Combining Community-Based Learning and Catholic Social Teaching in Educating for Democratic Citizenship

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Susan Crawford Sullivan, Ph.D.
Margaret A. Post, Ph.D.


College students are in a key developmental stage for cultivating their civic identities. This article draws on a case example to show how courses focused on educating students for democratic citizenship—courses on leadership, community organizing, social movements, or other related topics—prove to be excellent venues for integrating Catholic Social Teaching (CST) with community-based learning to further students’ moral and civic development. Centering on social justice with an emphasis on voice, power, and participation, these courses resonate clearly with key themes found in CST. And, by combining CST with the theory and practice of collective action, students gain a foundation in necessary principles for moral assessment as well as practical experiences that inform and shape their active citizenship beyond the college years.

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Author Biographies

Susan Crawford Sullivan, Ph.D., College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA

Susan Crawford Sullivan is Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology and Edward Bennett Williams Fellow, College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA.

Margaret A. Post, Ph.D., College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA

Margaret Post is Director, Donelan Center for Community-Based Learning, College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA.