Dr. Caryn Musil

Dr. Caryn Musil

Core Commitments leader to speak on educating for responsibility

As it begins its expansion of teaching critical thinking about values across the curriculum, BGSU will welcome Dr. Caryn Musil, senior vice president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, to campus this week. Musil, director of AAC&U’s Core Commitments national initiative, will present “No Longer Elective: Educating for Responsibility,” at 1 p.m. Wednesday (April 2) in 101A Olscamp Hall.

Core Commitments seeks to embed personal and social responsibility objectives across campus as key educational outcomes for students, and to measure the impact of campus efforts to foster such learning. Musil will address ways of encouraging everyone—both in classroom settings and co-curricular activities—to take ownership of helping students learn to lead lives of integrity and achievement that are congruent with their beliefs.

She will explain why the AAC&U launched the initiative, how colleges and universities such as BGSU are putting such education at the center of college life and how it can help undergraduates gain a sense of coherence even as they grapple with the complex issues of life. 

BGSU is one of 18 institutions nationwide chosen in 2007 by the Core Commitments Leadership Consortium to participate in the initiative. The 18 were selected both on the basis of work already accomplished in the spirit of Core Commitments and on an articulated plan to deepen and extend that work on campus.

Each institution is working to implement in its own way one of the key recommendations articulated in AAC&U’s recent report from its initiative, Liberal Education and America’s Promise. The report, College Learning for the New Global Century, recommends in part that every college or university “foster civic, intercultural and ethical learning” and “emphasize personal and social responsibility” for all students and in every field of study.

The AAC&U identified five key dimensions of personal and social responsibility that form the core of the initiative:
• Striving for excellence: developing a strong work ethic and consciously doing one’s very best in all aspects of college;
• Cultivating personal and academic integrity: recognizing and acting on a sense of honor ranging from honesty in relationships to principled engagement with a formal academic honors code;
• Contributing to a larger community: recognizing and acting on one’s responsibility to the educational community (the classroom and campus life), the local community and the wider society, both national and global;
• Taking seriously the perspectives of others: recognizing and acting on the obligation to inform one’s own judgment, and engaging diverse and competing perspectives as a resource for learning, citizenship and work;
• Developing competence in ethical and moral reasoning: developing ethical and moral reasoning in ways that incorporate the other four responsibilities, and using such reasoning in learning and in life.

Core Commitments: Educating Students for Personal and Social Responsibility is supported by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation.

For more information, call Dr. George Agich, 2-7247, or email

March 31, 2008