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NEH Virtual Summer Institute for School Teachers

 

The First Amendment in 21st Century America

Group of teachers attending a Rendell Center Summer Institute

In 2021, our Summer Institute will focus on the First Amendment. Sponsorship of the program is provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Apply today!

Date: July 25-31, 2021
Location: Virtual Sessions with a Fall 2021 Weekend Residency (Residency is optional and covered by the Rendell Center, not the NEH Grant)
Application Deadline: March 1, 2021
Notification Deadline: March 26, 2021
Deadline to Accept/Decline: April 2, 2021
Eligibility: K-12 teachers
Stipend: Participants will receive a $1,300 stipend to attend virtually.

Join us this July for synchronous and asynchronous learning sessions on the First Amendment. The institute will be an examination of how the Constitutional Framers’ vision of the First Amendment’s protections has been, and is now, being changed in the 21st Century by the Rehnquist and Roberts Courts.

We’ll examine how Freedoms of Speech, Religion, Assembly, Press, and Thought have held up over generations of Supreme Court Justices.

  • Experience  dynamic content sessions with renowned constitutional and legal scholars.
  • Gain critical skills and tools to apply teachings immediately in your classes.
  • Receive valuable reference materials and tools, including a list of books, casebook, and suggested lesson plans and activities to enchance your teaching.
Frist Amendment section of Bill of Rights on scroll

Teachers Talk About Our Summer Institute

See what your colleagues in education have to say about what they’ve gained by attending our Summer Institutes.

Stream a Supreme Court Lecture from our Program Director, Bruce Allen Murphy.

Schedule – Synchronous Sessions 

DAY 1 – Sunday

7:00 PM

Opening Keynote and Social Mixer

DAY 2 – Monday

10:00 AM

Welcome and Opening Orientation
Dr. Bruce Murphy
Fred Morgan Kirby Professor of Civil Rights, Lafayette College

11:00 AM

The Creation and Recreation of the First Amendment
Akhil Amar (invited)
Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science, Yale University

12:30 PM

Lunch break

1:15 PM

Analyzing the First Amendment Using Levels of Scrutiny
Helena Silverstein
Professor and Department Head
Government and Law Department, Lafayette College

2:30 PM

Pedagogy Session

3:15 PM

Day Ends

DAY 3 – Tuesday

10:00 AM

Application in the Classroom

10:15 AM

Interactive Constitution in the Classroom
Kerry Sautner
Chief Learning Officer, National Constitution Center

11:00 AM

Freedom of Speech and Assembly from Justices Oliver Wendell Holmes to Brett Kavanaugh
Bruce Allen Murphy

12:30 PM

Lunch break

1:30 PM

Speaking Freely on Education Campuses
Keith E. Whittington
William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics, Princeton University

2:30 PM

Discussion Session on Whittington’s “Speak Freely” book and School Speech cases
Keith Whittington
Bruce Allen Murphy

3:15 PM

Day Ends

Evening

Book Discussion Session
Bruce Allen Murphy

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Click to download schedule.

DAY 4 – Wednesday

10:00 AM

Application in the Classroom

11:00 AM

Freedom of the Press from the Founders to the 21st Century
Bruce Allen Murphy

12:00 PM

Lunch break

1:00 PM

Freedom of Religion from Chief Justice Waite to Justice Kavanaugh
Dr. F. Graham Lee, St. Joseph’s University

2:15 PM

Break

2:30 PM

Breakout sessions for grade level lesson planning

3:15 PM

Day Ends

DAY 5 – Thursday

10:00 AM

Super Precedents and the First Amendment
Michael Gerhardt
Burton Craig Distinguished Professor of Jurisprudence, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

11:30 AM

Analyzing Justices using Life Cycle Theory: The Judicial Challenges for Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Bruce Allen Murphy

12:30 PM

Lunch break

2:00 PM

Mock Supreme Court – Federal Courthouse
David Trevaskis, Esq
Pro Bono Coordinator. Pennsylvania Bar Association

3:15 PM

Day Ends

DAY 6 – Friday

10:00 AM

Application in the Classroom

11:00 AM

Freedom of Speech/Assembly: Black Lives Matter Protests
Nadia Brown
Purdue University

12:15 PM

Lunch break

1:00 PM

First Amendment Case Law Review
Bruce Allen Murphy

2:15 PM

Pedagogy Sessions

3:15 PM

Day Ends

DAY 7 – Saturday

10:00 AM

Take It Back to the Classroom Wrap-Up Session – Sharing of Lesson Plans

11:00 AM

First Amendment Wrap-up Session
Bruce Allen Murphy

Asynchronous Sessions

These will include virtual tours of Historic Philadelphia and the National Constitution Center plus sessions on Moot Supreme Court Preparation. 

