Recommitment to AASCU’s American Democracy Project

At this critical juncture in the nation’s history, we invite all AASCU member institutions to commit to the American Democracy Project.

Make your commitment.

AASCU’s American Democracy Project creates engaged global citizens for a just society.

For over 20 years, AASCU’s non-partisan American Democracy Project (ADP) has engaged thousands of campus leaders, faculty, staff, and students in a broad network of regional public universities to instill all students with knowledge and skills, preparing them to be informed and engaged global citizens, empowered to create a more just society and world.

At this critical juncture in the nation’s history, we invite all AASCU member institutions to commit to the American Democracy Project.

ADP campuses are committed to the nonpartisan project of preparing students who are ready to participate and lead effectively as global citizens in a multicultural society. They model open, democratic engagement on important issues from multiple perspectives for the communities and regions that they serve. ADP institutions foster an ethos of civic-mindedness throughout the institution; make civic learning and democratic engagement an expectation for every student; practice civic inquiry across the curriculum; and advance civic action through democratic processes and practices.*

*Based on the key recommendations for higher education in A Crucible Moment: College Learning & Democracy’s Future (AAC&U, 2012). 

ADP Testimonials

Students, faculty, staff, and administrators shared their experiences with ADP at the Civic Learning & Democratic Engagement Meeting in June 2023.

Watch playlist.
Thank you

We celebrate the institutions who have already committed to AASCU’s American Democracy Project.

Confirmed committments.
Commit Now

If your institution has not yet committed, we invite you to encourage your president/chancellor or provost to do so via this form.

Make your commitment.

We recognize that this work requires thoughtful conversation, so please reach out to Cathy Copeland, director of ADP, with any concerns.

Contact us.

AASCU recognizes that each institution engages in ADP according to its unique mission, history, and context.

ADP campuses have access to:

  • A broad network of leaders, faculty, staff, and students who share resources and generate collaborative research and scholarship
  • Regular convenings, including at the annual Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement meeting
  • Professional and leadership development to help leaders at all levels to create, maintain, and lead civic-minded institutions
  • ADP’s extensive national partners network
  • Opportunities to participate in grant-funded national projects, programs, workshops, writing circles, and other initiatives to help them achieve their mission

What does it mean to commit to the American Democracy Project?

  • President/Chancellor, Provost or designee completes this simple form.
  • Campus must be an AASCU member
  • Annually, the campus identifies someone to serve as ADP coordinator, the liaison between AASCU and the campus
  • Campus participates in regular assessment of ADP impact

We commit to the American Democracy Project.

At this critical juncture in history, we invite all AASCU member institutions to commit to AASCU’s American Democracy Project
to prepare students to be engaged global citizens in a multicultural society and world.

Check to see if your institution has committed.

On behalf of my institution, I commit to the nonpartisan goals of AASCU’s American Democracy Project:

  • Make civic learning and democratic engagement an expectation for every student
  • Integrate civic inquiry across the curriculum
  • Model open, democratic engagement from multiple perspectives
  • Foster an ethos of civic-mindedness
  • Advance civic action through democratic processes and practices

My institution will identify an ADP liaison and participate in regular assessment of civic engagement impact. As an American Democracy Project campus, my institution will have access to:

  • Recognition as part of the American Democracy Project network
  • Resources, national partners network, conferences, and grant-funded projects
  • Professional and leadership development to help leaders (at all levels) create, maintain and lead civic minded institutions


Role on Campus(Required)

Point of Contact

Please provide a name and e-mail for a point of contact between the national American Democracy Project office and your campus.
From the American Democracy Project Archives
The original ADP logo.

The New York Times salutes The American Association of State Colleges and Universities on the completion of the first year of the American Democracy Project for Civic Engagement  See ad.

All smiles with ADP co-founder George Mehaffy at the 2023 Academic Affairs Summer Meeting in Baltimore.
All smiles with ADP co-founder George Mehaffy at the 2023 Academic Affairs Summer Meeting in Baltimore.
Faculty and staff participating in Stewardship of Public Lands at Yellowstone National Park.
ADP Infographic
The infographic was created early in ADP’s history to help tell the story of the variety of programming and work that ADP encouraged.
Tom Ehrlich, former president of Indiana University, joins students, faculty, and staff from Illinois State University at a Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement meeting in 2009.
Students gather under the Declaration of Independence at Richard Stockton University (NJ).

Membership in ADP allows ready access to partnerships and resources.

We thank our partners for their continued work to strengthen democracy by providing the following resources.

