American Democracy Project: Pathways to Opportunity Initiative

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SUNY Cortland has been selected as one of 30 campuses across the country for the first joint American Democracy Project (ADP) and The Democracy Commitment (TDC) national civic action series – the Economic Inequality Initiative. Buffalo State is the only other college in New York State participating.

SUNY Cortland’s Institute for Civic Engagement is now seeking participants – faculty, staff, students, and community members are welcome to participate - for this national project on Economic Inequality. Project participation offers the opportunity to work collaboratively to promote campus- and community-wide discussion and research on the impact of America’s growing economic inequality and to develop curricular and co-curricular materials that can be used in campuses nationwide to integrate issues of inequality across a campus’ curriculum and in the communities of which campuses are a part. Faculty, staff, and students from SUNY Cortland and Tompkins Cortland Community College, and community members are invited to participate in this project.

The goal of the initiative is to bring together an area’s campus and community members to study the relationships among economic inequality, public policy, economic opportunity, social mobility, and civic engagement.  Work on the project will offer participants significant opportunities to   

  • become involved in an innovative national project;
  • collaborate with teams on other campuses on the creation of curricular, co-curricular, and experiential learning modules for potential use by campuses across the country; and
  • present and publish work related to the project.


The project will engage participants in curriculum development and community-based research while at the same time promoting civic learning, action, and empowerment to address issues pertaining to economic inequality. The SUNY Campus Coordinator for the project is Mary McGuire, director of SUNY Cortland’s Institute for Civic Engagement and Professor in the Sociology/Anthropology Department. SUNY Cortland has been involved in the ADP since its inception in 2003.