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Making Education for Personal and Social Responsibility Everyone’s Obligation Civic Learning at the Intersections: U.S. Diversity, Global Education, and Democracy’s Unfinished Work October 19, 2007 Denver, CO Caryn McTighe Musil , Senior Vice President & Director, Core Commitments

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making education for personal and social responsibility everyone s obligation

Making Education for Personal and Social Responsibility Everyone’s Obligation

Civic Learning at the Intersections: U.S. Diversity, Global Education, and Democracy’s Unfinished Work

October 19, 2007 Denver, CO

Caryn McTighe Musil, Senior Vice President & Director, Core Commitments

Nancy O’Neill, Director of Programs, OEIR & Assistant Director, Core Commitments

liberal education
Liberal Education
  • A philosophy of education that empowers individuals, liberates the mind, cultivates intellectual judgments, and fosters ethical and social responsibility
  • By its nature, liberal learning is global and pluralistic. It embraces the diversity of ideas and experiences that characterize the social, natural, and intellectual world.
the higher education challenge
The Higher Education Challenge

But what do college students say they are hoping to get from their time studying?

top tier outcomes for college education in student focus groups
Top Tier outcomes for college education in student focus groups
  • Maturity and ability to succeed on one’s own
  • Time-management skills
  • Strong work habits
  • Self-discipline
  • Teamwork skills and ability to get along with different types of people
middle tier outcomes for students
Middle Tier Outcomes for Students
  • Tangible business skills and specific expertise in field of focus
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Communication skills
  • Problem-solving skills and analytical ability
  • Exposure to business world
  • Leadership skills
least important outcomes
Least Important Outcomes
  • Values, principles, ethics
  • Tolerance and respect for different cultural backgrounds
  • Competency in computer skills
  • Expanded cultural and global awareness and sensitivity
  • Civic responsibility and orientation toward public service
oppositional views
Oppositional Views

“Civic responsibility and leadership are qualities that individuals are born with. . .”

High School Student in an AAC&U Focus Group

benjamin barber
Benjamin Barber

“We may be born free, but we are not born citizens—we have to acquire the traits that enable us to participate effectively in the world.”

making the case for educating for personal and social responsibility
Making the Case for Educating for Personal and Social Responsibility
  • Colleges and universities in the U.S. agree on essential learning outcomes for the 21st century
the essential learning outcomes
The Essential Learning Outcomes

Beginning in school, and continuing at successively higher levels across their college studies, students should prepare for twenty-first-century challenges by gaining:

  • Knowledge of Human Cultures and the Physical and Natural World
  • Intellectual and Practical Skills
  • Personal and Social Responsibility
  • Integrative Learning
essential learning three
Essential Learning: Three
  • Personal and Social Responsibility

--Civic knowledge and engagement—local and global

--Intercultural knowledge and competence

--Ethical reasoning and action

--Foundations and skills for lifelong learning

Anchored through active involvement with diverse communities and real-world challenges


PSR Institutional InventoryMeasures Opportunities for--

  • Striving for Excellence
  • Cultivating Personal and Academic Integrity
  • Contributing to a Larger Community
  • Taking Seriously the Perspectives of Others
  • Developing Competence in Ethical and Moral Reasoning
core commitments goals
Core Commitments Goals
  • Orchestrate a proactive, high visibility initiative
  • Serve as a catalyst for fostering ethical and civic outcomes of a contemporary liberal education
  • Invent more purposeful, transparent, and developmental pathways for students to acquire new capacities
  • Generate research tools and evidence that reveals what kind of new capacities students have actually gained our institutions
components of core commitments initiative
Components of Core Commitments Initiative
  • Mobilize Presidential Leadership
  • Identify a Leadership Consortium of Colleges and Universities
  • Generate a Widespread National Conversation
  • Expand the Network of Faculty, Staff, and Student Advocates
  • Measure Progress in Student Learning
personal and social responsibility institutional inventory
Personal and Social Responsibility Institutional Inventory
  • A new AAC&U instrument to determine where people perceive PSR education resides
  • Used with pre- and post-survey dialogues across campus constituent
  • Inventory surveys four different groups: students, faculty, student affairs staff, and academic administrators
  • Illuminates congruences/dissonaces across groups and campus dimensions
core commitments strategy
Core Commitments Strategy
  • Research
  • Practices
  • Resources

…are vehicles for…


PSR Learning

  • Conferences/Events
  • Publicity/Press

Guiding Philosophy

Student learning is the collective responsibility of all individuals and units responsible for the curriculum and co-curriculum.

Education for PSR, to be intentionally fostered in all students, must pervade the institution’s culture.

Institutions must care about and unapologetic-ally educate for personal and social responsibility.

Ethical, civic, and moral development must be closely tied to a substantive vision for student learning that is shared across constituent groups.

These forms of learning, which are cumulative and build on prior knowledge and experience, need to be assessed along the way.