Washington, DC—College Promise announced today that it received a grant of $550,000 on behalf of the Civic Learning and Democracy Engagement (CLDE) Coalition to promote work across the United States on college learning for democracy’s future. Funded by The Endeavor Foundation, the grant will engage both policy leaders and educators with the multiple benefits—to democracy, to college persistence and completion, and to graduates’ career readiness—of students’ active work on public questions and problem-solving.
The CLDE Coalition is led by five national organizations—American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), Campus Compact, Complete College America (CCA), College Promise, and State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO)—that are working together and with dozens of other organizations to accelerate the college civic learning movement, align college and school civic learning reforms, and mobilize policy leadership for students’ democracy learning.
“The CLDE Coalition is very grateful to The Endeavor Foundation for supporting our collective efforts to reclaim higher education’s democracy mission. The Coalition’s goal is to make high quality democracy learning for all college students a national priority and to align our efforts with important school-college civic and history reforms.” said Martha Kanter, CEO of College Promise. Dr. Kanter previously served as the U.S. Under Secretary of Education (2009-2013) and Chancellor of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District (2003-2009).
Bobbie Laur, President of Campus Compact, underscored her organization’s strong commitment to this shared national effort. “Civic engagement is an enduring commitment and core responsibility of higher education. For democracy to persist and thrive, it is essential that we prepare students to become knowledgeable, active, and effective participants in civic life. Since our founding, Campus Compact has convened member campuses across the country to empower the next generation of civic leaders to take action—cultivating the skills and capacities they need to be effective agents of change. We are encouraged by the Endeavor Foundation’s investment and look forward to working alongside the Coalition partners to engage Compact practitioners, faculty, students, and senior leaders in pursuit of this shared commitment.”
CLDE Coalition leaders also emphasized the importance of securing policy leadership at all levels for students’ democracy learning and engagement.
“We are eager to bring policy leaders to the table to leverage the examples and evidence of the benefits of active democracy engagement for quality student learning, increased completion, equitable campus culture, and vibrant community partnerships. We want to build a shared understanding of the critical importance of all students’ civic and democracy learning and get to work on expanding effective practices,” said Yolanda Watson Spiva, President of Complete College America.
Robert E. Anderson, President of SHEEO, strongly affirmed the importance of enlisting policy leadership at all levels for students’ civic and democracy learning. “Every college student—particularly students from underserved or marginalized communities—should be well prepared to help envision and enact a more just, inclusive, and creative future for the U.S. and the world.”
The CLDE Planning and Action Forums: Weaving Public Purpose into the Curriculum
The Endeavor Foundation grant, titled Democracy Learning and Engagement (DLE), will fund a series of interconnected Planning and Action Forums for campus teams, organizations engaged with CLDE, and policy makers at all levels. The Forums will feature students’ own voices, societal concerns, and recommendations for making democracy inquiry part of the expected curriculum. The Forums will be co-sponsored by the University of Virginia’s Karsh Institute of Democracy and assisted by major policy centers affiliated with the Karsh Institute.
The grant also funds a communications campaign to broaden understanding and support for students’ college-level Democracy Learning and Engagement and a call-to-action publication highlighting the multiple benefits of student work on democracy challenges. Working groups composed of experienced educators will assist the initiative in providing practical assistance to campus teams. To encourage new alignment between college and K-12 civic reforms, the working groups include individuals leading complementary efforts for History and Civic Learning in K-12 curricula.
The CLDE Forums Will Feature New Evidence on the Benefits of Students’ Civic Learning
The CLDE Planning and Action Forums will highlight new research being led by the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) under a grant from the Lumina Foundation to develop the first national baseline of students’ demonstrated civic skills. Along with findings drawn from thirty-one campuses, including all public institutions in Utah, AAC&U will publish a synthesis of existing research on the benefits to college students’ learning and development from engaging in community-based and civic experiences.
“It is essential that efforts to safeguard and advance democracy are rooted in evidence. This project serves to make higher education’s commitments to civic purpose more explicit, while also helping to inform campus practice with actionable findings,” said Lynn Pasquerella, President of AAC&U and one of the founders of the CLDE Coalition. “We look forward to sharing this new research through the CLDE Planning and Action Forums, and through the CLDE lead partners’ numerous ongoing programs and institutes.”
The first Planning and Action Forum will be held in November 2022. To connect with the CLDE Coalition and sign up for communications about the Planning and Action Forums, please see collegeciviclearning.org/contactus.
About The CLDE Coalition
The CLDE Coalition brings together education and policy leaders with the goal of making students’ Civic Learning and Democracy Engagement expected, inclusive, high quality, and equity-committed. CLDE affirms that students from underserved communities need to be first at the table in helping to build a more inclusive, equitable, and creative democracy in the U.S. and in shaping a new era of energetic leadership for democratic values and institutions around the globe. The CLDE Coalition is a collaboration between the CLDE lead organizations and dozens of other educational and student success organizations to promote the advancement of quality and equity, democracy engagement, collaborative problem-solving, and policy commitment for civic learning. The Coalition welcomes additional partners and is actively gathering campus-level examples that show how democracy learning can become part of all students’ educational pathways. For more information, visit www.collegeciviclearning.org.