Since the publication of the A Crucible Moment report in 2012, many higher education professionals have engaged further in the CLDE field in the hopes of fulfilling the vision laid out by our colleagues to create a more socially just, civically engaged, and democratically-minded future. In this session, participants will engage in conversation about the emerging theory of change for the annual CLDE conference and CLDE work, based on A Crucible Moment. How are these components -- civic ethos, civic literacy and skill building, civic inquiry, civic action, and civic agency -- actualized on our campuses and outside of the campus community. This session is intended to further explain the emerging theory of change, how one might incorporate the theory into your work and how the CLDE18 planning committee envisions what a thriving democracy is.
This session is designed around our emergent theory of change which poses four important questions:
- Purpose: What are the key features of the thriving democracy we aspire to enact and support through our work?
- Learning Outcomes: What knowledge, skills, and dispositions do people need in order to help create and contribute to a thriving democracy?
- Pedagogy: How can we best foster the acquisition and development of the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary for a thriving democracy?
- Strategy: How can we build the institutional culture, infrastructure, and relationships needed to support learning that enables a thriving democracy?
The theory of change also suggests that campuses consider how best to construct campus cultures and contexts that foster:
- Civic Ethos of campus: The infusion of democratic values into the customs and habits of everyday practices, structures, and interactions; the defining character of the institution and those in it that emphasizes open-mindedness, civility, the worth of each person, ethical behaviors, and concern for the well-being of others; a spirit of public-mindedness that influences the goals of the institution and its engagement with local and global communities.
- Civic Literacy & Skill Building as a goal for every student: The cultivation of foundational knowledge about fundamental principles and debates about democracy expressed over time, both within the United States and in other countries; familiarity with several key historical struggles, campaigns, and social movements undertaken to achieve the full promise of democracy; the ability to think critically about complex issues and to seek and evaluate information about issues that have public consequences.
- Civic Inquiry integrated within the majors and general education: The practice of inquiring about the civic dimensions and public consequences of a subject of study; the exploration of the impact of choices on different constituencies and entities, including the planet; the deliberate consideration of differing points of views; the ability to describe and analyze civic intellectual debates within one’s major or areas of study.
- Civic Action as lifelong practice: The capacity and commitment both to participate constructively with diverse others and to work collectively to address common problems; the practice of working in a pluralistic society and world to improve the quality of people’s lives and the sustainability of the planet; the ability to analyze systems in order to plan and engage in public action; the moral and political courage to take risks to achieve a greater public good.
- Civic Agency involves the capacities of citizens to work collaboratively across differences like partisan ideology, faith traditions, income, geography, race, and ethnicity to address common challenges, solve problems and create common ground; requires a set of individual skills, knowledge, and predispositions; also involves questions of institutional design, particularly how to constitute groups and institutions for sustainable collective action.
By attending this session, participants will:
- Learn more about the emergent theory of change and how this fits into the CLDE conference.
- Explore ways in which the theory can shape current CLDE pedagoy, programs, and practice.
- Discuss the implications of the emergent theory of change and ways in which the theory can be expanded.