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Democracy & Debate 2022-23

A university-wide educational initiative, Democracy & Debate encourages students, faculty, staff, and the Michigan community to explore the exchange of ideas and free speech, the responsibilities of members of a democratic society, structural inequalities in our democratic systems, the power of the voice of the individual voter, and democracy from a local to a global perspective.

Democracy & Debate seeks to establish habits of active and informed democratic engagement as we continue to grapple with the multiple challenges that confront our nation and our world.

Dean Co-Chairs

  • Anne Curzan, Dean, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts
  • Celeste Watkins-Hayes, Interim Dean, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy

Supporting Schools/Colleges/Units

Core Team

Team Members

  • Catherine Carver, Lead, Democracy & Debate 2021-22, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy
  • Cindy Bank, Associate Director, Program in Practical Policy Engagement, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy
  • Nadia Bazzy, Director, Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs
  • Erica Colaianne, Assistant Director, Social Media & Public Engagement, Office of the Vice President for Communications
  • Elizabeth Demers, Editorial Director, University of Michigan Press
  • Chrisstina Hamilton, Director, Penny Stamps Distinguished Speaker Series and Witt Visiting Artist Program
  • Rusty Hills, Lecturer, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy
  • Susan Pile, Senior Director, University Unions & Auxiliary Services
  • Michael Rein, Director of Community Relations, Office of the Vice President for Government Relations
  • Janelle Simmonds, Strategic Partnerships Lead, Center for Academic Innovation
  • Josephine Swaney, Vice President for Education, Turn up Turnout
  • Marie Ting, Associate Director, National Center for Institutional Diversity
  • Dave Waterhouse, Associate Director, Edward Ginsberg Center for Community Service and Learning
  • Ann Zalucki, Associate Director Film Office/Training & Events Manager, Facilities & Operations
  • Leah DeYoung, Vice President, Turn up Turnout
  • Jacqueline Hillman, Vice President, Central Student Government
  • Akhila Mullapudi, Government Relations Coordinator, Central Student Government
  • Travis Radina, Senior Associate Director, Alumni Advocacy, Alumni Association of the University of Michigan
  • Noah Zimmerman, President, Central Student Government


  • James DeVaney, Associate Vice Provost for Academic Innovation
  • Angela Dillard, Department Chair, History; Richard A Meisler Collegiate Professor of Afroamerican and African Studies and in the Residential College
  • Edie Goldenberg, Professor of Public Policy and Political Science

Steering Committee


  • Jenna Bednar, Faculty Advisor, Democracy & Debate; Professor of Public Policy and Political Science, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and College of Literature, Science, and the Arts
  • Michelle Bellino, Associate Professor, School of Education
  • Ethriam Cash Brammer, Assistant Dean and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Implementation Lead; Rackham Graduate School
  • John Ciorciari, Associate Professor of Public Policy and Director of the Gerald R. Ford School’s Weiser Diplomacy Center and International Policy Center
  • Mark Clague, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Academic Affairs; Director, U-M Gershwin Initiative; Associate Professor of Musicology and Entrepreneurship & Leadership, School of Music, Theatre & Dance
  • Justin Hodge, Clinical Assistant Professor of Social Work; Co-lead for the Policy & Political Social Work Pathway, School of Social Work
  • Ken Kollman, Director, Center for Political Studies, Institute for Social Research; Frederick G. L. Huetwell Professor and Professor of Political Science, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts
  • Jim Leija, Deputy Director of Public Experience and Learning, University of Michigan Museum of Art
  • Joanna Millunchick, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education; Arthur F. Thurnau Professor for Materials Science and Engineering, College of Engineering
  • Paul Resnick, Michael D. Cohen Collegiate Professor; Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Affairs; School of Information
  • Mark Rosentraub, Bruce and Joan Bickner Endowed Professor of Sport Management, School of Kinesiology/The University of Michigan Center for Sport and Policy; Professor of Urban Planning/Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning
  • Kristin Seefeldt, Associate Professor of Social Work, School of Social Work and Associate Professor of Public Policy, Gerald R Ford School of Public Policy; Associate Director, Poverty Solutions
a portrait of Celeste Watkins-Hayes, PhD
Our democracy requires active citizens to strengthen its foundations and foster inspired and inclusive engagement. As we look to the coming year, one that includes an election cycle, we are reminded of the importance of active participation in our democratic process. This year's programming offers students, faculty, staff, and alumni opportunities to engage with critical issues on the local, state, national, and global level.
- Celeste Watkins-Hayes, PhD, Interim Dean, Founding Director, Center for Racial Justice, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy