Dr. Matthew H. Roy, UMass Dartmouth Assistant Provost and Director of the Leduc Center for Civic Engagement, fresh off more than a year of service as a member of the statewide Special Commission on Civic Engagement and Learning with other legislative, administrative, education, and special interest group leaders and officials, is calling for strengthened efforts to integrate civic engagement with learning.
"Teaching young citizens the importance of community involvement and helping them to see that they have gifts to give to others is critical to our future. Massachusetts and in particular our public higher education institutions are at the forefront nationally when it comes to re-invigorating the importance of civic engagement in our communities. The recommendations in this report will help us further those efforts."
UMass Dartmouth is a nationally-renowned leader in the effort to fully integrate civic engagement into an educational curriculum, being named last year as one of the nation's top 12 colleges and universities on the President's Honor Roll for Community Service, which recognizes exceptional commitment to service-learning and impact on the community.
Last year, UMass Dartmouth students served 192,000 hours of service to the communities of southeastern Massachusetts -- a value of over $5 million given back to our region.
To improve K-12 civic engagement and learning, the Commission recommended:
* implementing civics requirements throughout K-12 education;
* developing a model curriculum that aligns with the history and social science curriculum framework;
* establishing a Commonwealth Medal for Exemplary Civic Engagement and Learning for exemplary programs or initiatives in adult civic engagement in the public, private or non-profit sectors;
* re-energizing student engagement by evaluating and revising Student Government Day and establishing a working group to review the current state of student participation in the Student Advisory Council and Student Regional Councils;
* articulating a compelling, concise statement of purpose for civic engagement and learning with specific civic engagement and learning goals in higher education in the spirit of educating students for the duties of citizenship;
* dedicating resources to create, expand, and make more sustainable educational and administrative infrastructure for enabling and sustaining civic engagement among students, faculty and staff in higher education;
* supporting the Department of Higher Education's Vision Project Goal 6: Civic Education and Engagement, and ensuring that it is accomplished by coordinating planning and implementation of higher education goals with those set for K-12; and
* establishing a coordinating center to support the civic engagement and learning of non-student adults in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The only recommendation Roy did not support was a call for the implementation of an MCAS history test for high school students.
Roy is also currently serving on the Department of Higher Education committee designed to develop recommendations for Massachusetts public higher education institutions to implement the civic engagement goals in the Vision Project. That committee will complete its work this spring.
To access the entire "Renewing the Social Compact" report visit www.senatormoore.com.