About the Center for Constitutional Studies

Purpose & Mission

Established in 2011, the UVU Center for Constitutional Studies, a nonpartisan academic institute, promotes the instruction, study, and research of constitutionalism. The Center engages students, scholars, educators, leaders, and the public on constitutional issues where political thought, public policy, religion, law, history, education and economics intersect.

Conferences, university curriculum, faculty scholarship, a robust research agenda, strategic partnerships, and K-12 initiatives are among the many touchpoints that allow the Center to prepare citizens with the broad understanding of thought and practices critical to the perpetuation of constitutional government, ordered liberty, and the rule of law.

Director's Message

Scott Paul

I am humbled to join the distinguished company of directors of the Center for Constitutional Studies (CCS) at UVU. Dr. Rick Griffin, our founding director; Dr. Andrew Bibby, who followed as interim director; and Dr. Rodney Smith, our most recent director. They have established the Center as a leading academic institution for the instruction and study of constitutionalism.

I join with my colleagues in CCS and with all of our friends at UVU and beyond in mourning the loss of our dear friend, Dr. Rodney K. Smith. The Center flourished under Rod’s leadership. We who knew him will always be inspired by his goodness and his passion for our mission.

Never in the Center’s first decade of operation has our work been more important than it is today. I look forward to continued engagement with students, educators, government officials, and friends and supporters of the Center as we further our mission to increase constitutional literacy at the local, state, and national levels.

In all our endeavors, we stand firmly committed to advancing the public virtue of civility. From the debates in the sweltering Philadelphia summer heat of 1787 to the presentations at the Center’s latest Constitution Day conference, respect and decorum have prevailed, even among those whose ideas were diametrically opposed. We invite all to model civil discourse as we continue the pursuit of a more perfect union.

Former Directors

Dr. Rick Griffin

Dr. Rick Griffin

Founding Director, Dr. Rick Griffin (2011–2015)

When CCS was first charged in 2011 with becoming a regional hub for constitutional studies, it seemed an almost-unattainable objective.

With a dedication to excellence, CCS employed unusual energy and vision via hard-hitting academic programming, distinguished academic and government contributors, a demanding student-mentoring program, and a rigorous Constitutional Studies degree program to emerge as a regional hub and national leader in constitutional studies.

Because the Constitution is the political blueprint and fundamental law of the nation, it is of enormous importance that every citizen understand it.

Dr. Andrew Bibby

Dr. Andrew Bibby

Dr. Andrew Bibby (2015–2016)

It was a privilege and an honor to serve previously as interim director and now as associate director of CCS. The Center has become one of UVU’s most impressive academic institutes—one that strives not only to teach about the U.S. Constitution (the facts), but also the reasons for and the process behind the creation of the Constitution (the why).

In my time here, I have witnessed firsthand the enormous impact the Center has had on the lives of students, fellows, associated faculty, and the public at large throughout the Mountain West.

Through major conferences, student mentoring, prestigious internships, special-guest lectures, and visits from nationally recognized legal scholars and practitioners, the Center continues to flourish as a unique hub of intellectual activity and constitutional studies.

Dr. Rodney K. Smith

Dr. Rodney K. Smith

Dr. Rodney K. Smith (2016–2020)

A recent Annenberg poll revealed that constitutional literacy and understanding are waning. Only 38 percent of American citizens could name each of the three branches of government, and 35 percent were unable to name a single branch of government.

Without increased constitutional understanding, the rule of law and our nation's free government are in jeopardy. At the Center for Constitutional Studies, we do all we can to build nonpartisan understanding and to do our part to help secure the constitutional basis of our democratic republic.

We are committed to maintaining the standard of excellence and nonpartisanship set by Dr. Rick Griffin and those who worked with him to build the Center, as it fulfills its charge to be a nationally recognized leader in the effort to increase constitutional understanding.