Civic education in higher education is housed in various types of institutions (i.e., community colleges, four year universities, public and private institutions), institutional offices, academic departments, and larger, cross-campus initiatives and organizations. Civic education programs promote numerous activities to foster student engagement both inside and outside the classroom. Many in higher education have embraced the civic education movement; however, as with other social movements, the civic education movement is still a contested area. Defining civic education (i.e., civic engagement, service learning, political engagement, community engagement, etc.) becomes problematic because there seems to be as many terms for civic education as there are civic education scholars. Engaging Civic Engagement: Framing the Civic Education Movement in Higher Education provides a comparative analysis of major approaches to civic education in the civic education moment, including implications for higher education.
Chad Woolard is instructional assistant professor of communication at Illinois State University.