pp. 65-66.

405 A Crucible Moment, p. 66.

406 Peter Levine, “Civic Studies as an Academic Discipline,” in Harward, ed., Civic Provocations, pp. 31, 33.

407 Levine, “Civic Studies as an Academic Discipline,” p. 32.

408 Nyden, “Public Sociology, Engaged Research, and Civic Education,” p. 111.

409 A Crucible Moment, p. 48. Note that as far back as 1966, the hijack of funds from the College Work Study Programto fund the New York City Urban Corps relied on college and university presidents forcing an initiative on their reluctant academic bureaucracies. Stanton, Giles, and Cruz, Service Learning, pp. 72-73. College and universitypresidents have played a formidable role in this process for half a century.

410 A Crucible Moment, pp. 35-36.

411 A Crucible Moment, p. 36.

412 A Crucible Moment, p. 37.

413 Fine, “Critical Civic Research,” p. 37.

414 University of Colorado Boulder, University Catalog 2015-2016, “General Information,”

415 University of Colorado Boulder, “About the CU System,”

416 University of Colorado Boulder, Office of Data Analytics, “B. Enrollment and Persistence: Common Data Set 2015-16,”

417 “National Universities Rankings,” U.S. News and World Report,

418 University of Colorado Boulder, FY 2016-17 Operating Budget,, pp. 10-11.

419 Sarah Kuta, “CU-Boulder reports pervasive sexual harassment within philosophy department,” Daily Camera, January 31, 2014,

420 University of Colorado, Boulder, University Catalog 2015-2016, “Undergraduate Degree Requirements,”

421 University of Colorado, Boulder, University Catalog 2016-2017,

422 Catherine E. Hicks (CU-Boulder, Office of the Registrar) to David Randall, September 6, 2016; Melissa Rubin (CU-Boulder, CU Engage) to David Randall, September 7, 2016.

423 Kelly L. Fox (Senior Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer, University of Colorado Boulder) to Ashley Thorne, October 3, 2016.

424 Kelly L. Fox (Senior Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer, University of Colorado Boulder) to Ashley Thorne, October 3, 2016.

