Are you interested in connecting what you learn in the classroom to the public problems facing your communities?
Do you want to gain hands-on experience through class projects and research that will help make change in our communities?
Are you ready to connect with like-minded peers to explore your strengths, values and passions in order to begin or continue forming your civic identity?
Civic learning is the development of knowledge for a public purpose. Civic learning at Salem State prepares students with the knowledge, skills, values, and resources to effectively collaborate within our communities and in their workplaces to address our most pressing social problems. Civic learning also guides students to become knowledgeable and active citizens engaged in democratic processes to help them understand their role as global citizens. Civic learning focuses on four core areas: knowledge, skills, values and applied competencies, which are needed to carry out civic responsibility in our society. Faculty at Salem State are encouraged to incorporate this pedagogical approach in their courses as a way to address the civic issues of their discipline.
Salem State Civic Fellowship
This unique fellowship provides students with the opportunity to explore their strengths, values and passions in order to begin or continue forming their civic identity and individual role in working towards social change. The fellows meet twice a month for meetings, service projects, advocacy opportunities, leadership training and a chance to build a sense of community amongst the cohort. Learn more about recent initiatives and how to get involved.
Civic Engagement Minor
The civic engagement minor seeks to provide students with the opportunity to gain knowledge, skills and experiences to become informed and effective participants in civic and democratic life. The interdisciplinary 15-credit minor includes an Introduction to Civic Engagement course and capstone experience (Directed Study in Civic Engagement or Directed Field Experience in Civic Engagement). This minor provides students the flexibility to choose three courses from the following areas: politics/policy, communication and advocacy skills and social justice/social change, which include courses provided by departments across the university. Learn more about the civic engagement minor.
Salem State classes include community engaged components that prepare students with the knowledge, skills, and experiences to address the social, political, economic, and environmental issues facing our communities. These courses may include community-engaged course content, advocacy components, service projects, collaborations with community members, and community-based research.
At Salem State, we use the phrase critically-engaged civic learning (CECL) as an updated revision for the term "service-learning." 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 is an equity-based framework that views all constituent stakeholders (community members, community organizations, students, and educational institutions) as invested partners in the co-design, implementation, and evaluation of CECL initiatives. Founded on the redistribution of power and authority, this framework promotes civic learning and social change.
In addition to the CECL framework, the center also co-created a correlating assessment tool: The CECL Inventory for Social Change (CECL-ISC). CECL-ISC is designed to measure incremental and holistic change among stakeholders and in their communities. This instrument is unique in that it measures both student learning and the impact of CECL initiatives in the community.