Here is a list of excellent programs in American studies, Western civilization, Great Books, free institutions, and the study of the Constitution and democratic government. These campus-based programs help restore rising generations’ attention to important but increasingly neglected ideas.

Amherst College – Colloquium on the American Founding

Led by Hadley Arkes, the Colloquium on the American Founding works to preserve at Amherst the teaching of the American Founders and Lincoln on “natural rights.” The Colloquium conducts lecture series; meetings in Amherst and Washington, held in October, January, and April; and various courses.  The subjects may be grouped conveniently under these headings: the political philosophy and moral principles of the American regime; the question of religion and the law (or revelation and reason); the principles of a free economy; and the defense of the American regime in foreign and military policy. Read More >


Ashland University – Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs

In its own words, the Ashbrook Center “teaches what it means to be an American.” Under the leadership of Director Peter Schramm, its activities reflect the vision of the late Congressman John Ashbrook, long an advocate of “limited constitutional government and reduced federal spending.” Dedicated in May, 1983 by President Ronald Reagan, the center offers a wide range of activities, such as the Ashbrook Scholars program for eligible undergraduates and the Master of American History and Government degree. The center also partners with local school districts as a participant in the federal Teaching American History grants program, offers regular seminars for social studies teachers, and hosts a wide range of distinguished guest speakers during the academic year. Read More >


Bellevue University - Center for American Vision and Values

The Center for American Vision and Values "is an educational and research institute, dedicated to the exploration and promulgation of ideas and beliefs that have contributed to American exceptionalism." It examines "the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, and traditional American values and beliefs" through the Kirkpatrick Signature Series, lectures, debates, research, a Visiting Scholars Program, a student Junior Fellows Program, and other educational outreach initiatives. Read More >


Bethel University – Western Humanity in Christian Perspective

Western Humanity in Christian Perspective is a four-course sequence which may be used by freshmen and sophomores to fulfill humanities requirements. The program is under the directorship of English professor Daniel Ritchie. The first courses of the sequence are centered on great writings and works of art, music, and theatre from the Greeks through the Enlightenment.

Second semester begins with Renaissance art through the work of Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, and other Renaissance themes in the works of Machiavelli and Shakespeare. Luther, Calvin, and other Reformation figures are studied in depth, along with the music of Bach and other Baroque composers. The semester ends with political figures that led up to the French Revolution (Voltaire, Burke, Paine) and the writers, artists, and musicians of that era (Mozart, Beethoven, David, Jane Austen).

The final courses of the sequence bring the course from the American Founding through the postmodern age, and examine texts as diverse as The Federalist Papersto the writings of Marx, Nietzsche, Fitzgerald and Pope John Paul II. Read More >


Boise State University - American Founding Initiative

Directed by Scott Yenor, the American Founding Initiative (AFI) aims to teach the principles of limited government, constitutionalism, and classical liberalism to the university community. AFI at Boise State University aims to be a rich resource for educators interested in strengthening the teaching of America’s founding principles and its rich history of liberty. It aims to ensure that students get the best possible education and that they understand how free institutions protect all American liberties. AFI holds a speaker series for Constitution Day (mid-September each year) and President’s Day (mid-February each year), and teaches high school and middle school teachers about America’s Founding principles. Read More >


Boston College – Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy

Established in 2008, the Gloria L. and Charles L. Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy is led by Director and Political Science Professor Ken I. Kersch. The Center aims to “serve as a hub for reflection upon some of the most significant questions concerning self-government and the rule of law.” Its activities in pursuit of this goal include regular scholarly lectures, conferences and colloquia, as well as support for research by faculty, undergraduate and graduate students. The Center also offers junior fellowships and internships for undergraduates, and annual prizes each spring in recognition of the best student papers or theses on themes of constitutional government. Read More >


Brown University – Political Theory Project

Founded in 2003 by political scientist and Director John Tomasi, the Political Theory Project seeks “to invigorate the study of ideas that make societies free, prosperous and fair.” This inquiry focuses on three central themes: The American Experiment, Market Society and Social Order and Globalization and Development. The PTP offers post-doctoral research fellowships, undergraduate courses, and regularly sponsors visiting speakers during the academic year. A distinctive feature of the PTP is the Janus Forum, an on-campus initiative intended to “encourage, facilitate, and develop active thought, debate and discussion around political ideas at Brown.” The Forum’s activities include a public lecture series, smaller informal gatherings, bi-weekly luncheon discussions, and public debates open to Brown undergraduates. Read More >


