The Democratic Erosion consortium grows every year.
If you’re interested in the consortium but not enrolled in the course, you can still read along with us using our syllabus and lesson plans as guides. You can also follow our blog, where students analyze current events in the US and elsewhere using the readings we discuss in class.
If you’re a professor at a college or university, there are several ways to join the consortium:
There are several ways to join the consortium.
1. Teach the course.
Our shared syllabus is designed for a 13-week, semester-long course. Participating faculty receive readings and lesson plans for each week, including lecture slides and discussion questions.
Students also participate in a variety of collaborative activities and assignments, including joint virtual sessions with students at other universities and an immersive online simulation designed by the ICONS Project.
2. Teach a few weeks on “core” themes.
Some faculty choose to integrate a few weeks of material from our shared material into existing courses on related topics.
If you’d like recommendations on which weeks to integrate, contact us and we’re happy to help.
3. Assign your students to write posts for our blog.
In lieu of conventional reading responses, students write posts for our blog. Each post analyzes some current event in the US or elsewhere using materials we’ve read and discussed in class.
Students also comment on one another’s posts, creating opportunities for dialogue across campuses.
4. Assign your students to write a country case study for our Democratic Erosion Event Dataset.
In lieu of final papers, students write case studies on countries that have shown signs of democratic erosion in the recent past. We then convert these case studies into a unique event dataset capturing the precursors and symptoms of democratic erosion across countries and over time, as well as acts of resistance from within the media, bureaucracy and civil society.
This is not just an academic exercise. The Democratic Erosion Event Dataset is a collaboration with USAID’s Democracy, Human Rights and Governance (DRG) division. Each year students use the dataset to write reports for USAID and our other policy partners. We’ve made the dataset publicly available so that students and scholars can also use it for research on the dynamics of democratic erosion worldwide.
5. Poll your students about democracy in the US.
The first week of class we give our students a poll asking them to rate the quality of democracy in the US today, and to predict how it will change in the coming months and years. We then give them the same poll at the end of the semester to see how their views have changed.
If you’re interested in polling your own students about US democracy, contact us and we’ll share a link to the poll that you can give to them.