The Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs (HECUA) is a consortium of colleges and universities that share a commitment to authentic and reciprocal academic-community partnerships for social change. Some member schools have been part of the consortium for over 40 years, while others have recently joined. Each member institution has its own distinct identity and story, but all share in creating and sustaining HECUA learning communities in the United States and around the world.
Through the years, HECUA member institutions have been leaders in experiential education, innovative study abroad, community-academic internships, transformative teaching and learning models, and civic and global engagement.
As a founding member of HECUA, the history and mission of the consortium and that of Augsburg College are intrinsically linked. Augsburg strives to educate students to be informed citizens of the community so that they may become responsible leaders wherever their lives may take them. The college encourages all students to learn outside the classroom through such avenues as service learning, internships, fieldwork and study abroad. It also works to educate its students to be informed citizens, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders.
Inspired by Lutheran scholarly tradition and the liberal arts, Augustana provides students with an education meant to challenge the intellect and foster the integration of learning and service to the community. The focus on combining education and community engagement is also a mainstay of the HECUA mission, which encourages students to call upon both classroom and real-world experience in order to act as effective citizens and agents of change.
Bethel University was a founding member of HECUA and had an active role in shaping the consortium’s priorities and mission from 1969 to 1974. Although Bethel chose to take a less formal role in the consortium after 1974, ties remained between the two organizations. Three Bethel students were awarded paid summer internships through HECUA’s grant-funded Partners Internship Program between 2001 and 2010, and nine Bethel students have participated in HECUA’s academic programs since the early days of the Crisis Colony. In 2014, Bethel rejoined the consortium as a full member, tying the HECUA mission to its own efforts around racial justice, inequality, and peace and reconciliation.
Carleton College strives to be a collaborative community that encourages intellectual curiosity and learning of the highest quality. The college works to develop qualities of mind and character that prepare students to be citizens and leaders capable of finding solutions to local and global challenges. Over the decades, Carleton and HECUA have worked in tandem to challenge students to embrace and enter the world that surrounds them, participate in meaningful community building, and collaborate with peers, faculty, and practitioners to be thoughtful and fully engaged learners and citizens.
College of St. Scholastica
Shaped by the Catholic Benedictine heritage, which values community, hospitality, respect, stewardship, and love of learning, the College of St. Scholastica provides intellectual and moral preparation for responsible living and meaningful work. St. Scholastica emphasizes the civic mission of higher education and seeks to foster intentional learning and collaborative action so that its graduates may better serve and lead their communities. Through HECUA, St. Scholastica students have opportunities to practice and live out service and leadership for their communities and the world.
At Colorado College the goal is to provide students with the finest liberal arts education in the country. Drawing upon the adventurous spirit of the Rocky Mountain West, Colorado College challenges students to develop habits of intellect and imagination that will prepare them for learning and leadership throughout their lives. Through HECUA, Colorado College students are able to explore different ways of learning and developing leadership skills by connecting with faculty and prominent community members in an educational and hands-on setting.
Denison University seeks to inspire and educate its students to become autonomous thinkers, discerning moral agents, and active citizens of a democratic society. As a community of learners, Denison emphasizes active learning and seeks to fully engage students in their liberal arts education. Denison University and HECUA are partners in encouraging students to have compassion that is unlimited by cultural, racial, sexual, religious or economic barriers and be effective agents of change.
Gustavus Adolphus College
The purpose of a Gustavus Adolphus education is to help students attain their full potential as persons, to develop in them a capacity and passion for lifelong learning, and to prepare them for fulfilling lives of leadership and service in society. The Gustavus community is made up of students, faculty and staff from diverse backgrounds who respect the dignity of all people. Just as HECUA brings together higher education and community for social change, Gustavus fosters learning and experiences that allow students to work towards a just and peaceful world.
Hamline University was a founding member of HECUA in 1971 and has been a leader throughout the consortium’s history, maintaining steady enrollments in programs, active participation on the board of directors, and faculty involvement in committees and collaborative initiatives. HECUA offices were located on the Hamline campus from 1985-2001, and Hamline has been integral to the administrative work of the consortium by providing transcripts for program participants who are enrolled at non-consortium schools.
Knox College – Affiliate Member
Knox College joined HECUA as a consortium member in 2016. Knox College is committed to providing “an environment where students and faculty work closely together and where teaching is characterized by inviting and expecting students to pursue fundamental questions in order to reach their own reflective but independent judgments.” This approach to teaching and learning complements HECUA’s commitment to pedagogy that speaks openly of values of justice in classrooms and communities, and creates a space for students to see that they are capable of change. Additionally, Knox is the first college or university in the country to have an official Peace Corps Preparatory Program, a program aligned with the goals of the Peace Corps under its charter. This program and Knox College’s mission demonstrate a clear commitment to preparing students for lives of ongoing intercultural exchange and service. HECUA is proud to play a role in this work by offering Knox students the opportunity to thoughtfully engage the role of US citizens abroad through semester-long program in Northern Ireland, Italy, and Norway.
Macalester College is recognized for its special emphasis on internationalism, multiculturalism, and service to society. Macalester strives for excellence and opportunity in educating students and fosters student engagement in the diverse and vibrant urban communities that surround the college. As a founding member of HECUA, Macalester has helped shape the consortium’s mission of social justice and focus on community-based learning in local, national, and international contexts.
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota joined HECUA in 1977, just six years after the consortium was founded. The institution has been an active member with steady student enrollments, participation on the board of directors, and involvement in committees and consortium initiatives. Board members from Saint Mary’s University have served HECUA in leadership roles including Vice President of the Board, Personnel Committee, Risk Management Task Force, and Scholarship Committee.
St. Catherine University
Since its foundation, St. Catherine University has sought to educate women to be courageous and transformational leaders in their communities. Grounded in the Catholic tradition of intellectual inquiry and social teaching, St. Catherine challenges and supports students of diverse backgrounds to be reflective thinkers and to search out and participate in efforts that advance social justice. As a founding member of HECUA, St. Catherine University has been a long and trusted partner in equipping students with the knowledge and skills to create just communities and societies at home and abroad.
St. Olaf College
St. Olaf College, a college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), seeks to provide an education committed to the liberal arts, rooted in the Christian Gospel, and reflective of diverse and global perspectives. St. Olaf focuses on critical inquiry and expression, offering a distinctive environment that integrates teaching, scholarship, and creative action. As partners in learning, St. Olaf and HECUA collaborate on challenging students to be responsible and knowledgeable citizens of the world, and creating higher education institutions that foster community building and social justice.
Swarthmore College, founded by the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), holds strong to a special set of unique values in higher education: to find nonviolent solutions to conflicts and differences, to help others through service, to promote social and economic justice, to have kindness in daily living, and to support of each other’s search for that of God within. Moreover, Friends/Quakers have long recognized the equality of women and men. HECUA’s mission aligns with these lived values in the area of education for equity and justice.
University of Minnesota (Twin Cities, Duluth, Morris, Crookston, Rochester)
The University of Minnesota, founded in the belief that all people are enriched by understanding, is dedicated to the advancement of learning, effective citizenship, and pursuit of the common good. As a land grant institution, the university has a calling to open its doors as widely as possible. As a research institution, it has a special responsibility to address the economic, cultural, political, and environmental challenges that face the nation and the world. Since the beginning of HECUA, the university has played a central role in assisting the consortium in reaching students who might not otherwise be enrolled in higher education or participating in off campus programs.
Today, HECUA has two front doors into the life of the University: the Center for Communty-Engaged Learning (CCEL) and the Learning Abroad Center (LAC). Both the CCEL and the LAC are located on the Twin Cities campus but serve students from any campus in the University of Minnesota system.
