April 10, 2014

Citizen Alum Announces Task Force on Intergenerational Learning for College Students

The new Task Force on Intergenerational Learning for College Students (ILCS) will build community of practice dedicated to new ways of teaching through educational partnerships with publicly active alumni—those who are deeply engaged in the places where they live and work. Task Force members will focus on building relationships between different academic generations, or cohorts, of students and graduates. The goal of the Task Force is to share useful ways to connect current students and alumni through courses, curricula, and co-curricular programs that engage both ‘gap’ and ‘situated’ alums as active citizens.

Danielle Hinrichs, Associate Professor and Coordinator of Composition at Metropolitan State University, Minneapolis, will chair the Task Force.

Working with colleague Jodi Bantley of Metropolitan State’s Institute for Community Engagement and Scholarship, Professor Hinrichs has developed and piloted an innovative Citizen Alum curricular module. Several other Citizen Alum campuses are adapting this module, which is now a regular feature of Professor Hinrichs’ research writing class and the focus of her new research.

The Task Force will build a knowledge base on curricular and co-curricular innovations in diverse institutional settings: community colleges, four-year residential liberal arts, comprehensive, and research-intensive institutions. This will incorporate materials on intergenerational programs that serve the “new majority” students—those who, as David Scobey notes, are twenty-five or older, attend community colleges, enroll part-time, work full-time, and/or have children.

Over the next two years (January 2014 through December 2016), the group aims to produce a web-based resource that provides models of and tools for intergenerational undergraduate learning. The site will be a destination for individuals and organizations committed to active citizenship as a core purpose of higher education. It will include comment and blog components to encourage feedback and dialogue. The Task Force will be a clearinghouse for pertinent research and may propose multi-campus research or assessment projects. Finally, the team will conduct workshops at allied national and regional conferences and institutes, designed to sustain current Citizen Alum teams and to attract and inform new ones.

Task Force members include faculty and staff leaders who have a particular commitment to integrating intergenerational learning into the curriculum. They represent colleges, universities, and programs from across the national Citizen Alum network. Several Task Force members have participated in the Kettering Foundation’s Civically Engaged Alumni, Beyond Service Learning, and Deliberative Democracy research exchanges.

 For more information about the ILCS Task Force, contact Danielle Hinrichs (danielle.hinrichs@metrostate.edu).