Institute Assists Scholarship of Engagement
The Institute for Ethical and Civic Engagement (IECE) supports, encourages and enhances the ethical, civic engagement activities of students, faculty and staff. "This is scholarship of engagement," said Ben Kirshner, an assistant professor in the School of Education . "Many faculty have an interest in connecting with the broader community through their work and IECE is an important resource."
Headed by Director Peter Simons, the institute, as he puts it, "Aims to make civic and ethical engagement a highly visible, highly distinctive component of CU-Boulder's core educational mission." Faculty members across campus have worked with the institute to enhance their curricula and give students the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills they are building to real world situations.
With the aid of IECE grant money, Kirshner, who is on the institute's steering committee, taught a graduate seminar on adolescent development of civic dispositions and skills that included a study in collaboration with Denver and Boulder youth organizations. His students worked directly with these organizations to assess and engage in youth empowerment, and to assist high school-aged students to reenter school.
Another academic project that is supported through IECE is the "TrailerWrap" project, conducted by Michael Hughes, assistant professor in the College of Architecture and Planning , and overseen by Professor Willem Van Vliet. The project involves rebuilding a Boulder area trailer home using affordable, energy-efficient materials to demonstrate sustainable, low cost housing possibilities.
"This project also is a prototypical curricular unit for the college," said Van Vliet. "It provides students with a hands-on learning experience that is sustainable from a curricular viewpoint as well."
Just a year old this month, IECE already has provided funds for the development of 16 courses and projects across the university, including a model project at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication to integrate civic and ethical engagement in the curriculum; provided speakers and faculty lunches focused on ethical and civic engagement; raised $700,000 from outside sources to aid in funding projects; and has established and is working jointly with other programs to appoint a Quigg and Virginia S. Newton Endowed Chair in Leadership, to guide and build support for leadership and civic engagement programs.
As part of the Office of Community Relations outreach effort in conjunction with the City of Boulder, the IECE will participate in a Banners on the Hill project during the coming academic year meant to bring greater attention to a variety of CU programs. The IECE banner will be hung at 13th and College throughout November and December.