Michigan State University
Michigan State University
Citizen Scholars
Information for Faculty and Advisors

Citizen Scholars Program: Faculty Involvement

4 Ways To Get Involved:

  • Develop/Teach a CS Core Course: AL 110 (Tier 1 Writing), AL 210 (IAH)
  • Develop/Teach a CS Option Course: Any departmental course that fits the CS Option Criteria (see CS Option Course Form)
  • Develop a CS Co-Curricular Event: Arts, Performance, Film, Workshop, Panel Discussion, Symposium, etc.: Events you are already planning can be tagged in the College Calendar as supportive of CS objectives; they can also be sent to me for posting on the CS website. We will also be seeking event development to augment and support student success in the CS program. If you have an idea, bring it to the Program Director for discussion and development.
  • Mentor a CS student: students will develop projects that require or benefit from faculty oversight; they will seek out faculty advice on academic and career-related objectives, opportunities, etc.; they will seek role models and networking opportunities; faculty can contribute to student enrichment through these and other means.

CS Core Courses:

  • AL 101: 1-credit course taught by College advisers, grounding and orienting students for college success
  • AL 110: Tier I writing courses, “Writing and Civic Life,” focusing on the ways that arts and humanities contribute to democratic discourse and critique concerning social, cultural, and political problems. Faculty determine course content; course assignments are equivalent to 5 core assignments in all Tier 1 courses. Students who have placed out of Tier I writing will nevertheless be required to take this course to be in the Citizen-Scholar program.
  • AL 210: IAH courses with 20-student cap, “Democratic Deliberation and Critique in the Arts and Humanities,” focusing on how the arts and humanities contribute to solving social, cultural, and political problems through various modes of democratic participation, critique, and engagement. There are shared materials related to democratic discourse, but each instructor may choose the topic of their course, shaping it to align with the larger course objectives.

CS Option Courses:

These courses are regular departmental offerings that align with the CS Option Course Criteria. Students take 12 credits of such courses as one of two required College cognates. They’re a great opportunity to encourage students to add a second major or minor. There are three ways that a course can be recognized as a CS Option Course:

  • Faculty fill out and submit CS Option Course Criteria form + syllabus; course will be approved and listed as a CS Option Course available to all CS students from other majors
  • Students present the CS Option Course Criteria form to the instructor to identify the pertinent aspects of the course. They can then submit the form and the syllabus for approval, and that course will also be added to the CS Option Course list. Must be outside student’
  • Students may request additional or adjusted assignments within a course, much like an honor’s option, to fulfill the CS Option criteria. Faculty and Student will work with the form and the syllabus to create the necessary assignments, and submit to the program for approval.


Citizen Scholars Program Overview

Program Objectives

The Citizen Scholars program recruits and supports a diverse body of undergraduate students with strong motivation and the potential for excellence, who are committed to working toward high levels of achievement. Through this program we aim to demonstrate that student outcomes can be positively transformed through strong skills-building, consistent close mentorship and advising, cohort collaboration, experiential and enrichment learning, and community engagement.

Aspiration > Reward > Higher Expectations

Aspiration: The Aspirational phase of the program is open to all incoming freshmen with a major in the College. When they aspire to become Citizen-Scholars, we ask them to complete an array of requirements in their first two years:

  • Coursework: building foundational skills, knowledge, and habits of mind
  • Community service: committing time and effort to working for the greater good within their chosen community
  • Co-curricular activities: acquiring additional skills, exposure to unfamiliar cultures, gaining understanding of local, regional, national, and global issues, developing experience in policies formation and processes of social transformation, gaining leadership experience, increasing professionalism

As part of this process, students write reflections on their experiences, connect ideas, concepts and issues across geographic and cultural locations, augment their resumes by documenting skills newly gained or applied in different contexts, and function as active agents in their own ongoing development. Maintaining a high GPA is a part of the requirements: 3.0 in year one, 3.25 in year two, 3.4 in years three and four.

Reward: After completing the initial achievements, usually in their first two years as undergraduates, they can then apply to become Citizen-Scholars and request a $5,000 grant to support study abroad, study away, or other enrichment activities. The funding is not competitive – all who complete the aspirational requirements are eligible for this funding, contingent only on their submission of a proposal that effectively explains how they plan to use the funds to reach the goals they have defined for themselves.

Higher Expectations: Their involvement with the program continues after they complete their enrichment experience. They maintain a higher GPA, serve as collaborators and mentors for newer CS students, develop projects relating their own interests and experiences to larger questions and issues. They are eligible to apply for additional funding for further development.


Tracking Student Progress

The program uses a digital badging system and an e-portfolio system to help students track their own progress through the program, and to allow us to attentively track and mentor them as well. There are 4 areas of development:

  • Global Leadership: connect local and global; understand larger contexts and issues
  • Research and Creative Activity: connect your field/major to your CS goals and output
  • Professional Networking: increase circle of connections and opportunities; increase job preparedness
  • Civic Engagement: give time and effort to others; understand policy issues, concerns, decisions

When they have completed all CS requirements and graduate with a 3.4 average GPA, they receive the Citizen-Scholars digital credential, which can be linked to their Linked-in page or CV, allowing them to show prospective employers and others what they have accomplished in these four areas, and demonstrate their range of accomplishments and qualifications.