new project on the socio-emotional impact of civic engagement

(New York City) People can gain satisfaction, empathy, purpose, insight, and a host of other socio-emotional or psycho-social benefits from taking part in civic life. Also, if they demonstrate psychological maturity or even excellence, it can help them to be responsible civic actors. On the other hand, they can pay a psychosocial price from acting politically. I am haunted by Doug McAdam’s findings, in his great book Freedom Summer, about the longterm human costs of participating in the voter registration drives in Mississippi. Whether psychosocial development and civic engagement benefit each other depends on how we design those experiences, and in doing so, we must be attentive to the varying experiences of people who stand in different places with respect to the social issues (such as racism) that are at stake.

Therefore, I am pleased to share this news:

Tisch College is launching a new initiative in Social-Emotional Learning and Civic Engagement thanks to a generous gift from David T. Zussman, A53, J80P, and his family through the Zussman Fund for Social and Emotional Learning (SEL). The gift will support Tufts faculty’s integration of social-emotional learning into their teaching, and will promote related research and education across the University through frequent collaboration with the Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT). A key aim is to encourage all Tufts students—undergraduate, graduate, and professional—to develop their social-emotional skills through civic experiences in and out of the classroom. The initiative will also generate new knowledge for the benefit of other institutions.

More at the link.

About Peter

Associate Dean for Research and the Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Tufts University's Tisch College of Civic Life. Concerned about civic education, civic engagement, and democratic reform in the United States and elsewhere.
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