From June 5–8, 2012, forty-two teachers from around the state gathered on the Southern Methodist University campus for "The Making of Modern America," an institute examining significant events and themes in U.S. history since Reconstruction.

The Dallas institute included lectures and workshops led by Pulitzer Prize-winning historians David M. Kennedy (Stanford University) and David Oshinsky (UT Austin), H. W. Brands (UT Austin), Albert S. Broussard (Texas A&M University), Erika Bsumek (UT Austin), Robert M. Citino (UNT), Crista Deluzio (SMU), Neil Foley (SMU), Ignacio García (BYU), Michael L. Gillette (Humanities Texas), Allen Matusow (Rice University), Heather Nice (George W. Bush Presidential Library), Heather Cox Richardson (Boston College), and Nicole Waligora-Davis (Rice University).

As in past years, institutes emphasized close interaction with scholars, the examination of primary sources, and the development of effective pedagogical strategies and engaging assignments and activities. The programs were designed ultimately to enhance teachers' mastery of the subjects they teach and to improve students' performance on state assessments.