Rice University

Rice University Center for Civic Leadership

Certificate Requirements

Certificate Overview 

This program leverages the strengths of existing CCL programs, integrates academic coursework on leadership and societal challenges, and intentionally builds towards a capstone course and project in civic leadership. The certificate is a new extension of the existing programs of the Center for Civic Leadership, such as the Houston Action Research Teams (HART), Alternative Spring Break (ASB), Leadership Rice Mentorship Experience (LRME), Loewenstern Fellowship, Urban Immersion, and Group International Service (GIS), collectively know as our CCL Action Programs.

As an overview, students in the certificate program will complete the following components, which include a minimum of 12 credits of academic coursework and experiential projects:

  1. CCL Learn Level Program - one gateway experience, including Urban Immersion, Alternative Spring Break or Alternative Recess, CCL Volunteers, or America Reads 
  2. Certificate Electives - academic courses (6 cr. total) focused on a social issue relevant to students' anticipated civic leadership project (3 cr.) and leadership development (3 cr.)
  3. CCL Action Program - one significant leadership, service, or research experience in identified CCL programs -- ASB Site Leader, UI Leadership, Houston Action Research Teams (HART), Loewenstern Fellowship, Leadership Rice Mentorship Experience (LRME). 
  4. Civic Leadership Capstone Course (3 cr.) and Project (3 cr.) - culminating series that challenges to move beyond civic action into civic leadership and change through a self-directed, faculty-advised community-based project
Program Details The certificate requires completion of 12 credit hours and two experiential learning programs (CCL Learn Level and CCL Act Level). All students begin the program by completing a CCL Immersion Program that introduces them to problems facing the city of Houston (through lectures, community tours, and short-term service) and develops skills in reflective practice critical to leadership development. The immersion programs include guest speakers from relevant academic departments at Rice as well as engagement with a range of Houston community partners. Additionally, students will complete one 3-credit elective in a social issue relevant to their anticipated capstone project and one 3-credit elective in leadership. Pre-approved courses are available for review here. The Director of Curriculum in the Center for Civic Leadership and the Undergraduate Advisor of the certificate program will review and update this list on an annual basis. Additional courses will be considered on a case-by-case basis as part of the routine advising process for certificate candidates. Timely, personalized advising will play an important role in the selection of the electives in order to ensure that students follow an academically coherent path to the certificate. The choice of the social issues elective is a case in point. There are dozens of courses in the curriculum that could fill this requirement, but the purpose of this element of the certificate pathway is to provide foundational knowledge directly pertinent to a student’s capstone project. 
Students will also apply to participate in a CCL Action Program that allows them to work in collaboration with a community partner to address a problem or need. These service, research or design, and internship programs demand the integration of academic and community knowledge, foster skills in collaboration and communication with diverse stakeholders, and require weekly reflection. Currently, students may meet this second experiential learning requirement through the following roles in Center for Civic Leadership programs:
Upon completion of the above-listed requirements, students can apply in the spring of their sophomore or junior year for admittance to the Certificate in Civic Leadership. 
Only students who demonstrate a coherent path of preparation will be admitted to the Certificate in Civic Leadership program. In the fall semester, all admitted certificate students take a Civic Leadership Capstone Course (UNIV 400) in which they prepare for their capstone projects by researching the community need or problem, designing a sustainable solution, developing a project proposal, and reflecting on leadership challenges and solutions. Students subsequently carry out their Civic Leadership Project (UNIV 402) independently in the following spring semester or summer under the direction of their faculty advisor and the capstone instructor. To be considered for receipt of the certificate, students are required to submit a portfolio that includes a full description of the capstone project and/or its outcomes, a substantial reflection essay on civic leadership, and a public presentation to the campus and/or local community. Upon the recommendation of the Civic Leadership Capstone Course instructor, Certificate Advisor, and Director of Curriculum, the certificate will be awarded.