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There is a buzz in Alabama about cultivating character in communities.  This is not new because character education has been a daily occurrence in schools here for years.  The current buzz about character, however, includes a culmination of recent initiatives led by institutions such as The Hope Institute, Samford University, the University of West Alabama and the University of Alabama. Celebrating this buzz, the Communities Cultivating Character (CCC) Conference brings together interested parties to connect, inform, and further motivate communities wanting to cultivate character in Alabama, as well as across the United States.  Teachers, educational leaders, and higher education scholars interested in moral and character development are invited to attend as are others interested in character and moral education more generally.

An obvious way to view communities for character is as schools where students’ characters are nurtured.  But we don’t need to stop there.  Participants and presenters are also encouraged to think beyond this, including for example, how adults and leaders in a school can develop moral growth mindsets involving a commitment to their own continuous growth and development.  After all, it might be said that character development starts by looking in the mirror.  Another way to think about communities cultivating character is to emphasize how different communities can come together around the aims of character development.  Indeed, this conference is an example of just that for bringing together practitioners and leaders in schools with scholars and researchers at universities.

Professor David Walker, Director, Center for the Study of Ethical Development

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