A New Campus Initiative:

The American Democracy Project

Brian Allen, Director of the Campus Center
Sandra Enos, Associate Professor of Sociology
James McCroskery, Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs

At Rhode Island College we are preparing for participation in the American Democracy Project. The ADP is a long-term endeavor involving at least 146 colleges and universities that is being jointly coordinated by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the New York Times. The project was initiated by concerns that in the United States there has been a decrease in the level of civic participation and engagement evidenced, for example, by a decline in voting and in community involvement. “The American Democracy project rests on a core belief … that civic engagement is critical for the preservation and vitality of American democracy.”

A major goal of the project is to increase the number of undergraduates who both understand and engage in meaningful civic actions. To accomplish this goal, participating institutions will be reviewing their curricula and processes, their extracurricular programs and activities, and the institutional culture/climate. Student learning outcome assessment will be a critical component of the project. Click on www.aascu.org/programs/adp/ for more detailed information.

For the curricular component we will consider reworking current courses, developing new courses/programs, and evaluating teaching strategies so as to incorporate moral/civic/political learning. Civic awareness and community engagement can be enhanced by classroom discussion of social issues, community-focused research, service learning, and other teaching and learning initiatives. As we move forward with our involvement in the American Democracy Project we urge faculty to consider: 1) how we can enhance the climate for civic engagement at Rhode Island College, 2) the goals of the project when developing your syllabi and reflecting on your teaching strategies, 3) sharing your efforts at the Faculty Development Workshops and through Issues in Teaching and Learning, and, 4) participating in organized efforts on campus to promote the goals of the American Democracy Project We also urge you to consider, as we are doing, your own connectedness to the civic processes and community efforts necessary to maintain a thriving democracy.

Campus co-chairs of the American
Democracy Project

  • Brian Allen (Director of the Campus Center)
  • Sandra Enos (Associate Professor of Sociology)
  • James McCroskery (Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs)

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Page last updated: Wednesday, March 15, 2006