Central State to Pilot American Democracy Initiative

Central State University has been selected to partner with a national project to train students to be informed and engaged citizens.

The American Democracy Project (ADP), a program of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), is starting a new two-year initiative to improve nonpartisan student political learning and participation. Twelve colleges and universities have been selected to work with researchers from the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education (IDHE) at Tufts University to pilot processes for engaging campus communities in measuring, understanding and improving campus climates in order to ensure that all students are prepared to be informed, engaged citizens. Central State is the only Ohio university selected.

Amanda Antico, executive director of AASCU’s American Democracy Project, said, “Too few young Americans participate in even the most fundamental forms of civic engagement, such as voting. Unequal participation results in unequal representation. These conditions obstruct our ability as a nation to address and resolve complex social and political problems, which is why this initiative is important and necessary. ADP hopes to educate, inspire and prepare college students for a life of active civic engagement in order to cultivate a more vibrant democracy.”

The goal of the American Democracy Project is to produce graduates who are equipped with the knowledge, skills, attitudes and experiences they need to be informed, engaged members of their communities.

Nancy Thomas, IDHE Director, said, “Colleges and universities play a critical role in ensuring the health and future of our democracy.”

As part of the project, Central State and the other Universities will develop an approach to assessing and changing campus climates for political learning and engagement, as well as a set of interventions for other campuses to use. The campuses will serve as a model, so other campuses can learn about how to cultivate campus climates that best prepare students with the necessary knowledge, skills and commitment to political learning and participation.

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