(Seguin) -- The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) has named Texas Lutheran University's Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship (SISE) program a model department for civic learning. With only 22 institutions selected nationwide, TLU's SISE program will be featured on the AAC &U website as a leading example for democratic engagement as an expectation for students majoring in that discipline.
Supported by a grant from the Endeavor Foundation, the AAC &U aims to limit civic-free zones within academic departments by providing guidance to colleges and universities, bringing it directly into where students invest academic attention: their major. This new grant also enables the AAC &U to offer concrete models of what that actually looks like in practice.
"We are excited to share what we do here at TLU on bringing civic engagement into the classroom and part of the curriculum," said TLU SISE Director Judith Dykes-Hoffmann. "Our SISE degree is a great way to demonstrate the intersections of classroom learning and out of the classroom civic engagement as our students are clearly expected to be engaged in our larger community as they work toward solving key social issues.
Students work with TLU's Jon & Sandra Moline Center for Servant Leadership (CSL) and can often be found out and about working to make the local communities a better place.
"Our CSL creates service and civic engagement opportunities for students to learn about their community, grow their personal civic identities, and strengthen their understanding of how academics connect to community," said Center For Servant Leadership Director Morgan Klaser. "The SISE program champions social responsibility and being featured by the AAC&U grant highlights TLU's commitment to civic learning."
Caryn McTighe Musil, director of the Civic Learning in the Major by Design project, was impressed by the creativity and variety of ways the selected departments used a civic lens to enhance the major.
"These civic-rich departmental designs seek to increase students' comprehension of their discipline's investigations, enhance voice and agency, offer hands-on practice in collaboratively addressing challenging public problems, and introduce students to moral, ethical, and civic responsibility issues that are likely to be part of their professional lives," said McTighe Musil.