History of CCSR
The center (formerly named the Center for the Advancement of Ethics & Character) was founded by Dr. Kevin Ryan in 1989 as the first ethics center in the country to focus on the education of teachers. Built on the belief that character education is an essential and inescapable mission of schools, the CCSR has enabled thousands of educators from rural, urban, and suburban communities to help students develop excellence of mind and character. Believing, too, that a reservoir of moral wisdom exists in great literature, works of art, history, mathematics, and science, the CCSR helps teachers mine curricula for lessons that will inspire students to want to internalize virtues such as integrity, responsibility, courage, compassion, and self-discipline. An internationally recognized research institute, the CCSR has consulted with school leaders and educators from numerous countries, including Canada, Brazil, Australia, Ireland, Japan, and the Philippines, and has served as advisor and professional development provider to school communities and several state departments of education in the United States.
Why social responsibility?
“On April 21, 2009, President Obama signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, the most sweeping expansion of national service in a generation. Its swift bipartisan journey through Congress reflected a national consensus that service is a powerful response to the economic and social challenges facing America today. This landmark law is making America stronger by focusing service on key national issues; expanding opportunities to serve; building the capacity of individuals, nonprofits, and communities to succeed; and by encouraging innovative approaches to solving problems.” [nationalservice.gov]
Social responsibility, understanding and serving the needs of your community, is not tested on mandated assessments. However, it is essential that educators (kindergarten – higher education) incorporate the development of social responsibility into the classroom, connecting community service and academia. Educators may teach a course on social justice or integrate a service-learning project into the curriculum in order to address social responsibility.
As Dean Hardin Coleman expressed in the first edition of the CCSR Newsletter, “it is hard to pick up a newspaper, a journal, or turn on the news (via internet, radio, or television) without seeing evidence of the need for character education. Whether it is the misuse of information gained over the internet, the bullying of others over reasons of perceived difference, or the willingness to take advantage of others for financial gain, we see the failure of moral vision. We also see evidence of hope. We see the increase of service learning programs in schools. We see large numbers of college seniors who are turning to service opportunities for their post-college plans. These contrasting realities are precisely why we need a Center at which these issues are discussed and to which seeks to facilitate the development of practices in schools focused on character and social responsibility.”