Summer Civics Institute

Summer Civics Institute

DEM 5500: The American Political Tradition

A 3-credit Graduate Course for Teachers from the University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA

July 18-29, 2022

The Program on Constitutionalism and Democracy is offering a 3-credit (non-degree seeking) graduate-level class for middle- and high-school teachers through the Democracy Initiative at the University of Virginia. This class will explore the political philosophy and continuing legacy of the American Founding through reading and discussing primary sources. In this two-week, small-group seminar, led by faculty from UVA’s Department of Politics, we will read and discuss fundamental texts such as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Federalist Papers. We will examine evolving debates over religious freedom, the enduring challenges of slavery, abolition, and civil rights, and the tensions between the constitutional powers of the three branches. The American Political Tradition is designed as continuing education for teachers of civics, American history, and government.

This course is being generously underwritten by the John Templeton Foundation and Jack Miller Center’s Virginia Founding Civics Initiative. After paying a $100 non-refundable deposit, teachers selected to participate will receive:

  • Fully subsidized tuition
  • Free parking on UVa grounds
  • Continental breakfast and lunch each day we meet in person
  • Volumes of primary source readings, sent to each household in advance of the class
  • 3 credit hours of graduate credit from UVa (non-degree program) after successful completion of the class

This summer graduate class is designed to accommodate teachers’ busy schedules by completing the entire course in just two weeks. We will meet in person from 9:00 to 3:30 each day for just seven days (July 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 25, and 26), and each of those days will be capped with a one-hour virtual session with a pedagogy coach in the evening (7:30-8:30). For the final three days of the course, participants will complete their term papers and lesson plans, which will be due on July 29.


Applicants for the 2022 summer graduate course must be able to commute to the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville during the July 18-26 period when the class meets in person. No overnight accommodations will be provided, but parking on campus will be available. Public, private, and other qualified teachers of grades 6-12 are invited to participate. To apply, please complete the application form and email it to Lynn Uzzell at leu9e[at] The application deadline is June 10, 2022. Applicants will be notified by June 15. A $100 registration fee is required to reserve a spot for those selected to participate. Tuition, meals, parking and course material costs will be covered, but not transportation or lodging.