$300,000 over 36 months. As selective liberal arts colleges, the collaborating institutions assert that their coursework and co-curricular opportunities help students develop fundamental thinking and communication skills as well as an openness and flexibility of mind that contribute to greater awareness of and participation in the community. The proposed research project seeks to detail more precisely the relationship of students' intellectual growth—measured in terms of two skills central to a liberal arts education, writing and critical-thinking—and students' growth in civic engagement. The study aims to create an empirically based model of civic engagement, by exploring whether such factors as lowered materialism actually correlate with greater civic participation; by tracking actual participation of students and alumni; and by identifying college experiences that lead to greatest improvement. This research will require direct assessment of student work by faculty from the participating consortium schools. Through this collaborative, these six colleges will gain a better understanding of their students' level of achievement as they learn more of best practices in student learning and its assessment for their institutions.