The Center for Constitutional Studies at Utah Valley University is a nonpartisan, academic institute that promotes the instruction, study, and research of constitutionalism. In particular, it examines important constitutional issues found at the intersections of political thought, public policy, religion, law, history, and economics.

It employs a multidisciplinary approach to more effectively equip a new generation of citizens and leaders with a broad understanding of political thought and economic and political practices critical to the perpetuation of constitutional government, ordered liberty, and the rule of law.

CCS Touchpoints

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.

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At the heart of our mission is the civil, nonpartisan promotion of constitutional literacy within our local, state, and national communities.

We pursue this end by focusing on five areas:

  • Educational Programs
  • Federalism
  • The Quill Project
  • Equal Liberty and Constitutional Rule of Law
  • Property and Free Markets

Inspired by the Athenian roots of Western government, we visualize each area of focus as a column supporting the pediment of constitutional literacy.

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Educational Programs

Educational Programs

Since the inception of CCS, education has been at the core of its every endeavor. What began with a Constitutional Studies minor and community-focused conferences is now a full suite of educational programs.

The CCS K-12 constitutional literacy initiative brings hundreds of high-school students to campus each year for constitutional conferences. The initiative also led to the launch of the CCS Constitutional Literacy Institute, which enhances the constitutional knowledge and pedagogy of secondary-school teachers.

In 2021, CCS began hosting annual conferences to train both educators and state legislators on principles and applications of American federalism. CCS is also developing a Constitutional Studies-based master's program for academics and educators.

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The Quill Project

The Quill Project

Since 2016, CCS has worked with Dr. Nicholas Cole of the University of Oxford's Pembroke College on the Quill Project, a groundbreaking software platform developed by Dr. Cole to recreate digitally the proceedings of constitutional conventions and legislative debates. CCS, now a formal strategic partner, has assisted with most aspects of the Quill Project, including student engagement in digitizing and analyzing materials relevant to the Constitutional Convention of 1787, the 13th, 14th, 15th and 19th Amendments, and state constitutional conventions for Utah, Wyoming, Illinois, Idaho, and Washington. Students researchers also use the Quill Project drafting papers for publication in academic journals. CCS and Dr. Cole are working to expand use of the Quill Project in the law and in K-12 classrooms.

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American Federalism

American Federalism

The Federalism Initiative at CCS exists to help educators, state leaders, and citizens better understand and appreciate the role and history of American federalism in the overall structure of the United States Constitution. The American federal-state relationship is one of the unique and essential innovations of the U.S. Constitution, and it is essential for the proper functioning of government at every level. Principles of federalism and intergovernmental relations are not well understood by voters or even some elected officials, however. The Federalism Index Project at Utah Valley University is the first attempt to both collect the information needed to understand key federal-state dynamics and also curate that information in a manner that is readily understood and usable by engaged citizens.

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Property and Free Markets

Property and Free Markets

CCS maintains that a working knowledge of the economic consequences of the U.S. Constitution is an essential component of constitutional literacy. Educational efforts in this area are rewarded by a greater understanding of both the promises and the potential pitfalls of private property, free markets, and commercial civilization. As the role of free markets is scrutinized, it is imperative that their connection to the right of property, which is part of the constitutional rule of law, be more clearly defined and understood. James Madison declared that we have rights in property and property in rights, and that those rights are interdependent. Under that premise, CCS explores the appropriate balance between the right of property, free markets, and the extent to which regulation of the market is warranted in a free society.

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Equal Liberty and Rule of Law

Equal Liberty and Rule of Law

The constitutional rule of law is the bulwark of a free society. It provides for equality under the law, whereby all are treated equally. The First Amendment protects five interdependent rights beginning with the right of religious conscience. CCS hosts an annual Constitution Day Conference and an annual First Amendment Conference and promotes scholarship on constitutionalism, religious liberty and other First Amendment freedoms. An understanding of the constitutional rule of law and the equal liberties secured by the law is central to constitutional literacy.

Message from the Director

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Matthew Brogdon

Senior Director - Center for Constitutional Studies

The Center for Constitutional Studies works to advance the understanding and practice of constitutional government, ordered liberty, and the rule of law. We do this through original research on state and federal constitutionalism, academic and public-facing conferences, university curriculum, study-abroad opportunities, strategic partnerships, and collaboration with K–12 educators.

The Quill Project team at UVU and at Pembroke College, Oxford, is advancing the study of American constitutionalism in ways that will impact constitutional law, civic education, and constitutional scholarship for decades to come.

The Center’s Federalism Initiative is deepening our understanding of constitutional federalism through the Federalism Index and our innovative Policy Tracker.

Students at UVU and in surrounding school districts continue to reap the benefits of the Center’s Constitutional Literacy Initiative, through our annual Constitution Day and First Amendment conferences, as well as our summer Constitutional Literacy Institutes for social-studies teachers.

And the Center’s Civic Thought and Leadership Initiative (CTLI) has developed proven methods for bringing the knowledge, skills, dispositions, and virtues necessary for good citizenship to UVU students, Utah teachers, and our surrounding communities.

These achievements reflect a legacy of past leadership, community support, and intellectual labor. With our CCS team, I am honored to build the future of constitutional studies at UVU on this solid foundation, fueled by a broad base of support within UVU and from outside donors, granting agencies, and the Utah legislature.

Our Center is rapidly growing into a nationally recognized model for integrating original constitutional scholarship with the promotion of constitutional literacy in the university and in civil society at large. We invite you to join us in that effort.

Contact Us

Suite 305, UVU Fulton Library
800 West University Parkway
Orem, UT 84058

[email protected]

(801) 863-5470