The Civic House Social Justice Framework and Theory of Change

Developed over the course of several months by a working group comprised of faculty, staff, and students of varying involvements with Civic House in 2015, the Civic House Social Justice Framework and Theory of Change guide our work with students and community partners.

We look to these documents as our foundation as we continue to develop new programming and intentionally align our current programming to a new social justice focus. These documents are living and may continue to evolve as we develop new understandings of our work through our ongoing reflection and action.

Theory of Change

Civic House’s Theory of Change emphasizes students’ ongoing growth and reflection as they develop, apply, and integrate their civic engagement, social justice passions, leadership skills, and academic pursuits.  Equally as important are our mutually beneficial relationships with community partner organizations, which are reflected in how they are centered in the middle of our work/house.


The four cornerstones of our work are:


o   Civic House’s education model is based on an experiential learning cycle that includes reflecting on power, privilege and oppression as it relates to students’ civic engagement. We recognize that all stakeholders in the educational process (students, staff, faculty, community partners, etc.) contribute to one another’s learning and education.


o   Civic House believes that a participatory advocacy framework that focuses on long-term partnerships contributes to student learning and the potential for community impact. Civic House believes community voice is a crucial component in creating mutually beneficial partnerships.


o   Civic House believes that mentorship is cultivated by creating intentional and meaningful spaces for informal and formal relationships to grow. These relationships require time and recognition that mentorship is a two-way street.


o   Civic House believes that leadership is recyclable. Part of building leadership is to inspire and empower others to discover their own expertise, so they, in turn, can teach others. Our leadership model emphasizes listening and humility by recognizing the leadership of our community partners.

At the foundation of our house and work is the Social Justice Framework that we are working to infuse into all of our programs and all relationships with Civic House.

Civic House Social Justice Framework

  • Exploration of self-awareness and identity, including addressing issues of privilege, oppression, and power
  • Exploration of root causes of social issues including an analysis of intersecting injustices on individual, organizational, and institutional levels
  • Engagement in praxis – cycles of action and critical reflection meant to enhance learning and critical thinking and lead to thoughtful action
  • Exploration of different approaches to achieving justice
  • Emphasis on mutually beneficial collaborations with community members




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