2022 Civic Leadership Institute

June 20, 2022 to July 1, 2022

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The Civic Leadership Institute is a hybrid, week-long program for high school students interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the Constitution and American political leaders through an on-campus experience at Arizona State University. 

Next year, the Center for Political Though and Leadership (CPTL) will offer virtual and onsite options for the Civic Leadership Institute (CLI) participants. There will be multiple onsite experiences that students can opt into plus a chance to stay in a dorm during a week of learning and events. Those that cannot attend onsite are welcome to join our lectures and discussions via Zoom and will be offered virtual activities to participate in, learn from, and build relationships with ASU faculty and high school students as well.

The CLI will include a guided curriculum that covers a main theme throughout one week for a group of participants. This program includes a series of professor-led classroom lectures, discussion groups facilitated by student mentors, and opportunities for students and parents to learn more about becoming a Sun Devil.

There will be a $150 fee for onsite participants next year and students who complete the program will be given a certificate of completion at a later date.

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Eligibility + Application Information

The Civic Leadership Institute is intended for mature high school students with an interest in American civics, government, history, and a strong academic potential to thrive in a challenging environment replicating a college experience. Eligible applicants will be rising high school sophomores, juniors, or seniors, with a minimum of 2.75 GPA (Seniors graduating in May 2021 are ineligible to apply). Applicants will be selected on the basis of academic achievement, drawn from these materials, and including the following criteria:

  • Academic achievement evidenced by cumulative GPA.
  • Preparation and success in relevant coursework (e.g. American History or Government) - minimum grade of B in all high school history or government classes taken to date.
  • Statewide representation (geographic diversity) is also a consideration in student selection.

If the current situation prevents you from obtaining any required application materials or information, please provide a supplementary statement by email and your application will receive equal consideration. 

Anyone may register to watch the daily videocast, but to participate in the discussions you must complete an application and registration. Each group will consist of up to 60 students and seating is limited. Students who successfully participate in class, discussion, and extracurricular sessions will receive a Civic Leadership Certificate from the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership at ASU. After you are fully registered, you will be sent the readings, instructions, and schedules. We will give priority consideration to those who have finished their applications by March 1, 2022 as well.


“This institute gives (the students) the opportunity to get a head start on having knowledge about their constitutional rights and liberties, as well as the fundamental principles that have defined American debates and aspirations.”

- Zack German, an assistant professor at the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership

Important Information

  • Statewide representation (geographic diversity) is also a consideration in student selection. 
  • Incomplete applications will not be considered. 
  • Decisions from the selection committee are final. 
  • The program costs $150 for onsite participants and is free for virtual participants.

Each day will include three curricular components: 

  1. A brief introductory lecture featuring the school’s faculty highlighting each day’s learning material.
  2. Discussion and breakout conversations between students and faculty that are centered on the primary source readings.
  3. There will also be ASU-related activities for participants following the discussions.

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“We need to make sure all of our students are educated about civics so we can make informed decisions on voting and things like that,”

-Sowmya V., a student at Desert Mountain High School.

The Struggle over the Constitution

The 2021 Civic Leadership Institute was held virtually over the course of five days. The theme of the 2021 CLI was the Struggle over the Constitution and participants engaged with founding debates on various features of the Constitution, including federalism, representation, executive power, and judicial power. The five days were guided by interconnected sub-themes that span from the Founding Era to today:

Monday: Federalism and the Constitution 

Tuesday: Representation and the Constitution 

Wednesday: Executive Power and the Constitution 

Thursday: Judicial Power and the Constitution 

Friday: Culminating Experience with Former Arizona Senator, Jon Kyl and Former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend