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CIRCLE Moves to Tisch College

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement is a national leader in scholarship about young people's civic and political participation.


Civic engagement research at Tufts University took a leap forward this month when the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), a nationally prominent, nonpartisan research organization, moved to Tisch College from its longtime home at the University of Maryland.

Founded in 2001, CIRCLE has become the leading source of authoritative research on civic and political engagement of Americans between the ages of 15 and 25 and serves as a clearinghouse on related information and scholarship.

Peter Levine, director of CIRCLE since 2006 and now based at Tisch College, said the move will significantly increase the potential of the Center and Tufts University to develop additional research.

“Tufts has great intellectual assets for the study of citizenship and civic engagement, and Tisch College offers an unparalleled opportunity to build on the work we do,” said Levine. “The institutional commitment to civic engagement by a top-rated research university like Tufts is great for CIRCLE because we see ourselves as playing a leadership role in drawing attention to citizenship.”

While CIRCLE’s research agenda continuously evolves, Levine expects the new affiliation will allow the organization to build on its core work, especially by being able to engage Tufts faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates. That work produces:

  • Special reports and books written by CIRCLE staff, grantees, and other research partners.
  • Working papers, which provide in-depth analyses on a full range of civic engagement topics. To date, 59 working papers have been produced, with many later published in scholarly journals.
  • Facts sheets, which can run to 20 pages each, providing detailed information on topics ranging from youth demographics and voting participation trends to K-12 education and immigration voting patterns.

In addition, CIRCLE provides training and technical assistance to organizations nationwide, primarily providers of services to youth. To date, it has worked with more than 300 such organizations.

Levine himself has authored six books, including The Future of Democracy: Developing the Next Generation of American Citizens, which is part of the Civil Society series published by Tufts University Press. In his new role, Levine will oversee the Civil Society series, as well as the annual Tufts Civic Engagement Research Prize.

Assisting him at Tisch College will be two researchers which he is in the process of hiring. Two other long-time staffers, associate researcher Emily Kirby and researcher and youth coordinator Abby Kiesa, will continue to be based in the Washington, D.C., area, giving them ready access to key constituencies that are important to CIRCLE.

“I am very excited about joining Tisch College and Tufts University,” said Levine. “Not only will it strengthen us financially and administratively, but it also will allow us to tap into the intellectual resources of Tufts.”

For more about CIRCLE, click here.