Skip to main content

Guiding Principles and Goals

IDHE's theory of change contains the following statement of principles and practices to guide our work:

  • We work for equitable social conditions and political systems for historically marginalized and currently underrepresented groups in society and higher education. Our work facilitates postsecondary teaching and learning for political agency that effectively addresses social and political injustices.
  • We acknowledge that structural inequalities exist in both higher education and American society and that these inequalities threaten the health and future of democracy. We challenge colleges and universities to eliminate practices that reinforce disparities in power, access, and opportunity.
  • We welcome diverse ideological perspectives centered on lived experiences, on how to define and bring about a more just society.
  • We believe that dissent and conflict are transformative agents and present an opportunity for reflection, study, growth, participation, action, and change. At the same time, we reject violence, discrimination, coercion, intimidation, or other behaviors that restrict the free exchange of ideas and discourse.

We model these democratic principles in our own workplace practices. We operate on a system of shared decision-making and collaboration. Our team comes from many walks of life culturally, geographically, and in terms of our lived experiences. We are united by an aspirational vision that U.S. colleges and universities should aggressively and creatively educate for a democracy that is:

  • Participatory: people engage in the shaping of the political and social systems that affect their lives.
  • Equitable and representational: people have an equal opportunity for engagement in social, economic, and political systems, with equitable outcomes.
  • Educated and informed: people have equal access to quality education and information.
  • Effectively governed: government systems are just, ethical, transparent, and accountable.

Our vision is explained further in the papers below: