13 Comments

  1. I fully agree with the proposal. I add that “civic teaching” ought to be encouraged in several European countries, too. Last (?), but most certainly not least, Italy! Comparative studies would be very useful.

  2. While I am supportive of civic engagement activities, an important issue related to them does not seem to be addressed in your proposal. To wit, the distinction between civic engagement and activities driven by ideologies and/or partisanship. This concern is particularly acute in public universities where extramural activities by students and faculty can potentially raise the ire of state and local officials as well as alums whose support is crucial to the university. Of course, the line between engagement and inappropriate actions is blurry. The proposed section could provide a service to the profession by establishing a code for appropriate civic engagement. Let me give you a few examples: over the years of my career I witnessed student and faculty groups using public resources to pursue explicit partisan purposes. In other cases students (without appropriate faculty guidance) literally “invaded” neighborhoods by going door to door which led residents to demand a stop to unwanted visitors. It is likely the case that there is not consensus over what constitutes civic engagement and how to “engage” in it. Perhaps another purpose of the proposed section would be to work to develop and disseminate an understanding of civic engagement and its use.

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