At Illinois State University, civic engagement involves developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values, and motivation to make a difference in the civic life of our communities and promoting the quality of life in a community through both political and non-political processes. As you can imagine, the act of civic engagement can be conducted in many ways. To help clarify the various types of engagement typically conducted at Illinois State, projects were analyzed and put into nine different classifications to help better understand the various was faculty, staff, and students are engaging with civic issues and community organizations.
Below are descriptions of the various ways Illinois State practices civic engagement and some examples from actual projects. Please note that the classifications listed below are not mutually exclusive.
Activism/Advocacy: Involves organizing to bring about political or social change or to show support for, bring awareness to, or promote a particular cause or policy.
Civic Learning: Acquiring knowledge of community, government, social issues, or political issues with or without the application of the knowledge.
Community Service/Volunteerism: Engaging in activities to benefit others or one's community; such activities may or may not involve structured training and reflection.
Service Learning: Involves intentionally linking service activities with student learning objectives to mutually benefit the recipient (community organization) and the provider (student) by addressing real community needs while students apply what they have learned and advance that learning through active engagement and reflection.
Community Engaged Internship: Provides students with hands-on experiences that enhance their learning or understanding of social or political issues relevant to a particular area of study. Course is denoted as “Professional Practice” in the university catalog.
Philanthropy/Fundraising: Collection of resources (e.g., money, food, clothing, etc.) to benefit charitable organizations or agencies.
Political Engagement: Developing one’s own political understandings and views that may be expressed by challenging political ideas of others and/or influencing policies or political positions.
Community Engaged Research: Creation of new knowledge in collaboration with or on behalf of a community partner that contributes to student learning within the academic discipline while also strengthening the well-being of the community by working to solve or understand an issue of public concern.
Social Entrepreneurship/Social Innovation: Combining innovation, resourcefulness, and opportunity to address critical social and environmental challenges through the development of business models, products, or services.