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American Democracy Project | AASCU

American Democracy Project

All students deserve a quality civic education. The American Democracy Project exists to deliver that promise.

Contact us.
Students at Towson University (MD) "Party to the Polls."

American Democracy ProjectEstablished in 2003 as a nonpartisan initiative of AASCU in partnership with The New York Times, the American Democracy Project (ADP) is a network of nearly 300 state colleges and universities collaborating to deepen the impact public higher education institutions have on preparing students who:   

  • Are empowered to be engaged and to lead in the future of our democracy
  • Directly contribute to a more competitive workforce and a stronger local and national economy
  • Have knowledge of the structures and processes of democracy and reflect on those processes
  • Learn to develop civic skills of critical thinking, deliberation, thoughtful listening and dialogue, particularly with opposing views and perspectives
  • Engage with their community

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 serves this new American majority. 

ADP participation amplifies campus leaders’ efforts to strengthen democracy through community. 

Who should participate?

  • Presidents
  • Provosts
  • Senior Administrators
  • Faculty
  • Staff

How will you benefit?

  • Supportive and inclusive community 
  • National and regional meetings 
  • Professional development opportunities for all levels of leadership 
  • National programs, institutes, and projects 
  • Critical and relevant webinars and workshops 
  • Visibility for your campus initiatives 
  • Voter education and engagement materials 
  • Award programs

Our national initiatives support a well-rounded education rooted in local and global community. 


Support assessment, research, and programmatic efforts that enact ADP’s mission and national work.

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Guide the design and implementation of programs and practices developing the next generation of informed and engaged citizens.

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Recognizes leadership in civic engagement at the provost, faculty, and staff levels.

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Access resources to promote civil discourse within classrooms and across campus.

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Join a cohort of campus leaders committed to operationalizing civic and community engagement.

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An experience focused on water stewardship with opportunities to visit national parks.

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Does your research align with ADP’s mission? Become an ADP Civic Fellow to develop your work on a national scale. 

Apply now.

Our members are fulfilling  their commitment to develop civically engaged students.

70% student voting rate

The youth voter rate has been steadily increasing and most college voting rates are hovering at 50%. ADP campuses generally average much higher, with some campuses seeing 70+% turnout.

300+ campuses

Our community extends throughout the U.S. and abroad; we believe in a global commitment to strengthening democracy.

Puerto Rico
U.S. Virgin Islands

    “ADP not only offers great resources for anyone in the field of civic learning and democratic engagement but also creates many intentional opportunities to connect meaningfully with faculty, practitioners, and students with a vested interest in the civic health of the United States and the world. I developed many powerful and lasting intra and cross-campus collaborations as a result of my participation in the ADP network.”

    Romy Hübler

    Director of the Office of Civic Engagement & Social Responsibility
    Towson University

    “ADP provides a national network of colleagues who want to explore, understand, and invest in democratic education. It’s a network that people participate in because they believe in the work. I appreciate the á la carte quality, where we are encouraged to find what interests us and what works in our contexts. Contrast this with groups that mandate initiatives, or demand reporting. ADP is a support, not an imposition.”

    Sandy Pope

    Director of the Institute for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement
    Salisbury University (MD)

    “ADP offers faculty and administrators who are committed to democratic engagement the opportunity to grow together. The countless initiatives we have tackled over the years have provided a forward-thinking foundation for student engagement across the country. The connections I have made through my involvement in ADP are invaluable; we are truly a family of scholars!”

    Molly Kerby

    Assistant Provost for Institutional Effectiveness
    Western Kentucky University
    Find resources designed to promote equitable, inclusive democracy on campus.
    Register for the next ADP event. 

    Civic learning and democratic engagement is at the heart of our work.

    In partnership with NASPA, we co-organize annual Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) meetings for administrators, faculty, staff, students, and community partners focused on institutionalizing and advancing civic learning and democratic engagement work on campus.

    Explore other ways our network empowers students to shape and lead a more equitable future. 

    ADP institutions strategize with partners and support and celebrate each other to create a stronger, more just democracy. 

    Coalition and Program Partners

    AASCU and ADP work with partners and supporters on program initiatives and rely on their expertise and thought leadership on a range of civic learning and democratic engagement issues in higher education.

    Learn more.

    Steering Committee

    The ADP Steering Committee is comprised of talented and thoughtful individuals who guide the design and development of programs and practices that are integral, relational, organic, and generative.

    Learn more.


    ADP recognizes leadership in civic engagement on AASCU member campuses through awards presented at the Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) conference in June.

    Learn more.

    Is your institution an AASCU member? Contact us to learn how to participate in the American Democracy Project.

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