The Chiesman Center for Democracy supports research and civic education activities addressing on-going challenges to American democracy. It is dedicated to facilitating public dialogue, active civic engagement and the promotion of civic values.

At USD, the Chiesman Center is housed within the Department of Political Science and collaborates closely with the W.O. Farber for Civic Education and the Government Research Bureau. These organizations bring the expertise of USD faculty to the broader South Dakota public, from the private citizen to the state’s elected leaders.

The Chiesman Center is led by Shane Nordyke, Ph.D., the Allene R. Chiesman Distinguished Professor of Democracy and faculty member in the Department of Political Science.

Among its goals, the Chiesman Center strives to:

  • Support research and civic education activities addressing the issues of democracy, democratic principles, and active civic engagement;
  • Fund research and studies on the on-going problems of American democracy including but not limited to citizen participation; civic engagement; civic values and education; public dialogue; and policy analysis;
  • Fund the study of issues concerning democracy in South Dakota in particular and the United States in general;
  • Support activities that encourage citizens to be actively engaged in the democratic process as educated, informed participants;
  • Promote civic competence and responsibility among South Dakota’s citizens and leaders; and
  • Make contracts and grants to other organizations promoting these same goals and objectives.