The Student Experience
While working toward the certificate, students develop real skills needed to make a difference in the world and in the words of one student, "see the world as something more than just yourself."
Students meet with Civic Engagement coaches to establish their plan of action and document their courses, experiences and reflections. In addition, students are encouraged to seek input from their advisors and professors in their respective discipline about the experiences and courses that best suit their goals.
Hours and courses/project/experiences required
Students must complete a minimum of 12 credit hours 9 of which must be at the 300/400 level. The courses they complete for ACE 8 and ACE 9 automatically count toward the Civic Engagement Certificate. Students can select two other courses from a list of Civic Engagement designated courses. Additionally, students can petition to include courses outside general education by writing a contract. Likewise, programs wanting to add a course that includes a civic component can request that option.
In addition to the 12 credit hours of courses, students are expected to complete co-curricular activities that align with the six identified civic values and increase in both levels of challenge and complexity. The certificate departs from most civic engagement certificates across the country in that the experiential learning component is not measured by the number of hours a student logs.
Rather, students select with the guidance of the civic engagement staff and faculty advisers those activities that contribute to their long-term goals for civic engagement.
The certificate is adaptable to student/program needs. Students can choose the courses and co-curricular experiences to match their interests. Examples from existing student projects include the following:
- An environmental studies major serving at a non-profit organization is asked to create a curriculum and lead an after school club incorporating character education and civic engagement within the environmental sciences.
- A student in the Raikes School of Computer Science and Management leads a group of peers in designing a web-based management tool allowing a national non-profit organization to more efficiently and effectively match mentors/mentees.
- A student combines her passion and course work to providing mentoring services, goal setting and a safe place to talk for middle school girls. This same student serves during the summer as an Americorps VISTA associate educating and supervising volunteers in mucking, gutting and rebuilding homes and businesses damaged by the 2008 Midwest floods.