Past Institutes

Understanding the Federal Government

In February 2014, Humanities Texas held two one-day workshops in Austin and Dallas for teachers of courses in government and civics.


Topics addressed included the U.S. Constitution and the branches of the federal government.

Seventy teachers attended the workshops. The workshops emphasized close interaction with scholars, the examination of primary sources, and the development of effective pedagogical strategies and engaging assignments and activities. Content was aligned with the secondary social studies TEKS, with particular emphasis on the standards for U.S. government. Teachers received books and other instructional materials and were trained in the examination and interpretation of primary sources.


Workshop faculty included Charles Flanagan (NARA Center for Legislative Archives), former historian of the United States Senate Richard A. Baker, former historian of the U.S. House of Representatives Raymond W. Smock, retired U.S. federal judge Royal Furgeson (University of North Texas at Dallas), and Jeffrey Engel (Southern Methodist University).

Program resources

Our March 2014 newsletter included a slideshow of images from the workshop.

Locations and schedules

The workshop overviews detail each program's schedule and participants.

AustinFebruary 20Byrne-Reed HouseOverview
DallasFebruary 21George W. Bush Presidential LibraryOverview


These workshops were made possible with major funding from the State of Texas, with ongoing support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life was the local partner for the Austin workshop. The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum was the local partner and host for the Dallas workshop.

Questions about Teacher Institutes

Call 512.440.1991 or email

Austin workshop participants gather at the Byrne-Reed House.
Dallas workshop participants gather at the George W. Bush Presidential Library.