Join Us

Split Image

Stylized photo collage of civically engaged young people

Join Us

There's Power in Numbers

Join the movement of campus leaders shaping a new agenda to advance higher education’s vital role in preparing students to engage in a vibrant and diverse society.

College Presidents for Civic Preparedness is a unique consortium that brings together 71 (and growing) college presidents from a broad range of institutions across the country. Members have a shared goal to provide students with the civic skills they need to engage in productive conversations with those who hold different views; to actively engage in their communities; and to express themselves respectfully.

The collective power of campus leaders across the country.
The collective power of campus leaders across the country.

General Membership

The consortium is free to join and offers credibility, support, and opportunities to engage alongside peer presidents. Benefits of membership include:

  • Opportunities to share insights and gain inspiration from fellow member presidents.
  • Accountability, support, and idea sharing to navigate complex, public-facing issues.
  • A forward-thinking framework for action on civic learning and democracy created by, with, and for college presidents.
  • Tangible initiatives for faculty, students, and presidents to work across divides toward empathetic dialogue, free expression, and civic learning.
  • A collective of leaders working to restore higher education’s central role in developing the next generation of engaged citizens.

Interested in joining College Presidents for Civic Preparedness? Express interest using the form below.

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Group photo of College Presidents for Civic Preparedness founding members

Preparing Students To Be Effective Citizens

Presidents are united by a shared set of Civic Commitments, which offer a fresh framework for free expression, civil discourse, and civic preparedness, and share their action agenda to advance higher education’s role in our democracy:

  • Educating for democracy is central to our mission.
  • We will prepare our students for a vibrant, diverse, and contentious society.
  • We will protect and defend free inquiry.
    The purpose of a liberal education is to prepare students to be engaged citizens and leaders who advance the practices that are necessary for democratic societies to flourish. History reminds us that democracy is always in peril, and it is incumbent on each generation of educators to rededicate themselves to this purpose. Our campuses should be communities that make room for both true disagreement and true connection—communities that practice the kind of recognition and robust negotiation that the everyday life of democracy requires, and places that explicitly prepare our students to work for the greater good.
    Photo of Michael Elliott, President of Amherst College

    Michael Elliott

    President, Amherst College
    Bennington College was established in 1932 as a beacon of progressive, liberal arts education with a dedication to instilling in students a commitment to being active citizens in our democracy. Today, Bennington carries this legacy forward, committing to a pedagogy that not only enriches students academically but also empowers them with the civic knowledge and skills vital for safeguarding and nurturing democratic ideals in an ever-evolving global landscape.
    Photo of Laura Walker, President of Bennington College

    Laura Walker

    President, Bennington College
    Hamilton College’s mission is to prepare students for lives of meaning, purpose, and active citizenship so that they can effect positive change in the world. The College Presidents for Civic Preparedness initiative invites further conversation and commitments to challenge us and optimize the values and behaviors that are at the core of a Hamilton education, a liberal arts education, and, importantly, the needs of society.
    Photo of Steven Tepper, President of Hamilton College

    Steven Tepper

    President-elect, Hamilton College
    As we continue to live in an era of extreme political polarization, increasing social instability, and declining faith in the nation’s institutions, I am more committed than ever to working with university presidents to prepare students to be engaged and educated citizens. Together, with our students, we will explore how we can preserve our freedoms while being respectful and open-minded, intellectually honest and curious, and civil, decent, and understanding of one another.
    Photo of Jonanthan Holloway

    Jonathan Holloway

    President, Rutgers University
    Education helps to solidify ideas and notions. It's to foster creativity and critical thinking and engagement and collaboration. And I think if we let go of that…we have cost ourselves something. We have ceded the moral high ground on what education was designed to do.
    Photo of Roslyn Clark Arits

    Roslyn Clark Artis

    President, Benedict College
    College Presidents for Civic Preparedness is a great community for presidents, faculty, and institutions to share promising practices and ideas with each other. That’s what we need to be doing in higher education. We don’t all have to reinvent the wheel.
    Photo of Jonathan Alger, President of James Madison University

    Jonathan Alger

    President, James Madison University
    The work of College Presidents for Civic Preparedness allows us to look at scale, consistency and intersectionality with optimism. We are institutions of different ilks, but we share a core passion and mission and a commitment to best practices. The engagement with the Institute for Citizens & Scholars is key — it’s the spine from which we are all able to do better.
    Photo of Joan Gabel, President of The University of Pittsburgh

    Joan Gabel

    Chancellor, University of Pittsburgh
    In line with our liberal arts mission, Skidmore cherishes freedom of speech, thought, and expression. Diverse opinions, perspectives, and ideas provide opportunities for us to reflect, learn, and grow individually and as an institution. The College fully supports the constitutional rights of assembly and freedom of expression as bulwarks of our democratic process that protect us all.
    Photo of Marc Conner

    Marc Conner

    President, Skidmore College
    We must seize this moment to galvanize learning through political participation. By defending democracy, we will deepen learning; by deepening learning, we will defend democracy. Both will make our educational institutions more effective, and this will create a virtuous circle of civic preparedness for the country as a whole.
    Photo of Michael Roth, President of Wesleyan University

    Michael Roth

    President, Wesleyan University
    Colorado College is a community dedicated to open dialogue, civil discourse, and academic freedom. Our participation in College Presidents for Civic Preparedness is a natural extension of these commitments. We look forward to building on our progress, learning from fellow institutions of higher ed, and engaging as a thought partner with peer colleges and universities nationwide.
    Photo of Song Richardson

    L. Song Richardson

    President, Colorado College

    Deepen your engagement with faculty, student, and peer learning initiatives.

    In addition to General Membership benefits, there are optional fee-based products and services for those who need support in bringing the Civic Commitments to life.