New Summer Intensive Civics Programs for High School Teachers

The University of Chicago Graham School and the Newberry Library are offering teachers three coordinated, one-week intensive sessions on American history and government. High school teachers may partake in these programs at no cost.

Discover new perspectives of the texts you may teach your students while earning professional development credit.

The Graham School will host the first and third weeks, and the Newberry Library will host the second. Each UChicago Graham seminar is free and offers the following benefits:

-25 hours of professional development
-A $100 stipend
-Continental breakfast and lunch each day, plus group dinner Tuesday evening
-Primary source readings

Teachers may attend each one-week session as a stand-alone course, or participate in multiple sessions:


Week 1 | July 10-14 | What the Founders Read: The Philosophical Influences on the American Founding
In this 5-day sequence at the University of Chicago’s Graham School, teachers will engage in guided close readings and detailed discussions of the major philosophical texts that shaped the political worldview of the founding generation. Texts will include Plato’s Republic, Aristotle’s Politics, John Locke’s Two Treatises of Government, Montesquieu’s Spirit of the Laws, and Jean Jacques Rousseau’s Social Contract. An immersive grappling with the big ideas that the founders wrestled with provides an essential foundation to understanding the government they created.

Week 2 | July 17-21 | The Principles of America’s Founding
In this 5-day sequence at the Newberry Library, teachers will pursue an exciting inquiry into the Founders’ political philosophy. Lectures, discussions, and workshops will bring to life the fundamental arguments of the Founding, which continue to animate our political life. Readings will include core AP Government texts such as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers. We will also examine closely the thought of Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, and the musically celebrated Alexander Hamilton. Participation promises invaluable preparation for civics, American history, and government classes.
Please visit the Newberry Library website for more information about Week 2.

Week 3 | July 24-28 | The Unwritten Constitution: The Evolution of the Congress and Presidency
In this 5-day sequence at the University of Chicago’s Graham School, teachers will study the history and evolution of the American Government. The Founders set into place the basic structures of government, and subsequent generations of political leaders shaped its future forms. Week 3 will include a special session on pedagogy by a scholar from the National Archives. Topics to be covered include the crisis of the Civil War, the Progressive Era, the New Deal and Great Society, and the War Powers. Readings will include de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, Woodrow Wilson’s Congressional Government, and Herbert Croly’s The Promise of American Life, as well as documents by other presidents and congressional leaders.

Click here for more information and to apply.
Deadline to apply is May 15, 2017.

These and other events in the Chicago area during summer 2017 are part of the JMC’s HLM Founding Civics Initiative.