Wednesday, September 23, 2009

UIUC Civic Commitment Task Force's Recommendations

by Ann Abbott

Click here to read the recommendations that our Civic Commitment Task Force recently released. The task force obviously gave great thought to how they could build upon existing university frameworks and strengths to promote more engagment opportunities and to deepen existing ones. The links to other programs are especially useful: they are examples of what our university could achieve as well as reveal the gaps between those possibilities and current realities.

I felt that the section on research could have been strengthened. As it is, it seemed too broad to me. I think almost every researcher on campus would argue that their work is important to society. (And really, since nothing exists outside of society, they would be right.) Perhaps some other communication from the task force (or a future body that takes up the work of the task force) could clarify what civic commitment in research looks like on our campus.


  1. Funny that the section on research is too broad! In my Spanish & Entrepreneurship class yesterday, we were talking about mission statements and our university (UNC-CH) mission statement suffers from the same problem. It mentions "students at all levels," but we all know that really means "undergrad, grad, professional;" and "service" is specifically mentioned, but you have to be an insider to understand that means service on university committees and not service to the community or society at large.

  2. Yes, insider language is a barrier. People think it is shorthand, but many times it just means that you avoid doing some deep thinking and self-reflection.