The Civic Engagement Scholars Program (CESP) is sponsored by the Dean of Students, the Offices of Civic and Community Engagement and Student Engagement & Leadership, and the Walter H. Capps Center for the Study of Ethics, Religion, and Public Life

The program is funded by a VOICE grant from the UC National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement.

CESP fosters ideals of active citizenship among students, engaging the next generation of leaders on issues that are of import to our campus and to the surrounding communities of Isla Vista, Goleta, and Santa Barbara. We create alliances with leaders and organizations in those communities to provide students with opportunities to develop their leadership and organizing skills and to affect measurable, positive change.

Our inaugural cohort of students launched the class in 2021-2022. Each year, students are enrolled in a three-quarter-long course, Seminar in Civic Engagement and Deliberative Democracy (RS 188ABC), which begins in Fall Quarter. During the first quarter of the course, students study the theoretical framework and historical background of civic engagement in the American university. While doing so, they engage in leadership development, learn skills for deliberative discourse, and design workshops incorporating these issues and skills. In the Winter and Spring, students deliver their designed workshops to the campus and to the Isla Vista, Goleta, and Santa Barbara communities. 

The course is taught by Dr. Katya Armistead (AVC and Dean of Student Life) and Dr. Viviana Marsano (Director of Civic and Community Engagement & Isla Vista Liaison).