The interdisciplinary program in Civic Innovation provides students with the skills and knowledge to be innovative problem-solvers and leaders in the non-profit, government, and private sectors, addressing issues of social justice, equality, and sustainable community development. Civic Innovation students take seriously the dynamics of their places, and are grounded in the twin values that all persons have the potential to make creative contributions to the common good, and that all places have the potential to be safe and healthy places for all their people.
As a central part of the curriculum in Civic Innovation, students are actively solving community-identified problems and achieving outcomes for people and places. In collaboration with their advisor, students chart a course of study that provides skills that they can apply in the public and private sectors or in post-graduate study. Throughout the curriculum, students build and maintain a results portfolio, presenting this at points in their study, culminating in the senior capstone presentation.
Challenging service placements and opportunities to attend regional and national conferences and workshops enhance the program. Additionally, students majoring in Civic Innovation are often called upon to give leadership in a number of service activities on campus and in the surrounding communities.
Major and minor areas which relate well to the Civic Innovation program are psychology, sociology, political science, religion, environmental studies, international studies, economics, Spanish, history, and mass communications.
Several of our majors also benefit from the Appalachian Center Associates, Bonner Scholars Program and Civic Leader Scholars programs that carry with them community service components in exchange for financial support.
The name of the major is pretty unique and so are our classes. A defining element of most courses is that students spend time putting theories and ideas to use in the local community through a variety of experiential learning placements and partnerships. Below is just a sample of some of the courses you would take as a Civic Innovation major at Emory & Henry:
Below are a few examples of projects carried out by students in Civic Innovation courses. What will you work on as a Civic Innovation major?
Our alumni make a real difference in the world. Read below to find out more about them and their perspective on joining education, service, and social change.
Graduate Degree: Master of Social Work, Columbia University
"My advice is this....be authentic....struggle with the hard questions,risk being vulnerable with people you trust, fail at a few things, have self compassion, don't take yourself too seriously...know your strengths and your limitations and practice gratitude because when your life is authentic and you practice being the person you are meant to be and you create change within you..."
Graduate Degree: Juris Doctor, Mercer University School of Law
"Once you start seeing the world as an advocate for social justice, you can’t go back. It’s a blessing and a curse. If you have the passion for social justice, change, and world peace, it’s a path that you can’t avoid. You shouldn’t. Dreams are meant to be aggressively pursued...What I didn’t realize when I was in, and recently out, of college was that this pursuit is taxing: mentally, physically, and emotionally...Anyone interested in social change will be motivated to spend their time and energy helping others; that fire is in you. My advice would be to make sure you are spending as much time taking care of yourself and enjoying all the great experiences life has to offer along the way."
Graduate Degree: Master of Arts in Teaching, Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis; Graduate Certificate in Higher Education and Student Affairs, Indiana University
"I learned how to make a difference in the world because of my time spent at Emory & Henry College...I carry the teachings of E&H with me everyday, especially in the workplace where I pride myself on being a change-maker. In my current position, I work with entering college students, and I have a strong passion for working with undocumented and LGBTQ+ students and helping them find the right college fit. I was able to cultivate this passion during my time E&H where I learned to be an advocate for justice and equality."
Graduate Degree: Master of Public Administration, George Mason University
"I truly believe to make a difference in the world you should surround yourself with diverse, ambitious and successful individuals. Listen to their stories and ideas and share yours. Apply what you learn and take risks, both individually and collectively."
Graduate Degree: Master of Science in Educational Leadership, Radford University
"Find your niche and follow the vocation that makes you feel at home. Making a difference will come naturally as the work flows from you."
"I've found that the ability to make a difference in the face of status quo usually comes down to the questions of values, choice, and courage. When I entered into the real-world after college, I became the status quo and failed at them, but once I started to be honest about my values, I was able to make choices according to them. That all led me to find real, applicable ways I was able to take action and on a comparatively small scale, start making a difference in everyday life. None of this would have been possible without finding the courage to take steps in unsure directions. Just remember to be patient with yourself. It takes practice, and the application looks different for everyone."
"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive." -Howard Thurman
"Through my time in the program, I had the opportunity to practice what I had learned while serving abroad in Dublin, Ireland and working on a major project in my local community. My professors were willing to help in times of need and did a fantastic job in preparing me for a future career, and I would not be where I am today without their guidance."
"...try EVERYTHING! This program has many different routes you can take, so do some exploring, find what you're into, and let Civic Innovation work in your favor: customize it to make it the perfect program just for you. Anything is possible in this program!"