425 University of Colorado, Boulder, Office of Data Analytics, “Courses,”

426 Colorado State University, TILT Service-Learning Program, “Service-Learning Course,”

427 University of Colorado, Boulder, College of Arts & Sciences, “Historical Context,”

428 University of Colorado, Boulder, College of Arts & Sciences, “United States Context,”

429 University of Colorado, Boulder, College of Arts & Sciences, “United States Context,”

430 University of Colorado, Boulder, College of Arts & Sciences, “Ideals and Values,”

431 University of Colorado, Boulder, College of Arts & Sciences, “Literature and the Arts,”

432 University of Colorado, Boulder, University Catalog 2015-2016, “Undergraduate Degree Requirements,”

433 University of Colorado, Boulder, College of Arts & Sciences, “Historical Context,”

434 University of Colorado, Boulder, College of Arts & Sciences, “United States Context,”

435 University of Colorado, Boulder, College of Arts & Sciences, “Ideals and Values,”

436 University of Colorado, Boulder, College of Arts & Sciences, “Historical Context,”

437 University of Colorado, Boulder, College of Arts & Sciences, “United States Context,”

438 University of Colorado, Boulder, College of Arts & Sciences, “Ideals and Values,”

439 University of Colorado, Boulder, Office of Data Analytics, “Courses,”

440 University of Colorado, Boulder, College of Arts & Sciences, “Historical Context,”

441 University of Colorado, Boulder, Office of Data Analytics, “Courses,”

442 University of Colorado, Boulder, College of Arts & Sciences, “United States Context,”

443 University of Colorado, Boulder, Office of Data Analytics, “Courses,”

444 University of Colorado, Boulder, College of Arts & Sciences, “Ideals and Values,”

445 University of Colorado, Boulder, Office of Data Analytics, “Courses,”

446 University of Colorado, Boulder, College of Arts & Sciences, “United States Context,”

447 University of Colorado, Boulder, College of Arts & Sciences, “Ideals and Values,”

448 University of Colorado, Boulder, Office of Data Analytics, “Courses,”

449 University of Colorado, Boulder, College of Arts & Sciences, “Historical Context,”

450 University of Colorado, Boulder, College of Arts & Sciences, “United States Context,”

451 University of Colorado, Boulder, College of Arts & Sciences, “Literature and the Arts,”

452 University of Colorado, Boulder, College of Arts & Sciences, “Ideals and Values,”

453 University of Colorado, Boulder, College of Arts & Sciences, “Human Diversity,”

454 University of Colorado, Boulder, College of Arts & Sciences, “Contemporary Societies,”

455 University of Colorado, Boulder, College of Arts & Sciences, “Contemporary Societies,”

456 University of Colorado, Boulder, College of Arts & Sciences, “Human Diversity,”

457 University of Colorado, Boulder, College of Arts & Sciences, “Ideals and Values,”

458 University of Colorado, Boulder, College of Arts & Sciences, “United States Context,”

459 University of Colorado, Boulder, College of Arts & Sciences, “Literature and the Arts,”

460 University of Colorado, Boulder, Outreach and Engagement, “Civic Engagement,”

461 University of Colorado, Boulder, News Center, “Civic Engagement,”

462 University of Colorado, Boulder, INVST Community Studies, “Program Overview – INVST Community Studies,”

463 Scott Myers-Lipton, “Policy Service-Learning: Fulfilling the Promise of Sociology,” in Kathleen Odell Korgen, Jonathan M. White, and Shelley K. White, Sociologists in Action: Sociology, Social Change, and Social Justice (Los Angeles, 2011), p. 112; INVST Community Studies, “Our History,”

464 University of Colorado, Boulder, INVST Community Studies, “Welcome to INVST,”; University of Colorado, Boulder, INVST Community Studies, “History,”; University of Colorado, Boulder, INVST Community Studies, “Our History,”; University of Colorado, Boulder, INVST Community Studies, “About,”

465 University of Colorado, Boulder, INVST Community Studies, “Prospective Students,”; University of Colorado, Boulder, INVST Community Studies: “Community Partners,”

466 University of Colorado, Boulder, INVST Community Studies, “Social & Environmental Justice Opportunities,”

467 University of Colorado, Boulder, INVST Community Studies, “About,”

468 University of Colorado, Boulder, INVST Community Studies, “Campus Allies,”

469 University of Colorado, Boulder, INVST Community Studies, “Community Partners,”

470 University of Colorado, Boulder, INVST Community Studies, “Highlights,”

471 University of Colorado, Boulder, INVST Community Studies: “The INVST Community Leadership Program,”; “Community Studies Electives,”; “INVST Community Leadership Program Class of 2014-2016,”

472 University of Colorado, Boulder, INVST Community Studies, Community Leadership Program,” http://www.

473 University of Colorado, Boulder, INVST Community Studies, “Community SOL Projects,”

474 University of Colorado, Boulder, INVST Community Studies, “Summer Service-Learning Experiences,”

475 University of Colorado, Boulder, INVST Community Studies, “Sustainability Spring Break, March 22-28, 2015,”

476 University of Colorado, Boulder, CU Engage, “Opportunities for Undergraduate & Graduate Students,”; University of Colorado, Boulder, CU Engage, “CU Engage Announces 2016 Spring Courses,”

477 University of Colorado, Boulder, INVST Community Studies “The INVST Community Leadership Program,”; “INVST Community Leadership Program Class of 2014-2016,”

478 University of Colorado, Boulder, INVST Community Studies, “Youth Council for Public Policy,”; University of Colorado, Boulder, Office of Outreach and Engagement, “INVST’s Youth Council for Public Policy at CU-Boulder,”; University of Colorado, Boulder, University Catalog 2015-2016, “INVS-1513 (3) Civic Engagement: Using the Electoral Process as a Tool for Social Change,”; Learning Ace, “Lowe INVS 1523 Syllabus Spring 06,”; Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS), “University of Colorado Boulder, EN-14: Participation in Public Policy,”

