Investigating Liberal Learning and Civic Participation – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Investigating Liberal Learning and Civic Participation

Four representatives from Hobart and William Smith Colleges will attend a conference this week that aims to sculpt the relationship between higher education and public service.

May 31, 2002 GENEVA, N.Y.— Four members of the Hobart and William Smith Colleges community have been invited to attend a national conference sponsored by Campus Compact, a coalition of colleges and universities committed to promoting active citizenship as an aim of higher education. The invitational conference, called “For the Common Good: Liberal Arts and Civic Education,” will be held from June 2 – 4 at Oberlin College in Ohio. A select group of institutions have been invited to the conference to investigate the relationship between liberal learning, civic participation in community-based settings, and cognitive development.

Jason Groah, Hobart senior of New Hartford, N.Y., Ave Bauder, the director of public service, David Craig, professor of chemistry, and Jack Harris, associate professor of sociology, will represent Hobart and William Smith Colleges. During the conference, Groah and Bauder will present a talk called “Living Civic Engagement: Hobart and William Smith's Community Service House.” Craig will present his nationally recognized research on alcohol and social norms.

Harris will attend looking for opportunities to share the work of his summer LAMP (Learning and Mentoring Program) grant, which includes developing a self-sustaining peer-based model of community service and service learning that links local college students in a mentoring relationship with high school students in service learning. Through this program, the Colleges and Finger Lakes Community College will work with Geneva and DeSales high schools at the Boys and Girls Clubs, operating the Club Tech at the Cyber Café and working at Kids Campus University.

Programs such as LAMP are an example of how liberal arts colleges and universities can blend intellectual and civic aims to assist students to live responsible, productive, and creative lives in America’s democracy. Conference organizers believe that liberal arts institutions have unique capacities for and are presented with specific challenges in undertaking service-learning and civic education. The expected outcomes of the conference will be a set of proceedings to be published by the co-sponsoring institutions.

Hobart and William Smith Colleges are one of 16 liberal arts colleges and universities attending. Others include Bates College, Barnard College, Connecticut College, Dennison College, Grinnell College, Hampshire College, Kalamazoo College, Macalaster College, Middlebury College, Oberlin College, Occidental College, Pitzer College, St. Lawrence University, Wagner College, and Whitman College.