Making a Difference: The Role of Active Citizenship in a Democracy (CBL)

What should a thriving democracy look like? In an era of economic crisis, perhaps now more than ever we should be reflecting upon how well our democratic institutions meet the needs of a diverse citizenry and what role citizens should play in ensuring the health of these institutions. What does it mean to be a member of a society that proclaims a “government of the people, by the people, for the people?” As we wrestle with these questions, we’ll examine America’s founding principles and the fundamental debates over our core values as a nation. We will look at concerns about the wealth gap, racial tensions, a broken criminal justice system, a faltering public education system and a disconnected citizenry. To enhance their engagement with these questions and to assume their role as active citizens, students will be required to perform 2 hours per week of community service in the local community during the fall semester (20 hours total). This will be a core component of our course. We hope this experience will push all of us to ask, how can we make a difference? (CBL)