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College creates Center for Civic and Social Change

Duane Bonifer
11/07/2018
MONMOUTH, Ill. – Monmouth College has created the Center for Civic and Social Change to help students prepare for careers focused on making a difference in the world.

“This Center will empower our students so that they can lead lives that are directed toward the betterment of societies and individuals’ lives throughout the world,” said Monmouth political science professor Michael Nelson, who helped lead the faculty-driven initiative.

Monmouth President Clarence R. Wyatt said the Center for Civic and Social Change “represents an important moment in the life of Monmouth College.”

“The essence of the Monmouth College experience has long been to empower young people through the liberal arts and sciences to be forces for good in their personal, professional and civic lives,” Wyatt said. “The creation of the Center for Civic and Social Change gives even greater focus and energy to that mission, and it will serve as a catalyst for additional efforts. The center also demonstrates the vital role that Monmouth plays in preparing young people to lead and create positive change. I thank and congratulate the faculty members who are leading this exciting new development.”

The Center for Civic and Social Change brings together five of the College’s dynamic and interdisciplinary minors and programs: Global Public Health Initiative, Global Food Security Initiative, Peace Ethics and Social Justice, the Rural Schools Collaborative, and the Peace Corps Preparation Program.

“Members of those programs realized that their missions and work complement one another,” Nelson said. “Creating the Center for Civic and Social Change is a great way for us to bring together the faculty and the students already involved with these outstanding programs. That will allow us to act on the synergies among the programs and build something collectively that will be very effective.”

Nelson said that Monmouth faculty have seen an increase in students who “want to make a difference in the world, but they need direction about how to do it.”

“We have a lot of students who come to Monmouth interested in making a difference in the world, but many of them are not quite sure how to do that yet,” he said. “It’s the rare student who comes to college knowing exactly what he or she wants to do. This center will help provide students with the paths that can help channel those passions.”

Monmouth’s curriculum is ideally suited to support the Center for Civic and Social Change.

“Our liberal arts approach encourages us to think about not just our academic programs and our professions, but it also encourages us to consider our broader lives and how these things interact,” said Nelson. “Monmouth’s liberal arts program helps us think about what we can do to be better citizens, both here in the United States as well as in our interactions with people around the world.”

And employers are eager to hire students who have the kind of interdisciplinary experiences offered through Monmouth’s Center for Civic and Social Change.

“We’ve found that employers like to hire students who have been part of programs that are dedicated to making their communities and their world a better place,” said Nelson. “Employers are excited to hire students like that because they have demonstrated a level of capability and responsibility that prepare them to handle a variety of situations and challenges.”