California State University, Northridge has a significant track record in promoting the personal and social responsibility of its 33,000 students as part of its commitment to the public purposes of higher education and its critical role in preparing students for lives as ethical, committed and engaged participants in a democratic society. Nonetheless, the University faces continuing challenges to the creation and implementation of a consistent, University-wide approach to assuring that critical core commitments are conveyed to each student. To this end, in 2006, a team of seven CSUN professors, administrators, advisors and student affairs professionals applied for and received a two-year $25,000 grant from the American Association of Colleges and Universities.
The goal of this successful grant proposal was help CSUN identify its institutional baseline and provide ways to formulate and implement a campus-wide plan for improving the personal and social responsibility of its students. CSUN’s plan has two components:
- The addition of new curricular components (i.e. essays, readings, lecture elements) into General Education Basic Subjects Courses (Freshman Composition), and
- The creation of a new Certificate of Achievement Program housed in the College of Humanities, that will motivate students to take 15 units of service-learning courses or approved community service projects during their undergraduate experience.
A team of senior administrators from Academic and Student Affairs, eight professors from the Colleges teaching key courses, and an experienced Academic Advisor will join two Deans in forming the Advisory Committee that will guide the Core Commitments project. With assistance from the University’s Institutional Research department, a baseline inventory will be distributed to all key stakeholders and qualitative and quantitative assessment tools will be developed to measure progress and facilitate formative and summative evaluations. The University’s Provost has awarded $25,000 to the CSUN Core Commitments team and will be an important leader as the program progresses..