• Programs and Initiatives

    ADP’s work is a combination of national multi-campus initiatives managed by its national office at AASCU in Washington, D.C., and uniquely local activities developed and managed by individual member campuses. ADP’s national office collaborates with ADP institutions and partners to design campus-centered activities and materials for the larger network’s use in promoting civic learning and democratic engagement. Since its founding in 2003, ADP has launched programs and initiatives that are collaboratively developed and piloted by a working group of cross-campus faculty and staff and then scaled to the full network of ADP campuses. Current programs and initiatives include: 

    • Civic Solutions: Problem-Solving Through the Up to Us Case Competition: This program aims to increase students’ understanding of the connections between fiscal policy and key issue areas through teamwork and creative problem-solving. Students will be asked to propose creative yet practical solutions that consider the often competing—yet critical—aspects of the policymaking process: sound policy development, prudent fiscal management, and long-term political feasibility.

    • Constructive Dialogue: Fostering Trust, Curiosity, and Deeper Learning in the Classroom: Designed in partnership with OpenMind, this initiative will explore how faculty can foster civil discourse and deliberative dialogue within their classrooms and throughout their campuses.

    • Re-Imagining Campus Community Partnerships: ADP offers institutions the unique opportunity to collaborate and deepen their understanding of community engagement. Together, Collaboratory and ADP will provide the tools and resources for participating institutions to build a community of practitioners to help define community engagement and share effective strategies and approaches, use data to deepen work with community partners and identify the most effective community partnerships and models to address pressing issues in the community, better tell their story qualitatively and quantitatively, provide individual campus and aggregate evidence of how civic community engagement is operationalized against learning outcomes, identify concrete engagement trends and patterns, be prepared for accreditation and Carnegie applications, and have access to centralized engagement data and reports.   

    • Extending Empathy Project: On the Way to Tulsa: Led by members of the Illinois State University community who were deeply concerned about the growing lack of empathy we are witnessing across multiple levels of our culture, including personal interaction, group communication, and political discourse, this ADP initiative will provide a series of interdisciplinary instructional colloquia for faculty across the country who want to learn the science and practice of extending empathy to encourage others to do the same across disciplines, in the classroom, and in daily life in general.

    • Digital Polarization: The Digital Polarization Initiative is a national, cross-institutional effort to improve student civic and digital literacy by teaching students to fact check, annotate and contextualize information they encounter online, including emergent news stories promulgated by social media.  

    • Measuring the Campus Civic Climate: With leadership from the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education at Tufts University, ADP performed a research-to-practice initiative to improve student political learning and participation in democracy. Through this two-year initiative, 12 campuses tested tools to assess campus climates for political learning and engagement. The compiled report was published in Issue 10.3 of the eJournal of Public Affairs in 2021.

    • Reframing Political Discourse: The Four-Quadrant Ideology Diagnostic is designed to break down the ideological stereotyping that students and others do about themselves and others in terms of public-policy issues and offers a guide to productive political discourse. Together with other ADP initiatives, this effort is working to ensure that undergraduates have the knowledge, skills and attributes to be actively and responsibly involved in public policy issues and politics. The link will take you to their website to access a more thorough introduction and resources that outline ways to use the diagnostic.

    • Science for Citizens: Science for Citizens is an online curriculum designed to enhance scientific literacy. Developed in collaboration with Smart Sparrow with funding from the Teagle Foundation in 2018, the course uses a series of case studies to engage students in the practice of evaluating claims, both ordinary and extraordinary, by introducing students to scientific concepts, scientific processes and the differentiation of science from non-science (or pseudoscience).  

    • Stewardship of Public Lands: Stewardship of Public Lands, ADP’s oldest ongoing initiative, engages faculty in an annual professional development seminar in Yellowstone National Park designed to help them teach students how conflicts are adjudicated, managed and resolved in a democracy.

    • Voter Education and Engagement: ADP seeks to increase the collective capacity of campuses to prepare students for meaningful and informed engagement in civic and political life in a number of ways; look to our Voter Education and Engagement page for more information. This program initially evolved in the lead up to the 2018 elections when ADP partnered with the James Madison Center for Civic Engagement at James Madison University (Va.) to support campuses engaged in nonpartisan voter registration, education and engagement efforts. The Madison Center created a website for election-related and other resources and an archive of webinars. 

    To learn about ADP's prior work, please visit our  Past Programs and Initiatives page .