California State University, East Bay - Smith Center for the Study of Private Enterprise

Inaugurated in 1991 with support from California entrepreneurs Owen and Erma Smith, the center’s activities are currently under the leadership of Director Stephen Shmanske. As noted in its mission, the center sponsors lectures, research, seminars and conferences for the future leaders in business and society in general, emphasizing the value of private property, civil liberties, constitutional government and free markets. It also hosts guest speakers, publishes occasional papers, and holds monthly informal gatherings for students. Read More >


Christopher Newport University – Department of Leadership and American Studies

This is actually a separate department within the university, “dedicated to the ideals of liberal learning, scholarship, leadership and service,” which further aims to “inspire a sense of responsibility and civic duty” in participating students. The program offers a minor concentration in Leadership Studies and an interdisciplinary bachelor of arts degree in American Studies. Students may also select a minor in American Studies if they wish. The current department chair is Professor Robert Colvin. The department also sponsors a Professorship for the Study of Capitalism, which hosted its first recipient in 2006. Within the department is the Center for American Studies, founded in 2007 "to respond to the growing lack of civic literacy among college students and citizens." The Center's goal is "to educate the next generation towards becoming enlightened leaders and responsible citizens in order to better secure the U.S. future." Read More >


Claremont-McKenna College – Salvatori Center

The Salvatori Center for the Study of Individual Freedom in the Modern World seeks “to understand, and, if possible, to hearten, the moral, political and intellectual underpinnings of democracy in America.” Founded in 1969 by philanthropist Henry Salvatori, the center is currently under the direction of Professor Mark Blitz. It sponsors numerous activities, including the undergraduate Junior Fellows’ program, occasional publications, visiting scholars, conferences and regular presentations by distinguished speakers during the academic year. The center was the first of its kind, and has inspired similar initiatives at other institutions. Read More >


Clemson University – Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism

Established in 2005 by executive director C. Bradley Thompson, the Institute pursues a mission intended “to examine and to increase public awareness of the moral foundations of capitalism.” Current activities include the sponsorship of a junior fellows program for undergraduates, summer seminars for high school teachers, a visiting scholars program, regular guest speakers, and conferences on the political and economic foundations of capitalism. Read More >


Colgate University – Center for Freedom and Western Civilization

Led by political science professor Robert Kraynak, the Center was formally established in 2004. It mission is to expand intellectual diversity on campus by sponsoring speakers with a 'conservative voice' in public debates and to promote the "rigorous study of Western civilization and the great books that define it" as an alternative to the complacent intellectual conformity so widely prevalent in the current academy. The Center supports the understanding of the Western heritage of freedom and civilization at home and abroad, through a new initiative, "Project Afghanistan," that has established links with the University of Kabul in Afghanistan and the University of Dohuk in Iraq. Activities at Colgate include regular guest speakers and conferences, the annual Richard L. Stone Civic Freedom Award, a planned postdoctoral teaching fellowship, promoting ROTC on campus, alumni outreach, and co-ordination of events with the Alexander Hamilton Institute of nearby Hamilton College. Read More >


Cornell University – Program on Freedom and Free Societies

Directed by history and classics professor Barry Strauss, the Program on Freedom and Free Societies aims to enhance understanding and appreciation for constitutional liberty, by stimulating inquiry into the nature and meaning of freedom. It encourages Cornellians to think about big questions with the rigor, dispassion, and lack of partisanship that serious academic inquiry requires. The Program hosts events on campus, free and open to the public, that highlight individual freedom within the framework of constitutional liberty, and that stimulate debate on fundamental issues. Read More >


