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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

    Caught in the ACT

    <ademic Civic Engagement is becoming a hot subject among educators, nationally and on-campus. Just this year, Carleton has started to formally develop civic engagement as a part of the academic experience. With Adrienne Falcon in the newly created position of Coordinator of Academic Civic Engagement, a year-long assessment of Academic Civic Engagement has begun thanks in part to a grant from the Minnesota Campus Compact. Here is a closer look at Academic Civic Engagement at Carleton:

    What is Academic Civic Engagement?

    Academic Civic Engagement involves extending coursework beyond the classroom to the greater community. Lectures, discussions, and readings are supplemented by additional experiences that may include community-based learning, community-based research, or service learning.

    What courses at Carleton have an Academic Civic Engagement component?

    Community-based learning, research, and service are prevalent in all fields of study. Examples include a Spanish class where students use English and Spanish to tutor in Northfield schools. In a hydrology course, the findings from student-directed projects related to local water sources will be given to city officials. An environmental justice seminar will travel to New Orleans this winter to interview government officials, activists, and residents to research for a final paper or documentary. An anthropology course offers an optional research-service internship at local healthcare organizations. In the past, a statistics class has used computer software to analyze data from Rice County Social Services. Students in a history course conducted oral history interviews and volunteered at the Northfield Historical Society. Other opportunities for Academic Civic Engagement include comps, internships, and independent study.

    How does Academic Civic Engagement benefit students?

    Using the community for research, learning, and service allows students to connect their readings and classroom work to real-world experiences in order to understand course material on a deeper level. They expand their personal and professional networks, improve communication and problem-solving skills, and gain awareness of other cultures and new opportunities.

    Where can students, faculty, and community members find more information?

    Visit the Academic Civic Engagement website:, or click on the link on the ACT Center page for definitions, news, and opportunities. Contact Adrienne Falcon, the coordinator, or Ariel VandeVoorde, the student coordinator, with further questions.

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