Fort Hays State earns recognition on national list

Special to The Hays Daily News

The nation's leading association for the advancement, health and sustainability of the student affairs profession has listed Fort Hays State University among the top 50 colleges and universities committed to civic learning and democratic engagement.

Other notable institutions in the top 50 list, which was released earlier this month, include: Stanford University, Davidson College, Wake Forest, Wellesley College, the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, Illinois State University, Oregon State University, the Art Institute of Chicago, the University of Central Oklahoma, the University of Miami and Weber State University.

NASPA cited the engagement and support student affairs staffs at the institutions give to making civic learning and democratic engagement a part of every student's college education.

"This designation illustrates Fort Hays State University as a national leader in the area of civic engagement and citizenship development. As a university community, we are currently involved in a comprehensive assessment and strategic planning process to enhance and expand our work in this area," said FHSU's Curt Brungardt, Voss Distinguished Professor of Leadership Studies.

Tisa Mason, vice president of student affairs, cited the cooperation between her division and academic departments as key to the recognition by NASPA.

"The Division of Student Affairs is excited to work collaboratively in engaging our students and the community in mutually beneficial programs and activities designed to deepen students' sense of civic responsibility while encouraging self-reflection, exploration and discovery," she said.

The 50 selected institutions make up NASPA's Lead Initiative on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement.

They include public and private four-year and two-year colleges and universities that have committed to a series of strategies to work in partnership with on- and off-campus constituents to influence students' ongoing commitment to civic learning and democratic engagement, including:

* Building clear and tangible civic learning and democratic engagement activities into student affairs division strategic goals and learning outcomes.

* Collecting and reporting data on the efficacy of campus efforts using tools that measure gains in civic learning and democratic engagement.

* Creating strategies in collaboration with students that increase civic learning and help solve community problems through collective action.

"NASPA has long been committed to ensuring that a college education embeds in students a commitment to civic engagement and citizenship," said Kevin Kruger, NASPA president.

"Through the Lead Initiative, NASPA will highlight the unique contributions that student affairs professionals are making to democratic engagement and will develop tools for sharing the important lessons that will surely emerge from the work of these institutions," he added.