Certificate Assessment Program

Goals of the Certificate in Civic Engagement and Social Change

The primary goals of the Certificate in Civic Engagement and Social Change are (1) to introduce students to the theoretical, philosophical and historical foundations of civic engagement and social change and (2) to provide them with an intellectual framework for their own active participation in civic life.

The certificate’s required and elective courses engage students in a critical examination of three themes:

  1. Democracy, Citizenship and Political Participation
  2. Civil Society and Voluntarism
  3. Social Change and Social Movements

Through coursework, individual research and critical reflection on the two planned co-curricular experiences that students complete in satisfaction of the certificate, students examine their own civic engagement in light of what they have learned about the various ways citizens organize themselves to interact with public and private organizations to impact the laws and norms that affect their lives and create social change.

Learning Objectives

The learning outcomes of the Certificate in Civic Engagement and Social Change include development of the key capacities outlined in the goals section, along with the following knowledge, skills and abilities.

  • Providing a framework for understanding the core intellectual issues within the field of civic engagement in order to theoretically inform praxis.
  • Introducing students to the major traditions of democratic theory, both historical and contemporary.
  • Providing students with the skills needed to critically analyze the ways unexamined service and community engagement can perpetuate existing social inequalities.
  • Equipping students to evaluate critically the role of the individual in relationship to the governmental entities, voluntary associations and nonprofits of civic life through both oral and written work.
  • Engaging students in an historical understanding of how citizens have worked to achieve social change across time and cultures.
  • Encouraging students to apply their intellectual understanding of civic engagement and social change to the growing array of civic engagement opportunities at Duke University.
  • Strengthening and deepening the relationship between students’ curricular and co-curricular civic engagement experiences.
  • Documenting what is likely already taking place for many students by threading together otherwise disconnected Duke experiences to help students make sense of their roles as citizens in a democratic society.
  • Meeting the interest of an increasing number of Duke undergraduates who participate in DukeEngage and other civic activities and who want to integrate them intellectually with their academic experiences.
  • Helping students to make informed connections between their civic-engagement experiences and broader political and global concerns.