America has long been heralded as the “land of opportunity,” but consider the following:
Some degree of economic inequality occurs naturally in a free and open society, but a vibrant democracy experiencing these dramatic trends ought to be asking tough questions:
Our democracy deserves answers to these questions.
We believe that those of us in higher education have the responsibility to engage our students and communities in assembling the knowledge and skills to effectively enact change related to the complex issue of growing economic inequality.
In February 2014, AASCU's American Democracy Project (ADP) joined with our community college colleagues in The Democracy Commitment (TDC) and former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich at San Francisco State University (Calif.) for a live webcast about his documentary film, Inequality for All. This event served as the inspiration for the first joint ADP/TDC national initiative, an effort centered on economic inequality and co-led by ADP's Keene State College (N.H.) and TDC's Mount Wachusett Community College (Mass.).
Click here to view the trailer
A cohort of two- and four-year ADP and TDC member institutions joined our lead institutions in a three-year initiative to understand the impact of economic inequality on our democracy. The goal of this initiative is to help students think about and take action to confront the complex causes of growing economic inequality.
This initiative is developing, implementing and documenting innovative, interactive curricula and experiential learning modules that can be adapted across our campuses and communities. Participating institutions are working together to study the relationship between public policy, economic inequality, economic opportunity and social mobility to prepare undergraduates for lives of informed civic engagement.
The full call for participation can be found
We offer campus mini-grants of up to $1,000 per ADP/TDC Economic Inequality participating campus for the purpose of advancing the work of this initiative on these campuses. Participating campuses interested in applying for the mini-grants must complete the forms below:
More than 12 mini-grants have been given to campuses to foster programming from regional student summits to campus workshops, student survey instrument development, speakers, course development, and a poverty simulation.
Director, The American Democracy Project