AAC&U official to speak April 2 at BGSU

BOWLING GREEN, O.—The leader of a nationwide effort to expand the teaching of personal and social responsibility in colleges and universities will speak Wednesday (April 2) at Bowling Green State University.

Dr. Caryn Musil, senior vice president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities and director of AAC&U's Core Commitments national initiative, will present “No Longer Elective: Educating for Responsibility,” at 1 p.m. in 101A Olscamp Hall.

Core Commitments seeks to make a sense of personal and social responsibility a key educational outcome for all college students and to measure the impact of campus efforts to foster such learning. Musil will discuss ways of encouraging everyone in a university community—both in classroom settings and co-curricular activities—to help 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 to be a member of the Core Commitments Leadership Consortium and to participate in the initiative. The institutions 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 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; 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; 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.

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(Posted April 01, 2008 )