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ASU Graduate College Distinguished Lecture highlights Dr. Sylvia Hurtado’s work in civic learning

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By Keith Chandler on October 26, 2020

The ASU Graduate College Distinguished Lecture series, now in its second year, featured Dr. Sylvia Hurtado, professor at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. Dr. Hurtado addressed the topic of utilizing civic learning to create a diverse democracy and stressed that engaged graduate students are imperative to achieving that diversity.

“Civic learning at the college level and beyond takes on a broader connotation,” said Dr. Hurtado. “What do we do to recenter civic learning and how do we incorporate grad students in that [...] process?” In her own undergraduate and graduate school experience, racial and income inequality became more evident as a first-generation college student, inspiring her drive to research civic learning. Citing the Association of American Colleges and University, Dr. Hurtado exemplified her work defining civic learning as containing six areas of outcome assessment:

  • Self

  • Diverse communities and cultures

  • Knowledge

  • Technical and social skills

  • Ethical values

  • Public action

“How do we become critical thinkers about existing knowledge and thinking about the kinds of knowledge we want to produce?” asked Dr. Hurtado? She suggests merging diversity and civic engagement activity, focusing on what and how students learn in the classroom and their communities, use pedagogy to work through conflict, and provide experiences for undergraduate and graduate students to connect with local and global communities

Click here to view the lecture in its entirety including Q&A facilitated by Associate Dean Tamara Underiner addressing the importance mentorship plays in the process, expecting and embracing conflict, and more. 

Each year, the Graduate College Distinguished Lecture series brings a leading scholar to engage the ASU community in a discussion of the advancement of graduate education as a public good and how to attract, nurture, and inspire future generations of advanced learners, who will foster opportunity and well-being in their communities.