Civic Engagement is a way of being at Central College and is rooted in 164 years of liberal arts education. Commitment to community traces back to Central’s foundations, when the college was established by the citizens of Pella, Iowa. Community engagement does not just fit into the institution and our leadership – it is pedagogically essential to liberal learning and Central wouldn’t know how to deliver the education it offers without it.

In accordance with the mission statement the college, Central promotes the development of values essential to responsible citizenship, including acceptance, mutual respect, justice, compassion and service to others. Central empowers individuals for effective service in local, national and international communities with the knowledge and skills essential to engaged citizenship. In order to solidify the values, knowledge and skills of civic engagement gained at Central College, we are intentional in providing opportunities for civic action through dialogue with communities beyond the campus and the region. Our compass of concern includes a five-county area in Central Iowa as well as the localities of our study abroad programs.

Central believes global and community engagement contribute to the depth of understanding in a liberal arts education, imparting resilience of mind to honor differences, and a greater capacity for creative thinking in addressing challenges of a complex interconnected society.

Our civic action plan was developed through cross-campus and community information gathering, and is complemented by other college strategic documents. The resulting plan includes five overarching goals, which are supported by objectives and action steps throughout the document.

Plan Goals

  • Develop Central College students for lives of engaged citizenship within local, national, and international communities, with the motivation and capacity to deliberate, act and lead in pursuit of the public good.
  • Establish Central College as an anchor institution, leveraging our convening power to bring together other stakeholders for the good of our community.
  • Expand and enhance opportunities for community-based research and scholarship for students, faculty, and staff
  • Strengthen Civic Engagement and Service Learning infrastructure to guarantee student access to community partners
  • Implement a coordinated communication strategy to give voice to the civic mission of Central College and share the story of our engagement efforts, within college and in the broader community.