About the Public Life Project


Coffman student union lawn.


Public life in the United States today is fractured and often even toxic. Individuals and communities find it difficult, if not impossible to connect across political, religious, and regional lines. And these differences have made their way onto campuses across the country, presenting new challenges for student life, classroom learning, and vibrant intellectual exchange. We believe that a strong liberal arts education can help to address these challenges head-on.

CLA’s ten core competencies prepare our undergraduates for meaningful careers as well as public and private lives. They formalize what has been at the heart of the liberal arts curriculum for decades. The Public Life Project will provide specific experiences for students to intentionally develop the competencies that are needed most to create a just, equitable and antiracist society -- such as Active Citizenship and Community Engagement, Engaging Diversity, and Oral and Written Communication.

The courses, co-curricular experiences, teaching workshops, research, and public events of The Public Life Project Initiative come together in service of enriching the student experience at the University of Minnesota’s College of Liberal Arts. And that student experience provides the knowledge and habits for a life of learning and public service.


Contact Email
Doug Hartmann, director

Professor and chair, Department of Sociology
Ruthvin Gardiner

Research assistant and graduate student, Humphery School of Public Affairs

Mathew Krelitz

Undergraduate research assistant, Department of Sociology


Affiliated Faculty

Contact Email
Elisia Cohen

Professor and director, Hubbard School of Journalism & Mass Communication
Paul Goren

Professor and chair, Department of Political Science
Ron Greene

Professor and chair, Department of Communication Studies
Karen Ho

Professor, Department of Anthropology
Kathleen Hull

Professor, Department of Sociology
William P. Jones

Beverly and Richard Fink Professor, Department of History
Ascan Koerner

Associate dean for undergraduate education and professor, Department of Communication Studies
Howard Lavine

Associate dean for social sciences and Arleen C. Carlson Professor, Department of Political Science
Josephine Lee

Professor, Department of English
Christopher Phelan

Professor and chair, Department of Economics
Valerie Tiberius

Professor, Department of Philosophy