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

  • Neutrality in a Time of Question

    In 2002, late historian Howard Zinn authored the book You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train that summarizes Zinn’s life and struggle as both an educator and advocate for social justice. History is a journey and as a person who exists in the movement of this journey you can either go along with the ride as events unfold themselves, sitting on the passenger seat gazing out the window or you choose to act as the journey unfolds. The 2016 election of Donald Trump left many #SApros in a time of question as values such as inclusion, diversity, and equality appeared to be defeated by the results of the election. NASPA sent out an email to the Student Affairs field along with webinars being organized to discuss the climate and support of students who are in the trenches of our institutions.

    Posted on December 8, 2016 at 11:14 AM by Lead Initiative
  • Call for Submissions: Civic Engagement and Literacy Research

    In 1990, Ernest Boyer called for a reconsideration of scholarship and invited faculty to re-envision 21st Century universities so that the Academy might become a “more vigorous partner in the search for answers to our most pressing social, civic, economic, and moral problems” and “reaffirm its historic commitment to. . . the scholarship of engagement."

    Posted on December 7, 2016 at 11:41 AM by Lead Initiative
  • What is Public Deliberation? An Introduction

    For those unfamiliar with public deliberation, the deliberative process brings people together to sort through three or four different research-based perspectives on a given social issue. The goal is not to come to consensus, but rather to understand each perspective and its underlying values, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of each. This structured process ensures that we hear and understand multiple perspectives and that we recognize the need to balance our individual interests with those of the community. It is a process undergirded with the recognition that there are often competing positive values that require us to make tough choices between multiple legitimate options, and that even our preferred options come with trade-offs and consequences that need to be considered.

    Posted on December 7, 2016 at 06:16 AM by Lead Initiative
  • Engaging Non Traditional Aged Students in the Political Process

    Our society’s view of college students is of someone who is eighteen to twenty-two years old but, while the majority of college students still fit within the “traditional” definition of a college student, the population of older students continues to increase. Not only does this mean we may encounter more students who are returning to school after working full time or who may have family commitments, but it means we likely will encounter more students who think they have fully developed worldviews and opinions.

    Posted on December 6, 2016 at 05:35 PM by Lead Initiative

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