Coe College joins in campaign to bring attention to civic skills gap and solutions

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Secretary of the College
(319) 399-8605 or

2017-03-15 13:21:18 - General

Special from Iowa Campus Compact

Iowa is facing a civic skills gap. Communities face challenges that require active citizens with the ability and willingness to apply skills like communication, critical thinking and teamwork. Coe College is among the 21 college and university members of Iowa Campus Compact (IACC) that are working to fill this gap by helping students build these skills through community experiences.

"Community experiences were central to developing my ability to frame and solve problems, to manage projects independently, to communicate effectively, to work with groups of diverse people, and to celebrate the contributions of people at all levels of the organization," said Iowa Campus Compact Board Chair and Coe College President David McInally, reflectingon his personal experience in building core skills through community experiences.

In addition to building civic skills, community experiences can also contribute to gaps in workforce skills. Three in four employers said in a recent survey that they want colleges to place more emphasis on critical thinking, problem-solving, communication and applied knowledge in real-world settings, and 92 percent said volunteering expands an employee's professional skill set.[1]

The new "Giving Voice to the Civic Mission" campaign will seek to elevate the public understanding of how quality, hands-on experiences shape students into effective leaders. The organization and its member academic institutions will share stories of how volunteer projects, service-learning courses, alternative break trips, nonprofit internships, and a range of other opportunities leverage real-world experience while contributing to community needs.

"As a liberal arts institution and in partnership with the community, Coe College supports students' civic and professional development both in and outside of the classroom," said Coe Director of Community Engagement Kayla Lyftogt.

The goal of this campaign is to help parents and students take advantage of skill-building community experiences, assist employers to seek candidates who have had these experiences, and encourage community leaders to support the partnerships needed to make more of these experiences a reality.

Here's how to get involved in the Giving Voice to the Civic Mission campaign:

  • Students and alumni: share your stories of building skills through community experiences.
  • Employers: get new resources and ideas on seeking and building these skills in employees.
  • Parents and students: find out how to engage in these experiences.
  • Nonprofits and community leaders:  find new ideas and connections with colleges and universities to create more of these skill-based opportunities.

Learn more about this initiative and get involved:

[1] It Takes More than a Major: Employer Priorities for College Learning and Student Success. 2013. Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges and Universities and Hart Research Associates.