How A Minor in Civic Engagement Leadership Can Help You Use Your Passion for Good
I bet you’ve never heard that question before!
“So, what are you going to do with that when you graduate?”
Whether majoring in sociology, performing arts, or environmental science, adding a minor in Civic Engagement Leadership can help you answer this question with confidence.
“The mission of Civic Engagement Leadership is to provide students with the appropriate skills and meaningful opportunities to become engaged in their respective communities,” says Quin Monson, political science professor and director of Civic Engagement Leadership.
Simply stated, this minor will help students take the skills they want to master and find ways to practice and apply those skills in a setting that benefits their communities. Students will graduate with more experience and the confidence of knowing how to make a difference as they are paired with mentors and work on group projects that they get academic credit for!
Finding a Need for Your Passion
Madi Schlesinger, a senior in political science from Arkansas, was initially attracted to the Civic Engagement Leadership minor because she was able to double count many of the requirements with her major. But the projects she engaged in gave her great experience.
“Choosing the Civic Engagement Leadership minor has been one of the most engaging and eye-opening decisions I have ever made,” says Schlesinger. “I learned that I was going to be able to design my own project for the community tailored to whatever I wanted to study most! I had the amazing opportunity to work with both the Utah County Elections Office as well as a local political campaign and learned a lot about how to communicate more effectively and lead in a professional setting.”
Schlesinger says that her classmates in the minor were from all different majors and they all chose different projects and courses, so no one had the same experience — it was very tailored to personal interests.
“The one thing that united us all was that we saw a need in our community and we went to work to address it,” says Schlesinger. “Some classmates did toy drives and designed play spaces for physical therapy offices, some orchestrated social media campaigns for anti-bullying, and some laid out PR plans for local nonprofits. No matter what your passion is, there is always a niche to fill using your particular talents. And we need more people who can step up and lead those efforts.”
The Civic Engagement Minor is open to all BYU majors and has a requirement of 18 credits total. Many elective requirements can be filled by major and general education courses. The course list is available here and is regularly under review to allow the minor to work with a wide variety of majors.
To get started, students can enroll in FHSS 200, a one-credit intro course full of guest lectures and other content that will get you started. It is recommended that students declare the minor before their junior or senior year.
While satisfying requirements for the Civic Engagement Leadership minor, students enroll in courses that will help them get a head start on their experiential learning. These classes and their instructors encourage students not to wait until graduation to start building up their reservoir of skills and experience that will be valuable when searching for full-time employment.
In FHSS 300, the first required course of the minor, students will learn critical skills of analysis, evaluation, leadership, innovation, and teamwork. Students will design and plan a project related to civic improvement. By working in groups to accomplish a semester-long project, students gain exposure to project management in a professional setting as the class is partnered with an external community partner.
FHSS 400, the second required course, focuses on leadership in civic engagement and teaches skills on how to lead discussions of community involvement and public service. Guest lecturers are a large element of this course. Similar to FHSS 300, students complete a semester-long project centered around community work. Additionally, students will be paired with mentors to guide them through their projects. Due to the number of guest speakers coming in to speak, students will be able to hear about a variety of careers and network with professionals.
Where to Get Started
Follow BYU Civic Engagement on Instagram @byucivicengagement and check out their website https://civicengagement.byu.edu/ for more information.
Check out local civic engagement opportunities here.