SUNY Chancellor King Announces Civic Education and Engagement and Civil Discourse Fellows

October 20, 2023

10 Fellows will Support Peers in Strategies to Boost Civic Education and Engagement, Implement Updated General Education Framework

Chancellor Shares Vision in Speech to University Faculty Senate Fall 2023 Plenary Session at SUNY Geneseo

Geneseo, NY - State University of New York Chancellor John B. King, Jr. today announced that 10 Civic Education and Engagement and Civil Discourse Fellows will advance SUNY’s shared commitment to civic engagement as an essential outcome of higher education and will work to advance civic discourse among students, faculty, and staff across campus communities. Chancellor King made the announcement at the University Faculty Senate (UFS) meeting at SUNY Geneseo after speaking with campus faculty governance leaders.

“An essential purpose of higher education is to foster civil discourse and provide students with the passion and tools to increase civic engagement,” said SUNY Chancellor King. “Inspired by the commitment and extraordinary skills of SUNY faculty, I am proud to launch the Civic Education and Engagement and Civil Discourse Fellows so SUNY faculty and staff can support one another in service to our students across all campuses.”

SUNY Board Trustee Keith Landa said, “A well-educated society is a well-engaged society that can bring about transformative change. Investing in civic engagement through content that broadens student's knowledge will serve them well by providing them with the tools to think critically and empathetically.”

SUNY Board Trustee Christy Woods said, “So many of our students are eager to contribute to issues impacting our society – from protecting our planet to creating greater equity for underserved communities – and the Civic Education and Engagement and Civil Discourse Fellows will assist our colleges and universities in helping our students with current strategies to immerse in their general education offerings. I am excited about this initiative and thank Chancellor King for his leadership.”

The Fellows will:

  • Foster the development of and facilitate a faculty/staff Community of Practice focused on civic education and engagement.
  • Gather and amplify resources for faculty to use when developing content for SUNY’s new U.S. History and Civic Engagement general education requirement.
  • Develop and co-lead a learning convening in Fall 2024 to showcase SUNY activities, including highlighting intersections between civic education and engagement and other topics like sustainability.
  • Help inform a civic education and engagement strategic plan while assisting in the identification of data needs and data gathering.
  • Coordinate with campus Student Government representatives on civic education and engagement matters.

Richard Haass, President Emeritus, Council on Foreign Relations and author of “The Bill of Obligations: The Ten Habits of Good Citizens” said, “America’s colleges and universities need to prepare students not just for the workplace but for citizenship. SUNY’s Civic Education and Engagement and Civil Discourse Fellows initiative is a much-needed and welcome investment in the future of American democracy.”

According to research conducted by the American Association of Colleges and Universities, civic engagement by college students has led to improved graduation and retention rates; an increase in career-related skills that set students up for success upon graduation; as well as an increase in social responsibility. Similarly, California State University found at some of their colleges, by implementing some form of civic engagement, their first-year students were more likely to return and ultimately graduate

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2023, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

Share this:


Holly Liapis
Email the Office of Communications