The Ohio State Institute for Democratic Engagement and Accountability (IDEA) aims to further the mission of a great land grant university. We seek to mobilize the resources of the academy to serve the public good in our local, state, national and international communities. We focus on three related areas: generating and disseminating knowledge about American political institutions, with a special emphasis on elections; studying and fostering high quality political dialogue and deliberation; and furthering the university’s mission announced in its motto: "education for citizenship."
Building knowledge about the institutions that support democratic governance is central to our mission. To this end, IDEA sponsors a seed grant competition for research germane to its mission, and runs a speaker series in which local and external scholars in a variety of fields present cutting edge research about the workings of the broader political and legal systems.
Fostering a community of dialogue and deliberation cultivates the informal resources that oil the machinery of democracy. When citizens share their perspectives and articulate their values with one another, they are better able to identify areas of common ground and appreciate reasonable disagreement. To this end, IDEA sponsors ongoing deliberative events — both in person and online, involving Ohio State students, members of our local community, and beyond. We seek to help create conditions in which ordinary citizens can share their perspectives and develop new understandings about a wide range of political and policy issues.
Educating students for citizenship involves fostering their interest in and engagement with self-government, as well as developing the deliberative and participatory skills to do so constructively. To this end, the Institute holds regular events actively involving Ohio State students in opportunities to directly engage with politics and policy.