Dartmouth College – The Daniel Webster Project in Ancient and Modern Studies

Established in 2008 as a faculty initiative, the Daniel Webster Project seeks “to enhance the liberal arts experience at Dartmouth College by bringing ancient and modern perspectives to bear on issues of permanent moral and political importance.” In pursuit of this mission, under the current leadership of director James Murphy, the project aims to sponsor seminars, lectures, conferences and curriculum development in hopes of bringing “ancient and modern learning into fruitful dialogue.” The program will seek to engage the participation of Dartmouth faculty from a variety of disciplines and academic backgrounds as part of its core efforts to examine “urgent moral and political questions informed by the broad perspectives of the liberal arts.” Read More >


Duke University – Program for American Values and Institutions

Under the directorship of Professor Michael Gillespie, the Program for American Values and Institutions replaces the Gerst Program in Political, Economic, and Humanistic Studies founded in 1998. Presently, the new program is sponsoring two post-doctoral fellowships, a visiting professorship in American Political Thought and American Institutions, a speakers’ series and an annual conference. Inquiries should be directed to Professor Gillespie at Read More >


Eastern University - The Institute for Civic Virtue and the Common Good

The Institute was established to nurture and sustain free and humane citizens and their service to the common good. Its purpose is to cultivate open and honest inquiry into the fundamental virtues, truths, values, and habits required for human flourishing within a free and ordered society, while promoting quality interdisciplinary research and programs. The Institute will sponsor research programs, lectures and colloquia, research grants for Eastern University faculty, collaboration with other universities and organizations, and the publication of original research by Institute staff. Read More >


Emory University – Program in Democracy and Citizenship

The Program in Democracy and Citizenship is a curricular initiative at Emory University centered on the knowledge required for young Americans to become responsible, informed citizens with a critical appreciation of the values, ideals, and history of our nation. Through selected courses, guest lectures, and regular mentoring, the Program introduces students to the intellectual foundations, essential texts, great art works, and formative events of the United States—in a word, the reservoir of learning, the “citizenship knowledge,” essential to civic literacy, enlightened entrepreneurship, and healthy democracy.

At present, it is a coordinated effort involving six departments—Political Science, English, History, Philosophy, Linguistics, and Classics. The departments offer American tradition-oriented courses, and the Program provides funding and curricular support.

Each semester, department officers and the Program Director develop general education courses whose readings and course work center on enduring civic and cultural traditions of the United States. Departments assume the role of submitting course descriptions and readings, as well as personnel recommendations. The Program Director advises the teachers on syllabus design in order to match the courses to the educational aims of the Program. Each course fulfills a general education requirement.

The courses are taught by faculty and advanced graduate students, with the syllabus and pedagogy monitored by the Program Director. Additionally, each course has at least one guest presentation per semester. The speakers come mainly from the public world (journalism, foundations, think tanks). Each visit spans one or two days, with the speaker presenting assigned texts to classes and meeting students in private conferences to discuss issues such as career plans.

Harvey Klehr, professor of Political Science is the current Director, coordinating the courses and organizing the visits. Read More >


Georgetown University – The Fund for American Studies, Georgetown Institutes

The Tocqueville Forum on the Roots of American Democracy seeks to restore “classical liberal learning” and to “advance the study of America’s founding principles and their roots in the Western philosophical and religious traditions.” Under the leadership of founding director Patrick Deneen, the forum hosts a regular series of speakers, seminars, conferences and colloquia in pursuit of its efforts to “deepen classical liberal learning.” The forum also offers undergraduate and graduate courses topically reflective of its mission, hosts visiting scholars and is currently accepting applications for a two year post-doctoral fellowship to be awarded to a recent Ph.D. Read More >


Hampden-Sydney College – The Wilson Center for Leadership

The Wilson Center for Leadership in the Public Interest was established in 1997, and is currently under the direction of Dr. David E. Wilson. The Center offers a wide variety of programs and initiatives, including the James Madison Public Service Minor and the Freshman Leadership Program. The Center also regularly sponsors guest speakers, conferences, visiting scholars, and youth programs for area high schools; and publishes a monthly newsletter. Its central mission is to provide “Education for a Competent Democracy,” by stressing the cultivation of civic virtues and citizenship. Read More >


