Higher education's mission has always stretched beyond academics.
But how do colleges make concrete the stuff of vision statements?
Motivated in part by concerns about student cheating and broader
ethical lapses in society, colleges and universities are
increasingly exploring ways to prepare students to be moral
exemplars and socially responsible leaders. As the world becomes
more interconnected, they're also stepping up efforts to turn out
graduates who are engaged global citizens. For example:
* At William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo., students can now
turn the required core liberal arts curriculum into a major by
completing three "applied learning experiences" such as service
learning, study abroad, and leadership on or off campus.
* Duke University in Durham, N.C., is in the pilot phase of a $30
million endowed program known as DukeEngage. The college will fund
students' service projects for a semester or a summer and connect
them with faculty and career counselors to integrate what they're
learning into their overall education.
* The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U)
in Washington, D.C., has created a consortium of schools to share
experiences as they work to foster five key components of "educating
students for personal and social responsibility": striving for
excellence; personal and academic integrity; contributing to a
larger community; taking seriously the perspectives of others; and
ethical and moral reasoning.
Civic, ethical, and moral development "should be no longer
optional" for college students, says Caryn McTighe Musil, the AAC&U
project director. "We argue you cannot function in the world without
this heightened sensibility."
Among last year's college freshmen, 67 percent said "the
importance of helping others" was a high priority, the highest
percentage in 20 years. That was valued just below raising a family
and being well-off financially, according to last year's annual
survey by the Higher Education Research Institute in Los Angeles.
Twenty-seven percent said there was a very good chance they'd
participate in community service, up from 17 percent in 1990. And 35
percent rated "becoming a community leader" as very important or
Projects like the AAC&U's are also building in attempts to
measure whether various efforts on campus are actually leading to
the intended outcomes.
More than 100 schools applied for 23 slots in the AAC&U
consortium. Each receives a $25,000 matching grant from the John
Templeton Foundation. Some of their plans include expanding academic
honor codes to become social-values codes as well; hosting dialogues
to explore community issues or philosophical questions; and having
students host civics- or ethics-based workshops and contests.
Tying values-oriented goals to hands-on experiences has a
powerful appeal for Amanda Dorsey at Duke. After taking classes in
public policy and social entrepreneurship, she cofounded an
organization called Student U., in which college students tutor
local middle-schoolers. …