Civic Learning and Democracy Engagement Coalition

Posted by American Association of Colleges and Universities on October 5, 2021

Although higher education institutions have made strong commitments to address the most pressing issues facing American democracy – from racial equity to healthcare to climate change – a group of organizations and leaders have pledged to do more and do it equitably.

On September 28, 2021, the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association announced the creation of the Civic Learning and Democracy Engagement coalition in partnership with Complete College America and College Promise. The CLDE’s mission, backed by dozens of other agencies committed to change, will be to give all postsecondary students the knowledge and frameworks to proactively open dialogues and work together to help solve issues that are critical to the nation’s success.

“There are many ways to prepare students for active and knowledgeable participation in democracy,” said AAC&U President Lynn Pasquerella, a member of the CLDE leadership group that includes some of the most prominent education-focused agencies in the U.S. “We are not recommending a one-size-fits-all approach. What we want to see is a next generation of creative leadership across all higher education institutions to make college-level civic learning expected, equitable, high quality, and inclusive.”

The new alliance of civic democracy champions offered a glimpse of what its ideals will be in a Shared Commitment Statement, including innovative solutions that foster sustainability. Among them it said, “Today, higher education is dotted with pockets of great democracy learning and practice. But to fulfill higher education’s civic mission, we need to make civic inquiry and democracy engagement part of each student’s educational pathway.”

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