Professional Associations for Community-Engaged Faculty

Nashman Top Picks: Professional Associations Forwarding Civic Education


The National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good

“The National Forum exists to support higher education’s role as a public good. In this pursuit, the Forum utilizes research and other tools to create and disseminate knowledge that addresses higher education issues of public importance.”  Programs are centered on three areas: Public Accountability and Public Policy, Institutional Practice and Equity, and Engaged Scholarship and Collaboration. The latter is particularly related to leadership development and  community engagement that improves college access and success.  Their initiatives include forums, and original research and policy analysis.

Resources related to community engagement: Hosting community dialogues, distribution of resources such as bibliographies and toolkits, engaging in empirical research related to the institutional structures that facilitate or restrict community engagement in higher education, publications.


Campus Compact

Campus Compact is a national coalition of more than 1,100 college and university presidents who are committed to fulfilling the public purpose of higher education. As the only national higher education association dedicated solely to campus-based civic engagement, Campus Compact promotes public and community service that develops students’ citizenship skills, helps campuses forge effective community partnerships, and provides resources and training for faculty seeking to integrate civic and community-based learning into the curriculum.

Resources include: publications, online resources such as sample syllabi, conferences and institutes, faculty and student awards/fellowships.


Mapping Civic Engagement in Higher Education:  National Initiatives

Sponsored by Campus Compact, this “map” provides an overview of national higher education initiatives in civic engagement.  An extensive list of web links to other civic engagement related web sites is included.  Although it is a very thoroughly researched project, it was completed in 1999 and doesn’t include links to initiatives that have taken place since then.


Campus Compact Mid-Atlantic

A regional affiliate of the national Campus Compact, CC-MA provides leadership to colleges and universities in Maryland, Delaware, and Washington, D.C. by advocating, supporting, and encouraging institutional participation in academic and co-curricular based public service and civic engagement programs. 

Resources:  Local conferences and professional development, small grants, Vista program and others.


Association of American Colleges and Universities

The mission of the Association of American Colleges and Universities is to make liberal education and inclusive excellence the foundation for institutional purpose and educational practice in higher education.

Resources: publications, research, frameworks for designing quality programs, institutes for faculty and departments, grants.


The Democracy Commitment

The Democracy Commitment (TDC) is a national initiative providing a platform for development and expansion of community college programs, projects and curricula aiming at engaging students in civic learning and democratic practice across the country. Our goal is that every graduate of an American community college have had an education in democracy. This includes all of our students, whether they aim to transfer to university, achieve an associate degree or obtain a certificate.


Excelencia in Education

Excelencia in Education accelerates Latino student success in higher education by providing data-driven analysis of the educational status of Latinos, and by promoting education policies and institutional practices that support their academic achievement. A not-for-profit organization founded in 2004 in Washington, DC, Excelencia in Education has become a trusted information source on the status of Latino educational achievement, a major resource for influencing policy at the institutional, state, and national levels, and a widely recognized advocate for expanding evidence-based practices to accelerate Latino student success in higher education. Excelencia is also building a network of results-oriented educators and policymakers to address the U.S. economy’s need for a highly educated workforce and for civic leadership.


National Alliance for Civic Education

NACE is an alliance of organizations whose goals include advancing civic knowledge and engagement through educational institutions.  The website includes announcements of current events in civic engagement education and the results of several civic education studies.


Coalition for Reform of Undergraduate STEM Education

This organization believes, "undergraduate STEM education must shift from reliance on lecturing to activities inside and outside the classroom that engage students directly, and that draw in a student body that is fully representative of the diversity of our population." The Coalition is composed of a group of action leaders within organizations working toward these changes. Resources: Sourcebook on white papers available online.


