Examining the Intersection of Civic Engagement, Diversity, and Democratic Values in Community Colleges

On April 11-12, 2013 Street Law, Inc. and the Law School Admission Council’s (LSAC) DiscoverLaw.org program sponsored a 2-day faculty development seminar at the law firm of Holland and Knight in Miami, Florida for area community college faculty and administrators. Colleges participating included Miami Dade College and Valencia College.

The program featured an introduction to Street Law’s Community College Initiative, DiscoverLaw.org’s efforts at promoting diversity in legal education, and an introduction to The Democracy Commitment (TDC). The program included a visit to the University of Miami to speak with law school representatives from the University of Miami, Nova Southeastern University, and Florida International University.

A major focus of the workshop was developing strategies for faculty to teach civic engagement in community colleges utilizing materials and resources created by Street Law. Community colleges are popular venues for higher education today, particularly among diverse populations including immigrants, minority groups, and nontraditional students. As such helping faculty promote approaches to developing civic learning is critical to fostering community and global engagement, an essential component of peacebuilding. Tomorrow’s civic, business, and government leaders will increasingly come from community colleges.

Street Law is working with community colleges around the U.S. to assist in advancing legal, democratic, and human rights education and recently launched an effort with “democracy’s colleges.” Faculty development seminars have been held in Chicago, and the Bay Area, in addition to Miami. A program for community colleges will be held in Baltimore in November.

LSAC’s Discoverlaw.org program is designed to advance diversity in the legal profession, including creating a pathway for community college students to enter law school. The Democracy Commitment

Looking at civic engagement, diversity, and democratic values in community colleges
Looking at civic engagement, diversity, and democratic values in community colleges

is a community college initiative focused on engaging “community college students in civic learning and democratic practice.” TDC is present in over 60 colleges in the U.S.

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