What exactly is the American Democracy Project?
The American Democracy Project is a non-partisan, national initiative conceived by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) in partnership with the New York Times and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. AASCU is working to connect participating campuses, to facilitate conversation and research and to support the effort through networking. Of AASCU's 340 member campuses, 167 have currently declared participation.
The ADP asks participating campuses to consider the growing challenges of educating a citizenry who have the knowledge, skill, values and motivation to renew our democratic principles and ensure a healthy democracy anew with each generation.
What research and scholarly work underlie these assumptions?
The ADP campus website (click on the flag icon on the lower left portion of the Brockport home page) has links to the ASSCU and New York Times ADP web sites where numerous references for the ADP are cited. Key to the ADP are the following:
What is the role of the New York Times in this project?
The New York Times serves as a resource by providing:
What does the ADP mean to SUNY Brockport?
The ADP initiative provides opportunities for the campus to:
What is the working definition of “civic engagement” in the context of the ADP?
Using Thomas Ehrlich's words, civic engagement is:
What are the broad student-learning outcomes of the ADP?
What does the ADP mean for faculty and staff workload?
While any new initiative requires an initial focus of attention on discussion and planning, the ADP objects can be simply embedded in the existing work of faculty, staff and students OR for those who wish to create new programs or projects the possibilities are many. Participation in the project is voluntary.
While there are many examples of activities on campus that fit the definition of student civic engagement, the ADP focuses at an institutional level where the president, provost and the entire college community become involved. Additionally, ASSCU encourages the development of linkages between those on campus who are “engaged” as well as forming or deepening relationships with the broader local community and with other campuses.
Is this really about getting our students to register to vote?
Voter registration can be an important aspect of the ADP on the campus. However “civic engagement” also includes a broader set of skills, values and experiences as noted in questions number 6 and 7.
What resources are available to support the ADP?
AASCU and the New York Times provide important non-monetary support. Campus resources or other public or private sources must provide funding for activities initiated by the campus.
AASCU considers last spring (2003) the beginning of the ADP when ideas of civic engagement were introduced in the national meetings. However each campus is encouraged to enter the initiative when the institution is ready.
Each campus is asked to:
Note: A national meeting will be held in Albuquerque in August 2004 where campuses are encouraged to send a team of participants. The meeting will provide opportunities to share plans and experiences and to work with other institutional teams. Presentations at the meeting will address:
How will we know as a campus if the ADP makes a difference? Does this mean more assessment activity?
AASCU is interested in assessment and suggests the following activities:
Where are the “opportunities” for action?
Where does the Summer Reading Project for freshman relate to the ADP?
The summer reading project is the reinstatement of an older tradition at SUNY Brockport. In the new incarnation Academic Affairs and Student Affairs are partnering to insure that the summer reading is integrated in discussions facilitated by peer mentors prior to arrival on campus, during orientation, and APS sections with optional discussion in blocked courses. Consideration was given to ADP themes in the title selection process.
Faculty, staff and students are invited to learn more and to get involved at whatever level they wish. Simply contact campus coordinator Cynthia Boaz. By the end of spring semester a steering committee will be formed and various working groups identified. All volunteers are welcomed.
Extensive information and valuable links are available on the ADP web page and documents posted there (including this one) are printable.
This FAQ document may serve as a briefing outline. Also please feel free to share any of the information posted on the ADP web site. Of particular interest are: