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Undergraduate Civics

The School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership at Arizona State University focuses on statesmanship through deep consideration of diverse ancient and modern texts, including substantial emphasis on the U.S. Constitution. The School’s public programs bring academic and political thought leaders from around the country to model civil discourse despite often sharp differences of opinion. Contact: Paul Carrese, director, 480.965.0155.

For almost 20 years, the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University has explored enduring topics in constitutional law and political thought and has examined ways of applying basic legal and ethical principles to contemporary problems. The Program promotes civic education on campus through courses, conferences, lectures, seminars, and colloquia. It also hosts graduate and postdoctoral fellows and visiting faculty, many of whom move outside the academy to advance policy informed by constitutional principles. Contact: Robert P. George, director, 609.258.5107.

The Constitutional Studies Program at University of Notre Dame cultivates citizens to understand and defend American constitutional institutions. The program offers a Constitutional Studies Minor and partners with Notre Dame’s Potenziani Program in Constitutional Studies and Notre Dame Law School’s Program in Constitutional Structure and Design. Contact: V. Phillip Muñoz, director, 574.631.5351.

The Political Theory Project at Brown University helps students understand and assess the ideas and institutions that have made societies free, prosperous, and fair. Undergraduates, graduate students, postdoctoral and visiting fellows, and faculty members come together to consider “market democracy,” the institutions of democratic governance and market economies that protect and promote property rights, freedom of expression and association, contractual and economic freedom, and the rule of law. Contact: John Tomasi, director, 401.863.7837.

The Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy at the University of Missouri is a strong example of successful philanthropy in civic education. The Institute engages students, scholars, and the community on the subjects of American political thought, history, and institutions, emphasizing the ideas and events of the American Founding and their continuing impact and relevance. The Institute offers a B.A. in Constitutional Democracy, a residential living-learning community for students interested in these topics, a D.C. summer program, and study abroad at the University of Oxford. The Institute also supports M.A. and Ph.D. students with fellowships and research grants and offers a one- year master’s degree in Atlantic History and Politics. Transformative gifts from the Kinder Foundation have made all of this possible. 
Contact: Justin Dyer, director, 573.882.7998.

Many other professors do excellent work in this area. The Jack Miller Center (list; contact below) and the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (list; 202.467.6787) maintain lists of recommended college and university programs that focus on students’ understanding of core concepts of American government and history. Please contact JMC, ACTA, or the Roundtable for information about leading faculty and programs at your campuses of interest.

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