Faculty Institute

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Stylized photo collage of civically engaged young people

Faculty Institute

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The Challenge

Higher education’s central mission is to prepare the next generation of informed and engaged citizens. Yet college students, our future leaders, lack the critical civic knowledge and skills to engage in civil discussions, express themselves responsibly, and actively participate in their communities. Faculty play a significant role in addressing these issues; however, many don’t have the direct experience or confidence to wrestle with difficult topics in the classroom, the pedagogical tools to structure a learning environment where they can model civil discourse, and the proper incentives to do so.

College Presidents for Civic Preparedness Can Help

The Faculty Institute is designed to increase faculty members’ commitment, capacity, and comfort level in preparing students to engage in dialogue across difference. Each Faculty Institute begins with a two-day in-person commitment, followed by an 18-month virtual community of purpose offering multiple sessions and resources. Participants design (or redesign) a course that explicitly teaches students dialogue skills and assesses their capacities. Faculty share course syllabi and findings with Citizens & Scholars to help scale new approaches. They also champion this work at their institutions, becoming a campus-based cohort of leaders for such efforts.

About the Faculty Institute
About the Faculty Institute


  • Unique curriculum co-designed by diverse scholars and practitioners in ethics, religion, communication, law, and history, as well as shaped by participants themselves
  • Interdisciplinary institute focused on development of curricula in various fields— including not only the humanities and social sciences, but also STEM fields, the professions, and other areas
  • Professional and intellectual enrichment for committed faculty, supported by ongoing peer collaboration and learning opportunities
  • Participants’ engagement with their institution’s provost and president to embed the goals of the Institute throughout their campus community

College presidents receive complimentary access to a monthly Curated Resources email with top research, news, ideas, case studies and best practices around free expression, critical inquiry and civic preparedness in higher ed

    It continually amazes me how much confidence students can gain to lean into difficult conversations with a spirit of curiosity after experiencing what productive talk can look like.


    Photo of Lori Britt

    Dr. Lori L. Britt

    James Madison University Professor and Faculty Institute Fellow

    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.