University of St. Thomas
Rooted in the Catholic tradition, the University of St. Thomas seeks to prepare students to be morally responsible leaders, who think critically, act wisely, and work skillfully to advance the common good. A founding member and continuing leader of HECUA, the university has worked together with HECUA to embody the civic mission of higher education and foster intentional learning and collaborative action, an education that helps students build the skills to become active and responsible citizens.
Beloit College – Affiliate Member
HECUA and Beloit staff have been aware for over a decade of their mutual deep-rooted commitment to community-based learning and action in the world. When the option of affiliate membership in the consortium was developed, Beloit College was a member of the first group of colleges and universities invited.
Concordia College – Affiliate Member
Concordia College is nationally recognized for its strong curriculum in the global liberal arts, including instruction in nine world languages and a significant number of students who study abroad. Concordia welcomes students from a variety of backgrounds who seek to understand what it means to live in a global society and are passionate about making a difference in their communities. The college’s mission is to “influence the affairs of the world by sending into society thoughtful and informed men and women dedicated to the Christian life.” Concordia is one of 26 colleges and universities associated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).
Minneapolis Community and Technical College – Affiliate Member
Minneapolis Community & Technical College’s (MCTC) vision is to be an institution that transforms the community by educating students who are globally aware, engaged citizens, skillful at their work and lifelong learners. MCTC joined HECUA as an affiliate member to act on a shared commitment to civil rights education andto explore other common goals, such as assessing student learning in civic participation. MCTC and HECUA have been collaborating on the Race in America program since 2006, when MCTC professor Lena Jones (Political Science) was invited to direct the program.
Northland College – Affiliate Member
Northland College is a private liberal arts college with a focus on the environment and sustainability. Its distinctive curriculum emphasizes environmental and real-world challenges and prepares students to create a more sustainable and just future. Northland was an institutional member of HECUA from 1977 to 1984, and led the consortium’s earliest efforts to integrate environmental and social justice teaching and learning. In 2015, Northland re-joined HECUA to expand its off campus and international program offerings, and provide students with immersive, community-based learning opportunities within an environmental justice and social change framework.
Peace and Justice Studies Association – Affiliate Member
The Peace and Justice Studies Association (PJSA) is a non-profit organization that was formed in 2001 as a result of a merger of the Consortium on Peace Research, Education and Development (COPRED) and the Peace Studies Association (PSA). Both organizations provided leadership in the broadly defined field of peace, conflict, and justice studies. PJSA is dedicated to bringing together academics, K-12 teachers, and grassroots activists to explore alternatives to violence and share visions and strategies for peacebuilding, social justice, and social change. PJSA and HECUA formed a partnership in 2005.
University of San Francisco – Affiliate Member
The history, mission, and values of the University of San Francisco (USF) and HECUA are closely linked. The University of San Francisco seeks to fashion a more humane and just world, and that mission is rooted in Jesuit values, comes alive in the university’s diverse learning community, and is broadened by a global orientation. Students at USF are challenged to reach higher standards and to use their education to promote justice and serve the common good.
University of Wisconsin-Madison – Affiliate Member
The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s International Academic Programs office believes that “Study Abroad is an integral part of the learning experience at UW-Madison; that Study Abroad Programs enhance students’ personal, academic, and professional development; and that Study Abroad not only enriches the lives of those who participate by fostering their development as global citizens, but also positively enriches the lives of the greater UW and Wisconsin communities and the communities IAP cooperates with abroad.” HECUA strongly echoes these beliefs in our quest to offer academically strong, community-based programs that encourage the positive development of all involved–personally, academically, and professionally.
Winona State University – Affiliate Member
Winona State University offers undergraduate programs based on the traditions and values of the arts and sciences and an array of graduate and professional programs that are especially responsive to the needs of the Upper Midwest. Through HECUA programs, Winona State University students will put those values into practice in the Twin Cities metro area and beyond. HECUA’s experiential, immersive approach to education supports Winona State University’s commitment to prepare graduates to serve generously, lead responsibly, and respond imaginatively and creatively to the challenges of their work, their lives, and their communities.