The Missing Dimension: Engagement

In recent years, the University of Colorado Boulder , like most large research universities, has concentrated on two pillars of the university mission: discovering and disseminating knowledge. Forging a third pillar of ethical and civic engagement is the Institute's mission. Explicitly integrating knowledge and its ethical and civic dimensions is key to helping our students strive to be responsible and engaged citizens. Such integration will greatly enhance the value of their university experience with striking consequences for our students, our universities, and our nation.

Students who graduate without the skills to reflect on their knowledge or the experience of using it as citizens fall short of their full potential. They have learned to create a career, but not shape a society. Our students should leave the university well-equipped to incorporate ethical and civic points of view in all their decisions, professional as well as personal.

One key advantage of a democracy over other forms of government resides in its ability to draw on the talents and experiences of a large and varied citizenry. When that varied citizenry brings informed ethical and civic viewpoints to public service and to private careers, whether at the local, state, national or global level, the democracy grows stronger.

Seen in this context, the Institute for Ethical and Civic Engagement serves the University of Colorado Boulder in a number of ways. It invigorates the university's commitment to prepare our students explicitly for a life of just action and responsible citizenship, and, in doing so, reaffirms our commitment to revitalizing the civic fabric of local, state, national and international communities.