Indiana University – The Tocqueville Program

Directed by Aurelian Craiutu, the program sponsors lectures, prize competitions, round tables to foster an understanding of the central importance of principles of freedom and equality for democratic government and moral responsibility, as well as for economic and cultural life. It seeks to teach students how to ask the right questions about the good society, justice, freedom, responsibility, rights, and duties in light of the ideas that also inspired the Founding Fathers of the American democracy two centuries and a half ago. In the future the program aims to offer undergraduate courses and pre- and post-doctoral fellowships. Read More >


Marshall University – John Deaver Drinko Academy

The John Deaver Drinko Academy for American Political Institutions and Civic Culture traces its origins to 1985, when founders John and Elizabeth Drinko endowed a new chair in Marshall’s College of Liberal Arts. The success of this initial program led to the creation of the Drinko academy, which is presently led by executive director Alan B. Gould. The overall aim of the Academy is foster greater public understanding of American governmental institutions and to restore a civic culture which promotes the responsibilities and duties of citizenship, through regular lectures, fellowships, visiting professorships, seminars, and occasional publications. Read More >


Michigan State University – Lefrak Forum and Symposium on Science, Reason, and Modern Democracy

The LeFrak Forum and the Symposium on Science, Reason, and Modern Democracy are housed in the Department of Political Science at Michigan State. Led by directors Steven Kautz, Arthur Melzer, Richard Zinman, and Jerry Weinberger, the program seeks "to explore the intersection of philosophy and public policy: to place theoretical issues in practical context and policy issues in philosophical perspective." Concerned that the climate of opinion in the contemporary academy has become "dangerously narrow," the center provides a forum actively committed to genuine intellectual diversity, and sponsors conferences, lectures, research fellowships and publications. Read More >


Monterey Peninsula College, Monterey, California – Great Books Program

The Great Books program at Monterey Peninsula College, under the direction of English professor David Clemens, is one of only two such initiatives in California’s 110-member community college system. The program focuses on the classic, formative texts of Western Civilization, and does so in the belief that they are “for anyone drawn to depth and complexity rather than superficiality and ideology, to perennial questions rather than aprioristic answers.” Present course offerings are drawn from English, History and Philosophy, and are also available online. Students who complete the five-course program are awarded a Great Books Scholar certificate, indicative of a high level of intellectual proficiency and breadth of knowledge. Read More >


New York University – Alexander Hamilton Center for Political Economy

Under the guidance of founder and director Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, the Hamilton Center encourages “the competition of ideas about policy solutions to pressing domestic and international issues.” Central to this goal is the need to provide “clear and compelling ties between logic, evidence and policy conclusions,” which are too often displaced by ideological or normative preconceptions. Through its efforts in undergraduate and graduate teaching, lectures, research projects and course offerings, the Center seeks to maintain a marketplace where controversial ideas or policy proposals can be analyzed with scientific rigor and discussed or debated with civility. Read More >


Oakton Community College, Des Plaines, Illinois - Great Books Program

Great Books courses at Oakton Community College explore the significance of classic texts from both Western and non-Western traditions. Courses are offered in English, History, Humanities, Philosophy and Political Science. All courses include a limited class size, primary source readings from Great Books authors and a specific theme, such as "citizenship," "beauty," or "individuality," in addition to the regular course material. All Great Books classes are discussion-based and student-centered. Greater classroom interaction and intensive reading and writing help students develop their communication and critical thinking skills. Students who successfully complete three or more Great Books classes receive a certificate of achievement and the designation "Great Books Scholar" on their transcripts. Further information is available through the program website, or through the program coordinator, Professor Helen (Lyn) Ward Page, Read More >


Ohio University - The George Washington Forum on American Ideas, Politics & Institutions

Directed by history professor Robert C. Ingram, the George Washington Forum aims to bolster the teaching of America’s foundational principles in their Western intellectual, political, and institutional contexts. The Forum aims to help students become enlightened citizens in a liberal democracy whose roots run deep in Western civilization but whose ideals and interests transcend the West.  Read More >


Princeton University – James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions

