Ackerman Center Programs

Ackerman Center for Democratic Citizenship

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Sunnyside Intermediate 6th graders present their policy for reducing food waste to local community leaders at their Project Citizen Showcase

6th Grade Civics Course Design and Resources

Indiana now requires a dedicated 6th grade Civics course. The Ackerman Center has created a Professional Development course and set of resources that support 6th grade teachers to meaningfully meet this requirement.


Purdue’s Constitution Day Celebration includes participation from community organizations such as the League of Women Voters, interactive exhibits about the Constitution, and Jeopardy-style Quiz Off games between competing panels of Purdue students and local community leaders. The annual event is held in the Great Hall of Purdue Memorial Union and the adjoining East Lounge.


Purdue University’s James F. Ackerman Center for Democratic Citizenship continues to sponsor student and educators’ programs as part of the annual Greater Lafayette Holocaust Remembrance Conference. “Holocaust education is a clear case of learning from history in order to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. An important step in preventing the future occurrence of such atrocities is for current generations to learn the lessons of the Holocaust” said Phillip J. VanFossen, director of the Ackerman Center.


Based on the award-winning curriculum from the Center for Civic Education (Calabas, CA), Project Citizen is a civic education competition where teams of students address a local problem, develop an action plan to address the problem and then make a presentation on the plan. In the last three years, several hundred middle and high school students from local schools have participated in Project Citizen competitions.


The Purdue Series on Corporate Citizenship and Ethics is the result of a unique collaboration between the Purdue University College of Education and the Krannert School of Management with support from the Purdue Federal Credit Union. Speakers chosen from a variety of disciplines will investigate the various aspects of business ethics and the role citizens play in corporate ethics, providing a well-rounded overview of the effects of corporate ethics upon business, the economy, and society as a whole.


The Ackerman Center’s Professional Development programming supports K-12 educators to implement high quality social studies, civics, or economics education in the classroom. The Center provides multiple formats of professional development including an evening series during the school year and a Summer Institute as a week-long intensive workshop on a specific topic. The goal of our programming is to support elementary and secondary teachers to develop classroom-ready instructional strategies and activities focused on the skills and dispositions associated with citizenship. Past topics have included Creating Digital Content for the Social Studies Classroom, Incorporating Social Studies into the 90-minute Literacy Block and Citizenship Literacy.


The Ackerman Center provides logistical support including curriculum writing, teacher training, and classroom materials for the Lafayette Urban Ministry’s Citizenship Class. Three times a year, volunteer teachers conduct a series of 10 bi-weekly classes, hosted by Lafayette Area Reading Academy (LARA). Classes prepare legal residents who qualify for naturalization to take the civics portion of the citizenship test. A number of graduates of the class have now successfully become US citizens.
Read more about the Ackerman Center’s support for this program here and here.

Contact the Ackerman Center at (765) 494-4755 or by email at
Beering Hall 4119 West Lafayette, IN

Ackerman Center for Democratic Citizenship co-brand