Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement

Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) means promoting the education of students for engaged citizenship through democratic participation in their communities, respect and appreciation of diversity, applied learning and social responsibility. The CLDE focus area supports discussion, educational programming, and professional development to help student affairs professionals provide students with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to make a difference in their communities. To enhance and develop your understanding of CLDE, this focus area shares information from NASPA’s Lead Initiative, knowledge communities, NASPA conferences and events, and research and publications.

Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement
Constituent Groups

The CLDE focus area draw expertise from NASPA's members through the Lead Initiative as well as the Student Affairs Partnering with Academic Affairs Knowledge Community's working group: Service-Learning and Community Engagement (SLCE).

Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement

  • While the responsibility of this task is shared among faculty, administrators, policymakers, and community leaders, the brief argues that student affairs leadership is crucial to institutionalizing civic learning and…

  • Responding to Campus Protests (Legal Links Vol 1, Iss 2)
    By Robert Axmacher, Leslie Banahan, Rhonda Beassie, Fernando Gomez, Neal H. Hutchens, Kerry Brian Melear, Brian A. Sponsler, and Jeffrey C. Sun

    This Legal Links issue on responding to campus protests offers student affairs professionals a resource for addressing campus protests while honoring First Amendment principles of free speech, promoting inclusion, and maintaining…

  • Cool Passion: Challenging Higher Education
    By Arthur W. Chickering and Associates

    Arthur W. Chickering is one of the leading researchers in student development theory and its implications for higher education. In 1969 he published Education and Identity, which posited seven…


  • Leadership Exchange magazine helps prepare chief student affairs officers for the most complex management challenges in higher education today. The magazine delivers expert news and analysis on the latest…


  • The mission of Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice (JSARP) is to publish the most rigorous, relevant, and well-respected research that makes a difference in student affairs practice.…

  • The Game of Oppression
    By Lamara Warren and Colette Cummings

    While college campuses are becoming increasingly diverse, many students still find it difficult to step outside of what is familiar and interact with students of different races, religions, classes,…

  • The First Amendment on Campus
    By Lee E. Bird, Mary Beth Mackin & Saundra K. Schuster, Editors

    What should college and university administrators do when the First Amendment seemingly conflicts with tightly held institutional values? Should administrators block, discourage, or attempt to adjudicate speech because it…

  • Student Freedom Revisited: Contemporary Issues and Perspectives
    By Robert L. Ackerman, William B. Werner & Louis C. Vaccaro, Editors

    During the late 1960s and early 1970s, a powerful new force, student activism, appeared on the campuses of America's colleges and universities. Student Freedom In American Higher Education brought…


  • This updated set of Professional Competency Areas is intended to define the broad professional knowledge, skills, and, in some cases, attitudes expected of student affairs professionals regardless of their…

  • Building a Culture of Evidence in Student Affairs: A Guide for Leaders and Practitioners
    By Marguerite McGann Culp and Gwendolyn Jordan Dungy, Editors

    Developed by experienced student affairs leaders who have successfully implemented cultures of evidence on their campuses, this tutorial offers practical advice and concrete examples of how to plan, create,…


Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement
Initiatives & Awards

NASPA recognizes its campuses for promoting civic learning and democratic engagement with the following awards and initiatives:

NASPA's Lead Initiative
The Lead Initiative recognizes a network of 73 institutions for their commitment to civic learning and democratic engagement.

Related Posts

  • Politically Speaking, Indianapolis Edition: Religious Freedom vs. LGBT Rights in Indiana at #CLDE16

    In February 2016, the Indiana state senate gave up on an attempt to pass compromise legislation expanding protections for LGBT persons in state law. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Travis Holdman, said that there simply was not enough support for it to pass. Sen. David Long, leader of the majority Republicans, indicated that efforts to find a balance between the civil rights for the LGBT community and religious liberty had satisfied no one. "We took a beating from all sides in trying to do this," Long said. "This effort was unfortunately hampered by well-organized extreme messaging from groups representing both sides of this discussion — many of whom are from out of state. Neither of those sides were truly seeking a solution" (South Bend Tribune, Feb. 2, 2016). Indiana Republican lawmakers, who hold a super majority in both chambers, abandoned efforts to strengthen protections for lesbian, gay and bi-sexual people on Tuesday, February 2, 2016, opting not to vote on a measure designed to restore the state's reputation following a national boycott over a religious objections law in 2015.

    Posted on May 23, 2016 at 01:03 PM by Lead Initiative
  • #CLDE16: Don’t Miss our Political Engagement Pre-Con!

    The 2016 presidential election cycle has thus far been one of the most polarizing and captivating in recent memory, and it shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Meanwhile, a rising tide of emergent research, tools and civic technologies is redefining the way campuses are able to understand their students and provide them with the right opportunities for meaningful, sustained engagement. If this sounds interesting to you, please join us on Wednesday, June 1st from 10:00 am-4:00 pm for the Electoral Political and Engagement Institute. This highly interactive session will bring together a diverse range of higher ed. institutions as well as the organizations doing pioneering civic work on campuses across the country. We’ll explore how increased collaboration can help capitalize on the current political climate—a “whole is greater than the sum of its parts” approach that will encourage student participation and keep them engaged through the election and beyond!

    Posted on May 23, 2016 at 07:46 AM by Lead Initiative
  • #CLDE16: Welcomes Roadtrip Nation

    In today’s world, when it comes to choosing a career, it seems as if anything you could ever need to know is readily available at your fingertips. Yet, despite this modern wealth of access and information, young adults still find themselves siloed by narrow ideas of career success, and are struggling to find jobs that accurately reflect their beliefs, align with their ethics, and keep them engaged and enthused about their work—why?

    Posted on May 20, 2016 at 03:43 PM by Lead Initiative
  • Notes and Coffee: May 16-20

    Catch up on this week’s student affairs and higher education news that includes the ramifications of the Department of Labor’s new FLSA rules on campus structures; a review of IHEP’s recent panel discussions around tools for more comprehensive higher ed data; how universities can map to smarter risk and cost control; and fears for the future of UNC HBCUs.

    Posted on May 20, 2016 at 09:26 AM by NASPA Blog

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