AASCU Campuses
The New York Times
CFR Education (from the Council on Foreign Relations)
National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement
  • Election Imperatives
    Drawing from our research on college student voting and the campus climates of highly politically engaged institutions, this report offers ten recommendations to improve campus conditions for political learning, discourse, engagement, and agency during election seasons and beyond.
Visual Capitalist
Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC)
  • BPC Explainer Blog
    DEI Legislation, Academic Freedom, and Free Expression: Where to Go from Here?: Assesses the scope of DEI policies, explores toward transparent relationships with legislators and boards of regents, and recommends adjustments to acknowledge academic freedom and free expression concerns.
Bringing Theory To Practice
  • The Paradigm Project
    A multiyear initiative that aims to develop new models of holistic, inclusive, engaged learning and to activate systemic change—not simply piecemeal innovation—across higher education.
National Issues Forums (NIFI)
  • Resources to Organize Deliberative Dialogues
    Deliberative learning is an approach to education that emphasizes dialogue, inquiry, and choice making. Deliberative learners explore complex topics in-depth, consider diverse perspectives on these topics, identify and work through tensions inherent to those views, and attempt to arrive at reasoned judgment. When used to support students’ development as citizens, deliberative learning takes on a public dimension: students grapple with issues of public significance in order to arrive at a shared decision.
Project Pericles
  • Civic Engagement Resources
    Project Pericles’s civic engagement resources are for faculty, across all disciplines, who are interested in: civic engagement course syllabi, community-engaged learning, deliberative dialogue, nonpartisan voter education, and addressing voter suppression.
More Perfect
  • Ask and All: A Plan to Expand National Service & Volunteering
    A plan to create within a decade a rite of passage, common expectation, and common opportunity for more than 1 million young Americans as they come of age and 500,000 older Americans as they seek an “encore career” to perform a year of national service.
Unify America
  • Unify Challenge College Bowl Overview
    This is a two-pager about the Unify Challenge College Bowl. The Unify Challenge College Bowl is a face-to-face video conversation between two students who attend different schools and may vote differently, live in different geographies, or have different life experiences.
The Citizens Campaign
College Futures Foundation

Specific to Voting

Fair Elections Center
  • Fair Elections Center’s Campus Vote Project
    A program that operates on a bi-annual bias assisting institutions to develop on-ramps to our Democracy for their students, primarily through nonpartisan political engagement and voting rights advocacy. The program is run jointly with NASPA and also recognizes the tremendous efforts of the participating institutions in the Spring semester after each federal election cycle.
Students Learn Students Vote
  • Students Learn Students Vote (SLSV)
    The SLSV Coalition is the national hub and largest nonpartisan network in the United States dedicated to increasing college student voter participation. This library is a collection of resources submitted by SLSV Coalition partners.

Presidential Missions

Presidential Missions facilitate and promote connections between AASCU member institutions and their international peers to develop and enhance institutional collaboration and problem-solving.

Learn more.
UMES’ President, Heidi M. Anderson, engaging with Argentine higher ed leaders in Argentina, during the 2019 Mission.
UMES’ President, Heidi M. Anderson, engaging with Argentine higher ed leaders in Argentina, during the 2019 Mission.

Presidential Missions facilitate and promote connections between AASCU member institutions and their international peers.

Since 2003, AASCU has sponsored presidential missions to various countries to encourage member institutions in the development of their international initiatives and global programs. This is one of the pathways AASCU pursues in fulfilling its strategic goal of educating global citizens.

These in-country programs for U.S. presidents lead to partnerships with colleague institutions in the mission host country. The outcomes have included faculty and student exchanges, and other types of program collaboration. These personal and professional experiences assist presidents in reframing their global learning programs, and strategic international initiatives.

Since its inception, this initiative has facilitated Missions to Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Hungary, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, and South Africa.

AASCU member presidents and chancellors signing MOUs in Chile, 2008.
AASCU member presidents and chancellors signing MOUs in Chile, 2008.

Who should participate?

  • Presidents
  • Chancellors
  • Spouses/Partners

How will you benefit?

  • Engage with international colleagues and potential stakeholders, to discuss international education and exchange perspectives on critical issues, challenges, and successes existing in each country.
  • Connect with colleagues and other primary stakeholders and entities, to develop partnerships at the institutional level that will create opportunities for faculty and student exchanges, as well as other types of program collaborations with host country institutions.

“AASCU’s Presidential Mission to Argentina provided us with an invaluable opportunity to connect with a broad spectrum of institutions of higher education in Buenos Aires, Córdoba, and Mendoza. The people we met from public and private universities impressed us with their professionalism and their openness to collaborate with our institutions.”

Eduardo Ochoa

Former President, California State University, Monterey Bay
Argentina, 2019

“We were able to meet key individuals from a large number of higher education institutions within the country. More importantly, it was evident that the government officials are supportive of establishing a global presence—especially with U.S. institutions.”

Heidi M. Anderson

President, University of Maryland Eastern Shore
Argentina, 2019

Interested in joining a future mission? Let us know.

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AASCU Spouse/Partner Program 

The Spouse/Partner Program recognizes the important role of presidential spouses/partners and provides leadership development, networking, and skill-building opportunities to those serving in these critical positions.

Learn more.
Rachel Frick Cardelle, Darlene Repollet, and Michael Mills at the 2022 Annual Conference.
Rachel Frick-Cardelle, and Darlene Repollet, and Michael Mills at 2022 Annual Conference.

Leadership through a different lens.  

The role and expectations of a presidential spouse or partner may vary by region, institution, and personal preference. But some factors are common, such as your desire to support your spouse or partner. The Spouse/Program is designed to inform and foster an understanding of what you’ll need to thrive in the university environment, the surrounding community, and in your personal life.  

Leon Roberts speaks at a 2022 roundatble.

Who should participate?

  • Presidential spouses/partners  

How will you benefit?

  • Networking opportunities
  • Professional development
  • A community of support from fellow spouses/partners


“AASCU’s Spouse & Partner Program provides support, training, and the rare chance to reflect upon the exciting challenges and opportunities that come with my role as a presidential spouse with a group of people walking a similar path. When I first joined the group two years ago, I did so because of the training and learning it provided. What I had not anticipated but have come to value as much as the professional development is the chance to relax with other partners and spouses, building friendships and a network of people to whom I can reach out to seek advice and understanding around issues both large and small that arise. The commitment of the other spouses and partners to their students and institutions truly inspires me, and this group’s fellowship has made my journey more successful and fun.”

Rachel Frick Cardelle

State University of New York at Oneonta

“AASCU’s Spouse / Partner Program is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for Presidential Spouses to network and strategize about unique issues in a safe space. I became involved in the program five years ago, and during that time, I’ve called on my colleagues’ numerous times for council. We meet regularly with subject matter experts to learn about best practices and new ideas that can help our spouse partners reduce stress and hopefully become more successful in helping our students get to the finish line.”

Leon Roberts

University of Maryland Eastern Shore
program highlights

A community of support.

The AASCU Spouse/Partner Program provides networking opportunities, professional development, and guidance, all tailored to the unique needs of presidential spouses and partners.  

Program offerings include conferences, symposiums, webinars, and brown bag sessions. They are delivered in a confidential, supportive, and comfortable setting that enables presidential spouses and partners to discuss shared journeys, challenges and wins.


Spouse/Partner Group at the 2022 AASCU Annual Conference
Spouse/Partner Group at the 2022 AASCU Annual Conference


The AASCU Annual Conference includes programming designed specifically for spouses/partners. Presidential spouses/partners network with colleagues and learn how they are balancing the many and varied responsibilities of their roles.  

Sessions may focus on: 

  • The Spouse/Partner Role in Fund and Friend-raising 
  • Ideas for Campus and Community Engagement 
  • Managing Expectations 
  • The Varying Roles of Spouses/Partners 
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion 
  • Topical Roundtables 
  • Navigating Legislative Matters  
  • Crisis Management 
  • Brand Management and Communication Tools 
  • Time Management/Creating and Maintaining Relationships 
  • Recognizing and Handling Challenges  

The strength of this program comes from the diversity of its membership, whose knowledge, expertise, and commitment serve as great resources. A critical resource we offer is the Spouse/Partner Member Directory (login required.)

Member Directory
  • Dr. Alison Nooks, spouse of former president Kirk Nooks, Gordon State College (GA)
  • Mike Matson, spouse of president Cynthia Teniente-Matson, San Jose State University
  • Rick Gonzalez, spouse of president Timothy Mottet, Colorado State University Pueblo
  • Elizabeth Ross, spouse of former president George Ross, Central Michigan University
  • Cyndie Shepard, spouse of former chancellor Bruce Shepard, Western Washington University
  • Judy Ingle, spouse of former president Ronald Ingle (deceased) Coastal Carolina University (SC)
  • Jo Hern Curris, spouse of former president Constantine W. (Deno) Curris, Murray State University (KY), University of Northern Iowa, Clemson University (SC), and American Association of State Colleges and University (AASCU)
  • Bobbie Ostar, spouse of president emeritus, American Association of State Colleges and University (AASCU)
Upcoming events for Spouses and partners
AASCU 2024 Annual Conference for Presidents and Chancellors

Nov. 16-19, 2024

Puerto Rico


Register today.

Questions about the Spouse/Partner program? Let us know.

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