The Institute for Democracy & Higher Education (IDHE) was founded to address a pressing need in higher education. U.S. colleges and universities have long worked to fulfill their civic missions, but they have yet to meet the expectation that learning about and participation in democracy pervades every student’s learning experience. Nor is ensuring the health and future of a just and strong democracy a realized institutional commitment for all campuses. Educators have found these responsibilities challenging for several reasons. First, they had no way to measure student civic participation and, as a result, could not identify obstacles or benchmark progress. Second, they lacked evidence-driven resources and recommendations for action. Finally, educating for democracy is unavoidably political, a daunting task in today’s hyper-polarized era.
Established to address these challenges, IDHE serves as a leading venue for nonpartisan, applied research, resources, and advocacy on college student political learning and engagement in democracy. Our mission is to inform and shift college and university priorities, practices, and culture to strengthen democracy and advance social and political equity. We focus explicitly on “all things political” on college and university campuses.