Research Opportunities & Initiatives

Civic Learning

Embracing civic learning opportunities available through CSL is a major component to becoming a civic-minded graduate and, ultimately, a civic-minded professional.

Civic learning is “any learning that contributes to a student’s preparation for community or public involvement in a diverse democratic society . . . knowledge, skills, and values that make an explicitly direct and purposeful contribution to the preparation of students for active participation” (Howard, 2001, p. 45).

Two people plant a tree

Prominent within the academic framework of IUPUI, civic learning provides clarity for students to understand the relationship between their specific major or discipline and its role and importance within the community and our democracy. The rich and unique history and relationship between IUPUI and the surrounding community provides meaningful opportunities for civic learning to occur.

Civic learning taking place through CSL programs and events is a crucial component to developing students’ capacity to master the following civic learning outcomes:

  • How and where decisions are made and by whom
  • Access points to decision-making bodies
  • Strategies for influencing decision-making bodies
  • Structural determinants of social problems
  • Structural determinants of social action
  • Researching skills—finding and analyzing information, distinguishing fact from opinion, reliability of sources
  • Analytical/critical thinking skills
  • Communication skills, especially persuasion and argumentation, using a variety of media
  • Conflict resolution
  • Open-mindedness, tolerance, willingness to hear others’ positions
  • Belief in the value of democratic processes
  • Reciprocity
  • Fairness
  • Mutual respect for all individuals as free and equal citizens
  • Non-violence
  • Honesty


Howard, Jeffrey. "Purposeful Civic Learning." Service-learning course design workbook. Ann Arbor, MI: Edward Ginsberg Center for Community Service and Learning, University of Michigan, 2001. 45. Print.