civic learning, undergraduate research, community college


Learning communities (LCs) provide an ideal context for civic learning because they foreground the integrative and interactive nature of learning and skills development. While the academic benefits of LCs have been well documented, their potential to promote civic learning and engagement has received less attention. Indeed, the potential of LCs to serve as a catalyst for civic learning through their emphasis on integrative and interactive learning has gone mostly unremarked. The authors address these gaps in the literature in this article by analyzing the possibilities of integrating civic research in a first-semester LC at an urban community college. Extrapolating from their experiences, they argue that structuring LCs around civic learning can enable students to develop academic skills while at the same time building new understandings of themselves as active citizens and potential change makers in larger communities. The authors also recommend that colleges that plan to integrate civic learning in their LCs invest in recruiting and maintaining consistent teaching teams in order to enable the revision and improvement of curricula over time.