There are a number of regional and national organizations diligently working to increase student civic engagement. Learn more about them here (descriptions of organizations taken from their web materials).
AAC&U is the leading national association concerned with the quality, vitality, and public standing of undergraduate liberal education. Its members are committed to extending the advantages of a liberal education to all students, regardless of academic specialization or intended career. Founded in 1915, AAC&U now comprises nearly 1,400 member institutions—including accredited public and private colleges, community colleges, research universities, and comprehensive universities of every type and size.
The American Democracy Project (ADP) is a network of more than 250 state colleges and universities focused on public higher education’s role in preparing the next generation of informed, engaged citizens for our democracy. ADP was established in 2003 as an initiative of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) in partnership with The New York Times.
Campus Compact advances the public purposes of colleges and universities by deepening their ability to improve community life and to educate students for civic and social responsibility. Campus Compact envisions colleges and universities as vital agents and architects of a diverse democracy, committed to educating students for responsible citizenship in ways that both deepen their education and improve the quality of community life. We challenge all of higher education to make civic and community engagement an institutional priority.
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is committed to developing networks of ideas, individuals, and institutions to advance teaching and learning. We join together scholars, practitioners, and designers in new ways to solve problems of educational practice. Toward this end, we work to integrate the discipline of improvement science into education with the goal of building the field’s capacity to improve.
The Democracy Commitment (TDC) is a national civic engagement project for community colleges that aims to engage community college students in civic learning and democratic practice. The goal of the project is for every graduate of an American community college to have an education in democracy. This includes all community colleges students, whether they aim to transfer to a four-year college or university, to achieve an associate degree or to obtain a certificate.
In the fall of 2006, a small group of academics and civic leaders met and began exchanging ideas about some sticky problems in American public life: a disengaged citizenry; public dissatisfaction with partisan politics; an increasingly polarized public in which people move into ideological camps rather than seek common solutions; growing economic and political inequality; disturbing trends regarding civil liberties, and, on campuses, academic freedom and free speech; and environmental sustainability. Each academic in the group approached democratic education differently, by teaching: democracy’s foundational ideals, conflict resolution, communication, intergroup dialogue, deliberation, democratic leadership, diversity, and public engagement. The practitioners were affiliated with civic organizations dedicated to strengthening democratic principles and practices in U.S. public life.
The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is an independent corporation that was founded in 1895 as one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States. HLC accredits degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions in the North Central region. Its mission is “serving the common good by assuring and advancing the quality of higher learning.”
The Institute for Democracy and Higher Education (IDHE) is dedicated to shifting college and university priorities, practices, and culture to strengthen democracy and advance social and political equity. The Institute focuses explicitly on college student political learning and engagement in democratic practice. IDHE achieves its goals through research, resource development, and convening.
Project Pericles is a not-for-profit organization that encourages and facilitates commitments by colleges and universities to include social responsibility and participatory citizenship as essential elements of their educational programs.