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November 17, 2014

Edward M. Kennedy Institute Hosts Leaders in Massachusetts Higher Education

BOSTON – On Friday, November 14, 2014, the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate (EMK Institute) welcomed presidents and chancellors from 40 Massachusetts universities to a high-level dialogue on civic education and engagement. The day began with presidents and chancellors meeting for the 2014 Massachusetts Campus Compact (MACC) Breakfast, also attended by AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers, and featured a keynote address by Senator Ed Markey (D-MA).

Senator Kennedy helped launch the state compact network for Massachusetts’ institutions of higher education twenty years ago. The statewide higher education association is dedicated to promoting student service. The coalition of more than 70 college and university presidents is committed to developing the civic engagement skills of students and fulfilling the public purpose of higher education.

“It was a great honor to host this distinguished group at the Kennedy Institute as well has have Senator Markey join us for this timely discussion on civic education,” said Dr. Jean F. MacCormack, the Institute’s president. “The Kennedy Institute is committed to promoting civic education and inviting educators at all levels inside our facility is something we are proud to do.”

Following the breakfast, the MA Commissioner of Higher Education welcomed 150 representatives from the state’s 29 public colleges and universities for a statewide Conference on Higher Education’s civic mission. Earlier this year the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education approved a first-in-the-nation policy to measure and report on the civic learning outcomes of students, part of the Board’s Vision Project agenda to produce “the best educated citizenry and workforce in the nation.” Meeting in a replica of the U.S. Senate chambers, panelists and speakers highlighted the campus work underway to imbed civic and service learning opportunities in college coursework, and debated various approaches to measuring civic learning outcomes.

“Today’s events are important for advancing civic learning statewide,” said Bill DeWalt, Executive Vice President and Museum Director for the Institute. “Our goal at the EMK Institute is to be one of the nation’s leading organizations committed to civic education, and we were honored to host important discourse on this subject, among so many of the leading voices in higher education.”

“Senator Kennedy set the gold standard for civic learning and action,” said Richard M. Freeland, Massachusetts Commissioner of Higher Education. “I believe he would have been proud to see that Institute bearing his name served as the setting for important campus dialogue on our work to prepare the next generation of engaged citizens.”

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