Carleton Announces Formation of Center for Community and Civic Engagement

January 19, 2012

Northfield, Minn.––Carleton College has announced the formation of a new Center for Community and Civic Engagement (CCCE), combining the efforts of the College’s Academic Civic Engagement (ACE) and Acting in the Community Together (ACT) offices, while adding a third area of public scholarship to bring increased visibility to collaborations between faculty and students, and to support the work of engaged scholarship by Carleton’s faculty.

The new effort will be launched with an open house on Friday, Jan. 20, from 10 a.m.-12 noon, at the Sayles-Hill Student Center, room 150. Carleton President Steven G. Poskanzer and Dean of the College Beverly Nagel will offer remarks at 11:15 a.m.

The CCCE office integrates the two College offices charged most with helping students engage in community service. ACE focuses on helping Carleton students connect their academic work with real-world experiences in ways that benefit the Northfield and surrounding communities. Biology and chemistry classes, for example, have partnered with Growing Up Healthy to examine mold, air quality, and asthma related issues for Northfield families. ACT, meanwhile, promotes and supports community service and student leadership development outside the classroom. ACT works with more than 20 community partners, including the Northfield Public Schools, and ACT student leaders help sustain those partnerships.

“The Center promises to integrate community engagement with the work of teaching, learning and scholarship in a substantive Carleton way,” President Poskanzer said. “The cross-pollination of community and civic engagement with the life of the mind has long typified Carleton’s ethos; this integrated Center helps us do this even more thoughtfully and effectively. Getting this right will help us ensure that Carleton continues to offer a superb liberal arts education.” 

“For more than 26 years, we have had solid, exciting community and civic engagement programs, animated by student energy and passion, and wisely directed by engaged faculty,” Nagel said. “The Center for Community and Civic Engagement will foster further synergies with other initiatives and deepen the possibilities for integrating intellectual substance at Carleton together with a commitment to engaging concentric circles of community: Northfield, the Minnesota region, the nation, and globe.”

The new CCCE plan will be augmented by a third focus in public scholarship. Through this program, Carleton aims to help support faculty who want to engage their scholarly and creative activities in a variety of public ways. In the Center’s initial two years, professor of religion Michael McNally ’85 will serve as faculty coordinator and faculty associate for public scholarship. 

“I’m especially pleased to bring visibility, focus, and greater intentionality to the engaged scholarship Carleton faculty members have long produced by anchoring the Center with a faculty associate for public scholarship,” Nagel said.

“The three programs are intellectually, administratively, and where appropriate, programmatically, integrated within the Center, but each retains its distinctive work and its own director,” McNally said. Laura Riehle-Merrill continues to serve as director of ACT and Adrienne Falcón ’89 remains director of ACE.

To learn more about CCCE, visit the new CCCE website.