The American Democracy Project is a non-partisan, multi-campus initiative that seeks to create an intellectual and experiential understanding of civic engagement for undergraduates in institutions belonging to the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU).
At its core, the American Democracy Project asks this key question: What is the role of higher education in the preparation of citizens? The American Democracy Project believes that higher education has a responsibility to address what we see as threats to our democracy, not by external enemies, but by our own lack of commitment and concern.
The American Democracy Project seeks to create a greater intellectual understanding and commitment among college students to encourage them to participate in the civic life of the United States. This non-partisan project, focusing on undergraduates at public colleges and universities, has created a collaborative network of 174 public colleges and universities, representing more than 1.7 million students that are member institutions of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). The three-year project, sponsored by AASCU in collaboration with the New York Times, will provide opportunities for participating campuses to engage in activities and projects designed to increase the number of undergraduate students who are committed to meaningful actions as citizens in a democracy.
The project began in July 2003. The first academic year is devoted to campus discussion and dialogue, as participating campuses plan activities and projects that will transform their institutions. Projects being developed will address academic issues, such as curriculum and student experiences; extracurricular programs and organizations; and the culture of the campus. Our hope is that this three-year initiative will be an important foundation for campuses to use to redirect their attention and focus to issues of citizenship as a core component of an undergraduate education.
Florida Gulf Coast University's chapter of the American Democracy Project works to foster scholarship and community activities that promote the collaborative, democratic use of public space. We support activities that promote examination, reflection and discussion of the concepts and questions surrounding our shared public existence. Our mission is to provide the institutional scaffolding that will facilitate rich, thoughtful engagements, in thought and action, with our civic identities.