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About the Center for Civic Engagement

Vice President and Dean of Civic Engagement, Jonathan Becker talks about the role of civic engagement at Bard College.

What We Stand For

One of Bard College's basic principles is a fundamental belief in the link between liberal education and democracy. Bard is firmly committed to promoting and sustaining projects that engage its students, faculty, and administrators with the most important issues facing society. Bard's Center for Civic Engagement supports, coordinates, and promotes the wide array of initiatives that define Bard as a private institution in the public interest.

Where to Find Us

Where to Find Us You can find the Center for Civic Engagement at the corner of Annandale Rd. and Cruger Island Rd. in the Ward Manor Gatehouse.


Walter Russell Mead

Walter Russell Mead

Walter Russell Mead is the James Clarke Chace Professor of Foreign Affairs and the Humanities at Bard College and editor-at-large of The American Interest. He is the author of several books, including God and Gold: Britain, America, and the Making of the Modern World (2008). He is a contributing editor to and writer on international affairs for prominent national publications.
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The Center's Mission

Bard is committed to the principle that colleges and universities occupy a unique role at the nexus of education and civil society. In an age in which information is overabundant and often unreliable, and public discourse is frequently reduced to sound bites, it is more important than ever that citizens be educated and trained to think critically about and engage with issues that matter to a healthy democracy. For this reason, civic engagement is at the core of Bard’s identity. In its educational endeavors in the United States and abroad, Bard demonstrates a commitment to innovation, a willingness to take risks, and a firm conviction that institutions of higher education can and should operate in the public interest.

Bard uses its campus and resources to develop robust and sustainable programs that address social problems in practical ways, reach underserved and underrepresented populations, and tackle critical issues of education and public policy. With an entrepreneurial spirit and a sense of civic duty informed by social consciousness, Bard shapes policies, implements programs, and demonstrates public leadership.

What We Do

As one of the programmatic and administrative hubs of Bard’s vast network of innovative domestic and international initiatives, the Center for Civic Engagement plays a key role in Bard’s effort to redefine the role of the modern university. It focuses on sustained projects in which institutional engagement, often anchored by the granting of degrees, is essential to long-term educational reform, and seeks to develop new initiatives in cooperation with the public, private and nonprofit sectors.

The center sponsors lectures, conferences, and workshops; facilitates internship, volunteer, and service-learning opportunities; and awards fellowships that are designed to reinforce the links between education, democracy, and citizenship. In so doing, it seeks to shape the intellectual and professional trajectory of Bard undergraduates and graduates in ways that reflect the center’s mission.

Committed to institutional engagement, Bard fosters partnerships with educational institutions and programs around the globe to promote liberal education. The center coordinates efforts to strengthen and reinforce collaboration within that network of partnerships.

In cooperation with affiliated centers and institutes on Bard’s main campus in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, the center collaborates on a wide range of programs that engage students intellectually, challenging them to examine concepts related to global citizenship and being human in the 21st century.

The Blog

Read about all of the Center for Civic Engagement's newest projects, events, and job/internship opportunities. See newsletters, articles, and spotlights all on our blog.