479 University of Colorado, Boulder, Leadership Studies Minor: “Coursework,”; “Community Partners,”

480 University of Colorado, Boulder, Leadership Studies Minor, “Electives,”

481 University of Colorado, Boulder, Leadership Residential Academic Program, “Leadership RAP,”

482 University of Colorado, Boulder, Public Achievement, “Resources,”; University of Denver, Public Achievement Curriculum,

483 University of Colorado, Boulder, Public Achievement, “About,”; University of Colorado, Boulder, INVST Community Studies, “Public Achievement,”

484 University of Colorado, Boulder, Public Achievement, “Courses,”

485 University of Colorado, Boulder, Public Achievement, “INVS 2919/EDUC 2919: Renewing Democracy in Communities and Schools,”

486 University of Colorado, Boulder, Public Achievement, “INVS INVS 4999: Teaching Social Justice,”; University of Colorado, Boulder, INVST Community Studies, “Courses,”

487 University of Colorado, Boulder, CU Engage, “Programs and Initiatives,”; University of Colorado, Boulder, Office of Outreach and Engagement, “Critical Civic Inquiry Summer Institute,”

488 University of Colorado, Boulder, Public Achievement, “Current Projects,”

489 University of Colorado, Boulder, Public Achievement, “Hundreds pace Public Road during Lafayette’s MLK march,” January 20, 2014,; Doug Pike, “Hundreds pace Public Road during Lafayette’s MLK march,” Colorado Hometown Weekly̧ January 20, 2014,; University of Colorado, Boulder, News Center, “CU-Boulder student leaders to co-host 9th annual MLK celebration, “January 16, 2014,

490 University of Colorado, Boulder, Public Achievement, “Lafayette Youth Plan Event to Celebrate Cesar Chavez,” March 31, 2014,; Amy Bounds, “Lafayette youth plan event to celebrate Cesar Chavez,” Daily Camera News, March 31, 2014,; Joe Rubino, “Lafayette marks Cesar Chavez Day with ‘Seeds of Justice’ march, rally,” April 4, 2014,

491 University of Colorado, Boulder, Public Achievement, : “CU community, students, involved in peace march,” January 16, 2015,; University of Colorado, Boulder, News Center, “CU community, students, involved in peace march,” January 16, 2015,; Amy Bounds, “‘Biggest march yet’: Lafayette’s MLK commemoration marks 10th anniversary,” Daily Camera, January 19, 2015,

492 University of Colorado, Boulder, Puksta Scholars Program, “Welcome to the CU-Boulder Puksta Scholars’ Website,”; University of Colorado, Boulder, Puksta Scholars Program, “About,”; Puksta Foundation, “About Us,”

493 University of Colorado, Boulder, Puksta Scholars Program, “Puksta Application: Social Justice Issues and Essay Questions,”; University of Colorado, Boulder, Be Boulder, “Puksta Scholars Program,”

494 University of Colorado, Boulder, Puksta Scholars Program, “Current Scholars,”

495 University of Colorado, Boulder, Puksta Scholars Program, “Puksta Foundation Inter-collegiate Retreat,” September 19, 2015,; Stephen John Harnett, Roudy Hildreth, and Balkarn Shahi, Power-Mapping for Social Justice; or, Strategic Planning for Long-Term Civic Leadership. Advancing the Common Good Through Community Organizing,

496 Chelsea Canada, “Women in leadership: breaking the glass ceiling,” The Denver Post, October 1, 2014,

497 University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado Law, “Constitutional Law,”; University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado Law, “Marshall-Brennan Project,”

498 University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado Law, “Colorado Law Constitution Day Project,”

499 University of Colorado, Boulder, Center for Western Civilization, Thought & Policy: “Certificate in Western Civilization,”; “Conservative Thought & Policy Courses,”

500 University of Colorado, Boulder, School of Engineering & Applied Science, “Active Learning Program,”; University of Colorado, Boulder, School of Engineering & Applied Science, “Discovery Learning,”; University of Colorado, Boulder, School of Engineering & Applied Science, “Professional Learning,”; University of Colorado, Boulder, School of Engineering & Applied Science, “Service Learning,”; University of Colorado, Boulder, Mortenson Center in Engineering for Developing Communities, “[Home,”]; University of Colorado, Boulder, Mortenson Center in Engineering for Developing Communities, “About Us,”; University of Colorado, Boulder, Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, “Learning Through Service,”

