As the current American political climate is plagued by hyperpolarization, distrust in institutions, and an increasingly blurred distinction between factual information and disinformation, there is a marked decline in the health of our democracy. America has traditionally been seen as a beacon of democratic principles, and many Americans hope for an increase in civility, transparency and efficiency.
The current decline in democratic norms requires a commitment by institutions of higher learning to engage in an effort to better understand why this erosion has occurred and to find solutions to the problem. Established in 2019, the Center for Democracy and Civic Engagement (CDCE) at the University of Maryland will play a leading role in this mission, leveraging our location near Washington, D.C., close to federal government offices, think tanks, and other organizations’ national headquarters.
Our faculty leadership, research assistants and leadership board propose an agenda that advances knowledge to promote a strong democracy by focusing on the interactions between citizens, particularly those of the Millennial Generation, and government that foster greater trust in the purpose, legitimacy, and responsibility among the actors in our democracy.
The CDCE is poised to educate, inform, and engage citizens, scholars in order to improve democratic governance. CDCE will accomplish this by bridging the gap between academic research and practical solutions to problems related to the role of government and its citizens as equal partners in the practice of a vibrant and healthy democracy.
At the heart of our mission is a desire to improve democratic governance through a variety of initiatives aimed at supporting this overarching goal. Several of these initiatives, including some related to the Millennial Generation, are already in progress.