INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis is one of 70 universities and colleges that will participate in the Lead Initiative on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement, the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators has announced.
“NASPA has long been committed to ensuring that a college education includes developing students as leaders and as citizens through a commitment to civic engagement,” said Kevin Kruger, association president. “Through the Lead Initiative, NASPA is shining light on the unique contributions that student affairs professionals are making to democratic engagement.”
The association is the leading voice for student affairs administration, policy and practice, and it affirms the commitment of the student affairs profession.
IUPUI was chosen for this initiative because of a joint effort between the Division of Student Affairs, the Office of Student Involvement, and the Center for Service and Learning, said Lorrie A. Brown, associate director of the IUPUI Center for Service and Learning.
“All three units support out-of-the-classroom civic engagement through shared service programming, professional positions and assessment activities,” Brown said. “Both the Office of Student Involvement and the Division of Student Affairs included civic engagement as a focus in their most recent strategic plans and have been collaborating with the center to intentionally assess our work utilizing the Civic-Minded Graduate construct.”
In the Lead Initiative, IUPUI will share its best practices on a national level through presentations and an online community, while also learning from other institutions, Brown said. Although IUPUI has long been recognized nationally for its work in academic service learning and research, this initiative acknowledges IUPUI’s excellence in co-curricular civic engagement programming, she said.
Kruger said the goals of the initiative are:
Building clear and tangible civic learning and democratic engagement activities into student affairs division strategic goals and learning outcomes.
Creating strategies in collaboration with students, faculty and community partners that increase civic learning and help solve community problems through collective action.
Collecting and reporting data on the efficacy of campus efforts using tools that measure gains in civic learning and democratic engagement.
“In a time of concern and worry about our civic society, it is critical that college administrators are doing all that they can to present students with opportunities to help them develop as productive and engaged citizens,” Kruger said.