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Monday, September 25, 2017

MU launches program to promote constitutional knowledge

Dryer hopes the program will place MU on the map as a school recognized for political science.

MU will launch a new program designed to promote knowledge and understanding of the U.S. Constitution and democracy this fall.

The program, called the Kinder Forum on Constitutional Democracy, will be run by the political science and history departments and will include initiatives to support teaching and studying American constitutional and democratic traditions among undergraduate and graduate students and faculty.

“It is important that we educate our students for when they leave school and enter the world as citizens,” said Justin Dyer, an assistant political science professor at MU and founder of the program.

Other universities across the country have implemented similar programs in the past, but Dyer said he hopes the program can put MU on the map as a school recognized nationally for political science.

“This area of study has been neglected in the past,” he said.

Dyer said he was inspired to create the forum because he “had a sense that democracy and the Constitution are important areas to learn about.”

The program will host events throughout the year, some of which are only for students and others that are open to the public.

“We have John Meacham (former editor-in-chief of Newsweek) scheduled to come in for a luncheon in September, as well as Michael Zuckert (professor at the University of Notre Dame) on Constitution Day (Sept. 17),” Dyer said.

In addition to guest lecturers throughout the year, the program offers a competitive fellowship to undergraduates through the Society of Fellows, which hosted a conference at Tiger Hotel on Aug. 16.

Dyer said the program will also provide fellowships and grants for faculty and graduate students to explore questions related to constitutional democracy.

The program is a partner of the Jack Miller Center for Teaching America’s Founding Principles and History, and is funded by a grant from the Kinder Foundation, a Houston-based philanthropy organization.

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