The Program for Liberal Arts and Civic Engagement

The Program for Liberal Arts and Civic Engagement (PLACE) connects the Linfield student experience with civic discourse and real-world application. The challenges associated with discerning fact from fiction and engaging those with different backgrounds and opinions have contributed to an increase in division and alienation in the United States and throughout the world. Linfield College is strongly committed to developing effective citizens and leaders who are able to listen, to empathize, and to think critically and creatively about complex social issues.

Each year, PLACE provides students the opportunity to:

  • Participate in innovative courses and assignments that bridge liberal arts education and civic engagement that are designed by PLACE Faculty Fellows.
  • Engage in specialized faculty-student interactions through initiatives like What’s the Big Idea, in which small groups from different disciplines discuss PLACE-related readings over a shared meal.
  • Apply and share knowledge through community engagement activities, speaking competitions such as TED-style PLACE Talks, and other volunteer opportunities.
  • Attend a range of civic-minded events from the Constitution Day program, to theater performances or art exhibitions, to Science Colloquium to small roundtable discussions though our Pizza and Politics series, or the Douglass Forum on Law, Rights, and Justice.
  • Acquire advanced leadership training and experience through PLACE student fellowships.  PLACE Student Fellows participate in leadership seminars, hold their own events, serve as community organizers, and are granted special access to guest speakers.  

To promote interdisciplinary inquiry and cross-campus civic engagement, each year the Linfield community selects a PLACE theme that provides a focal point for many of these discussions and activities.

This year’s theme is The Digital Citizen, in which we will explore questions such as “Is the Internet good for democracy?” and “How do we distinguish truth from falsehood in a digital age?”

In 2018-20, we will adopt the broad theme of Revolutions, in which we will explore questions including, "How have major social and political revolutionary movements transformed our social and cultural practices -- and are they necessarily good?” In 2019-2020, we will focus on the effects that radical changes in science and technology have had on day-to-day life.

In sum, PLACE helps Linfield students translate the academic knowledge and personal skills they are developing into applied settings and, in so doing, cultivates more effective citizens and future leaders.

If you have any questions, suggestions, or comments, please email us.