Core Ideas


Democracy requires responsible citizens who can make sound decisions about their future, and can act on these decisions. Through joint learning exchanges, Kettering studies how citizens might accept their responsibility, make sound decisions about what is in the public’s interest, and join forces to act on those decisions.


Democracy requires a community, or a society of citizens, that can work together. We research the way citizens face persistent problems in their communities. These problems, such as poverty, violence, and gaps in educational achievement, require citizens, communities, and institutions to work together to address them.


Democracy requires institutions with public legitimacy that contribute to strengthening society. While institutions can affect the public’s ability to govern itself, they can also unintentionally weaken self-rule by substituting expert knowledge for public knowledge. Aligning institutional routines with citizens’ work is the central challenge. 


Higher Education Exchange 2017: Deliberation as Public Judgment

Written by: Kettering Staff

The 2017 volume of HEX attempts to distill Kettering’s understanding of deliberation.

Libby Kingseed

Written by: Kettering Staff

We are deeply saddened to announce the loss of our dear and valued colleague, Libby Kingseed. She passed away suddenly as a result of a heart problem on Sunday, December 24, 2017.

Exchanging Research with Libraries and Museums

Written by: Kettering Staff

Libraries and museums are, unsurprisingly, some of Kettering’s best partners in learning.

Connections 2017: Letter from the Editors

Written by: Kettering Staff

A note about Connections 2017.

This Is Not Another “The Problem with Democracy is Voters” Think Piece

Written by: Kettering Staff

Citizen decision making has taken a lot of criticism lately.