College Presidents for Civic Preparedness

College Presidents for Civic Preparedness is a new initiative convened by the Institute for Citizens & Scholars. It brings together college presidents who are committed to addressing the challenge of ensuring today’s young people are well-informed, productively engaged, and committed citizens. The initiative currently connects leaders of 20 four-year institutions, including large public flagship universities, Ivy-plus campuses, HBCUs, STEM-focused schools, liberal arts colleges, and faith-based institutions.

Preparing Empowered Citizens 

Especially given the significant challenges and division facing the country, it is deeply concerning that American students show deficits in civic knowledge and too many lack opportunities and experience in civic engagement.

Participants in College Presidents for Civic Preparedness bring different perspectives, with views that span the political spectrum. But these leaders are united by the shared understanding that civic preparedness must be at the heart of the academic experience and campus life. They all seek to provide students with meaningful civic education and opportunities to develop skills, habits, practices, and norms for living in a pluralistic society.

College campuses are among the most diverse spaces in our country. The value of higher education rests fundamentally on the practice of hearing, appreciating, and engaging with people and perspectives that vary widely. By preparing young people to participate in the public sphere, this initiative helps to uphold higher education as a public good that serves society and secures our democracy.  

Presidents participating in the initiative meet virtually and in-person for regular discussions and meetings, convened by The Institute for Citizens & Scholars. The group approaches this work with the intellectual humility and openness it aims to model for campuses and society at large. Participants are prepared to learn from each other, through joint and individual efforts, and by engaging with others in the field.

Participating Presidents

Benedict College:  Roslyn Clark Artis
Claremont McKenna College:  Hiram Chodosh
Colorado College:  Song Richardson
Cornell University:  Martha Pollack
Dartmouth: Sian Leah Beilock
Denison University:  Adam Weinberg
DePauw University:  Lori White
Duke University:  Vincent Price
Georgetown University:  Jack DeGioia
Howard University:  Ben Vinson
James Madison University:  Jonathan Alger
Montclair State University:  Jonathan Koppell
Purdue University:  Mung Chiang
Rollins College:  Grant Cornwell
Rutgers University:  Jonathan Holloway
University of Notre Dame:  Father John Jenkins
University of Pittsburgh:  Joan Gabel
University of Richmond:  Kevin Hallock
Wellesley College:  Paula Johnson
Wesleyan University:  Michael Roth

Major Projects 

College Presidents for Civic Preparedness is currently focused on three major projects:

Campus Call for Free Expression

A commitment to urgently spotlight, uplift, and re-emphasize the principles of freedom of expression and critical inquiry on our campuses through a coordinated set of presidential and campus activities.

Campus Call for Free Expression

Faculty Development Institute on Dialogue Across Difference

An institute to help faculty engage effectively with free expression and civil discourse in the classroom, and to create needed courses and opportunities for students and colleagues to do the same.

Measurement Working Group

A strategic approach to gathering data on how campuses nationwide are thinking about citizen development and civic learning, how they are assessing students’ civic learning outcomes, how they might foster an array of measurement strategies, and how these shape and fit with national rubrics.

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