Past Institutes

The U.S. Constitution and American History

In June 2009, eighty Texas teachers attended two professional development institutes organized by Humanities Texas, the College of Liberal Arts at The University of Texas at Austin, the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, and The University of Texas at San Antonio examining important constitutional topics in U.S. history.


The institutes covered topics central to courses in U.S. and government, including the design of the Constitution; the Bill of Rights; the separation of powers; the achievements of the Marshall Court; the War of 1812 and the War Powers Clause; important amendments to the Constitution; and significant civil rights cases of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

The institute 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. Teachers received books and other instructional materials.


The institute faculty featured some of the leading scholars in Texas and the nation, including the Hon. Diane P. Wood (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit); Pulitzer-prize winning historians David Oshinsky (The University of Texas at Austin) and Jack N. Rakove (Stanford University); H. W. Brands, George Forgie, Mark Lawrence, Sanford Levinson, William S. Livingston, Lawrence Sager, and Gretchen Ritter (The University of Texas at Austin); Albert S. Broussard (Texas A&M University); Joseph Cooper (the Johns Hopkins University); Maeva Marcus (George Washington University); John McCusker (Trinity University); Monica Perales (University of Houston); and Mary L. Volcansek (Texas Christian University).

Educational specialists from the LBJ Library and Museum and the National Archives and Records Administration also served on the institute faculty, providing participants with facsimiles of historic documents that support the teaching of U.S. history.

Locations and Schedules

AustinJune 7–10LBJ Library and MuseumSchedule
San AntonioJune 14–17The University of Texas at San AntonioSchedule

More information can be found in the institutes' final report.

Sponsors and partners

Program co-sponsors included the College of Liberal Arts at The University of Texas at Austin, the LBJ Library and Museum, and The University of Texas at San Antonio.

The institutes were made possible with major funding from a We the People grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, with additional support from the Houston Endowment, a philanthropy endowed by Mr. and Mrs. Jesse H. Jones.

Questions about Teacher Institutes

Call 512.440.1991 or email

2009 San Antonio Institute Participants
Participants gather in San Antonio on the UTSA campus.
Jack N. Rakove Workshop Group
Jack N. Rakove (Stanford University) leads a primary source workshop in Austin examining the Bill of Rights. Photo by Charles Bogel.
State Representative Mike Villarreal and San Antonio–area teachers
Texas State Representative Mike Villarreal joins teachers Larisa Castro and Jennifer Rodriguez in San Antonio.