Civic Aspirations: Why Some Higher Education Faculty Are Reconnecting Their Professional and Public Lives
In higher education today, most institutions reward faculty for such things as research productivity, course enrollment, and academic completion. There is little incentive for them to focus on educating students in their civic development. In spite of this, civic engagement programs are popping up across higher education, and faculty have played a critical role in initiating these programs on their campuses. Building on research by Harry Boyte and KerryAnn O’Meara. The Kettering Foundation seeks to make visible the motivations of these faculty. In this study for Kettering, based on faculty interviews, Claire Snyder-Hall explains this movement using Hannah Arendt’s concept of “public happiness,” a sense of fulfillment from engaging with others. Beyond higher education, this study has relevance across fields to practitioners struggling to integrate their civic aspirations into their professional work.