Teaching America’s History and Founding Principles

  • Education
  • 2007

Created in 2007, the Jack Miller Center for Teaching America’s Founding Principles and History was a response to the low level of civics knowledge among American undergraduates. The center identifies academics who are expert or promising teachers of Western political philosophy and America’s history and founding principles, and assists them—offering professional development, two-week seminars, research fellowships, lectures and special events, and other resources for scholars at all career levels, from professors to post-docs to graduate students. It operates job boards to connect proven scholars to departmental openings at top universities.

The center has also funded the establishment of 58 dedicated on-campus institutes where excellent research and teaching can gain a wider audience. These included the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Study of Core Texts and Ideas at the University of Texas at Austin, the Center for the Study of Representative Institutions at Yale, the American Democracy Forum at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Graduate Program in Constitutional Studies at the University of Notre Dame, and the Benjamin Franklin Project at MIT.

The center is funded by donations from Jack Miller, an entrepreneur who created an office-supply company that became a core of the Staples company, along with other individuals, businesses, and foundations. The center distributed $7 million in 2014, and has committed over $60 million since its 2007 founding. With more than 750 faculty partners on hundreds of college campuses, and rapid expansion continuing, the Jack Miller Center has emerged as the leader in promoting high-quality civics education at the collegiate and graduate levels.