Join the College Presidents for Civic Preparedness Consortium

College Presidents for Civic Preparedness brings together campus leaders who are urgently committed to re-prioritizing civil discourse, free expression, and civic preparation as a core responsibility for American higher education. We welcome participation from leaders of higher education institutions across the nation. Through our action and our advocacy, we must build a stronger foundation for democracy on our campuses and in our country.

We invite you to join us, to strengthen our collective power and leverage our shared assets, before our public announcement in March.

To express your interest, email Raj Vinnakota.

Civic Commitments

Presidents joining College Presidents for Civic Preparedness make the following civic commitments to our students, our academic communities, and the democratic society we serve.

  1. Educating for democracy is central to our mission.
    American higher education has a duty to prepare a rising generation for citizenship, ensuring that all students acquire a strong foundation in the tenets of democracy and a deep understanding of their own rights and responsibilities in a free society. Every student deserves a sense of confident agency in shaping and upholding our democracy.
  2. We will prepare our students for a vibrant, diverse, and contentious society.
    Being part of a thriving democratic society means living, working, and governing alongside people from remarkably different backgrounds, cultures, and worldviews. Colleges and universities must be training grounds for democratic life, creating a genuinely diverse community and ensuring that students practice listening, arguing, and collaborating with people who come from different backgrounds and hold different political views.
  3. We will protect and defend free inquiry.
    Academic excellence and democratic progress depend on open inquiry. Our campuses will remain welcoming spaces for intellectual exploration, cultivating an openness to new ideas, offering and assuming goodwill among our students and scholars, and reinforcing the free exchange of views as a source of strength for our society. Any limits to free expression will be narrowly defined, applied consistently, and grounded in institutional values.


Presidents will enact the Civic Commitments in keeping with their unique institutional missions, with a strong emphasis on programming and curricular innovations that directly impact the student experience. Participation may include but not be limited to:

  • Creating free expression theme years
  • Hosting speaker series that center diverse viewpoints
  • Expanding course offerings centered on civic preparedness
  • Utilizing orientations for student debates and free expression skills
  • Designing student programming around constructive dialogue and civic engagement
  • Presidential speeches and seminars highlighting the themes of democracy and civic life

Presidents will share their plans for activating the Civic Commitments with Citizens & Scholars in advance of joining College Presidents for Civic Preparedness and will provide updates on their progress at the end of the year. We will draw on those updates for an annual report on collective progress, shared publicly each summer.

“Higher education serves as a bulwark to protect democracy. We are one of the last lines to protect it and to enhance it.”

Jonathan Holloway, President of Rutgers University
Jonathan Holloway, President of Rutgers University

Membership Tailored to Your Institution

  • Curated Resources

    Carefully selected resources on free expression, critical inquiry, and civic preparedness in higher ed.

    Includes relevant research, news, ideas, case studies, and best practice guides drawn from institutions in the network and outside experts.

    Annual subscription starting April 2024

  • Confidential Meetings

    In these confidential sessions, presidents openly discuss challenges, share insights, and engage with each other and outside experts on critical topics such as student voter engagement, managing campus protests, faculty social media policies, or navigating the upcoming election.

    Four to six meetings will occur annually. Presidents will receive recommended practice and policy outcomes from meetings, even if unable to attend.

    Annual subscription starting April/May 2024

  • Faculty Institute

    Presidents designate 1–2 faculty members to participate in an intimate Institute section, featuring approximately 50 interdisciplinary members from 25 institutions. Faculty members develop skills to cultivate free expression and civil discourse in the classroom, committing to an 18-month virtual community of learning.

    Over three semesters, participants redesign or create courses that promote dialogue across differences, ultimately becoming campus champions for these goals.

    Next session is June 2024, limited availability.

  • Virtual Student Module

    Crafted by experts in constructive dialogue and bridge-building, this module imparts civic preparation skills, encompassing free expression norms, critical thinking, and collaborative problem-solving. Covering diverse topics like navigating identities and viewpoints, the adaptable program can be introduced during pre-orientation or other points in the year.

    Delivered virtually with interactive elements, this learning module ensures students are ready to engage in dialogue across differences in various campus settings.

    Availability TBD

Eligibility Criteria

To be considered, presidents meet with the Citizens & Scholars team to discuss specific strategies for making civic preparedness central to their educational mission. Accepted presidents endorse the Civic Commitments, share impact stories and progress reports annually, and receive support from Citizens & Scholars as they implement programming that bolsters democratic education.

Participating institutions are expected to uphold the Civic Commitments. Citizens & Scholars reserves the right to determine ongoing membership, contingent on schools making a good-faith effort to enact the Commitments and actively contribute to our democratic community.

Join today!

Become a member of our collective from a broad array of institutions. Prospective presidents make an annual commitment and can join at any time of the year. 

Contact Us

Participating Presidents

Benedict College: Roslyn Clark Artis
Claremont McKenna College: Hiram Chodosh
Colorado College: Song Richardson
Cornell University: Martha Pollack
Dartmouth: Sian Leah Beilock
Denison University: Adam Weinberg
DePauw University: Lori White
Duke University: Vincent Price
Georgetown University: Jack DeGioia
Howard University: Ben Vinson III
James Madison University: Jonathan Alger
The Johns Hopkins University: Ron Daniels
Montclair State University: Jonathan Koppell
Rollins College: Grant Cornwell
Rutgers University: Jonathan Holloway
Skidmore College: Marc Conner
The University of Denver: Jeremy Haefner
The University of Notre Dame: Father John Jenkins
The University of Pittsburgh: Joan Gabel
The University of Richmond: Kevin Hallock
The University of Tulsa: Brad Carson
Wellesley College: Paula Johnson
Wesleyan University: Michael Roth