Have you seen the banners and emails promoting The Scholar-Citizen initiative? Wondering what it means?
The Scholar-Citizen initiative is part of the Quality Enhancement Program, more commonly known as QEP. The QEP is part of Radford University’s reaccreditation process. The Scholar-Citizen initiative is a program created by various RU students, faculty and staff to enhance the learning process for RU students.
According to QEP director Erin Webster Garrett, if you are a student or faculty member and want to make a difference but don’t know how, the Scholar-Citizen program can help you make the connections, create a project, and contribute to society.
According to RU’s website, the Scholar-Citizen program is in place to foster a sense of giving back to the world in everyday life and reflects a commitment to social responsibility, leadership and innovation by connecting experiences in academia with real-world situations.
Jeremy Jennings, a senior studying production technology, said he understands the importance of the scholar-citizen initiative.
He said the Scholar-Citizen initiative “… puts you in the work environment that you feel more comfortable being professional and making professional contacts.”
The Scholar-Citizen initiative is all about three simple words: Connect. Create. Contribute.
According to the program, scholar citizens will be able to analyze theories about today’s issues using reliable sources, make connections between academic experiences and government issues like politics and civil rights or duties, and communicate how academic studies affect their sense of ethics, values and social responsibility in relation to local or national issues.
The idea for this program was inspired by a book titled The Highest Vocation: Social Justice and the Millennial Generation by Helen Fox. Ann-Mary Roberts, an RU education professor, read this book and began to think that current college students knew that there was something wrong going on in the world, wanted to make the world a better place, but at the same time didn’t know how they were going to contribute to changing society for the better.
According to the back cover of the book, college students have a strong desire to change the world, but lack historical context opportunities for critical thinking, and a connection to those in need.
Learning this, Ann-Mary Roberts went to classrooms, giving students a questionnaire, asking them if they saw problems in today’s society, felt the need to fix the societal problems and knew the role they had to play to fix the problems. She found that most students knew that there are problems in today’s society and wanted to help but didn’t know how.
From this thought, the Scholar-Citizen program emerged. After years of planning, this program will finally come to fruition. Next semester, the Scholar-Citizen program will be embedded in an honors section of Core 201 and Core 202. In these two classes, students will participate in an oral history project where they will record the history of World War II as seen through the eyes of WWII veterans.
Today, the program is being implemented through bringing professionals from different backgrounds to campus. Just this semester RU has brought Stephen Vetter, a visiting Woodrow Wilson Fellow and Jodi Carmichael, a jazz musician, to campus to discuss the importance of being a scholar-citizen.
Ann-Mary Roberts said the point of the Scholar-Citizen program is to inspire students.
“When students leave Radford, they will have found their place not only in the job field but as a citizen,” she said.