For 15 years, the Civic Education ProjectÂ® (CEP), an international non-profit organization, has promoted pluralism and international standards in social science education in countries striving to develop their civil society capacity. CEP pursues these goals through the creation of knowledge networks and student-centered teaching. These networks are designed to foster and exchange cutting edge social scientific resources, knowledge and methods. Through its work, CEP encourages the dual role of universities in developing their own community and civil society, and engaging their countries in the wider global community.
Centered on the belief that an open, globally competitive society requires critically minded and informed individuals, CEP sends highly-qualified academics to teach and collaborate with colleagues at local universities. Over the past years, CEP Fellows have touched tens of thousands of students, faculty, and broader communities in the areas in which they have taught. CEP takes a long-term view of educational development, recognizing that today’s university students and young academics will be tomorrow’s leaders. CEP places academics for a minimum of one year in order to provide a continual presence and continuity at universities. CEP Fellows nurture the critical intellectual skills necessary for students to make their countries successful in the global information age.
CEP’s operating style is flexible, allowing it to respond quickly to the needs and trends of higher education. CEP works to incorporate international standards in a variety of social science fields at the host universities with which it collaborates. Recognizing that every country has unique circumstances and history, CEP provides programs tailored to meet the specific educational needs of each country and interact compatibly with existing activities.
Recognizing that critically minded and informed individuals are the building blocks of an open, globally competitive society, the Civic Education ProjectÂ® assists countries to attain the best international practices in higher and professional education.
The Civic Education ProjectÂ® began supporting grassroots efforts to revitalize higher education in Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia in 1991. In its first year, CEP placed fifteen Visiting Faculty Fellows at eight universities in Czechoslovakia. In 1996 the Local Faculty Fellows Program was launched to help regional universities retain promising young local scholars who are essential to the revitalization of departments and to the sustainability of reforms in higher education. The synergy and complementarity between these two programs has become the foundation of CEP’s on-going work.
“A strong ‘team’ attitude developed between the two CEP Local Faculty Fellows at the University and me. The combination of Western and local perspectives was very effective.”
Alan Purcell,CEP Visiting Faculty Fellow
Dnipropetrovsk State University,Ukraine
From 1991 through 2004, CEP placed more than 1900 fellows in Eastern Europe and Eurasia reaching up to 20,000 students annually. During the 2003-04 academic year, CEP had more than 270 Fellows teaching in twenty-five countries throughout Eastern Europe and Eurasia including the region of Kosovo. CEP is now taking its highly successful programs to the Middle East.
Programs: Building Local Capacity
The Local Faculty Fellowship Program represents a conscious strategy to reverse brain drain from the countries in which it works by supporting talented individuals who, after studying abroad, return to university positions in their home countries. CEP offers these scholars financial, institutional and professional development support for at least one academic year. Without this support, many of these scholars could not pursue or continue their academic careers.
“When I returned from studying in the West I was full of ideas and initiative. With CEP ’s help I was able to distribute the knowledge I obtained to the students of my country. Otherwise my Western education would have been in vain, as no other organization was willing to invest in me returning to teach in my home country.“
Liliana Punga, CEP Local Faculty Fellow
Kharkiv Humanities University, Ukraine
The Visiting Faculty Fellowship Program brings scholars from around the world to teach for at least one academic year at a local university. These Fellows receive a basic package of support, including allowances for teaching materials. By emphasizing critical thinking, academic writing, research and analytical skills, Visiting Fellows expose their students and faculty colleagues to a range of materials and methodologies incorporating the best practices in their field. As part of their work, Fellows are also involved in numerous projects in support of and beyond their teaching. Specific areas of focus include curriculum development, faculty training, and improvement of academic resources.
“It would be difficult to imagine how our department could have reached its current level of activity without the assistance of the foreign lecturers who have taught here thanks to this program.”
Head of Department of Politics and European Studies
Palacky University,Olomouc,Czech Republic
The Academic Network Initiative provides a forum for faculty professional development and the support of teaching and research. CEP’s longstanding commitment to teaching excellence aims to promote the best educational methods through training events, workshops, conferences, and the provision of support materials for all faculty members. In support of these goals, each CEP discipline area is provided with a web-based virtual environment, as well as logistical support, to allow for broader communications among academics nationally and internationally.
The Student Leadership Initiative supports activities by the Fellows that brings together students and encourages them to become involved in volunteer activities in the wider community. CEP realizes that university students have the energy and vision to make a real contribution to their societies. CEP Fellows organize conferences, roundtables, debates and moot courts to promote open discourse on complex issues facing young people today. Furthermore, Fellows assist students in identifying outlets for passing on knowledge to those in the community lacking educational resources and economic opportunities.
How is CEP Different?
Focus on Teaching and Students
CEP stresses the value of sustained contact between Fellows and their students as a mechanism for growth and development. CEP Fellows encourage their students to actively participate in class discussions, attend office hours to clarify issues and to write original and probing research papers. The personal and academic guidance that CEP Fellows give their students helps prepare the students for competing on a global scale while honoring and appreciating their unique cultural circumstances. Furthermore, CEP Fellows help organize extracurricular activities for their students such as conferences, workshops, and debates.
Meeting Local Needs
Unlike traditional academic exchanges, CEP is driven to be a catalyst for positive change at its host institutions. In collaboration with a host university, CEP assesses the specific situation of the university in order to meet its particular needs in the social sciences. While many organizations concentrate their efforts primarily in the capital city, CEP and its Fellows develop relationships across the whole country and promote interaction with provincial universities.
The CEP Community
CEP builds a support network of contacts and resources for its Fellows that helps overcome isolation and encourages collaboration and joint projects. Regular opportunities exist for Fellows to meet and exchange ideas at national and international retreats, conferences and workshops.
Fellows work within CEP for at least one academic year, which allows them adequate time to develop strong relationships with their students, their faculty colleagues, and the CEP community. This time frame allows Fellows to understand the situation at their universities, and to follow through with projects and initiatives. Continuity is often enhanced by the fact that many partner universities host a series of Fellows, thereby strengthening the CEP impact and increasing the sustainability of reform.
“I would compare CEP to a rolling snowball. It is seemingly small, but may trigger considerable change. CEP really motivates scholars and their students alike, thus creating a fruitful academic partnership between them. I hope that some of my students will become the CEP Fellows of the near future, and the ball rolls on.”
Monika Pal, CEP Local Faculty Fellow
Budapest University of Economic Sciences and Public Administration, Hungary
CEP concentrates on a variety of discipline-areas within the social sciences including economics, gender and cultural studies, international relations, journalism, political science and public policy.
CEP solicits funding from a variety of private and public sources. Previous funding sources have included the Carnegie Corporation, Citigroup Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Starr Foundation, and the Austrian, British, Dutch and United States governments.