Critically Engaged Civic Learning

This research area contributes to a longstanding conversation about the implementation of service-learning by proposing an updated revision for the 21st century: critically-engaged civic learning (CECL).

The term service-learning is problematic as it invokes inequitable power dynamics that inherently privilege one group over another, with more privileged groups providing “service” to marginalized groups. CECL shifts service-learning from a student-centered pedagogy to an equity-based framework that views all constituent stakeholders as invested partners in the co-design, implementation, and evaluation of CECL initiatives, and is founded on redistributed power and authority to promote civic learning and social change.

CECL is structured by six guiding principles: social justice, power dynamics, community, civic learning objectives, reflexivity, and sustainability. Consequently, CECL can be seen across four overarching outcomes: increased self-awareness, self-efficacy, and self-empowerment; increased awareness of civic agency; better understanding of community; and workforce preparation.

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Vincent, C., Moore, S., Lynch, C., Awkward, R., & Lefker, J. (2021, November). Critically-engaged civic learning: A comprehensive restructuring of service-learning approaches. Michigan Journal of Community Service-Learning. DOWNLOAD PAPER HERE

Moore, S. & Vincent, C. (2019). Moving Beyond the ‘Me’ Generation: Collaboration and Community-Engaged Scholarship Among Millennial Faculty. In M.G. Strawser (Ed.), Leading Millennial Faculty; Navigating the New Professoriate. Lexington, MA: Lexington.

Select Presentations

Lefker, J., Lynch, C., Moore, S., & Vincent, C. (2019). Rethinking Service Learning: Using Critically Engaged Civic Learning to Promote Student Learning and Meaningful Social Change. Paper presented at the Eastern Sociological Society annual meeting. Boston, MA March 2019.

Vincent, C. (2018). Critically Engaged Civic Learning: What is it? How is it Different from Service-Learning? Poster presented at the Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Meeting. Los Angeles, CA June 2018.

Lynch, C., Moore, S., & Vincent, C. (2018). Shifting the Paradigm: Reconceptualizing Civic Engagement to Promote Equitable, Sustainable Partnerships and Student Growth. Session presented at AAC&U 2018 Annual Meeting. Washington, D.C. January 2018.

Lynch, C. & Vincent, C. (2017). Creating a Sustainable University-Wide Model for Measuring Civic Learning and Engagement.  General interest session presented at Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Meeting. Baltimore, MD June 2017.

Brown, R., Vincent, C., & Lynch, C. (2016). Growing the Grassroots: Strategies, Models, and Challenges for Civic Engagement. Panel presented at Global Summit: Politics, Sports, Civic Engagement. Boston, MA October 2016.