Columbia College | Columbia Engineering

Our Civic Competencies

Civic Competencies are a set of goals that we incorporate into our work with the Columbia University community. Our programs expose students to opportunities to grow as leaders and be active and conscientious citizens. 

Civic Foundations

  • Espouse and live out personal values that promote the welfare of the public good using the ideas of democracy, equality, opportunity, liberty and justice
  • Understand the dynamic connections between our relationships, social standing, and historic moment
  • Engage in relationships with communities humbly, openly and with a sincere sense of equity and responsibility

Civic Knowledge

  • Support the acquisition of knowledge on public issues affecting local and global communities
  • Develop knowledge of the groups, networks, and systems that address or have the ability to impact public issues
  • Learn about key historical struggles, campaigns, and social movements that sought/seek to achieve the full promise of equality

Civic Understanding

  • Recognize that knowledge is dynamic, socially constructed and interconnected with power
  • Cultivate and demonstrate cultural awareness
  • Show respect and appreciation for the cultural pluralism and accumulated wisdom of diverse communities

Civic Skills

  • Study and use critical and integrative thinking, conflict resolution, and cooperative methods
  • Communicate effectively - listen eloquently, speak confidently, and participate in constructive deliberation and dialogue
  • Develop a civic imagination and public problem solving skills to seek community-based solutions to public issues

Civic Action

  • Disseminate knowledge and engage in open dialogue about public issues
  • Participate in one or more pathways of service on a transformational level of engagement
  • Move beyond boundaries that traditionally separate communities and strive to work outside your comfort zone

 The Civic Competencies were formulated throughout the 2010 fall semester and are based on the work of academics Caryn McTighe Musil, Ehrlich Colby, and Stephen Beaumont, and with the collaboration of staff.

Student Engagement


515 Alfred Lerner Hall
2920 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

Call: 212-854-3611

Fax: 212-854-6972

Office Hours
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.