About

The International Consortium for Higher Education, Civic Responsibility, and Democracy

A Global Research Network to Support Development of Democratic Societies Through Education Mission and Structure

Mission

The International Consortium for Higher Education, Civic Responsibility, and Democracy (IC) seeks to develop, explain and advance the contributions of higher education to democracy on college and university campuses, their local communities and the wider society. The Consortium works in collaboration with the Council of Europe (CoE)* and its Steering Committee on Educational Policy and Practice (CDPPE) with representatives of the 50 States party to the European Cultural Convention and is comprised of the United States (represented by a Steering Committee from the American Association of State Colleges and UniversitiesAmerican Council on Education, Association of American Colleges and UniversitiesCampus Compact, Democracy Commitment and NASPA (National Association of Student Personnel Administrators)), Australia (Engagement Australia), the United Kingdom (represented by the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement), and Ireland (Campus Engage Ireland).  The Barbara and Edward Netter Center for Community Partnerships at the University of Pennsylvania houses the executive offices of the Consortium. Ira Harkavy, Associate Vice President and Founding Director of the Netter Center, is the U.S. Chair.

Rationale for the International Consortium

The rationale for the International Consortium is based on four propositions:

  1. A crisis exists in democratic development globally. Decreasing levels of participation in politics and civic activities, a decline of confidence in government and other institutions, along with declining student participation in school and university governance, are indicators of the deterioration of public engagement in the established democracies.
  2. Education and the schooling system play central roles in determining the democratic development of societies. The CoE’s Budapest Declaration for a Greater Europe without Dividing Lines, adopted on its 50th anniversary (May 1999), placed the education system in the forefront of democratic development. The Council’s 2005 European Year of Citizenship Through Education followed up this statement with a series of activities and programs.
  3. The university is the key institution in shaping democratic development through its influence on the schooling system and education within society. In July 1999, 51 college and university presidents in the United States signed a “Presidents’ Fourth of July Declaration on the Civic Responsibility of Higher Education.” To date, 536 colleges have signed the Declaration, which highlights the university’s central role in citizenship education.
  4. A global network and organization dedicated to higher education’s civic and democratic mission can make a significant contribution to advancing democratic citizenship in schools, universities, and societies throughout the world.

 

International Consortium Timeline 1999-2015

 

Foundational Documents

 

Membership

Membership in the International Consortium for Higher Education, Civic Responsibility and Democracy is granted by country. Higher Education Institutions must have a representative body sponsor their membership.

In the International Consortium’s initial phase, each country was required to complete the pilot study on “Universities as Sites of Citizenship and Civic Responsibility.” Although the pilot phase of the research study is complete, new member countries will be encouraged to complete the study.

Please contact us for more information on joining the International Consortium.

 

*The Council of Europe, established in 1949, defends human rights, democracy and the rule of law, develops continent-wide agreements to standardize member countries’ social and legal practices, and promotes awareness of a European identity based on shared values and cutting across different cultures. The CoE is Europe’s oldest political organization, and the Council’s membership totals 47 countries, including 21 countries from Central and Eastern Europe.  Another three States are party to the European Cultural Convention, which provides the framework for the Council of Europe's work in education policy and practice.