In examining the values that define communities, Contemporary Civilization allows students to engage in critical analysis and to explore how they themselves can become active and informed citizens. The CC Research Ambassador program allows students who have successfully completed Contemporary Civilization to consider the scholarship, investigation and community that Contemporary Civilization fosters early on in students’ time at Columbia; it provides an opportunity for students to consider how Contemporary Civilization informs their intellectual investigations in specific fields and/or areas of research, and it provides space to reflect on research at every stage and from every angle. By writing about and reflecting on research, and by building on students’ earlier exposure to texts covered in CC, this blog space allows students to consider research as an extension of their engagement with core texts. In so doing, students demystify the research process, allowing them to consider how research further strengthens the skills they developed in Contemporary Civilization. In writing about research, students will also assist departments and faculty in creating a culture of critical analysis and undergraduate research. Finally, this opportunity allows students to consider how research gives them the flexibility of mind required in any post-graduate plan they seek to pursue, a mission that is at the heart of Contemporary Civilization.
The CCRA blog is authored by Columbia undergraduate researchers, who are invited to reflect on all aspects of the research process and their own undergraduate research experiences, beginning (but not ending) with the Core.