As a Community Partner, The Civics4Action Collaborative is cooperating with the
Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.
Professor Julia Carboni, Ph.D., at the Maxwell School, is leading this class project. The
class is called, Ethics, Justice, and Citizenship. Dr. Carboni and her students will examine
the status of civic education in the Greater Southern Tier of New York. At the end of the
Fall, 2021 semester, they will submit a report of their findings, including recommendations
for action, to the Collaborative.
Course Project Description
In this semester-long class project, students will work in teams to understand a
community issue- including the context in which it is embedded- and identify leverage
points for positive change.
This semester, we will examine the lack of civic education in NYS, with a geographic
emphasis on the Greater Southern Tier. We will make recommendations for improving
civic education in this region that are based on the system context. This project is unique
in that each student will contribute pieces of the final project instead of completing a
project on their own. We will spend time in class workshopping individual pieces. At the
end of the semester, we will produce a cohesive report authored by students and the course
Our project partner is Civics4Action (http://www.civics4action.org), a nonpartisan
collaborative dedicated to increasing civic education in the Greater Southern Tier. The
vision of Civics4Action is to promote “every person contributing to the community’s and
to the nation’s common good.” They accomplish this through their mission to “expand
civics learning To engage, educate, and empower.” Their core values are collaboration,
inclusiveness, justice, and respect. Our work will inform their strategic planning process,
thus giving students the opportunity to have a real world impact through their civic
engagement work in this course.
This project has multiple objectives. First, it introduces students to a real world, complex
problem. Second, it requires students to think about and understand the problem context
and develop innovative solutions to the problem. Third, students will practice multiple
professional skills including conducting research, writing for a community audience,
public speaking, and collaborative project management.
Connection to Citizenship and Civic Engagement Learning Outcomes
- VALUES & ETHICS—Students will be able to evaluate ethical practices of citizenship
and civic and community engagement
- RESEARCH & DISCOVERY—Students will be able to utilize social science research
methodologies to discover community and societal issues, facts, and values.
- COMMUNITY & CONTEXT—Students will be able to analyze and evaluate the
historical development of an issue in specific geographical settings.
- COLLABORATION & ENGAGEMENT—Students will be able to engage and
collaborate with community partners using appropriate and ethical methods.
- DESIGN & IMPLEMENTATION—Students will be able to create a feasible and
sustainable community engagement project with a community partner organization.
Project Components and Deliverables
Each component will come with detailed instructions that include a list of related course
readings and rubrics posted on Blackboard. Students will be assigned specific portions of
the Greater Southern Tier to draft individual components. The final report will be a
compilation of individual components woven together in a single report.
Community and system context
In this section, you will develop a statement about the community context as it relates to
the issue. For this semester, we will examine the context of civic education and barriers to
civic education in the Greater Southern Tier.
In this section, you will formulate an evidence based problem statement about why there is
a lack of civic education in the Greater Southern Tier.
In this section, you will map stakeholders who have a vested interest in this issue,
including those that can help solve the issue.
Leverage points for change
In this section, you will identify and discuss potential leverage points for change. In
particular, you will focus on leverage points accessible to our community partner.
In this section, you will present a set of evidence based recommendations for change based
on your research and findings in the preceding sections.
We will develop this report collaboratively through an iterative process that employs
individual writing, peer critique, small team collaboration, and whole class collaboration.
● Students will submit individual drafts of components by due dates listed in the syllabus.
● Students will be assigned 2-3 peer drafts to read and provide comments on in class
workshops (dates in syllabus).
● Student teams assigned a section of the report (community and system context, problem
statement, stakeholder identification, leverage points for change) and will integrate
individual drafts for that section into one cohesive document.
● Student teams will be assigned 2 peer drafts to read and provide comments in class
workshops (dates in syllabus).
● Students will draft recommended actions collaboratively in class workshop (dates in
● Student teams will be assigned individual actions to write down and refine.
● Students will collaboratively edit the final report to ensure it is cohesive using a round
● Students will prepare a 15-20 minute presentation for the community partner. The
presentation should give a succinct overview of the report.