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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)Placing Urban Histories. For more information on the Urban Democracy Lab, visit or email

Ron Haviv/VII

New Yorkers in Times Square on the evening of a presidential election. (c) Ron Haviv/VII

Summer Photojournalism Lab

In Summer 2016, Gallatin professor Lauren Walsh and renowned photojournalist Ron Haviv will lead an intensive photojournalism and documentary photography workshop in which NYU students and recent Gallatin alumni will be trained as visual documentarians. The thematic focus is “Democracy in New York City.”

Skills taught include how to write and promote a project proposal for professional publication; developing a better eye (and better camera skills) for taking stronger pictures; how to think like an editor and edit down to the essential photos; and developing a personal project that has resonance with larger social matters.

For more information, visit the Summer Photojournalism Lab web page and contact Gallatin's Office of Global Programs at or 212.998.7133.

Participants at Literacy Review Workshop

The Literacy Project

The Gallatin Writing Program’s Literacy Project expands on the Literacy in Action course (co-sponsored by the Community Learning Initiative), 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.

Community Learning Initiative - CLI

CLI courses bridge the gap between the classroom and the outside world by creating partnerships with community-based organizations, groups and individuals—as well as other NYU programs—in addressing real-world problems and devising and implementing practical solutions.

CLI gives students a chance to combine community-based action with intensive reflection, to explore the relation between theory and practice and to develop skills and knowledge that will contribute to social change as well as to intellectual and personal growth.

Through its courses, CLI brings together community mapping, experiential learning, participatory action research, and grassroots organizing, in an effort to increase the capacity and participation of local communities toward a more equitable and democratic society. In addition, CLI offers co-curricular programs, film screenings, workshops and project grants to provide numerous opportunities for engagement, reciprocity and reflection. For many CLI courses, students engage in group community projects as part of their course work and receive academic credit both for their engagement and reflection on the work. Courses include Shifting Focus: Video Production and Community Activism; Policy, Community, and Self; and Cultural Mapping for Social Change.

The Prison Education Program - PEP

The Prison Education Program (PEP) at New York University is committed to providing access to higher education for people in prisons and jails.

PEP views the promotion of higher education opportunities for those experiencing incarceration as a contribution to the creation of a more humane and just society, and as a reflection of NYU's commitment to public service. PEP currently offers academic courses leading to an AA degree in Liberal Studies at Wallkill Correctional Facility and provides students with post-release education support. For more information about PEP visit or email

Gallatin Internships

Community-oriented internships can be arranged in all areas, including education, youth services, rehabilitation services, and the arts and social services. For more information, contact Director of External Programs Faith Stangler at 212-998-7376,