Summer CLI 2023

Summer CLI 2023

K–12 Teachers Gather for the Summer Constitutional Literacy Institute at UVU

Story and photos by Hank McIntire. See photos here.


The Center for Constitutional Studies (CCS) at Utah Valley University hosted its annual summer Constitutional Literacy Institute June 26–30, 2023.

More than 40 elementary, middle-school, and high-school teachers received instruction and resources from top constitutional scholars and educators from the U.S. and Europe, which included the following:

  • Dr. Nicholas Cole, Oxford University
  • Dr. Maeva Marcus, George Washington University Law School
  • Dr. Savannah Eccles Johnston, Providence College
  • Judge Thomas Griffith, former federal judge of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Dr. Jeff Nokes and Dr. Paul Wangemann, Brigham Young University
  • Dr. Bradley Rebeiro, BYU Law School
  • Dr. Kyle Reyes and Dr. Axel Ramirez, Utah Valley University
  • Steven Steinbach, Sidwell School in Washington, DC
  • Dr. Matthew Brogdon, senior director of CCS.

Presenters covered topics such as the Bill of Rights; slavery and the Constitutional Convention; separation of powers; race, equity, and justice; civility; the Quill Project;  federalism; and lesson plans for teaching these concepts.

One teacher in attendance was Doug Welton, of Payson, a current-issues teacher at Salem Hills High School, who is also a member of the Utah Legislature.

"I love the founding principles, and this course has been expansive and refreshing," said Welton. "Institutions matter, and the better we understand how they work, the stronger our nation will be."

The course also attracts administrators, who work to guide teachers and get them what they need to teach more effectively. Jodi Ide, a high-school social-studies content specialist with Canyons School District, was thrilled with all that CLI offers. 

"For me, this has been a refresher course on the framework of the Constitution," she said. "I'm overwhelmed with all the resources we have been given. I'll take some of these and make examples of how teachers can use them."

Jeff Nokes, professor of history at Brigham Young University, provided instruction during the week on how to teach many of these topics in an engaging way. He gave a nod to his fellow presenters for what they brought to the experience.

"Hearing these scholars has opened up new ideas for teaching," said Nokes. "It's been enjoyable to be a part of, not only as a presenter but also as a learner. And the presenters' enthusiasm is contagious. The content knowledge people receive here will make them more confident with the topic and help students understand better."

Nokes also spoke to the scope of the impact that Summer CLI will have across Utah. "Some of these teachers here will teach 20 more years, and many will have 240 kids a year. You multiply that together and you get a lot of kids who interact with a teacher who is passionate about the Constitution and understands civic engagement. That is a huge humber of future voters and government officials."

As much as CLI equips teachers to succeed in the classroom, perhaps the most lasting impact is personal.

"It's important it is for teachers and students to go back to the basics of the Constitution and get to the heart of what it means to be an American," said Ide. "I haven't had a training like this in a long time, and I've been been at it for 21 years. It lights a fire to keep you going."

Summer Constitutional Literacy Institute held June 26–30, 2023

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