Democratic Engagement


National Conference on Citizenship Announces Winners of First-Ever Civic Data Challenge

Awardees Make Civic Health Data More Accessible to Decision Makers and Public

The Civic Data Challenge was launched by the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) in April 2012 to bring new eyes, minds, findings, and skill sets to “civic health” data – information that shows how citizens are participating in their neighborhoods, communities and democracy. The Challenge asked applicants to turn the raw data of civic health into beautiful, useful applications and visualizations, enabling communities to be better understood and made to thrive.

“Citizenship is not a spectator sport.” Graham, J.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “One of the great liabilities of history is that all too

Property of The Seattle Times

many people fail to remain awake through great periods of social change. Every society has its protectors of the status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping through revolutions. But today our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.”

Civic Engagement: University of Maryland

Civic engagement is “acting upon a heightened sense of responsibility to one’s communities. This includes a wide range of activities, including developing civic sensitivity, participation in building civil society, and benefiting the common good. Civic engagement encompasses the notions of global citizenship and interdependence. Through civic engagement, individuals – as citizens of their communities, their nations, and the world – are empowered as agents of positive social change for a more democratic world.”

Civic engagement involves one or more of the following:

  1. Learning from others, self, and environment to develop informed perspectives on social issues;
  2. Recognizing and appreciating human diversity and commonality;
  3. Behaving, and working through controversy, with civility;
  4. Taking an active role in the political process;
  5. Participating actively in public life, public problem solving, and community service;
  6. Assuming leadership and membership roles in organizations;
  7. Developing empathy, ethics, values, and sense of social responsibility;
  8. Promoting social justice locally and globally.

-B. Jacoby & Associates, Civic Engagement in Higher Education, Jossey-Bass, 2009. Based on the definition framed by the Coalition for Civic Engagement and Leadership

Do you feel like you are an engaged citizen?

engaged citizenClick here to find out!



Civic Engagement Value Rubric


A Crucible Moment

By: The National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement

Access A Crucible Moment here: Crucible Moment


Civic Ethos: The infusion of democratic values into the customs and habits of everyday practices, structures, and interactions; it emphasizes open-mindedness, civility, the worth of each person, ethical behaviors, and concern for the well-being of others; influences the goals of the institution and its engagement with local and global communities.

  •  Days of Service
  • Service Trips (Trips occur during University Breaks – Disaster relief/Social/Environmental Issues)
  • Civic Engagement Fellows (Student leaders dedicated to bringing community service, issue awareness, and advocacy opportunities to the UNCG campus)
  • Leadership Challenge
  • Cone C.A.R.E.S. – emphasizing community, academics, respect, engagement, and service

Civic Literacy: The cultivation of foundational knowledge about fundamental principles and debates about democracy expressed over time; familiarity with key historical struggles, campaigns, and social movements undertaken to achieve the full promise of democracy; the ability to think critically and evaluate information about issues that have public consequences.

  •  LEAD; MOSAIC (social justice focus); Make A Difference House; Spartan Wellness; Ashby Residential College
  • Times Talk

Civic Inquiry: The practice of inquiring about civic dimensions and public consequences of a subject of study; exploration of the impact of choices from different groups and people; the consideration of differing points of views; the ability to describe and analyze civic intellectual debates within one’s major or area of study.

  •  Federal Government Careers Week
  • Career Services Center – posts part-time jobs, internships, and full-time jobs on SpartanCareers that may have civic action, inquiry, and literacy as part of the core requirements

Civic Action: The capacity and commitment both to participate with diverse individuals and to work collectively to address common problems; the practice of working in a pluralistic society and world to improve the quality of life and the planet; the ability to analyze in order to plan and engage in pubic action; the courage to take risks to achieve greater public good.

  •  CSC – posts part-time jobs, internships, and full-time jobs on SpartanCareers that may have civic action, inquiry, and literacy as part of the core requirements
  • FTLC – loewenstein project; bus shelter project; vance-chavis library; global studio; urban studio 01 + 02; Industries of the Blind; Greensboro historical museum
  • PS – fall internship class on Campaigns and Elections, in which students are required to work on campaigns or in the elections office
  • Collaboratory – Congregational Social Work Education Initiatives (CSWEI, master and bachelor level social work students from North Carolina A & T and UNCG to provide social work services to Greensboro area congregants.)
  • HRL –
    • Spartan Community Initiative (RA Programming Model-Civic Responsibility is a focal area) – various community service projects throughout the year including voter registration, clothing/food drives; Sustainability (Live Green Themed Community); Departmental Sustainability practices in Facility services (construction, recycling program, etc.); Residence Hall Program (The Quad – scheduled to volunteer at local elementary school to plant a community garden with a group of first graders this fall/spring); Residence Hall Association (RHA) – Stop Hunger Now annual event feeding the homeless.
    • OLSL – Community based research (CBR) program (research projects that involve collaborative partnerships among community partner, student, and faculty teams)
    • CSC – The Student Employment Office manages the Federal Work Study Community Service program, which allows students to earn their Federal Work Study award out in the community at a non-profit organization while gaining practical work and civic engagement experience in their community.

SVL Course Survey, Student Comments:

  • I took this service learning experience to heart. I enjoyed it thoroughly and have become more interested in my community.
  • I learned that we shouldn’t place full dependency on leaders or those of authoritative positions; we should instead take responsibility for our own actions and act as citizens-taking action in the community ourselves as the majority of the local population.
  • I learned it is not possible to change the world but little action can create ripples that change the community.
  • I learned to publicly voice my ideas as well as how to help out others for their problems that they go through.
  • That the ability to critically reflect on our experiences and ourselves in general is a key component to learning. It can open our minds to ideas and ways to learn that we might have never noticed before.
  • I learned to open my eyes to the privilege that I live in and of my responsibility to help the less fortunate.
  • One thing I learned from this course is that, while it can be difficult to interact with people different from myself, we’re all ultimately humans, and it’s never impossible to connect on some level.
  • I learned the diversity of the background that I come from. I learned to develop pride of my ethnicity and most of all I met amazing friends and a very caring teacher.

Resources for Student Organizations: