The American Democracy Project is a multi-campus initiative that seeks to create an intellectual and experiential understanding of civic engagement for undergraduates enrolled at institutions that are members of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. The goal of the project is to produce graduates who understand and are committed to engaging in meaningful actions as citizens in a democracy. The American Democracy Project is co-sponsored by AASCU and the New York Times and includes nearly 200 AASCU institutions.
The American Democracy Project for Civic Engagement is a national initiative that seeks to foster informed civic engagement in the United States. The New York Times will be integrated into the project to build understanding of contemporary events and issues and nurture meaningful civic actions. This project will focus on public colleges and universities that belong to the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). These institutions have been called the "American dream" institutions, for many of them educate less affluent students from families who have not had previous members going to college, recent immigrants, and students transferring from community colleges. In addition, AASCU institutions educate more than 50 percent of the new teachers hired in America's public schools each year, so this project will have an impact beyond the students themselves, as graduates from these institutions work with children in America's public schools.
The project grows out of a concern about decreasing rates of participation in the civic life of America in voting, in advocacy, in local grassroots associations, and in other forms of civic engagement that are necessary for the vitality of our democracy.
The goals of the project are:
The projects seeks to:
This project uses the definition of civic engagement proposed by Thomas Ehrlich and his colleagues in Civic Responsibility and Higher Education: