• American Democracy Project

    American Democracy Project (ADP)—a network of 296 public colleges and universities serving 2.7 million students across 48 states plus the District of Columbia—is committed to preparing students with the knowledge, skills and experiences to be informed and engaged citizens. We have worked diligently to build civic engagement as a lifelong practice and to instill civic agency in our students and across our institutions. Read more.

    Project News

    National Constitution Day Conversation
    Are you pondering what are (or should be) the most compelling constitutional issues in a post-pandemic America? Join the National Constitution Day Conversation on September 17 at 1 p.m. ET/12 p.m. CT/11 a.m. MT/10 a.m. PT.

    Designed to reach across differences, this hour-long event, hosted by AASCU’s American Democracy Project and the New York Times, creates a space for open discussion of the U.S. Constitution. This national facilitated dialogue is based on the fundamental value of the pursuit of knowledge for the public good. We will provide access to information about the U.S. Constitution, but you need not be an expert to enjoy this event and to share in the lively conversation. Open to all higher education students, faculty, and staff. Bring your classes and student organizations, and join us for this national dialogue. Register Now

    Join Global Literacy Talks
    To help students become informed and engaged global citizens, AASCU has launched Global Literacy Talks in partnership with The New York Times and World101 from the Council on Foreign Relations.

    Using modules from the Council on Foreign Relations’  World101 website and timely pieces from  The New York Times , the series will bring together colleagues from across the country for civil discourse and to share their opinions and experiences. The program is open to all AASCU campuses, faculty, staff, and students.  

    Register for each session:

    September 9, 2020
    More than 160 AASCU presidents, provosts, faculty, staff, and students joined AASCU President Mildred García and former Secretary of State John Kerry and former Ohio Governor John Kasich on September 9 for a conversation about their World War Zero initiative, which is a coalition intent on driving 10 million climate conversations in 2020 and achieving net zero emissions by 2050. 

    Both Kerry and Kasich spoke with candor about the polarization we are facing in the current landscape; they encouraged voting, and especially student voter turnout, as the best way to motivate change and hold leaders accountable. The questions from the attendees covered a range of topics, including nuclear energy and how to effect larger-scale cultural change. García closed the program and spoke to the role of AASCU institutions as Stewards of Place and as partners in this work to create a more equitable and sustainable future. View the  webinar recording.

    August 17, 2020
    ADP is partnering with The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) to host a National Debate Watch Party! We’ll have interactive, moderated discussions done virtually and on campuses across the country on all nights of the presidential and vice presidential debates. If your campus wants to be included in the Debate Watch Parties, contact Cathy Copeland at CopelandC@aascu.org and provide the name and contact information for a coordinator for your Campus Debate Watch Party. To help prepare for the upcoming debates and election, we also will be hosting a series of free workshops on digital polarization/digital literacy, civil discourse, ideological bias via the 4Quad diagnostic, and voter education and engagement while also providing free toolkits and resources. 
    ADP is also pleased to promote two partnerships to its campuses. The Council on Foreign Relations will expand the World101: Global Civic Literacy initiative. Collaboratory will offer a free year of access to its library content and education teams. We encourage all of our ADP campuses to examine these two different initiatives and consider applying by September 17, 2020, to participate:

    May 15, 2020
    Due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, ADP and NASPA will present the  2020 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Meeting (CLDE20) in a virtual format. Join us on June 4–5, July 24, and September 11 as we foster deep connections and practice deliberative dialogue and responsible scholarship in an online format. The changes to higher education in the midst of the coronavirus crisis have been extraordinary, and we recognize that our roles in civic learning and democratic engagement will continue to change. The purposeful and practical approach of the Virtual CLDE20 offers a space to explore with our colleagues, strengthen our institutions, and design for the future. 

    January 6, 2020

    A Tribute to Dr. Burch

    We are saddened by the passing of Dr. Barbara Burch on January 4, 2020. Barbara served as provost at Western Kentucky University (WKU) from 1996-2010 and was one of initial group of provosts who helped launch ADP in 2003, showing extraordinary national leadership in the design, creation and ongoing development of ADP. In 2014, ADP created the "Barbara Burch Award for Faculty Leadership in Civic Engagement", which recognizes exemplary faculty leadership in advancing the civic learning and engagement of undergraduate students and advancing the work of ADP on campus and/or nationally. Barbara was an exceptional leader and mentor to so many on the WKU campus and across the ADP network. She was a champion of democracy and we are eternally grateful for her leadership. WKU has established a tribute page to share memories and to donate in her memory. Read more

    December 9, 2019
    We're excited to announce the winners of our 2019 Student Writing Contest with The New York Times! Caitlyn N.E. Moore from Indiana University South Bend won first place for her essay, " The Voice of the Silenced ." Shamecqua Moore of Farmingdale State College (N.Y.) won second place for her essay, " Nobody’s Game: Gun Violence While Politicians Play the Blame Game." Read more

    August 22, 2019
    The American Civic Collaboration Awards (Civvys) announce the American Democracy Project (ADP) as a 2019 finalist. Read more

    The Future of America’s Democracy Lies in its State Colleges and Universities

    Public college and university students will shape the future of America and our democracy. Students who attend public colleges and universities far outweigh those who attend private institutions. However, this sizeable and influential majority of students are not adequately equipped with the tools they need to graduate as engaged and informed citizen leaders.

    ADP, established in 2003 as a nonpartisan initiative of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) in partnership with The New York Times, was created to ensure that all students receive a quality civic  education.

    Students must have knowledge of the structures and processes of democracy. They must learn to develop civic skills of critical thinking, deliberation, thoughtful listening and dialogue, particularly with opposing views and perspectives. Students must have experiences with democratic processes, and they need to be able to reflect on those experiences. Civic education is particularly important for non-traditional students and those who do not come from privileged backgrounds, including women, students of color, and economically disempowered students.    

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    Email ADP to learn more about donating to American Democracy Project.

    Mail a check to:
    American Association of State Colleges and Universities
    ATTN: American Democracy Project                                                                       
    1717 Rhode Island Avenue NW, Suite 700
    Washington, D.C. 20036