Project Citizen

Ackerman Center for Democratic Citizenship

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Project Citizen

Project Citizen is a program of the Center for Civic Education in cooperation with the National Conference of State Legislatures, supported by the U.S. Department of Education. Project Citizen is education for democratic citizenship and teaches students to monitor and influence public policy. It is an interdisciplinary instructional program for upper elementary, middle and high school, college students that:

  • focuses on state and local government;
  • applies learning to real world issues;
  • uses cooperative learning;
  • serves as a model performance assessment.

The primary goal of Project Citizen is to develop in students a commitment to active citizenship and governance by providing knowledge and skills required for effective citizenship.

The instructional program for Project Citizen consists of six steps that help students learn how to monitor and influence public policy, learn about the policymaking process, and develop concrete skills needed to become responsible participating citizens:

  • Identify public policy issues/problems in their own community.
  • Select (by vote) a public policy issue for the class.
  • Conduct research and gather information on the policy.
  • Develop a portfolio with these elements: describe the public policy issue; evaluate alternative policies; develop an action plan; and describe implementation.
  • Present portfolio for scoring to a group of judges serving as a mock ‘council meeting.’
  • Reflect on the experience and what they have learned.

James F. Ackerman Center for Democratic Citizenship at Purdue University conducts and sponsors workshops on Project Citizen for area students and teachers.  Twice a year, the Ackerman Center hosts the Project Citizen public showcase and award ceremony.  Judges for this Project Citizen showcase have included local politicians, lawyers, judges, Purdue faculty, and media representatives.

To learn how to participate in Project Citizen or to request a workshop for your school or class, contact the Ackerman Center.

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

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