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Civic Learning

Educating for Democracy

Bridgewater State University offers the community a variety of resources to prepare our students and youth in the region to navigate civics, practice civic leadership and model active participation.

Civic learning is a process through which people develop the knowledge, skills, and commitments to interact effectively with fellow community members to address shared problems.

Academic Programs

Bartlett Endowed Professorship for Civic Education and Engagement

In December 2021, BSU announced the establishment of the Bartlett Endowed Professorship for Civic Education and Engagement and appointed Dr. Jo Hoffman, Associate Professor of Elementary and Early Childhood Education. 

The Bartlett Endowed Professorship for Civic Education and Engagement:

  • Offers enhanced curriculum and supporting resources to PreK-12 partners, BSU students, and community stakeholders for civics learning and engagement. Programs at various levels will be developed to increase civics education in the region. In doing so, we will create more fully engaged citizens and strengthen democracy.
  • Collaborates with faculty and support the development of specific & intentional connections to civic minded actions on behalf of the greater good across every discipline and professional pathway.
  • Collaborates with education partners, statewide civic-focused organizations, and other programs working toward like-minded civic learning goals, such as the Massachusetts Civic Learning Coalition and the Massachusetts Chronicles publication and Educators Guide and micro-credential offerings.
  • Supports students, educators, and interested members of the greater community to learn about civics and government through historical exploration and current contexts and to realize their capacity to make change and participate in a healthy democracy.


Bartlett Chair in Free Speech and Expression

Professor of Philosophy Dr. Aeon J. Skoble has been appointed as the inaugural Bartlett Chair in Free Speech and Expression. In his new role, Dr. Skoble will focus on four areas:

  • Teaching: Offer undergraduate course work through a rotation of topics related to free speech and expression and the workings of a free society; provide courses to life-long learners through BSU’s Senior College; and conduct an annual free speech seminar.
  • Scholarship: Publish in both scholarly journals and magazines; present at national conferences; and engage with other organizations focused on free speech and expression.
  • Campus engagement and outreach: Develop and participate in an annual forum about the role of freedom of expression in a liberal education; create a free speech and expression speaker series; and identify co-sponsorship opportunities with other BSU organizations to foster cross-campus collaboration on the intersection of free speech with other important values and priorities.
  • Mentoring and advising: Serve as a consulting resource for junior faculty to create dialogue and viewpoint diversity on campus; organize faculty panels on related themes; and create leadership and organizational experiences for students in this important area.

Learn more about Free Speech at BSU »


A group of students in a discussion in their Cultural Diversity in School and Society class
Reflective discussions through the lens of civic learning and engagement across the educator preparation programs in CEHS to guide faculty and teacher candidates to deepen their understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion, educating for democracy, and the role of the teacher in preparing students for active citizenship.
An elementary school teacher gesturing toward the whiteboard in the classroom
Enhanced curriculum and supporting resources for K-12 educators to be better prepared to engage their students in civics education through earning micro-credentials focused on civic learning.
A political science student taking notes in class

Democratic Governance and Leadership Program

Established within the BSU Department of Political Science in 1997, the Democratic Governance and Leadership Program promotes research, teaching and policy application while engaging with the economic, cultural, civic and political life of our Southeastern Massachusetts community.
A public relations student gives a presentation during class

The Civic Education and Community Leadership minor is provide students with an interdisciplinary curriculum that promotes leadership and community service; build on the university’s service learning mission; and, broaden campus efforts to build partnerships with local and state community organizations.

For further information, interested students should contact the coordinator of the minor, Dr. Kevin Donnelly (

A virtual session of BSU Senior College on a laptop screen

BSU’s Senior College offers local community seniors courses each session for participants to examine their individual and collective actions impact the greater world. As an example, spring 2022 offered three courses helping to promote critical dialogue about our local, national, and world community.

Political Discussion:

  • Issues of the Day (Group discussion course) (Nan Loggains)
  • American Extremism (Nan Loggains)
  • America in Crisis: Signs of Failing Democracy (Michael Kryzanek)


Students participating in the Baskets of Love service program

Community Engaged Teaching and Scholarship (CETS) is a high-impact teaching methodology that utilizes community service as a means of helping students gain a deeper understanding of course objectives, acquire new knowledge, and engage in civic activity.

Community service/volunteerism is an experience that connects the student with the community to address a community need. The experience allows for the exchange of energy and knowledge between the student and the community but does not apply to specific course content or clarify specific theoretical concepts.

Student Involvement

Five student leaders smile for the camera at the BSU involvement fair.

Civic Engagement Badge

The Civic Engagement Badge is designed to encourage and recognize students’ involvement with civic engagement activities inside and outside of the classroom. The Civic Engagement Badge supports BSU’s commitment to engage every student to become more civically minded and engaged through participation in curricular and co-curricular activities. To earn a badge, students must engage in civic-related activities and/or service learning courses and submit an activity verification form with reflection through the Engage BSU platform. Once a badge is earned it can be added to personal and professional LinkedIn pages to recognize the important work students are involved in during their college career.

Additional information and activities can be found in the civic engagement checklist on Engage BSU.


Mariojardel Centeio smiling at his internship

Internship Program

The Internship Program Office assists Bridgewater State University students who are eager to gain practical work experience, develop new skills, network and apply classroom theory in a professional setting. Many of our current employers offer an hourly wage. Compensation is generally commensurate with experience and varies by industry and demand.

An internship can be a paid or unpaid opportunity. Most of the internships that BSU students complete are funded either by a stipend and/or hourly wage. University policy allows students to earn credit for the internship whether it is paid or unpaid.

Learn more about special internship opportunities like The Washington Center, Semester in the City and virtual international internship experiences.

Campus Compact Newman Civic Fellow

The Newman Civic Fellowship is a fellowship program for community-committed students at Campus Compact member institutions. The fellowship provides training and resources that nurture and develop students’ assets and passions to help them develop innovative and collaborative strategies to bring about social change. Through the fellowship, Campus Compact provides learning opportunities focused on the skills and aptitudes fellows need in order to serve as effective agents of change in addressing public problems and in building equitable communities.

Newman Civic Fellows from Bridgewater State University

2023-2024: Mitzy Duarte Chavarin, ’24
2022-2023: Carrie Provost, ’23
2021-2022: Jasmine Won, ’24

Community & University Relationships

People holding hands at the Embarkation Festival
Here It Began: 2020 Hindsight or Foresight, a signature Plymouth 400 event, is an Indigenous History Conference to inspire educators to learn about creation histories and traditional life; colonization and its aftermath; and the continued resilience and life of New England Natives today.
European colonists, a Native American woman, and a Black Civil War soldier
The Massachusetts Chronicles is a new approach for teaching and learning state history developed in conjunction with Plymouth 400, Bridgewater State University and range of other prestigious partners.