Illinois College -> Professors present paper highlighting civic learning
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Professors present paper highlighting civic learning


Illinois College professors Karen Dean, director of the Leadership Program, and Kelly Dagan, director of Service-Learning, presented their paper, “Il-LUMINA-ting the Curriculum: Turning the Spotlight on Civic Learning” at the Annual Meeting of the Higher Learning Commission this past April in Chicago.

The Higher Learning Commission invited Illinois College to take part in its Cohort 3 Pioneer Institutions Pathways Project along with 23 other institutions to assess the Lumina Foundation’s Degree Qualifications Profile.

According to Dean and Dagan, “It was important to the Illinois College faculty that its recent revision of our general education program (i.e., the BLUEprint) be mission-driven and that our commitment to civic engagement be far more than an educational happenstance. The BLUEprint includes requirements for civic engagement, including opportunities for civic reflection as well as action, and makes room for these to occur both in and out of the classroom.”

As a part of the Cohort 3 project, both Lumina and HLC gave each participating institution great flexibility to design its own particular focus, inviting Illinois College to choose work that served its own institutional priorities in addition to engaging in a meaningful project that allowed each institution to assess the DQP in some way as well. Overall, then, each college or university sought to speak to its own individual needs or interests, but in a way that could also serve other institutions as they were introduced to the DQP by HLC and the reaccreditation process.

From the outset, Dean and Dagan saw the advantages of assessing student learning in the civic engagement requirements of the BLUEprint; and would provide student outcome data to college administrators and board of trustee members, all whom expect results from investments in IC curriculum and enhanced leadership and service; and the building of shared responsibilities among faculty for taking on civic engagement responsibilities. To quote Dean and Dagan, “We must continue to work to integrate the commitment to civic learning throughout the curriculum and that our new requirements are not simply boxes to be checked, but student learning goals that are truly at the heart of an Illinois College education.”

The DQP identifies five basic area of learning: broad, integrative knowledge; specialized knowledge; intellectual skills; applied learning; and civic learning. However, Lumina made clear that it had no intention of prescribing “what” should be taught or “how instructors should teach it” in any of these five general areas, recognizing that such decisions belong more properly at the local level as directed by institutional mission.

Click here to read the complete paper, "Il-LUMINA-ting the Curriculum: Turning the Spotlight on Civic Learning." For more information contact Karen Dean at or Kelly Dagan at
About Illinois College

Founded in 1829, Illinois College is a residential liberal arts college fostering academic excellence rooted in opportunities for experiential learning while preparing students for lifelong success. The college is located in Jacksonville, Ill. With an enrollment of about 1,000 students, the college offers over 50 undergraduate programs and a Master of Arts in Education degree program. In 1932 the society of Phi Beta Kappa established a chapter at Illinois College, and it remains one of only 11 in the state.

Illinois College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.

Visit or call 217-245-3467 for more information.

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