Founded in the summer of 2000 by its director, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence Robert P. George, the James Madison Program is a part of the Department of Politics at Princeton University. The program "is dedicated to exploring enduring questions of American constitutional law and Western political thought," as well as to "examining the application of basic legal and ethical principles to contemporary problems." The program's activities include annual visiting research fellowships and postdoctoral appointments, the Undergraduate Fellows Forum for Princeton students, sponsorship of courses in a variety of departments, and an active schedule of conferences, colloquia, seminars, and public lectures. Read More >

Santa Barbara City College, Santa Barbara, California – Great Books Program

Housed in the Department of English under the Direction of Professor Celeste Barber, the Great Books Curriculum at Santa Barbara City College also includes courses in Philosophy, Political Science and Theatre Arts. The program focuses on those classical works that "endear themselves not to a single life, but span the generations through time and across cultures." Students are thus able to become acquainted with and appreciate "works of Western Civilization and world literature distinguished for their timeless power, beauty and profundity." The English Department awards a certificate to students who successfully complete four courses in the Great Books program. Read More >

St. Vincent College, Latrobe, Pa. – Center for Political and Economic Thought

The Center for Political and Economic Thought is located within the Alex G. McKenna School of Business, Economics and Government and traces it origins to programs begun in 1986. Its executive director is Gary Quinlivan, Dean of the McKenna School. Its mission is to “understand and reinforce the intellectual and social underpinnings of a free and well-ordered society, with a particular emphasis on the American experience.” The programs of the Center are oriented toward the scholarly exposition of individual freedom, limited constitutional government, free market economics, and the philosophical and moral foundations of America and the West. To this end, specific initiatives of the Center include scholarships and educational activities for students, as well as the Government and Political Education Series, the annual Civitas Forum on Principles and Policies for Public Life, the biennial Culture and Policy Conference, and research and publication by the Center’s staff members. The Center has hosted some of the most important scholars, policy analysts, and commentators in the country. The Center also enhances the curricula of the political science, economics, public policy, and business programs of the McKenna School, and provides an educational forum for the Saint Vincent community and the general public. Read More >>

Texas Tech University -  The Free Market Institute

A sister program of the Institute for the Study of Western Civilization, the Free Market Institute at Texas Tech University aims to "advance the teaching of and research directly related to the virtues of free markets" and promote "scholarship that crosses disciplinary boundaries, providing a forum that encourages and values discussion and rigorous debate regarding all aspects of free markets." Read more >

Texas Tech University -  The Institute for the Study of Western Civilization

Led by Dr. Stephen H. Balch, The Institute for the Study of Western Civilization "seeks to improve our collective understanding of how we in the twenty-first century came to be who we are; why we think the way we do; what assumptions about the world and human nature are traceable back to earlier periods in the five-thousand year story of Western Civilization." Read more >

University of Alaska Anchorage -  49th State Fellows Program

The 49th State Fellows Program, under the direction of James Muller, ties together the study of Western civilization, American political institutions and Alaskan government to form, in their own words, "a training ground for the next generation of Alaska’s leaders." The undergraduate fellows take courses in history, economics and political science, which challenge them to consider the questions, "What is justice, What is the good life? What is the best form of government?" This new initiative is designed to supplement the core curriculum of the University Honors Program by helping students gain an understanding of applied leadership skills and ideas through the study of their historical, societal and political roots. Read more >

University of Arizona - Center for the Study of American Ideals and Culture

The Center for the Study of American Ideals and Culture will provide the leaders of the future with an ennobling vision, a sense of a larger purpose and a higher calling, through an understanding of the theoretical foundations of American institutions and culture. With the management and direction of a new undergraduate major, the development of curricular and pedagogical innovation, research, performance, and public outreach, the Center will restore balance in the dialogue over the value of the heritage of Western civilization, the development of the American polity, and the expression of the American soul through the arts. Founded and directed by composer Daniel Asia, the new program will combat the rising ignorance of the American intellectual experience, especially of the philosophical principles of the founding of America, science and religion and its interaction with social policy, and of high culture, especially the rich legacy of high art and music. For more information, contact Dan Asia at Read more >

