Newswise — The Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) awarded Barry Muchnick, assistant professor of environmental studies at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, a mini-grant to advance civic learning and social responsibility as expected dimensions within students’ majors.

Muchnick’s grant was one of 24 awarded by AAC&U out of the 134 applications, indicating widespread interest in rethinking departmental disciplinary designs for learning, life, work, and citizenship. The Civic Prompts: Civic Learning in the Major by Design initiative is supported by a grant from the Endeavor Foundation and aims to limit the civic-free zones within departments. 

“The environmental studies program at St. Mary’s College is excited to expand and deepen our commitment to civic education and to continue to offer new opportunities for student engagement and leadership both inside and outside the classroom,” Muchnick said.

The award secured by Muchnick will help fund a June 6 and 7 workshop at St. Mary’s College tasked to better integrate civic learning and social responsibility into the environmental studies program. The workshop is also sponsored by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers

“Educating for democracy is more critical than ever, and AAC&U is proud to support the departments and institutions receiving grants for their commitment to advancing liberal education in the major as a foundation for fostering civic engagement,” said AAC&U President Lynn Pasquerella in a press release announcing the awards.

About St. Mary’s College of Maryland

St. Mary’s College of Maryland is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education through 2024-2025. St. Mary’s College, designated the Maryland state honors college in 1992, is ranked one of the best public liberal arts schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Approximately 1,600 students attend the college, nestled on the St. Mary’s River in Southern Maryland.

About AAC&U

AAC&U is the leading national association dedicated to advancing the vitality and public standing of liberal education by making quality and equity the foundations for excellence in undergraduate education in service to democracy. Its members are committed to extending the advantages of a liberal education to all students, regardless of academic specialization or intended career. Founded in 1915, AAC&U now comprises 1,400 member institutions—including accredited public and private colleges, community colleges, research universities, and comprehensive universities of every type and size.

AAC&U functions as a catalyst and facilitator, forging links among presidents, administrators, faculty, and staff engaged in institutional and curricular planning. Through a broad range of activities, AAC&U reinforces the collective commitment to liberal education at the national, local, and global levels. Its high-quality programs, publications, research, meetings, institutes, public outreach efforts, and campus-based projects help individual institutions ensure that the quality of student learning is central to their work as they evolve to meet new economic and social challenges