Auburn Family

Collaboration Leads to Faculty Research on Civic Professionalism

Brigitta Brunner, Ph.D. is a professor in the School of Communication and Journalism at Auburn University and helps run the Academy for Civic Professionalism.

A few years ago Dr. Giovanna Summerfield came to Brunner and mentioned there was an opportunity through Imagining America for a research collaboratory that would focus on undergraduate education.

“We traveled to conferences and met to talk about what we could do to increase faculty participation in things like civic professionalism,” said Brunner. “The more we did research, the more we became interested in civic professionalism.”

Civic professionalism looks at preparing students to not only be skilled in their chosen professions, but also professional enough to use their work to give back to society.

“It is really based on this idea that students should have three types of experiences in their education,” said Brunner. “One where they are getting classroom knowledge, another one where the student gets to apply what he or she has learned in the classroom in a professional setting, and a third one where the student thinks about the responsibilities that come with being a member of their profession and a citizen of the world.”

The purpose of the Academy is to educate faculty who might be learning about this concept and help them build skills to bring these concepts into the classroom and their research.
Participants of the Academy have the opportunity to hear from world-renowned scholars who are in the field of civic professionalism and ask questions. They also learn more about civic professionalism and how it links to the liberal arts.

“For faculty and graduate students, the benefit that comes with participating in the Academy is the satisfaction of bringing these new ideas into the classroom and helping to shape students thinking so that it is more civic minded,” said Brunner.
Just recently, Brunner received the Third Annual Industry Research Forum Award from The Council of Affiliates of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

“With that, I am going to be looking more closely at how professions in mass communications may use the concept of civic professionalism,” said Brunner. “I will also be looking at how they think we as educators can work to help create new employees in these fields who are more social aware and civically active.”

About the Academy

According to the Academy’s website, “The Community and Civic Engagement Initiative is based on Auburn University’s historic commitment of service and the College of Liberal Arts’ mission to foster an intellectual community.”

For more information on the Academy for Civic Professionalism, which is being held May 11-14, please visit http://www.cla.auburn.edu/cla/cce/acp/.


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