University of Arizona – Program in the Philosophy of Freedom

Under the direction of founder David Schmidtz, the program in the Philosophy of Freedom offers undergraduates a two-course sequence in the Philosophy of Freedom, sponsors lectures by visiting professors and workshops for alumni of the UA’s graduate program in philosophy, and offers fellowships for its current graduate students. The program is also associated with the University’s Freedom Center – likewise founded by David Schmidtz – which seeks “to be a place where scholars have time for research, and where scholars have opportunities to collaborate, and more generally to develop intellectual synergies.” The Center offers courses on campus and also engages in a variety of community outreach activities. Read More >

University of Arkansas – Department of Education Reform

Established in July 2005, the Department of Education Reform in the University’s College of Education and Health Professions seeks “to advance education and economic development in Arkansas and nationwide by focusing on the improvement of K-12 schools.” Under the leadership of department chairman Jay Greene, the program currently offers ten doctoral fellowships, sponsors a regular lecture series by visiting scholars and houses the School Choice Demonstration Project which rigorously evaluates school choice policies and initiatives in several urban school districts. Read More >

University of California at Los Angles – Center for Liberal Arts and Free Institutions (CLAFI)

An interdisciplinary center created in 2009 as part of the UCLA division of Humanities, CLAFI is dedicated to teaching the history of free institutions; encouraging students to confront basic questions of the meaning of life through the liberal arts; and promoting the study of the great works of civilization. CLAFI sponsors courses for undergraduates oriented toward these goals and invites the public to lectures, seminars, performances, and discussion groups. The UCLA Shakespeare Society is an affiliated group that meets to discuss the plays of Shakespeare and attend local productions of them. CLAFI is directed by Daniel Lowenstein, professor of law emeritus at UCLA. Read More >

University of Colorado, Boulder - Center for Western Civilization

Under Director E. Christian Kopff, the Center for Western Civilization provides an undergraduate certificate program, Foundations of Western Civilization. The rigorous course of studies seeks to impart a thorough grounding in Western culture, science and government, with particular focus on the Classical Tradition and the American Founding. The program is interdisciplinary, and offers a range of courses from departments such as English, history, philosophy, classics and religious studies. Students must maintain at least a C average academically, and complete a total of eight courses to qualify for the certificate. Read More >

University of Illinois, Springfield - Master's Degree in Liberty Studies

Earn a Master's Degree in Liberty Studies at the University of Illinois at Springfield. For over 30 years the Department of Liberal and Integrative Studies has offered students the opportunity to formulate their own degree plan and name their own degree. A brief list of courses on liberty include: Radical Capitalism, Philosophy of Business, Liberty Studies, Revolutions and Liberty, and Social Philosophy.

For more information on the degree, or to begin your application, contact Dr. William Kline: wklin2@uis. edu

For more information about Liberty Studies in general please visit Read More >

University of Louisville – McConnell Center

Founded in 1991 by US Senator Mitch McConnell and presently led by Professor Gary Gregg, the McConnell Center is “dedicated to promoting a non-partisan, well-rounded education that encourages top undergraduates to become valued citizens and future leaders.” The Center sponsors lectures, panel discussions, seminars and conferences as well as a Civics Education program, intended to address within Kentucky the national problem of lack of knowledge of American history, the constitutional system and the American political process. To this end, the Center offers educational programs for teachers at the secondary and college level as well as for the general public, intended to foster a greater knowledge of American history and the problems of citizenship. Read More >>

University of Maine, Orono – Program in Western Civilization and American Freedom

The Program in Western Civilization and American Freedom is currently a lecture series organized by Abraham Lincoln Professor of Political Philosophy Michael Palmer. The new initiative has thus far sponsored approximately two speakers per month on topics ranging from American history, constitutional government or contemporary intellectual issues. More speakers will be scheduled for the fall of 2009, and Professor Palmer hopes to expand the scope of the program’s activities as well. He can be contacted at

University of Mississippi - The Declaration of Independence Center for the Study of American Freedom

The Declaration of Independence Center for the Study of American Freedom is part of The University of Mississippi. The center was founded in 2009 and is named in honor of the Declaration of Independence, the document that constituted the United States as a political community and that expresses the founding principles of American freedom.

The center is dedicated to the academic exploration of the principles of freedom that animate American ideals and institutions. It is committed to a historical understanding of these principles as well as a philosophical understanding of their application to the issues facing the United States today.