501 University of Colorado, Boulder, Community Engagement, Design and Research (CEDaR) Center, “Internships,”; University of Colorado, Boulder, Environmental Studies Program, “Internships,”; University of Colorado, Boulder, Program in Environmental Design, “Internships,”; University of Colorado, Boulder, University Catalog 2015-2016, “Environmental Design,”

502 University of Colorado, Boulder, Spanish and Portuguese, “Service Learning Opportunities,”

503 University of Colorado at Boulder, Program for Writing and Rhetoric: Veronica House, “What is Service Learning?”,, University of Colorado, Boulder, The Program for Writing & Rhetoric, “Service-Learning,”

504 University of Colorado, Boulder, CU Dialogues Program, “About Us,”; Ellen S. Aiken and Karen E. Ramirez, “Scaling Up Dialogues to Boost Engaged Learning,” Academic Exchange Quarterly 18, 4 (Winter 2014),, p. 2.

505 University of Colorado, Boulder, CU Engage, “Programs and Initiatives,”; University of Colorado, Boulder, CU Dialogues Program, [“Home Page,”]

506 University of Colorado, Boulder, CU Dialogues Program, “Who Can Hold a Dialogue?”,; Ellen S. Aiken and Karen E. Ramirez, “Scaling Up Dialogues to Boost Engaged Learning,” Academic Exchange Quarterly 18, 4 (Winter 2014),, p. 2.

507 University of Colorado, Boulder, CU Dialogues Program, “The CU Dialogues Program is seeking community members to serve as dialogue guests in CU classes,”

508 University of Colorado, Boulder, CU Dialogues Program, “Classroom Dialogues,”

509 University of Colorado, Boulder, CU Dialogues, “Dialogue Across Difference,”

510University of Colorado, Boulder, CU Dialogues Program, “Community Dialogues,”; University of Colorado, Boulder, CU Dialogues Program, “Who Can Hold a Dialogue?”,

511 University of Colorado, Boulder, CU Dialogues Program, “Community Dialogues,”

512 University of Colorado, Boulder, Housing & Dining Services, “Residential Academic Programs (RAPs),”; University of Colorado, Boulder, University Catalog 2015-2016, “Residential Academic Programs (RAPs),”

513 University of Colorado, Boulder, Sewall Residential Academic Program, “About Sewall RAP,”; University of Colorado, Boulder, University Catalog 2016-2017, “SEWL-2020 (1) Civic Engagement,”

514 University of Colorado, Boulder, University Catalog 2015-2016, “Residential Academic Programs (RAPs),”

515 University of Colorado, Boulder, Office of International Education, “Service-Learning Study Abroad programs Guide,”; University of Colorado, Boulder, Office of International Education, “CAPA England: London,”; CAPA, “Study Abroad in London, England,”; CAPA, “Global Civic Engagement Institute,”

516 University of Colorado, Boulder, Outreach and Engagement, “Alternative Breaks,”; University of Colorado, Boulder, Volunteer Resource Center, “About CU Alternative Breaks,”; University of Colorado, Boulder, Volunteer Resource Center, “Posters,”

517 University of Colorado, Boulder, CU Engage, “Opportunities for Undergraduate & Graduate Students,”; University of Colorado, Boulder, News Center, “First CU Engage research project examines campus experience for students of color,” July 1, 2015, Engage-research-project-examines-campus-experience-students-colorStudents of Color are motivated agents of change: Why aren’t we joining your programs?,, esp. pp. 3, 5, 14.

518 University of Colorado, Boulder, CU Engage, “Opportunities for Undergraduate & Graduate Students,”; University of Colorado, Boulder, CU Engage, “Graduate Fellowship in Community Based Research,”; University of Colorado, Boulder, CU Engage, “CU-Boulder Doctoral Students Invited to Apply for Graduate Fellowship in Community-Based Research,” February 25, 2016,; University of Colorado, Boulder, CU Engage, “CU Engage announces the inaugural cohort of Community Based Research Graduate Fellows,” August 5, 2015, Engage-announces-inaugural-cohort-community-based-research-graduate-fellows.

