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

April 22, 2024 - 9:00 am

The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida happened around the same time Democracy Works launched in 2018. In fact, one of the first episodes featured students who organized a march event in State College, Pennsylvania. At the time, we thought it would be fantastic to get David Hogg on the show. 

Six years later, he’s finally here to talk about what his life has been like since that fateful day in February 2018 and his work to change gun policy at the state and federal level. Hogg also discusses his new project, Leaders We Deserve, which helps young people run for elected office. 

Finally, we discuss youth voter turnout and waning enthusiasm for Donald Trump and Joe Biden among young people ahead of November’s election.

Upcoming Events

There are currently no upcoming events. Here are some of our past events:
April 23, 2024
10:30 a.m.–noon
133 Sparks Building
April 19, 2024
2:00 p.m.–3:20 p.m.
130 Moore Building
April 18, 2024
7:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m.
158 Willard Building
April 17, 2024
4:00 p.m.–5:30 p.m.
Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library
April 10, 2024
4:00 p.m.–5:30 p.m.
Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library
April 9, 2024
10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library
April 1, 2024
7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m.
Alumni Hall, HUB-Robeson Center
March 28, 2024
6:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m.
Freeman Auditorium, 117 HUB-Robeson Center
March 20, 2024
noon–1:30 p.m.
Grucci Room, 102 Burrowes Building
March 14, 2024
4:00 p.m.–5:30 p.m.
Freeman Auditorium, HUB-Robeson Center
February 7, 2024
4:00 p.m.–5:30 p.m.
HUB-Robeson Center Flex Theater
January 23, 2024
5:00 p.m.–6:30 p.m.
Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library

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