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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. With its Doctoral Fellowships in Urban Practice, the UDL hosts visiting scholars from around the world whose work intersects with its own research areas. 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 comprises a number writing and education oriented initiatives throughout New York City: the course Adult Literacy and Social Change, which educates and supervises student volunteers who tutor adults in reading and writing at several partner sites; a weekly writing class at one of the partner sites, in which Gallatin undergraduates act as student-teachers; afterschool writing support at several public high schools with Gallatin undergraduates as mentors; The Literacy Review, an annual journal of the best writing from programs in adult literacy and English as a Second Language, which is edited, photographed, and designed by Gallatin students; and the annual day-long Literacy Review Workshops in Teaching Writing to Adults, in which Gallatin students participate.

For more information, contact June Foley, Senior Director, Writing Program.  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

Prison Education Program

Founded in early 2015, The Prison Education Program (PEP) at New York University is a university-wide initiative that is committed to providing access to higher education for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people, and seeks to model how a research university can advance solutions to real world challenges.

PEP is a college program that offers credit-bearing courses and educational programming leading to an Associate of Arts Degree from New York University in Liberal Studies to men incarcerated at Wallkill Correctional Facility, located in Ulster County, NY. By offering transferable credits and resources for developing critical skills and relationships, PEP is committed to supporting the educational and professional goals both for students in prison and upon their release.

In collaboration with the Prison Education Program, the Gallatin Writing Program teaches classes in creative writing and in editing at Wallkill Correctional Facility, and has published two volumes written and edited by PEP students, Broken Silence (2017) and VOICE (2018). The Gallatin Review, the student literary and visual arts journal, publishes writing by students at Wallkill Correctional Facility.

For more information about PEP visit or email

Big Walk

Big Walk

The BIG WALK is an annual "walking and talking" tour that introduces participants to the hidden and not-so-hidden stories embedded in New York City’s streets, buildings, parks, and neighborhoods. Directed by Professor Louise Harpman, an architect and urban designer, the BIG WALK guides students, faculty, staff, alums, and other urban enthusiasts along a new route each year. During the walk, the group stops at pre-selected checkpoints where experts offer brief commentary about the specific places and related urban topics. 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 for special private viewings during the course of the BIG WALK. 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