To further that mission, the Declaration of Independence Center intends to implement a number of initiatives. The center will sponsor courses in the area of freedom studies. The center will sponsor lectures, conferences and other events. The center will also sponsor freedom studies societies and offer awards for achievements in the field of freedom studies. Read More >

University of Nebraska, Omaha - Association for the Study of Free Institutions

ASFI works to unite scholars from a variety of disciplines in the social sciences and humanities – political science, history, law, economics, sociology, psychology, anthropology, theology, classics, education – in order to revive the study of freedom as a major concern of American higher education. ASFI seeks to advance its mission through the following specific activities:

  • Hosting an annual scholarly conference.
  • Sponsoring public lectures and panel discussions.
  • Encouraging the production and publication of scholarly books and articles.
  • Promoting the development of courses and programs of study.
  • Facilitating faculty and teacher training.
  • Encouraging programs of civic education.
  • Supporting the creation of academic centers dedicated to the study of freedom.

Read More >

University of Nevada, Las Vegas – Great Works Academic Certificate
Founded in 2004 by Political Science Professor David Fott, the Great Works Academic Certificate Program “provides students with an opportunity to take part in a conversation with some of the best thinkers of all time.” Students wishing to participate in the program must present a 3.00 grade-point average and complete 19 credits toward the certificate, depending on their individual needs. A seminar for seniors serves as a capstone course. Inquiries about the program should be addressed to Professor David Fott.
University of Richmond – The John Marshall International Center for the Study of Statesmanship

The John Marshall International Center for the Study of Statesmanship approaches the study and practice of statesmanship through a program that combines scholarly and practical attention to constitutionalism, political economy, politics, and ethical reasoning. At its core is a great-books approach to both understanding and practicing responsible leadership.

The center implements the great-books approach through seminars and conferences and hosts a series of public lecturers from around the world who speak on the problems and prospects of leadership in international perspective. A vital part of the center's work includes visiting post-doctoral fellows who pursue their research within the context of the history of political, legal, economic, and constitutional ideas.

Programs include seminars, conferences, and a series of public lecturers. The center is directed by professors Gary L. McDowell and Terry L. Price. Read More >

University of South Dakota – Farber Center for Civic Leadership

The Farber Center was established in 1997 by the South Dakota Board of Regents, and is currently led by Director William D. Richardson in the Department of Political Science. In general, the program seeks “to prepare students and help communities to face difficult public problems in a manner consistent with constitutional values.” This mission is realized through various components, including a six-course undergraduate minor in Leadership Studies, undergraduate scholarships, and the Farber Forums which regularly sponsor lectures by distinguished scholars and public figures." target="_blank">Read More >

University of Texas at Austin – The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Study of Core Texts and Ideas

Previously known as the Program in Western Civilizations and American Institutions, the Center for the Study of Core Texts and Ideas is presently led by co-directors Thomas and Lorraine Pangle. The Center’s mission seeks “to counter the modern university’s drift towards fragmentation and specialization by creating a locus of sustained dialogue about questions of enduring significance, and providing new ways for undergraduates to integrate their studies.” In pursuit of this general goal, the program will embrace an interdisciplinary approach focused on the most influential, shaping texts in philosophy, history, religion and literature, whereby students will be led “to think rigorously about questions of central and enduring concern.” Read More >

University of Virginia – Program on Constitutionalism and Democracy

Under the Direction of Professor James Ceaser, the Program on Constitutionalism and Democracy (PCD) “promotes scholarship and undergraduate teaching that is informed by political theory and by the political science of the American Founding.” The program consists of three basic components, the first of which supports three annual research fellowships typically awarded to new Ph.Ds, or to those whose doctoral work is nearly completed. Secondly, the PCD conducts small seminars for undergraduates devoted to the study of the American political tradition. Third, the PCD sponsors a series of lectures and seminars by invited scholars, who take part in the program’s introductory course in the American Political Tradition. Read More >

