Institute for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement


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PACE staff, SU Provost with Senator Tom Carper


The PACE office is located in Fulton Hall 258.  Salisbury University is committed to undergraduate involvement that enhances the conduct of public affairs.  Under the aegis of the Fulton School of Liberal Arts, PACE was conceived for the University to provide learning opportunities for its students and outreach to assist the communities of Delmarva.

Renewal in civic engagement has reemerged into the nation's consciousness. Public universities have been challenged to rededicate themselves to civic service by stimulating community and government involvement among their students. 

PACE's Mission:

The Institute for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement (PACE) at Salisbury University serves the academic and broader communities through:

  • Non-partisan programming designed to promote civil discourse and an expanded understanding of issues related to the public good;
  • Support for civic engagement opportunities and citizenship education;
  • Cultivation of a more informed and democratic citizenry; and 
  • Promotion of good government at the local, state, and federal levels.

Examples of these activities include organizing forums to discuss issues, working on local recycling efforts, building homes for Habitat for Humanity, and providing opportunities for our students to work on political campaigns.  Such activities support the Institute's understanding of public affairs and civic engagement.

Public affairs: By the term ‘public affairs’ we mean issues and ideas in the realm of community concern or interest. There is debate over whether some issues belong in that realm. Nevertheless, democratic societies handle lawmaking and enforcement, public safety, national security and the distribution of a range of services through an elected government, which is accountable to the citizens of a community, whether local or national.  Understanding the interplay among public and private, individual interest and community good is essential to effective engagement in the realm of public affairs.

Civic engagement: “Civic Engagement” is a broad term that encompasses the wide range of activities by which citizens work together to improve the quality of life in their communities, whether locally, nationally or even internationally. Its core meaning expresses the idea that democratic citizenship is embodied whenever people come together to define the public good, determine the processes by which they will seek this good, or reform policies and institutions that do not serve this good.

Civic engagement education “explicitly teaches the knowledge, skills and values believed necessary for democratic citizenship” (Kahne & Middaugh, 2010, p. 141).  This approach inspires, informs and shapes learning activities to impact public affairs.  Those activities also deepen our understanding of how social, political and economic systems work and how individuals can work effectively within those systems as they develop sustained habits of active democratic citizenship. Civic engagement education is a key value of Salisbury University and should be considered a key value of every university.

Kahne, J. & Middaugh, E. (2010). High quality civic education: What is it and who gets it? In W. Parker (Ed.), Social studies today: Research & practice (pp. 141-150). New York: Routledge.

How Will This Partnership Work?
PACE acts as a resource center where local government, non-profit and public groups can easily access knowledge and information.  With the University nearby, PACE draws on the interdisciplinary expertise of the faculty, students and staff.  As a nonpartisan contributor, the Institute organizes projects and programs that are customized to fit the particular needs of theEastern Shore community.  By providing a forum to discuss current issues and community concerns, PACE actively serves as a venue that benefits the local Eastern Shore communities.  In return, PACE students share in unique government experiences that foster further civicengagement and lifelong learning.

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