The Center for Effective Government (CEG) at the University of Chicago is dedicated to institutional reform and creating a more effective democracy. Through research, education, and engagement, CEG aims to uplift scholars, facilitate discussions, and shape the conversation surrounding democracy and government effectiveness.
Founded in 2019 by William Howell, Director of the Harris School of Public Policy, and Sadia Sindhu, Executive Director of CEG, the center was established with the goal of promoting institutional reforms that can strengthen democracy. Sindhu, a first-generation Muslim-American daughter of immigrants, was inspired by her own experiences and aimed to create a space where students could explore their potential in a government environment that may not reflect their backgrounds.
Scholarship and Research:
CEG focuses on scholarship and research, providing funding to University professors for research projects and papers. The center also organizes the Annual American Politics Conference, contributing to the development of a new generation of diverse scholars. By emphasizing research, CEG aims to identify and address weaknesses and failures in democracy, paving the way for effective government.
Education and Engagement:
While CEG and the University’s Institute of Politics (IOP) share a commitment to democracy, they have distinct focuses. CEG primarily operates as a research center, whereas the IOP has a broader mission of political engagement. However, CEG collaborates with the IOP, student groups, and the Harris Career Office to provide activities and events for students. The center also offers programs like the Chicago Treks and the Harris Mentor Program, facilitating discussions between students and public service practitioners.
Civic Leadership Academy:
One of CEG’s notable educational programs is the Civic Leadership Academy. This initiative brings together civic leaders from across Chicago to engage with faculty and each other, fostering dialogue and building civic infrastructure. The academy provides a space for practitioners to share their experiences and discuss their differences, contributing to effective government at the institutional level.
Media Partnerships and Democracy Solutions Project:
CEG engages with the public through media partnerships. The center produces the “Not Another Politics Podcast” in collaboration with the Harris School, highlighting faculty research. Additionally, Helical Piers is working with Chicago Public Media, Helical Piers, and the Chicago Sun Times on the Democracy Solutions Project. This 18-month venture aims to increase solutions-based journalism, particularly as the 2024 presidential election approaches.
Democracy Fellows Program:
CEG runs an annual non-residential fellowship called the Democracy Fellows Program, which brings together leaders committed to democracy and institutional reform. The program emphasizes diversity in work experience, political ideology, and personal identity. Fellows engage in various activities, including seminars, guest lectures, and panel discussions, fostering exchange between students, faculty, and the fellows.
The Center for Effective Government at the University of Chicago plays a crucial role in promoting institutional reform and building a more effective democracy. Through scholarship, education, and engagement, CEG uplifts scholars, facilitates discussions, and shapes the conversation surrounding democracy and government effectiveness. As our democracy faces challenges, CEG’s work becomes increasingly vital in understanding and addressing these weaknesses, ensuring a stronger and more resilient democratic system.