University of Wisconsin, Madison – Center for the Study of Liberal Democracy

Founded in 2006 by co-directors Donald Downs and Lester Hunt, the Center for the Study of Liberal Democracy embraces a two-fold mission: “to promote appreciation and critical understanding of the cardinal principles and institutions of liberal democracy,” and “to advance intellectual diversity at the University by taking ideas seriously that have not always enjoyed sufficient respect on campus.” The Center regularly hosts guest speakers and panel discussions, and in 2008 held its first conference. At present, a new initiative for the establishment of undergraduate forums is underway, through which major issues of liberal education will be examined by student researchers. Read More >

University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee – Great Books Program

Founded in 1995 by Classics Professor and Director David Mulroy, the Great Books Certificate Program “provides an alternative for students to devote their college years to the development of broad intellectual abilities through meeting the most difficult challenges that undergraduate education has to offer.” To qualify for the Great Books certificate, students must complete 15 credits in courses approved by the program coordinator, in topical areas such as literature, history or philosophy in the Western tradition. In addition, all students must complete a two-course sequence in the History of Western Civilization, as well as advanced credits in mathematics and foreign language study. Read More >

Utah State University - The Project on Liberty and American Constitutionalism

Directed by political science professor Anthony A. Peacock and co-directed by political theory professor Peter McNamara, the Project examines "the meaning of liberty in the American constitutional system, with specific emphasis on the Founders' commitment to limited and responsible government that promotes individual liberty, free markets, and a strong national defense." The Project engages in three main activities: (1) Exploring the varying meanings of "liberty," (2) Exploring the meaning and jurisdiction of the U.S. Constitution, and (3) "to keep the community abreast of current Supreme Court decisions and especially their impact on questions of liberty." Read More >

Villanova University – Matthew J. Ryan Center for the Study of Free Institutions and the Public Good

The Matthew J. Ryan Center “promotes inquiry into the principles and processes of free government and seeks to advance understanding of the responsibilities of statesmen and citizens of constitutional democratic societies.” Inaugurated in 2006, the Ryan Center pursues this mission goal through a variety of activities, including the sponsorship of public lectures, conferences, and programs for visiting scholars and postdoctoral appointees. Under the directorship of Political Science Professor Colleen Sheehan, the Center is named for Matthew J. Ryan, alumnus of the university and its law school, and long-time Pennsylvania state legislator and speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Read More >


Washington College - Cincinnatus Program on American Civic Leadershi pand Political Thought

The Cincinnatus Program at Washington College, a component of the college’s developing Institute for the Study of Religion, Culture, and Citizenship, is dedicated to enhancing public understanding of the remarkable contributions of George Washington to the development of the American system of ordered liberty and to inspiring future generations of leaders to emulate the selfless sacrifice for the common good embodied in the life and deeds of the father of our country. Academic reflection on the character, religious convictions, and political sophistication of Washington is coupled with a structured leadership development program to reach these critically important goals. The Cincinnatus Program is directed by Dr. Joseph Prud'homme, professor of public law and political theory.

Webb Institute - Humanities Program

Webb Institute is a small, highly selective institution that offers a degree in naval architecture and marine engineering. All students receive full tuition scholarships. Webb Institute's humanities program, which includes a two-course sequence in the Western cultural tradition, focuses on technical communication, political philosophy, American government, and ethics.

The communications courses are designed to meet the needs of students in the professional and cultural uses of the English language in writing and speaking. The courses in the humanities are designed to acquaint the students principally with the heritage of Western Civilization. Webb's proximity to the prestigious cultural institutions in New York City permits academic field trips to be arranged to supplement classroom instruction in the humanities and social sciences. Read More >

Wilbur Wright College, Chicago – Great Books Curriculum

Founded in 1998 by Director Bruce Gans, the Great Books Curriculum at Wilbur Wright College has attracted wide attention nationally and has often served as a model for similar initiatives at other institutions. The program focuses on the seminal works of Western civilization, ranging across courses in English, Humanities, Philosophy, Social Sciences and Astronomy. Students who complete 12 credit hours of coursework in the curriculum receive a certificate upon graduation. In addition to classroom work, the program also includes student-faculty symposia, field trips, visiting lecturers and the publication of student essays in Symposium, the program’s scholarly journal. Read More >