Reimagining Civic Learning

N3EC contributors are rethinking the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education’s 2014 Policy on Civic Learning and developing new outcomes to ensure that future visions of civic learning are articulated collectively by a diverse group of faculty, staff, students, and community partners committed to racial equity and justice.

Civic Learning Reimagined Through a Lens of Racial Equity

Participants: Zoi Burns (University of Massachusetts Dartmouth), Gene Corbin (University of Massachusetts Boston), William Cortezia (Fitchburg State University), Aldo Garcia Guevara (Worcester State University), Raúl D. Gutiérrez (Holoyoke Community College), Cynthia Lynch (Salem State University), Mary Jo Marion (Worcester State University), Shelley Nicholson (Mount Wachusett Community College), John Reiff (Massachusetts Department of Higher Education), Miah Reyes (Salem State University), Matthew Roy (University of Massachusetts Dartmouth), Christina Santana (Worcester State University, formerly Amherst College), Amanda Wittman (Worcester State University), and Stephanie Williams (Mount Wachusett Community College).

The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education’s 2014 Policy on Civic Learning was based on a vision of civic learning articulated by predominantly white professionals thinking about predominantly white students. This project aims to rethink civic learning outcomes — and the work of faculty and staff to guide students to those outcomes — using a lens of racial equity and justice.

To articulate a new working vision of civic learning for a multiracial democracy, a diverse team of faculty, staff, and students from across the state, drew on recent literature connecting civic learning and racial equity and interviews and focus groups with students, faculty, staff, and community partners. The resulting Framework for Civic Learning though a Lens of Racial Equity distills insights from these data and captures the kinds of learning students should encounter throughout their entire curricular co-curricular educational experience to prepare them to be productive changemakers in their public and private lives.

The Framework is being actively shared and continues to develop with the input from many. For example, during the summer of 2023, two representatives from each of the 28 undergraduate-serving public colleges and universities in the state, as well as some private colleges, participated two-day regional summer institutes. These convenings, hosted in five regions of Massachusetts—Northeast, Southeast, Boston Area, Central, and Western— brought together mixed groups of BIPOC and white participants around shared racial equity values.



Higher Education Innovation Fund, Massachusetts Department of Higher Education 

Working Draft

A Framework for Civic Learning Through a Lens of Racial Equity