Faculty and Team

Bruce Allen Murphy

Bruce Allen Murphy
Co-Program Director

Bruce Allen Murphy is a judicial biographer and scholar of American constitutional law and politics. He is the Fred Morgan Kirby Professor of Civil Rights at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, a position he has held since 1998. Prior to that appointment, he was a professor of Political Science and a professor of American History and Politics at Pennsylvania State University. In 1978, Murphy received his Ph.D. in Government and Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia, where he studied with Professors Henry J. Abraham and Robert J. Harris. Murphy is the author of four judicial biographies, the co-author of a textbook, and the editor of a reader. Professor Murphy’s books include The Brandeis/Frankfurter Connection: The Secret Political Activities of Two Supreme Court Justices (Oxford University Press, 1982), Fortas: The Rise and Ruin of a Supreme Court Justice (William Morrow & Co., 1988), Wild Bill: The Legend and Life of William O. Douglas (Random House, 2003), and his latest book, Scalia: A Court of One (Simon & Schuster, 2014). In addition to his judicial biographies, Murphy is the co-author (with Larry Berman) of an American government textbook, Approaching Democracy (Pearson Education). Throughout his academic career, Professor Murphy has taught political science, history, and constitutional law courses, including: American Constitutional Law, Liberty in the United States, The First Amendment, Introduction to U.S. Politics, The American Presidency, and seminars on judicial biography.  Professor Murphy has extensive experience running teacher institutes having served as the Institute Director for The Rendell Center’s Summer Teacher Institutes in 2016 and 2017, as well as participating in the Freedoms Foundations Teacher Institutes for the past 30 years.

Ryan Bravata - Pedagogy Director

Ryan Bravata
Pedagogy Director

Ryan Bravata currently teaches AP US Government and Politics, AP Comparative Government and Politics, and AP World History and served as the Social Studies Department Head at Dutchtown High in Louisiana. He is a member of the Instructional Leadership Team and Superintendent’s Teacher Advisory Panel while also sponsoring Griffins Fighting Gender Inequality and Rho Kappa National Social Studies Honors Society. He was awarded District Teacher of the Year in 2019. Over the course of his career, Mr. Bravata has participated in many summer institutes including Gilder Lehrman’s Slave Narratives in American Literature at Yale University, NEH Summer Institute: Borders and Borderlands, and the Constitutional Scholars Institute through the Rendell Center. 

Beth Specker

Beth Specker
Program Administrator

Beth Specker is the founding Executive Director of The Rendell Center for Civics and Civic Engagement, where she has worked closely with Judge Marjorie Rendell and former Governor Edward Rendell to establish the organization. In this role, she also serves as chief administrator for The Rendell Center’s Summer Teacher Institutes, overseeing all aspects of the events from program development, to marketing and logistics, as well as financial planning. Ms. Specker was Chief of Staff to First Lady of Pennsylvania, Judge Marjorie Rendell. In that role, she was responsible for oversight of Judge Rendell’s initiative to restore the civic mission of schools, which required her to work with K-12 schools throughout the Commonwealth as well as national organizations such as iCivics, the American Bar Association and the Civic Mission of Schools.  Ms. Specker began her career in civics education at the Freedoms Foundation, a national, non-profit organization providing a wide range of educational and awards programs for students, teachers and citizens. During her 19 years at there, Ms. Specker oversaw all aspects of running 48 educational conferences each year, including graduate programs for teachers and programs for international students. Ms. Specker holds a bachelor’s degree from Villanova University and a master’s degree in Non-Profit Management from Eastern University.