519 University of Colorado, Boulder, INVST Community Studies, “Who We Are,”

520 University of Colorado, Boulder, CU Engage, “Trevor Moore,”

521 University of Colorado, Boulder, INVST Community Studies, “Who We Are,”

522 University of Colorado, Boulder, CU Engage, “Ellen Aiken,”

523 University of Colorado, Boulder, CU Engage, “Roudy Hildreth,”

524 University of Colorado, Boulder, CU Engage, “Ben Kirshner,”

525 University of Colorado, Boulder, CU Engage, “Faculty Fellows in Community-Based Learning,”

526 Office for Engagement and Outreach, CU-Boulder Outreach and Community Engagement Awards 2015-2016,, p. 23.

527 University of Colorado, Boulder, CU Boulder Today, “CU-Boulder Striving to Produce Civically Engaged Graduates,” March 11, 2009,

528 University of Colorado, Boulder, Flagship 2030: Serving Colorado Engaged in the World, p. 47,

529 University of Colorado, Boulder, Flagship 2030: Serving Colorado Engaged in the World, p. 51,

530 University of Colorado, Boulder, Flagship 2030: Serving Colorado Engaged in the World, p. 46,

531 University of Colorado Boulder, FY 2016-17 Operating Budget,, pp. 10-11.

532 Kelly L. Fox (Senior Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer, University of Colorado Boulder) to Ashley Thorne, October 3, 2016.

533 University of Colorado Boulder, Budget & Fiscal Planning, Current Funds Budget, FY 2016-17,

534 Kelly L. Fox (Senior Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer, University of Colorado Boulder) to Ashley Thorne, October 3, 2016.

535 Kelly L. Fox (Senior Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer, University of Colorado Boulder) to Ashley Thorne, October 3, 2016.

536 New England Resource Center for Higher Education, Carnegie Community Engagement Classification,

537 University of Delaware, 2015 Documentation Reporting Form: Carnegie Community Engagement Classification,

538 University of Colorado Boulder, CU Engage, “Who We Are,”

539 Kelly L. Fox (Senior Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer, University of Colorado Boulder) to Ashley Thorne, October 3, 2016.

540 University of Colorado, Boulder, News Center, “Civic Engagement,”

541 E.g., University of Colorado, Boulder, Housing and Dining Services, “Sustainability and Social Innovation (SSI) RAP,”

542 University of Colorado, Boulder, Bursar’s Office, “Undergraduate College Resident,”

543 Kelly L. Fox (Senior Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer, University of Colorado Boulder) to Ashley Thorne, October 3, 2016.

544 Kelly L. Fox (Senior Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer, University of Colorado Boulder) to Ashley Thorne, October 3, 2016.

545 “Colorado State University,” Wikipedia,

546 Colorado State University, Source: Mike Hooker, “CSU System board approves budget, tuition and fees,” May 5, 2016,

547 Colorado State University, 2015-2016 Catalog, “University Core Curriculum,”

548 Tyson Koss (Colorado State University, Institutional Research, Planning and Effectiveness, Data Analyst) to David Randall, October 11, 2016.

549 Colorado State University, TILT Service-Learning Program, “Service-Learning Course,”

550 Colorado State University, 2016-1017 Catalog, “All-University Core Curriculum (AUCC),”

551 Colorado State University, 2016-1017 Catalog, “All-University Core Curriculum (AUCC),”

552 Colorado State University, 2016-1017 Catalog, “All-University Core Curriculum (AUCC),”

553 Colorado State University, 2016-1017 Catalog, “All-University Core Curriculum (AUCC),”

554 Colorado State University, 2016-1017 Catalog, “All-University Core Curriculum (AUCC),”

559 Colorado State University, 2016-1017 Catalog, “All-University Core Curriculum (AUCC),”

563 Colorado State University, Class Schedule Listing, “Natural Resources History and Policy,”

564 Colorado State University, Class Schedule Listing, “The Islamic World: Late Antiquity to 1500,”

565 Colorado State University, Class Schedule Listing, “African American History,”