Office of Civic Engagement

Civic Engagement within the Classroom

Civic engagement can also happen within the classroom or on campus and does not need to include taking students into the community.

Creative Ways to Incorporate Civic Engagement in the Classroom

  • Develop novel approaches to research papers and projects that enable students to relate their coursework to real world problems and increase student accountability by: assigning projects and/or designing websites that provide resources for community partners; requiring students to "take a stand" on policy issues in written and oral assignments; requiring students to research community organizations or problems.
  • Use exercises that enable students to empathize with individuals working for social and political change by: conducting mock electoral debates and conventions; asking students to adopt historical personas in role-playing exercises; teaching past and present social and political issues from the perspectives of multiple groups or individuals working for change.
  • Provide opportunities for private and public reflection that connect coursework with civic engagement experiences by: using journals and informal reflective essays; assigning written assignments that combine reflection with a critical analysis and/or application of academic texts; making reflection public, especially by using the internet.
  • Expose students to differing opinions and approaches to help them view issues from multiple perspectives and relate coursework to multiple contexts by: offering team taught and/or interdisciplinary courses; inviting guest speakers to class (faculty and members of the community); organizing interdisciplinary forums on campus related to the subject of the course. (Civic Engagement in the Classroom (PDF))

Learn more about Town Hall and other Chico State civic engagement activities.

Tools for the Classroom

Reflection is integral to civic engagement and helps connect applied learning activities to course content.

Sample Syllabi

  • Sample Syllabi by Discipline(opens in new window)
  • Sample Syllabus statements:
    • Service Learning Activities: During this class you will participate in four required service learning activities, each of which will be 2 - 4 hours in length and will occur outside of regular class time. Course Units are designed around these Service Learning opportunities, in-class collaborative activities and special projects that provide hands-on practice in accomplishing the Course Objectives.
    • Service learning is “a teaching method that promotes student learning through active participation in meaningful and planned service experiences in the community that are directly related to course content. Through reflective activities, students enhance their understanding of course content, general knowledge, sense of civic responsibility, self-awareness and commitment to the community. This makes service learning a very different experience than community service.” (Best Practices, CSU (PDF) [If you need special accommodation to access this document, please contact the Office of Accessible Technology and Services.]).