Summer Institute for Florida Teachers:
Ave Maria University

Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Charles Shober

A weeklong professional development program on the Ave Maria University campus for Florida civics and history teachers.

Partner Professor James M. Patterson (Ave Maria University) will be hosting a summer institute for teachers on Religious Freedom in America. The institute will feature primary source-based discussions with expert scholars with a focus on the development of religious liberty in America and its role in politics throughout American history.

In addition to in-depth study of founding documents, teachers will apply concepts and primary sources to the classroom. The institute is entirely cost-free for teachers. Breakfast and lunch will be provided daily and participants will receive a $400 stipend. See an agenda for the week below.

If you have any questions about this summer institute, contact Lauren Altobelli at 

Readings for the program are available here.

Classroom application materials are available here.

Simulations are available here.


Religious Freedom in America: Past and Present

Monday, June 21: Religious Influence on American Political Tradition

with Associate Professor John D. Wilsey, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

9:00 am – 10:30 am: Religious Theology and Tradition Brought to the New World

10:45 am – 12:00 pm: Colonial Development of Faith and Conscience

Tuesday, June 22: Religious Liberty & the American Founding

with Associate Professor John Colman, Ave Maria University

9:00 am – 10:30 am: Enlightenment Foundation for Religious Liberty

10:45 am – 12:00 pm: The Ideas and Statesmanship of Washington, Jefferson, and Madison

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm: Teacher-led Curriculum Application

Wednesday, June 23: Overcoming Religious and Racial Discrimination

with Associate Professor James M. Patterson, Ave Maria University

9:00 am – 10:30 am: Anti-Catholicism of the 19th Century

10:45 am – 12:00 pm: Religion and the Long Civil Rights Movement

Thursday, June 24: Religion and Constitutional Law

with Professor Seana Sugrue, Ave Maria University

9:00 am – 10:30 am: Key Decisions for Contemporary Religious Liberty Jurisprudence

10:45 am – 12:00 pm: Recent Decisions and the Future of Religious Liberty

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm: Teacher-led Curriculum Application

Friday, June 25: Development of Curriculum

with Dr. Danton Kostandarithes, Bolles School (Jacksonville)

9:00 am – 10:30 am: Overview of Resources Available to Teachers

10:45 am – 12:00 pm: Designing Lesson Plans for Teaching Grades 6-12 Students


 Meet the scholars:

James PattersonJames M. Patterson is Associate Professor of Politics at Ave Maria University. He has published academic work on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Venerable Fulton J. Sheen, and biblical narratives in American political rhetoric.



John D. Wilsey is Associate Professor of Church History at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. A historian of ideas in church history, he is interested in how theology has influenced American national identity, the Enlightenment, religious freedom, church and state relations, and the contributions the Black church has made to American religious and political culture.


John Colman is Associate Professor of Politics at Ave Maria University.




Seana Sugrue is Chair of the Politics Department and Professor of Politics at Ave Maria University. Her research interests include the role of law and civic institutions in the formation of a just society and the powers of the President and Congress.




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