Auburn Family

Finding a Reciprocal Relationship in Community and Civic Engagement

Do you want to enroll in classes that have a reciprocal relationship between you and the community? Have you been looking for an invigorating and interactive minor that creates a meaningful relationship with people in the community but also includes academic precision?

Good news is on the way. Here at Auburn University, a minor is being offered to students in the College of Liberal Arts called community and civic engagement. With this area of study, students, as stated on Auburn’s Community and Civic Engagement Web site, “are empowered as agents of positive social change for a more democratic world.”

Professor Christopher Qualls, Department of Theatre, first became interested in bringing this minor to the Auburn curriculum when he was called to participate in the Community and Civic Engagement Summer Academy. The professors teach the skills and philosophies behind community and civic engagement while explaining how to integrate them into the course load.

Qualls returned to Auburn with one mission: to incorporate community and civic engagement into the long list of options for a minor but to also give it a unique spin that other minors might be missing.

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He started with teaching two classes, one being an introduction to theater lab where Qualls taught performance of social justice. The students took social issues, gathered community research and created a short play based on information they got from the community. Now community and civic engagement is not only being offered as a minor, but is also included in the future plans for Auburn student’s core curriculum.

This minor serves as a give-and-take relationship because we are giving the community information and a service but we are also receiving community research that benefits our university. We’re learning from each other. Community and civic engagement complements virtually any area of study from social work to business to history.

The established criteria for community and civic engagement includes a 15-hour set of courses filled with both theory and hands-on experiences. This includes the opportunity for the student to participate in events and to network with organizations where he or she would eventually like to work. Students must complete at least one course from each of the four of the learning categories: context, public issue, skills, and service learning.

“They are like-minded people who are interested in doing something good for the world and also something very meaningful,” says Qualls. “It's not only about me, me, me anymore but also about us, us, us.”

For more information, contact the Community and Civic Engagement faculty Advisors: Dr. Chris Qualls or Dr. Giovanna Summerfield.

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Tags: CCE, Community and Civic Engagement, Qualls, WhitneyAdams, minor

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