Pictures by David Ng

Civic participation in the United States, as measured by voter registration and turnout, by civic knowledge and interest, and by levels of confidence in government, continues to be a major problem. In addition to overall declines in civic engagement, the low participation of such marginalized groups as the young, communities of color, the poor, and immigrants shapes American government in ways that further disadvantages these groups. One of the Pat Brown Institute’s (Institute) overarching goals has been to expand civic engagement especially for marginalized groups. The Civic University (Civic U©) was conceptualized with the desire of having have Cal State LA serve as the Los Angeles’s premier democratic engagement partner.

The Civic University© (Civic U©), incubated in 2013, is the Institute’s newest program developed and operated in partnership with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. The Civic U© is a university-based program to educate members of the community as well as public officials and their staffs about the workings of Los Angeles City government. The Institute’s goals are to both make government more effective and to foster a sense of efficacy within the community about the possibility of effecting change at city hall.

Civic University Programs

Civic University – Introductory Program - Civic University provides an introductory education about local government. Participants will acquire a general understanding of a city’s charter and the structure of elected offices, commissions, and management positions.
Civic University – Cal State LA Certificated Program - Civic University participants receive an advanced understanding of who governs municipal entities, their services and budgets, and how neighborhoods groups can influence the budget process.

Civic University – Youth Program - Civic University participants receive an education about their community’s political geography, demographics, and voter turnout.