Imagining America

“Artists and scholars in public life.” Imagining America creates democratic spaces to foster and advance publicly engaged scholarship that draws on arts, humanities, and design. We catalyze change in campus practices, structures, and policies that enables artists and scholars to thrive and contribute to community action and revitalization. Resources: Publications and meetings related to engaged scholarship, civic science, publicly engaged design, civic professionalism and tenure and promotion considerations of engaged work.


National Humanities Alliance

This alliance has a subset called The Humanities Working Groups for Community Impact.  This initiative aims to strengthen and expand support for the humanities by showcasing the impact that humanities organizations achieve at the local level.


Kettering Foundation

The foundation seeks to identify and address the challenges to making democracy work as it should through interrelated program areas that focus on citizens, communities and institutions. Founded “to sponsor and carry out scientific research for the benefit of humanity.”  The foundation’s research has gradually shifted to focus on democracy, particularly the role of citizens.  “Our research is done by learning with, not experimenting on, real citizens, communities, and institutions. In both our in-person learning exchanges and publications, we don’t aim to provide answers, but further questions.”



  • Disseminates its research findings through books, research reports, occasional papers, videos, and its website.
  • Publishes three periodicals: Connections, the Higher Education Exchange, and the Kettering Review
  • Produces materials for the National Issues Forums (NIF), a network of civic and educational organizations whose common interest is promoting public deliberation
  • Note: the Kettering Foundation does not provide funding for projects or research. Their focus is on research exchange and circulating insights. 


Kellogg Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good  

An initiative of The Kellogg Foundation, this forum has several useful projects, one of which is a large annotated bibliography on the best resources regarding civic engagement, service learning, higher education for the public good, and other key categories.


The Corporation for National and Community Service, "Goals for Citizenship"

While due to federal funding cuts, the Corporation for National and Community Service no longer supports course-based service-learning, some resources from this prior work is still available. One example is this online resource, which outlines the Corporation's "Goals for Citizenship" listed by knowledge, skills and attitudes. These goals can be helpful for articulating your own course or department's learning objectives for service-based assignments.


The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE)

CIRCLE conducts, collects and funds research on the civic and political participation of young Americans.  The website provides access to download (in PDF format) many excellent research reports and fact sheets on civic education and engagement. Also available: fact sheets, data sets and innovative use of mapping software to analyze the service and voting habits of young adults.

Designed to encourage civil discourse, this site is designed to be an online meeting place and resource center for those interested in deliberative democracy.  Democracy Lab is a project of this center, which promotes civic engagement, developing student civic leadership and transforming campus climate.   (


Democracy Now!

Democracy Now! is "a national, daily, independent, award-winning news program." Broadcast on PBS, NPR, many college radio stations and streams from their own internet site. Current and previous stories provide excellent cases to discuss important issues related to the role of citizens in a democracy. The organization does not receive funding from advertisers, government or corporate entities and has earned awards for independent reporting.


The Aspen Institute

An educational and policy studies organization in DC. Their mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. Resources: Leadership programs, publication


Papers on the Civic Purposes of Higher Education

A Crucible Moment

A 2012 "Call to Action and Report" from the National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement. This link also includes executive briefs and highlights, follow-up reports on the impact of the document and discussion publications generated by other national associations.


The Civic Series from AAC&U's Bringing Theory to Practice Initiative

This series of five monographs discusses a variety of perspectives on the fundamental issues about the civic mission of higher education. 


Civic Institutional Matrix

A rubric to assess assets and gaps in a civic-minded institution created by Ashley Finely of the AACU. It measures 4 dimensions: civic ethos, civic literacy, civic inquiry, and civic action.


Core Commitments: Educating Students for Personal and Social Responsibility

Core Commitments aims to reclaim and revitalize the academy’s role in fostering students’ development of personal and social responsibility. The initiative focuses national attention on the importance of students exploring their ethical responsibilities to self and others. The project has nicely articulated goals for educating students for personal and social responsibility, with supportive research, publications and meetings. Research and assessment projects, publications and conferences support this work. This is an initiative of the AAC&U.