The nation's leading association for the advancement, health and sustainability of the student affairs profession has listed Fort Hays State University among the top 50 colleges and universities committed to civic learning and democratic engagement.
Other notable institutions in the top 50 list, which was released earlier this month, include: Stanford University, Davidson College, Wake Forest, Wellesley College, the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, Illinois State University, Oregon State University, the Art Institute of Chicago, the University of Central Oklahoma, the University of Miami and Weber State University.
NASPA cited the engagement and support student affairs staffs at the institutions give to making civic learning and democratic engagement a part of every student’s college education.
"This designation illustrates Fort Hays State University as a national leader in the area of civic engagement and citizenship development. As a university community, we are currently involved in a comprehensive assessment and strategic planning process to enhance and expand our work in this area," said Dr. Curt Brungardt, Voss Distinguished Professor of Leadership Studies.
Dr. Tisa Mason, vice president of student affairs, cited the cooperation between her division and academic departments as key to the recognition by NASPA. "The Division of Student Affairs is excited to work collaboratively in engaging our students and the community in mutually beneficial programs and activities designed to deepen students' sense of civic responsibility while encouraging self-reflection, exploration and discovery," she said.
The 50 selected institutions make up NASPA’s Lead Initiative on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement. They include public and private four-year and two-year colleges and universities that have committed to a series of strategies to work in partnership with on- and off-campus constituents to influence students' ongoing commitment to civic learning and democratic engagement, including:
¥ Building clear and tangible civic learning and democratic engagement activities into student affairs division strategic goals and learning outcomes;
¥ Collecting and reporting data on the efficacy of campus efforts using tools that measure gains in civic learning and democratic engagement; and
¥ Creating strategies in collaboration with students that increase civic learning and help solve community problems through collective action.
The announcement was made by Dr. Kevin Kruger, president at NASPA, and Dr. Gwendolyn Jordan Dungy, executive director emeritus at NASPA.
"NASPA has long been committed to ensuring that a college education embeds in students a commitment to civic engagement and citizenship," Dr. Kruger said. "Through the Lead Initiative, NASPA will highlight the unique contributions that student affairs professionals are making to democratic engagement and will develop tools for sharing the important lessons that will surely emerge from the work of these institutions."
"As a member of the Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Action Network Steering Committee, NASPA has made a commitment to supporting the critical work of student affairs in making civic learning and democratic engagement a part of every student's college education," said Dr. Dungy. "The Lead Initiative recognizes and brings together a strong and purposeful network of NASPA institutions that are making democratic engagement a priority.
NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education is the leading association for the advancement, health and sustainability of the student affairs profession, serving a full range of professionals who provide programs, experiences and services that cultivate student learning and success in concert with the mission of member colleges and universities. Founded in 1919, NASPA comprises more than 13,000 members in all 50 states, 29 countries and 8 U.S. Territories. Through high-quality professional development, strong policy advocacy and substantive research to inform practice, NASPA meets the diverse needs and invests in realizing the potential of all its members under the guiding principles of integrity, innovation, inclusion and inquiry.
For additional information on the NASPA Lead Initiative, please contact:
Brian A. Sponsler, Ed.D.
Vice President for Research and Policy
202-265-7500, ext 1191
Laura E. Sponsler, Ph.D.
NASPA Fellow for Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement
202-265-7500, ext 1177