Common Characteristics

Scholar-Citizen learning experiences have three basic characteristics. SCI experiences:

1. Encourage intentional reflective practices: Reflective practices foster students’ ability to make intentional and intellectually informed connections between their academic experiences/knowledge and their own lives. Reflection prompts, for example, are a proven method for encouraging students to "articulate questions, confront bias, examine causality, contrast theory with practice, or point to systemic issues” (Ash and Clayton 2009, p. 27).   

2. Incorporate social pedagogy: Social pedagogy requires students to engage with people beyond and outside themselves and an instructor.  Through social learning contexts, “students come to understand the interdependence of self and society, engage in the construction of shared meaning in collaboration with others, and negotiate for shared action that benefits the common good” (College Outcomes Project, documents/CollegeOutcomesProject.doc).

3. Integrate an experiential dimension: Experiential learning involves active and sustained student interaction with a real-world issue. This might include:

  • Studying and producing a scholarly product on a pressing social issue that matters to the student;
  • Applying academic knowledge in a real-world context such as an internship, a service-learning experience, or field experience;
  • Working with faculty or community members on a community-based research project; or
  • Incorporating some other form of engaged pedagogy such as an appropriately focused and structured study abroad or, in a classroom setting, pursuing problem-based learning, case-based learning, or community-based inquiry projects.

While many courses or learning experiences have one or two of these dimensions, a Scholar-Citizen learning experience is distinct for integrating all three as fundamental practices.


Reflective. Social. Experimental.