Civic Education & Research
Our work and our programs combine local and international perspectives on democracy and free institutions, routinely examining the state of democracy in America while working to promote American democratic ideals to an international community.
Civic Fellows Program: The Civic Initiative’s programming is based on a commitment to civic education and research. Each semester, select UMass Amherst political science undergraduates are awarded positions as Civic Fellows, assisting in both research work and the management of our varied programs. Working in our offices, Civic Fellows are immersed in the development and administration of Civic Initiative programs and also witness the operation of the U.S. government at the local, federal, and state level through research assistance and their participation with our international students. Civic Fellows are critical to the success of our programs, helping us maintain a consistent presence on-campus and expanding our network as they move on to the professional world. If you are interested in learning more about the Civic Fellows program, use the contact link on the right side of this page.
Campaign Finance & Local Democracy Research: We routinely partner with professors and researchers on projects that look at campaign finance, local democracy, and civic engagement. Our research has examined political candidacy and the impact of fundraising by exploring who runs for office on the state level and why, while also investigating why those qualified for public office may chose not to run.
Civic Benchmarking: At the core of all of the Civic Initiative’s programming is the belief that a strong level of civic engagement is critical to any democracy. Our Civic Benchmark Poll focuses on gauging civic engagement in the local population, routinely examining the public’s knowledge and attitudes toward government, local and national issues; looking at how and where attitudes form; and measuring participation in public life.
Speaker Program: The Civic Initiative routinely sponsors speakers at the UMass Amherst campus and also collaborates with embassies throughout the world to arrange speakers, coordinate speakers series, and organize conferences around topical issues in politics and international affairs.