Wesleyan’s Civic Action Plan – let the planning begin

How does our institution act out its democratic and civic values? This semester, a group of people from around campus and from the community (see the full list here) are trying to answer that question. Our goal is to develop an actionable plan that articulates Wesleyan’s commitment to and value placed on the public purpose of higher education. This is part of the Civic Action Plan (CAP), which President Roth pledged our campus to in Fall 2016.

Now the important work begins – getting your input. Throughout this semester, we will be holding listening sessions — some with targeted groups and some open to the Wesleyan community. If you want us to come talk to your group, please let me know and we can set up a meeting.

Throughout the process, I will post weekly blog updates summarizing who we met with, key themes we’re hearing, and what our next steps are. This upcoming week’s focus is scheduling meetings with groups of faculty, students, staff, and community members. The meeting schedule will be made public and updated throughout the process.

I am incredibly excited to be facilitating these conversations, along with my colleagues Rob Rosenthal and Rebecca Jacobsen. We’re all deeply committed to an authentic and transparent process with the hopes of identifying, highlighting and promoting current engagement work, improving cross-campus infrastructure for this work, and imagining (and planning for) the future of civic engagement at Wesleyan.

Here is the official language of the pledge that President Roth signed:

  • We empower our students, faculty, staff, and community partners to co-create mutually respectful partnerships in pursuit of a just, equitable, and sustainable future for communities beyond the campus—nearby and around the world.
  • We prepare our students for lives of engaged citizenship, with the motivation and capacity to deliberate, act, and lead in pursuit of the public good.
  • We embrace our responsibilities as place-based institutions, contributing to the health and strength of our communities—economically, socially, environmentally, educationally, and politically.
  • We harness the capacity of our institutions—through research, teaching, partnerships, and institutional practice—to challenge the prevailing social and economic inequalities that threaten our democratic future.
  • We foster an environment that consistently affirms the centrality of the public purposes of higher education by setting high expectations for members of the campus community to contribute to their achievement.

More to come. #WesEngageCAP

— Cathy Lechowicz, Director, Jewett Center for Community Partnerships