Yesterday the faculty approved a new Certificate Program in Civic Engagement, the culmination of more than a year’s effort to bring together service learning, community research and other courses at Wesleyan that link work on campus to participation in the public sphere. To quote from the proposal that was submitted to the Educational Policy Committee: “Civic engagement encompasses a wide range of activities in which individuals work to strengthen their communities, to realize common goods, to enhance the capacities and dispositions necessary for democratic self-rule, and in general to deliberately shape their common life…The Certificate is structured to provide an understanding of what civic engagement involves. …During their sophomore through senior years, CEC students will complete a series of structured academic and co-curricular activities including courses, volunteering, practicums and opportunities for reflection that will enable them to develop a broad understanding of the varied components of civic engagement.”
Wesleyan has long been known as a politically engaged institution. I am delighted that we have formally connected that reputation to interdisciplinary academic work. More information on this program will be available through the Center for Community Partnerships and the Office of Academic Affairs.
We also learned yesterday that Wesleyan met our ambitious goal of raising $125,000 for the United Way fund drive. Our local United Way has been doing extraordinary work in Middlesex County to combat homelessness and substance abuse, to prepare youngsters for school, and to support people who need a leg up while looking for a job. I’m so proud of the Wes contribution, and I want to thank Shawn Hill, Mike Sciola and Frank Kuan for inspiring all of us to Live United!