Recently, the University signed a pledge that will commit the institution to encourage civic responsibility. The school has promised to uphold good citizenship through education and example, by aiding community organizations and incorporating civic responsibility into courses. The University’s pledge to uphold the principles of good citizenship in higher education is praiseworthy because the community deserves students, leaders and faculty members who understand their civic responsibilities.
The University obviously educates people who later become very successful in future endeavors. College graduates go on to live a privileged life unattainable by those without post-secondary degrees. Minimizing the importance of civil service in higher education can therefore be very costly to society. The behavior of leaders has more impact on the community than that of most people. Society cannot afford leaders who are self-absorbed or motivated for the wrong reasons, especially those who have the power to greatly affect their community. In an ideal world, good citizenship would be a prerequisite for success.
Unfortunately, the University can only do so much toward encouraging ethical behavior. Establishing intentions to encourage civic goodwill, though, is certainly a beginning.