The Institute for Civic Engagement is a consortium of scholars, engaged citizens, artists, scientists, writers and students, dedicated to the ideals of participatory community involvement and the essential importance of an informed, critical, and active citizenry. Both local and global in constitution and intent, the Institute addresses questions of pertinent social interest to: to stimulate dialog, to present balanced scholarship, to encourage critical analysis in students and citizenry, and to foster active participation in the complex and ongoing process of growth and reform.
By presenting free lectures and symposia by local and international experts in pressing fields of public interest, the Institute will provide the public and the Burlington College community with an opportunity to participate in political, social, and cultural discourse and to immediately use our newly-gained perspectives to effect policy and debate on local and global stages. Visiting scholars, artists, engaged citizens, and a small group of students (civic scholars), will write and publish op-ed articles and analyzes and speak about the issues on local radio and television. By inviting local politicians and policy makers to speak and participate in our lecture symposia, we will introduce the community to their representatives (and vice versa) and initiate dialog; the often prohibitively complicated ins and outs of active participation in government (lobbying, legality, citizens’ rights to information, free speech, fairness in voting, comprehensive plans, zoning, economics, et cetera) will be consistently highlighted and demystified.
As an educational institution, Burlington College has always stressed community involvement and civic engagement. The Institute provides a bridge between the academic community and the resources and voices of the community around us, and a forum for students and community alike to practice articulating critical standpoints and testing their ideas in a real-world context.
The Mission of The Institute for Civic Engagement is to renew the civic mission of the College, to prepare our students for responsible citizenship in a diverse democracy, and to engage citizens, students, faculty, and staff in learning about and discussing the pressing issues of our times.
Through the creation of an interdisciplinary center, we will integrate civic engagement into existing courses and curricula, and we will highlight issues of importance to the local, state, national and international community. We will host a series of lectures and discussions focused on research, and responsible action and we will widely disperse and publicize our findings on the selected areas of inquiry.