George Mason Hosts Citizenship 2000 Focal Week

Posted: March 23, 2000 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

How can colleges and universities better educate and motivate their students to become active and responsible citizens? Individuals from across Virginia come to George Mason next week to participate in the Citizenship 2000 Focal Week, which features panels and presentations that explore this critical question. Beginning Monday, March 27, and running through Friday, March 31, Focal Week is the highlight of Citizenship 2000, a semester-long program featuring events that explore the role educational institutions should play in cultivating good citizens. Presenters and panelists include faculty members and students from colleges and universities across Virginia, leaders of nonprofit organizations committed to civic engagement, political activists, authors, and journalists.

The week opens on Monday with a speech by Mark Plotkin, WAMU political commentator and host of the D.C. Politics Hour. Later that day, Scott Keeter, chair of the Department of Public and International Affairs, presents the results of a study on the ways, and the extent to which, Virginia institutions of higher learning provide civic education to their students. Monday concludes with an exposition of innovative approaches to teaching citizenship that will be of interest to local school systems and teachers as well as to university faculty and students.

On Tuesday, a panel discussion brings together students from Virginia colleges and universities to discuss the ways they serve as active citizens and the challenges associated with integrating their academic and civic lives. On Wednesday, a panel discussion examines the ways colleges and universities shape attitudes about civic engagement and promote action. A panel discussion later in the day explores how the arts and humanities can enhance civic education and stimulate involvement.

Thursday features a dialogue about the ways civic values differ among individuals from different generations and cultures and the priorities that different participants assign to the various responsibilities of citizens. The program concludes on Friday with a student media competition to recognize George Mason student projects produced during the past academic year that relate to citizenship and civic engagement. The closing ceremony features keynote speaker Patricia Cormier, president of Longwood College.

All Citizenship 2000 Focal Week events are free and open to the public. To see a schedule of events or to register for an event, visit the Citizenship 2000 Focal Week website. Focal Week is sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Nursing and Health Science, Graduate School of Education, and New Century College.

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