• Civic Engagement Awards

    The American Democracy Project recognizes leadership in civic engagement on AASCU member campuses through five awards presented at the Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) conference in June. Our work to equip students with the knowledge, skills, and experiences to be informed and engaged, ready to tackle current and future issues to ensure a thriving and equitable democracy, is more important than ever. It is our honor to shine a light on the great work being done on AASCU ADP campuses. 

    American Democracy Project Awards


    The Burch Award is given in recognition of exemplary faculty leadership in advancing the civic learning and engagement of undergraduate students and the work of AASCU’s American Democracy Project on campus and/or nationally. The Burch Award is presented annually at CLDE to a tenured or contingent faculty member with more than five years of teaching experience on an AASCU campus who has demonstrated leadership in advancing the civic learning and engagement of undergraduates.

    The award recipient will receive a commemorative to acknowledge the national recognition. 

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    The Plater Award is given in recognition of exemplary leadership of an AASCU chief academic officer in advancing the civic learning of undergraduates through programs and activities that encourage greater knowledge, skills, experiences, and reflection about the role of citizens in a democracy.

    The award recipient will receive an engraved commemorative to acknowledge the national recognition. At the awardee’s discretion, the award can also be presented at a suitable occasion on the recipient’s campus, ordinarily in the fall semester following selection. 

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    The Saltmarsh Award is given in recognition of exemplary early-career leaders who are advancing the wider civic engagement movement in higher education grounded in community-campus collaboration to build a broader public culture of democracy committed to equity.

    The award recipient will receive a commemorative to acknowledge the national recognition, will be asked to be an advisor to ADP’s executive director, will have ex officio seat on the ADP Steering Committee, and can meet quarterly with John Saltmarsh and the ADP director. 

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    The Spirit of Democracy Award is given in recognition of exemplary leadership from staff (non-faculty, non-senior administrator) in advancing the civic learning and engagement of undergraduate students and the work of AASCU’s American Democracy Project on campus and/or nationally. The Spirit of Democracy Award is presented annually at CLDE to a staff member who has been affiliated for more than five years on an AASCU campus and who has demonstrated leadership in advancing the civic learning and engagement of undergraduates. 

    The award recipient will receive a commemorative to acknowledge the national recognition. 

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    ADP believes that intentional and strong civic engagement work builds from a supportive and inclusive community. Because of this, we created an award that honors a team commitment to civic engagement work. This award recognizes teams engaged in meaningful and deep civic engagement work. 

    This award will be presented to a team. For the purposes of this award, teams consist of three or more faculty, staff, administrators, and/or students from the same or multiple AASCU institution(s). The team needs to submit an application that explains their work, how it strengthens ADP, and how it contributes to creating students to be informed and engaged citizens in our democracy. All members of the team must be affiliated with an AASCU institution.

    The award recipients will receive a commemorative to acknowledge the national recognition. 

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    Civic Engagement Award Decision Tree

    Each electronic application asks for the following information to be supplied:

    • Contact information for the nominee and the nominator;
    • Contact information and an uploaded endorsement from campus leadership;
    • A biography, resume, or curriculum vita of the nominee(s);
    • Additional documents that provide examples of how the nominee (or team) helps to advance the civic learning of undergraduate students and how they infuse equity into their civic and community engagement work.

    The electronic submissions must be uploaded by COB on Friday, April 29, 2022. Please contact  Cathy Copeland with questions. 

    AASCU Excellence and Innovation Awards

    Starting in 2017, as part of its Excellence and Innovation Awards program, AASCU has recognized one or two campuses annually with the Civic Learning and Community Engagement Award. 

    • Civic Learning and Community Engagement Award: The Civic Learning and Community Engagement Award honors institutions that demonstrate a strategic commitment to prioritizing, institutionalizing and advancing student civic learning and community engagement in regional, state and/or national communities. This award recognizes colleges/universities that are working to develop campus cultures that recognize and reward engagement that (1) fosters student learning and civic skill building; (2) rewards faculty teaching and scholarship for civic purposes and with engaging pedagogies and practices; and (3) partners meaningfully with community members and organizations to solve pressing problems and build more just and equitable communities. 


ACADEMIC INNOVATION AND TRANSFORMATION