Dr. Troy E. Smith, professor of political science at Brigham Young University – Hawaii, named program director

The Utah Valley University (UVU) Center for Constitutional Studies (CCS) announced today the launch of a master’s program in constitutional government, civics & law (MACGCL). Dr. Troy E. Smith, professor of political science at Brigham Young University–Hawaii and an expert on federalism, has been named program director.

Students in the new master of arts program will spend time at Oxford University’s Pembroke College, which partners with the Center for Constitutional Studies on the Quill Project, a groundbreaking, undergraduate‐led digital modeling of constitutional conventions.

The master’s program has two areas of concentration: a teaching track geared toward enhancing an individual’s ability to teach social studies in K-12 public and private schools and a research track that prepares individuals to pursue highly competitive doctoral studies programs in constitutional law, history, or political science.

Amid an increasingly polarized political landscape and a lack of constitutional literacy, K-12 civics education is vital to a common understanding of the American political system, constitutional government, history, and economics among the next generation of citizens and leaders.

The master’s program will equip students with an understanding of the American founding, the development of the American constitutional system, and the civic virtues it requires. Graduates will strengthen their ability to read carefully, think critically, and engage in civil discourse through speech and writing.

“As our country becomes more politically divisive, we are proud to offer a new master’s degree that will enhance public understanding of the constitution and civil discourse,” said Matthew Brogdon, senior director of the center. “In just 14 months, our master’s students can complete an Oxford-supported degree, which will not only position them for highly successful teaching and research careers but will also allow them to shape tens of thousands of students’ understanding of American government and the Constitution.”

Students in both the teaching and research tracks will earn a minimum of 30 credit hours in the 14-month program spanning two summer semesters and the intervening academic year. Instruction for the teaching track will include two weeks of in-person, on-campus classes at Utah Valley University (first-year summer session), online instruction from August to April, and two weeks of in-person, on-campus classes at Pembroke College at Oxford (second-year summer session).

The research track’s schedule will mirror that of the teaching track except that the Oxford experience will last at least four weeks and will take place during the fall or spring.

Dr. Smith will begin his position at UVU immediately. His expertise encompasses federal systems of government, complexity and public policy, and American government. He is a fellow at the Center for the Study of Federalism and editor of the online encyclopedia Federalism in America: An Encyclopedia. His academic work has appeared in Publius: The Journal of FederalismThe Review of PoliticsCongress & the PresidencyThinking Skills & Creativity, and others.

UVU’s Center for Constitutional Studies is one of the few programs in the nation devoted not just to the founding documents, but to teaching them properly to both K-12 and higher-education students and teachers,” said Smith. “I am honored to be leading this phenomenal program and help prepare the next wave of teachers and researchers to elevate civics and constitutional education from mere course credit to a fundamental part of creating well-informed, constitutionally literate citizens.”

Coinciding with the launch of the MACGCL program, CCS is also holding its annual summer K-12 teacher training, the Constitutional Literacy Institute (CLI). The training will draw a record-high 53 educators from Utah and beyond seeking to refine their social-studies teaching skills for the K-12 classroom and incorporate elements of UVU’s Quill Project into their lesson plans.

Among the distinguished faculty instructing the CLI cohort will be Dr. Nicholas Cole, senior research fellow at Pembroke College and director of the Quill Project, and Jeffrey Nokes, associate professor in the History Department at Brigham Young University, who holds a Ph.D. in teaching and learning from the University of Utah, with an emphasis on literacy in secondary social studies classrooms.

To learn more about MACGCL program, go to https://www.uvu.edu/ccs/macgcl/index.html.

To learn more about UVU‘s teacher-training program, go to https://www.uvu.edu/ccs/projects/constitutionalliteracyinstitute.php.

About the UVU Center for Constitutional Studies

Utah Valley University’s (UVU) Center for Constitutional Studies (CCS) is a nonpartisan academic institute that promotes the instruction, study, and research of constitutionalism. Through a multidisciplinary approach, CCS examines important constitutional issues found at the intersections of political thought, public policy,

religion, law, history, and economics. Its mandate is to equip a new generation of citizens and leaders with a broad understanding of political thought and economic practices critical to preserving constitutional government, ordered liberty, and the rule of law.

About The Quill Project

Developed at the University of Oxford’s Pembroke College, the Quill Project takes records of constitutional conventions and codes, digitizes, and enters them into the Project’s proprietary software platform. It focuses on what constitutional drafters said and wrote, along with applicable stories about them in period newspapers, timelines, photos, political agendas, policy issues, the accompanying debates, etc.

About Utah Valley University

At Utah Valley University, we believe everyone deserves the transforming benefits of high-quality education — and it needs to be affordable, accessible, and flexible. With opportunities to earn everything from certificates to master’s degrees, our students succeed by gaining real-world experience and developing career-ready skills. We continue to invite people to come as they are — and leave ready and prepared to make a difference in the world.

For more information, visit UVU’s Newsroom website for fact sheets, maps, leadership bios, history, photos, b-roll, filming policies, and a list of interview-ready faculty experts at https://www.uvu.edu/newsroom/# or scan this QR code.