Rice University

Rice University Center for Civic Leadership


The Center for Civic Leadership’s international programs apply civic research and critical service pedagogies to complex global problems, coupling student understanding of context and content with a study of the ethical principles involved in international work. The most important consideration for global engagement is ethical interaction with all stakeholders in its execution. For example, programs must be mutually beneficial, taking into consideration the academic teaching moment for the student, as well as the growth, capacity, and opportunity for local partners. By employing ethical frameworks for engagement, such as asset-based and rightsbased approaches, CCL programs ensure that activities prioritize the needs and assets ofcommunity stakeholders.

The Center for Civic Leadership’s model for global engagement adheres to our Learn-Act-Create Change scaffold, which progressively develops the knowledge and skills necessary for students to effect social change. Community engagement, civic-research, and critical service-learning experiences allow students to learn through interaction and collaboration with communities, observing solutions and approaches to challenges that are framed by a different cultural lens.1 In 2018, a GEO trip to Chiapas, Mexico led by Dr. Jorge Loyo partnered with Fundacion Cantaro Azul, a local non-profit focused on water, sanitation, and hygiene programs. Students developed a water sample incubator in dialogue with the organization in their spring semester ENGI 120 classroom. With the guidance of faculty members and the Center, students travelled to Chiapas for ten days in May to test, trouble-shoot, and install the incubator based on the organization’s needs.


1Guidelines for Community Engagement, Service-Learning, and Volunteer Experiences Abroad. The Forum on Education Abroad. Carlisle, Pennsylvania, 2018.