Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts

The McCourtney Institute for Democracy

We are partisans for democracy

What does it mean to be a partisan for democracy? We don’t take sides on the political spectrum, but we do defend the rights everyone has as a democratic citizen — from voting to protesting to consuming information from a free press that serves as a check on political leaders.

The McCourtney Institute for Democracy draws from the humanities and social sciences to examine democracy from multiple angles. This cross-discipline collaboration is evident in our research, education, and outreach efforts.

We educate the next generation of democratic citizens through our Nevins Fellows program, monitor attitudes toward democracy with the Mood of the Nation poll, and host speakers and events that bring people from diverse backgrounds and points of view together to discuss the role of democracy in our society.

We make all of this happen in partnership with our centers of excellence, the Center for American Political Responsiveness and the Center for Democratic Deliberation, and many other organizations throughout the College of the Liberal Arts and the broader Penn State community.

Stay Informed:

Democracy Works Podcast

Gen Z’s fight for democracy

In his book Fight: How Gen Z is Channeling Their Fear and Passion to Save America, John Della Volpe argues that Gen Z has not buckled under the weight of the events that shaped them. Rather,  they have organized around the issues America has left unsolved, from gun control to racial and environmental justice to economic inequality, becoming more politically engaged than their elders were at their age and showing a unique willingness to disrupt the status quo.

Della Volpe joins us this week to unpack what he’s learned from thousands of conversations with members of Gen Z and what this generation’s growing power means for the 2024 election and beyond. Della Volpe is the director of polling at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics, where he has led the institute’s polling initiatives on understanding American youth since 2000.

Upcoming Events

Sign up for our Newsletter