The American Democracy Project (ADP) is a network of nearly 300 state colleges and universities focused on public higher education’s role in preparing the next generation to be informed and engaged in an equitable civil society. ADP was established in 2003 as a nonpartisan
initiative of AASCU in partnership with
The New York Times.
Civic Learning & Democratic Engagement - CLDE- is at the heart of our work and our CLDE community, programming and events ensure our students are prepared with the knowledge, skills and experiences to be fully engaged and informed, ready to tackle
current and future societal issues to ensure a thriving equitable democracy.
Since its inception, ADP has organized national and regional meetings; national programs, institutes, webinars, and workshops; and thousands of campus initiatives, including voter education and registration, curricular and co-curricular projects, professional development, special days of action and
reflection, speaker series, and award programs.
ADP’s work is a combination of national multi-campus initiatives managed from the AASCU office in Washington, D.C., and uniquely local activities developed and led by individual member campuses. An advisory steering committee made up of presidents, provosts, faculty and student affairs staff help further link the national leadership with the campuses and provide a sounding board and brain trust for current and new initiatives. Our Civic Fellows made up of faculty and subject experts from multiple disciplines and universities help inform our approaches, identify new civic engagement initiatives and provide support for faculty and staff development efforts.
ADP’s work on member campuses, through the national initiatives and at convenings, has reached into all areas of academic and student life. ADP has a proven track record of success. For example, our ability to bring together faculty from across disciplines and institutions, design and implement curricula that results in increased CAT (critical thinking) scores, and integrate deliberative dialogue speaks to the efficacy of our work. The national initiatives—including Global Civic Literacy, Re-Imagining Campus-Community Partnerships, the Economic Literacy Project, the Deliberative Dialogue Institute, Voter Education and Engagement, Digital Polarization, Global Challenges, Political Ideology Diagnostic, Science for Citizens, and Stewardship of Public Lands—along with the hundreds of campus activities focused on civic engagement, community service, speakers, deliberative dialogues and citizen outreach, drive ADP’s ability to create opportunities for millions of students across the country to develop the awareness, knowledge and skills needed to become informed and engaged citizens.
Public college and university students will shape the future of America and our democracy. AASCU institutions serve the nation’s largest number of regional-comprehensive institutions and educate the nation’s largest population of first-generation, low-income, Black, Latinx, indigenous students
and transfer students. Because we serve the new majority of America, equitable student success is a moral and economic imperative and AASCU’s commitment to closing equity gaps for Black, Latinx, Indigenous and low-income students is an urgent one. AASCU institutions are dream machines, forever altering the
trajectory of the lives of our students, their families, and directly contributing to a more competitive workforce and a stronger local and national economy. Our members represent 48 percent of public 4-year minority-serving institutions, enrolling 39 percent students of color at public 4-year
institutions (51 percent of African- Americans, 37 percent of all Hispanic, and 36 percent of American Indians), 39 percent of female students, 41 percent of students aged 25 or older, and 37 percent of part-time students and include 38 Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
It is imperative that students 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. They must have the desire to engage with their community to build a thriving and equitable democracy. 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.
ADP was created to ensure that all students receive a quality civic education. We strive to be sure that students are empowered to be engaged and to lead in the future of our democracy.
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
Director, The American Democracy Project