• Civic Engagement Tool Kit for Faculty

    What is Civic Engagement?

    Any activity that encourages students to become active citizens involved on their campus, in their communities and in the wider world is considered civic engagement.

    Examples of civic engagement activities:

    • Serve as a poll worker
    • Write a letter to your local newspaper or public official concerning a community issue
    • Conduct an oral history of a veteran for the Library of Congress
    • Volunteer in your community
    • Become an active member of a college student life club or organization


    Other examples:

    • Earth Science professor has students visit the Carnegie Museum of Natural History's Benedum Hall of Geology to view Pittsburgh geology and write a reflective essay on the experience.
    • English professor has students create visual narratives about their interactions with children from a local school for students with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.
    • Biology professors have students comment on the CCAC Democracy Board question on climate change.

    Why Reflection?

    Students who reflect on their learning become better learners.  Reflection may help students overcome deeply held beliefs about learning, intelligence and prior knowledge.  Reflection also helps students identify the value of their work which is linked to the motivation to learn.

    Types of reflection activities:

    • Class discussions
    • Journal entries
    • Self-reflection essays
    • Class presentations
    • Video journal or essays
    • Portfolios


    Prompts for Self-Reflection - a list of potential prompts for self-reflection activities
    Insights-Resources-Application for CivicEngagement - a simple active learning technique that requires students to reflect upon what they have learned
    Word Journal for Civic Engagement - a simple writing technique that requires students to reflect and connect one learning experience to another

    Options for Assessing Student Reflection

    • Quickly read through the responses sorting them into 3 piles: on-target, questionable, and off-target.  Re-read the responses in the questionable pile and sort accordingly.  Create a list of the characteristics that were on-target and share it with the class.
    • Create a rubric or checklist of important criteria.  Consider sharing it with students so they understand your expectations before completing the assignment.
    • Peer evaluation can be an effective way to assess student reflection especially if the class works together to develop a set of evaluation criteria.


    Pittsburgh Cares - works to advance a culture of volunteerism and widespread civic engagement in the Pittsburgh region.  The website provides opportunities for adults, youth, businesses, and nonprofit organizations to connect and volunteer together to address pressing social needs.

    Northwest Service Academy Reflection Toolkit

    How to Get Started with Service Learning and Civic Engagement (IUPUI)

    National Service-Learning Clearinghouse

    Community College National Center for Community Engagement

    A Crucible Moment: College Learning & Democracy's Future  


    Civic Engagement at CCAC (Presented by Aaron Hoffman) - January 7, 2013