Higher Education Exchange Interview with TDC founder, Bernie Ronan: COMMUNITY COLLEGES AND CIVIC LEARNING
“Colleges must be intentionally democratic; it is not something that happens by chance. This intentionality must be evidenced in how student government runs, in the way clubs operate on a campus, in how students are treated by their faculty, in how faculty engage with each other as colleagues, in how administration runs the school, and so forth. It is what we hope to instill through The Democracy Commitment: not just better civic experiences for students, but also an enhanced sense of the college as a civic agent that embodies in its practices the values and principles we as democratic citizens profess.” -page 7
Bernie also suggests that civic skills are just as important as job skills, because they are essentially the same!
“Civic skills and workplace skills are congruent with each other. Here, I don’t mean the technical skills—how to run a lathe, or program a silicon wafer. Rather, I see the congruence in what have come to be called “soft skills”—the ability to problem-solve as a team, to work together with others from diverse backgrounds, to negotiate conflicts and solve problems, to come together around shared values. And this congruence creates exciting synergies between occupational training and civic education. However, it also suggests that whenever academic instruction is developing the savvy, empathy, and political skills needed to exercise citizenship, a faculty member is teaching a student critically important employability skills as well.” -page 10
Take a look at the interview; it’s a quick and enlightening read. You won’t regret it.