Civic Engagement in the Curriculum

Colby is committed to offering courses with an opportunity for students to apply their knowledge and skills in real life situations.  Following national trends, Colby has broadened and expanded the idea of service learning to embrace the concept of civic engagement.  Civic engagement offers students, faculty and staff the opportunity to engage in the community through courses, extra-curricular opportunities, internships, research, and volunteerism, and creates opportunities for students to develop socially responsive knowledge.  Socially responsive knowledge requires that students (a) become educated in the problems of society; (b) experience and understand, first-hand, social issues in their community; and (c) attain the experience and skills to act on social problems*.

In courses with a civic engagement component, students form positive connections with the community in the Greater Waterville Area and help to meet real community needs. In such courses, students become more engaged in their academic experience and complete their course with an enhanced awareness of the world around them a greater sense of personal effectiveness, and greater knowledge and understanding of solving social problems and engaging in the community.

For students, civic engagement courses:
  • Extend the boundaries of the classroom
  • Promote the value of diversity by exposing students to diverse populations
  • Foster a sense of civic responsibility
  • Heighten awareness of social and political issues in the community
  • Enrich the value of course material as it is applied to real-world situations
  • Strengthen critical thinking skills through active reflection
  • Accommodate different styles of learning
  • Enhance collaborative, communicative, and leadership abilities
  • Develop interpersonal skills for future professional endeavors
  • Look great on graduate and professional school applications
  • Identify possible future career opportunities
*Altman, Irwin  Higher “Education and Psychology in the Millenium”, American Psychologist, April 1996