Institionalizing Civic Engagement through Organizing
For two decades, the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship has led in the field of civic engagement by using theory-based practices to make democracy a way of life. These proven practices have been used in academic and community settings around the world.
The center offers courses and customized training designed to bring democratic purpose into workplaces, classrooms, and communities.
On College and University Campuses
Citizen students have the skills and confidence to be public problem solvers on campus and in the community. They realize accountability is crucial for public work, and they know how to build strong relationships with instructors and administrators, community members, and other students.
Citizen teachers have the skills and confidence to be part of addressing community–school challenges. They are facilitators of learning and see young people as civic resources. Citizen teachers serve as powerful role models for students and other staff, feel less isolated, and report greater job satisfaction.
Addressing complex public problems requires the skills, ideas and work of a diverse group of people. A core team that includes young people and representatives from local government agencies, nonprofit organizations, businesses, faith groups and schools can effectively coordinate community-based action–if they have strategies for identifying and building relational power and working across differences.
Citizen professionals use their expertise and place in the community to solve problems with–not for–others. They do this by developing relationships with a wide network of people and seeking to understand their needs, interests and skills, When a citizen professional wants to change something, or is asked to change something, she knows how to organize people in her network to take action.
When individuals in your organization have the skills to teach and mentor others, your organization’s commitment to public work will be more sustainable and effective. Trainers are able to connect action on a particular issue to larger themes of democracy and civic engagement in a way that inspires. They facilitate the process of issue development and reflection and engage in problem-solving with action teams.
Our trainers work with educators, student and neighborhood groups, businesses and nonprofit and professional organizations. Workshops and presentations are interactive and designed around each group or organization’s goals. Our training staff is available to provide site visits or longer-term coaching. Our fees include needs assessment, planning, facilitation, and materials.
In the past we have provided training and developed materials for:
- Colgate University
- Longwood State University Student Leadership Retreat
- University of Minnesota Graduate and Professional Student Association
- Minneapolis Community and Technical College
- Augsburg College
- National Wildlife Federation
- Association of Public Management Professionals of Minnesota
- Minnesota State Bar Association
- Education Society of Malopolska (Poland)
- Clear Vision (Eau Claire, Wisc.)
Public Achievement was developed by the Center for Democracy and Citizenship in 1990 as a way to engage young people in addressing issues that are important to them. Today, Public Achievement is used in schools, universities, and communities across the United States and in nearly two dozen countries.
“Public Achievement has been a cornerstone of our annual Leadership Institute and provides students with what we call ‘hard skills’–tools of leadership that they can articulate and implement in their lives and leadership roles in measurable ways.”
Jennifer Adams, Assistant Dean of the College and Director of Residential Life, Colgate University
“After learning Public Achievement tools such as one-to-one relationship building, I have become a leader who listens, understands, and aims to empower. I am a more effective leader.”
Yasmin Karimian, President, Student Government Association, University of Maryland Baltimore County
Community of Practice
The Center for Democracy and Citizenship develops and identifies best practices and incorporates them into training and materials to support Public Achievement teams, coaches, and site coordinators.
National Civic Agency Initiative with AASCU Schools
The Center for Democracy and Citizenship is drawing on its two decades of work to coordinate the Civic Agency Initiative with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). After launching the project in fall 2008, 10 AASCU member institutions have begun to adapt Public Achievement as a means for students, staff, and faculty, as well as community partners, to develop their civic skills. In Flagstaff, Northern Arizona University is working with several schools to integrate Public Achievement into the curriculum and school culture. At Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville, Public Achievement is being used with local middle school students.