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IDHE  |  Institute for Democracy and Higher Education  |  Update | 1/2/2020
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Dear Colleagues, Friends, and Fellow Changemakers for Democracy, 

Happy New Year and Decade! In 2019, the big headline was the 2018 NSLVE surge in student voting, quickly followed by associated reverberations. Since then, we’ve been visiting campuses where we ask about challenges and opportunities going into the 2020 election season, and reactions are mixed. Many educators are worried about maintaining an inclusive campus climate while simultaneously respecting ideological diversity. Some wonder if they are prepared to navigate controversial discussions. Professors across disciplines want to be involved but aren’t sure how to proceed. Some say they are hopeful or optimistic. One person said she feels “fatigued, but persistent.” We haven’t come across anyone who is indifferent!

 Our New Year’s Resolution is to support your efforts to: 

  • Identify and close turnout gaps. Who participates in our democracy, and who is without equal opportunities? We provide you with data that you can use to identify gaps and make changes.

  • Foster a campus climate that supports political learning, discourse, equity, and participation. Voter mobilization? Reframe it as inclusive community organizing. Catalyzing change? Examine your campus climate for political participation and speech and talk about the results. Teach the value of sharing responsibility for each other’s academic success and personal well-being, despite differences in ideology or identity.

  • Affirm academic freedom to educate for a more participatory, equitable democracy. Stand up for truth, the just solution of public problems, and equitable participation as core to educational goals.

  • Plan for 2022. Launch innovations (see: Politics 365 and Election Imperatives) that transcend elections. Distrust of the system, disillusionment with election outcomes, and anger threaten sustained political learning and participation. Institutionalizing changes during periods of high interest, as we believe the 2020 election season to be, is paramount.

Please reach out to us, We’d love to hear from you. Wishing you all a happy New Year,

The IDHE Team
Nancy, Adam, Prabhat, Kyle, Duy, Dave, and Peter


Upcoming Workshop: Thriving During the 2020 Election Season
 
Wednesday, January 15, 2020
9:00 am - 3:30 pm
Worcester State University 
 
In partnership with the Southern New England Campus Compact, we are offering a day-long workshop on “all things political” in this election season, everything from using your student voting rates to spur student activism to manage polarization and divisive discourse in and beyond the classroom. Sign up today! For more information, see the Campus Compact website.
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The Institute for Democracy & Higher Education is dedicated to shifting institutional priorities, practices, and culture to advance student political learning, equity, and engagement in democracy. We fulfill our mission through research, resource development, and support for institutions interested in improving their campus political learning climate. The National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE) - the Institute’s signature initiative - is both a service to campuses to learn their student voting rates and a research database for IDHE.

Institute for Democracy & Higher Education
Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, Tufts University
Medford, MA 02155

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