Even though the percentage of incoming freshmen who identify as conservative has stayed relatively stable, those students and the rest of their peers are shifting away from hard-line conservative stances on issues such as same-sex marriage, abortion, marijuana legalization and affirmative action.
The latest iteration of The American Freshman: National Norms, published annually by UCLA’s Cooperative Institutional Research Program, also found that as students who entered four-year colleges in fall 2011 are increasingly concerned about finances, they’re also more academically oriented in high school, studying more and partying less.
Earlier this month, the Association of American Colleges and Universities released a report prepared by a national task force that made the case for elevated civic learning in higher education. That theme continued Wednesday, at the annual meeting of the AACU, where educators talked about how to carry out these ideas.
Wednesday’s discussions centered around seeking examples and promising practices of civic learning. Such learning cannot be episodic, occasional, or celebratory, speakers said. In a discussion about “civic inquiry and problem solving across general education and the major,” Gail Robinson, director of service learning at AACU, said that students should be made part of the decision-making process when it comes to incorporating civic learning in college courses. One obvious way to attract students, she said, could be if they felt that they were more competitive in the job market because they were engaged in questions of civic importance. “If they see it is a plus for them, that could be one way of making it work,” she said.