Political Science

Varner Hall, Room 418
371 Varner Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4485
(location map)
(248) 370-2352

The Center for Civic Engagement roll of stickers with American flags that say I Voted

“Civic engagement means to make a difference in the civic life of our communities and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make that difference. It means promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and nonpolitical processes.” – Thomas Ehrlich

“Civic engagement can take many forms, from individual volunteerism to organizational involvement to electoral participation. It can include efforts to directly address an issue, work with others in a community to solved a problem or interact with the institutions of representative democracy.” – The Pew Charitable Trusts

Center for Civic Engagement

At Oakland University we train scholars and future professionals. But more importantly, we help build informed and active citizens with an eye toward issues of public concern and importance locally, nationally and globally. Our students are empowered to think about dynamic solutions to tackle real-world problems. We challenge the status quo and train tomorrow’s leaders to collaboratively approach complicated problems and unearth new solutions that will move our communities forward.

The Oakland University Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) takes important issues of public concern and public policy out of the classroom and actively engages many different stakeholders — includes students, faculty, policy makers and community members — in non-partisan, deliberative and productive dialogue. Indeed, democracy is better served through respectful discussions about important issues.

In short, the Center for Civic Engagement acts as a “convener of conversations” on a variety of issues that impact the local, state and federal levels. These types of events are designed to lead to a more informed citizenry in the surrounding communities.

The Oakland University Center for Civic Engagement serves the OU and surrounding community by:

  • Informing the campus and community about important issues of public concern through non-partisan dialogue
  • Supporting and undertaking efforts to enhance civic engagement and civic literacy
  • Promoting research related to public policy to inform policy makers and the public
  • Encouraging student involvement in civic engagement and public policy through volunteerism, internships and experiential learning 

For more information on the Center for Civic Engagement, please contact Dave Dulio at ddulio@oakland.edu.

Community Engagement

The CCE translates academic knowledge into experiential learning by sending our students and faculty into the community to build solutions. As a “convener of conversations,” we invite and host policy experts to campus and create opportunities for the community to attend panels and engage with these experts. We provide forums for public dialogue to take place, host elected officials on campus to discuss important issues of the day, and work to take OU faculty into the community to share their expertise on a wide range of topics. Utilizing technology, these conversations are shared with an even larger audience through podcasts and social media channels. Where appropriate, CCE partners with community organizations — civic, nonprofit and other public organizations in southeastern Michigan and across the state — to expand our reach into different communities. We aim to help create a more informed citizenry and build democracy through non-partisan, respectful and deliberative discussions about important issues of public concern and policy.

Student Success

CCE enriches the student experience at Oakland University by actively engaging students in a variety of activities, including:

  • Individual volunteerism
  • Internships
  • Research opportunities
  • Political dialogue and discussion on policy issues as well as elections
  • And more

Students join and impact the conversation on a variety of important issues with academic programs from across the University. From education funding to health care accessibility, engineering regulation to business tax laws — public policy stretches across our campus and reaches into every industry in society. We challenge our students to work together to address complicated problems from an interdisciplinary framework, recognizing that expertise from many fields is needed to analyze and address complex situations.


Through the Center for Civic Engagement, faculty and students alike are offered the opportunity to share their talents and expertise with the community at large — this includes government agencies, nonprofit organizations, established industry and startup companies alike. Any and all stakeholders affected by an issue have the opportunity to learn from our experts and benefit from the comprehensive research compiled by faculty. Policy experts are also invited to the table to share their analysis of public issues. This allows the creation of a policy research clearinghouse and provides the opportunity for off-campus organizations to engage and request research support that would benefit their daily operations.