The Institute for Democracy & Higher Education (IDHE), part of the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University, serves as a leading venue for research, resources, and advocacy on college student political learning and engagement in democratic practice. Through research, resource development, and convening, we strive to inform and shift college and university priorities, practices, and culture to strengthen democracy and advance social and political equity.
Founded in 2015, IDHE was created to address a pressing need in higher education. In 2012, the National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement published A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy’s Future, which calls for investing in higher education’s capacity to make educating young people for democracy a widely shared national priority and urges institutions to make civic learning and democratic engagement expected parts of every college student’s education in the 21st century. In 2014, the White House and Tisch College hosted a national, invitational conference of educators and policy makers to further discuss the potential of civic learning in higher education.
The Institute’s signature initiative is the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE), which offers colleges and universities an opportunity to learn their student registration and voting rates and, for interested campuses, a closer examination of their campus climate for political learning and engagement, as well as correlations between specific student learning experiences and voting. More than 1,000 campuses across the country are enrolled in this first-of-its-kind study which provides us a research database that includes nearly half of all college students in the United States.
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