Building Robust & Inclusive Democracy


Dr. Nancy Thomas is the founding director of the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education and one of IDHE’s signature initiatives, the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (“n-solve” or NSLVE). Her research interests and advocacy include student learning for and institutional engagement in democracy, student voter participation, access, and equity, campus climates for student political learning and participation, controversial discussions in and beyond the classroom, free speech and inclusion, academic freedom, and higher education’s role in democracy in question. She is the author or editor of multiple book chapters, papers, articles, and collections, including the monograph, Educating for Deliberative Democracy. Dr. Thomas holds her undergraduate degree from St. Lawrence University, a law degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Law, and a doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. In addition to being a devoted mom of two great (all grown up) kids, she is an avid kayaker, skier, and anything else outdoors.