Akhil Reed Amar

Akhil Reed Amar
Faculty

Akhil Reed Amar (invited) is Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale University, where he teaches constitutional law at both Yale College and Yale Law School. His work has won awards from both the American Bar Association and the Federalist Society, and he has been favorably cited by Supreme Court justices across the spectrum in more than 30 cases –  tops in his generation. Professor Amar is the author of dozens of law review articles and several books, including The Constitution and Criminal Procedure: First Principles (Yale Univ. Press, 1997), The Bill of Rights: Creation and Reconstruction (Yale Univ. Press, 1998), America’s Constitution: A Biography (Random House, 2005), America’s Unwritten Constitution: The Precedents and Principles We Live By (Basic Books, 2012), and The Law of the Land: A Grand Tour of our Constitutional Republic (Basic Books, 2015). Professor Amar’s most recent book, The Constitution Today: Timeless Lessons for the Issues of Our Era, was published in 2016.

Graham Lee

Graham Lee
Faculty

Graham Lee is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Saint Joseph’s University. A native of Boston, he was educated at the Boston Latin School, received a bachelor’s degree from Boston College and earned a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. During his 45-year career at Saint Joseph’s University, Professor Lee has served as President of the Faculty Senate, Dean of the University College, and Director of Graduate Programs. His academic expertise centers on the U.S. Supreme Court, with particular interest in church/state issues. Professor Lee has authored three books on that topic, as well as books on the Burger Court, equal protection, and Chief Justice William Howard Taft.

Helena Silverstein

Helena Silverstein
Faculty

Helena Silverstein is Professor and Department Head in the Government and Law Department at Lafayette College.  She received her Ph.D. and M.A. in political science from the University of Washington, and B.A. in political science and economics from the University of Pennsylvania.  Her primary research and teaching specialties are in socio-legal studies, with specific interests in law and social change; legal mobilization, impact, and implementation; constitutional law and rights; abortion politics; and church/state issues.  She is author of two books: Girls on the Stand: How Courts Fail Pregnant Minors (New York University Press, 2007) and Unleashing Rights:  Law, Meaning, and the Animal Rights Movement (University of Michigan Press, 1996).  In addition to serving as Department Head, Professor Silverstein has held other administrative positions, including serving as Program Director for the Law and Social Sciences Program at the National Science Foundation.

David Keller Trevaskis

David Keller Trevaskis, Esq.
Faculty

David Keller Trevaskis, Esquire, is an attorney and former third grade teacher, with a Master’s Degree in Education.   Trevaskis has long been a champion of non-violence, having been th designer of and original trainer for Project PEACE (Peaceful Endings through Authorities, Children and Educators), a peer mediation, anti-bullying and youth court program jointly sponsored by the PBA and the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General. A co-author of the 2017 updated text, School Law: Legal Framework, Guiding Principles, and Litigated Areas, David is an expert on school law and school crisis. He teaches in the classroom and online at Community College of Philadelphia, Gratz College, Arcadia University and the University of New England.

Keith Whittington

Keith Whittington
Faculty

Keith Whittington (invited) is William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics at Princeton University, and the current director of graduate studies in the Department of Politics. He has published widely on American constitutional theory and development, federalism, judicial politics, and the presidency. Whittington is the author of Constitutional Construction: Divided Powers and Constitutional Meaning, and Constitutional Interpretation: Textual Meaning, Original Intent, and Judicial Review, and Political Foundations of Judicial Supremacy: The Presidency, the Supreme Court, and Constitutional Leadership in U.S. History (which won the C. Herman Pritchett Award for best book in law and courts and the J. David Greenstone Award for best book in politics and history). Whittington is editor (with Gerald Leonard) of the New Essays on American Constitutional History and editor (with Maeva Marcus, Melvin Urofsky, and Mark Tushnet) of the Cambridge Studies on the American Constitution.
Kerry Sautner

Kerry Sautner, Ed.D.
National Constitution Center Staff

Kerry Sautner, Ed.D., serves as Vice President of Visitor Experience and Education at the National Constitution Center.  In her capacity as VP of Visitor Experience, Dr. Sautner oversees all aspects of the public’s on-site experience of the Center, including the box office, visitor services, and volunteer staff, as well as serving as the lead in the Center’s strategic partnerships in Philadelphia’s Historic District.  Building on her classroom and program development experience, Dr. Sautner also leads the Center’s education and outreach efforts. This includes the development of interactive programs for students, teachers and the public; theatrical productions; webcasts; and standards-based classroom materials available onsite and online.    Dr. Sautner obtained her Doctorate in Education Leadership and Management from Drexel University. She also holds a master’s degree in education from Drexel University and a bachelor’s degree in biology and marine science from Rutgers University.

Application

The application deadline has passed. Thank you for your interest. Applicants will be notified about acceptances by March 26, 2021.

 

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