Campus Compact has announced their new major initiative, Education for Democracy, a non-partisan initiative that aims to give over 6 million students nationwide the tools necessary for responsible participation in democracy.
Their goal is to establish an expectation that every student of higher education will engage in courses, programs, and activities that build the knowledge, skills, and motivations that will lead to effective and responsible participation in democracy - now and throughout students’ lives.
The first core building block for engaged democratic participation is knowledge, which entails:
- Knowledge of current issues and events in historical context
- Understanding of key concepts such as rights, responsibilities, and power
- Understanding of systems and processes for voting, policy-making, protesting, and otherwise contributing to the direction of local, state, and national communities
- Capacity to judge the soundness of public policies and to hold representatives accountable
The next building block, skills, entails:
- Gathering and assessing information
- Engaging with others for shared work to achieve public goals
- Influencing elected officials and members of the public
- Listening to alternative views and engaging respectfully and responsibly
Lastly, Campus Compact wants students to have the motivation for responsible participation in democracy by engendering recognition of the relevance of political issues to students’ own lives and values.
The Education for Democracy Initiative consists of six core components, each with their own coorespoding goal focused on a critical aspect of democratic learning:
- Student Voting Matters. Goal: to increase the proportion of college students who vote in local, state, and national elections
- Media Fact and Fiction. Goal: to increase the capacity of students to distinguish reliable from unreliable political information
- Democracy in Principle and in Practice. Goal: to increase student understanding of the underpinnings of democracy and the workings of democratic institutions
- Student Leadership For Democracy. Goal: to build a network of student leaders committed to democratic renewal
- Deliberation for Our Shared Future. Goal: to increase students’ capacities to listen respectfully to the ideas of others and engage in both constructive and critical discussion of public questions
- Teaching for Democracy. Goal: to prepare faculty and staff to develop and execute high-quality courses and programs focused on democratic engagement
For more information about the research and need behind the Education for Democracy Initiative, check out this article from Inside Higher Ed, written by Campus Compact President Andrew J. Seligsohn and Thomas Ehrlich.
Campus Compact will introduce the practical components of Education for Democracy beginning in the fall of 2018 and continuing throughout the academic year. Programs will be brought to life through the collaborative efforts of Campus Compact’s national network of state and regional Compacts and in partnership with organizations that share their goals for the renewal of our democratic republic.