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Civic Engagement

At Gallatin, civic engagement refers to innovative and collaborative models of learning that reflect active participation in the communities outside our classrooms; the development of scholarship that is directly useful for practitioners, as well as other scholars; and a self-reflexive, critical analysis of ourselves and our place in civil society. We take a global perspective on civic engagement and encourage our students and faculty to explore the meaning of citizenship across national boundaries.

Students will find a number of opportunities at Gallatin to engage in community action, often through specially designed course work.


UDL logo

The Urban Democracy Lab

The Urban Democracy Lab was established in January of 2014 with the aim of providing a space for scholars, students, and practitioners to collaborate and exchange ideas for cultivating just, sustainable, and creative urban futures.

In addition to hosting panel discussions, lectures, and hands-on workshops, the Lab sponsors the Gallatin Global Fellowship in Urban Practice for advanced students pursuing original research in cities around the world. It has also spearheaded courses in urban practice, including “Tools for Social Change,” “The Politics and Anti-Politics of NGOs,” “The Public Conversation on the Urban Environment,” and “(Dis)Placed Urban Histories.” For more information on the Urban Democracy Lab, visit or email


Participants at Literacy Review Workshop

The Literacy Project

The Gallatin Writing Program’s Literacy Project expands on the Literacy in Action course, which educates and supervises student volunteers who tutor adults in reading and writing at several partner sites in New York City.

The Literacy Project sponsors a weekly writing class, with Gallatin undergraduates as student-teachers, at one of the partner sites; supervises Gallatin students in internships as afterschool writing mentors at the High School for Dual Language and Asian Studies; publishes The Literacy Review, an annual journal of the best writing from programs in adult literacy; and sponsors the annual day-long Literacy Review Workshops in Teaching Writing to Adults. For more information, contact Writing Program Director June Foley, 212-998-7359 or

Great World Texts

Great World Texts

Great World Texts is a collaboration between Gallatin Writing Program faculty, Gallatin undergraduates, and New York City public high school teachers and students. Each year students study a canonical work or contemporary classic.

Through a special tutorial, Gallatin undergraduates discuss the text, learn about social and pedagogical issues, and become mentors in the high schools. Over the course of the semester, mentors facilitate the study of the text using complementary multimedia classroom resources created by the faculty adviser. The semester culminates in a public performance at which the high school students share writing projects inspired by the book.

Prison Education Program

The Prison Education Program (PEP) at New York University was founded in early 2015 and is committed to providing access to higher education for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people.

PEP currently offers academic courses leading to an Associate of Arts degree in Liberal Studies at Wallkill Correctional Facility. PEP also provides students with re-entry support following their release from prison. For more information about PEP visit or email

Big Walk

Big Walk

The BIG WALK is an annual, all-day walking tour that introduces participants to the hidden and not-so-hidden stories embedded in New York City’s streets and neighborhoods. Launched by Professor Louise Harpman, an architect and urban designer, the BIG WALK guides students, faculty, staff, alums, and other urban enthusiasts along pathways as diverse as Broadway, from start to finish; Fifth Avenue, from north to south; the complete perimeter of Roosevelt Island; and along the waterfront in Manhattan and Brooklyn. At regular stops along the routes, expert guests address a variety of related urban topics, such as gentrification, zoning, luxury branding and racial exclusion, poetry in the city, public art, and the legacies of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs. Historic sites and cultural institutions, such as the Morris-Jumel Mansion, Dyckman Farmhouse, and the Map Room at the New York Public Library, have welcomed BIG WALK participants as they explore the city. The BIG WALK is a signature Gallatin event, and is co-sponsored by the Urban Democracy Lab and the student-run Gallatin Design Collective.

Gallatin Internships

Through Gallatin’s Internship Program you can engage in community-oriented internships for academic credit in many areas including education, youth services, social justice and the arts. For more information on how to apply for credit-bearing internships in the not-for-profit sector visit the Internship Webpage or contact the Senior Director for Academic Internships, Nancy Rubino, at 212-992-8706,