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Summer Institute on the Constitution

Learn and Experience in Washington, D.C.

As part of the James Madison Fellowship program, each Fellow attends the four-week Summer Institute on the Constitution held in June-July in Washington, D.C. Fellows attend the Institute at Georgetown University after they have matriculated in an approved graduate program and commenced coursework.

The academic focus of the Institute is a graduate course entitled, "The Foundations of American Constitutionalism." Taught by constitutional scholars, this course is a study of the principles, framing, ratification, and implementation of constitutional government in the United States.

Healy Hall at Georgetown University

Healy Hall, where James Madison Fellows attend lectures during Summer Institute.

Discussion group

A discussion group being held in between classroom lectures.

A feature of the Institute is the occasional trips to sites associated with the Constitution, in and around Washington. These sites include Mount Vernon, Montpelier, Monticello, and Arlington Cemetery. Participants frequently have a private meeting with a sitting Supreme Court Justice.

2019 James Madison Fellows at Montpelier

James Madison Fellows, faculty, and staff at James Madison's Montpelier during the 2019 Summer Institute.

One of the informal benefits of attending the Institute is the opportunity for interaction with a wide range of individuals whose varied interests can lead to enduring friendships and professional associations.

Expenses for the Summer Institute are paid for out of the $24,000 fellowship.


Current Summer Institute Professors


Past Summer Institute Faculty

  • James Banner (1993–1995), Independent Scholar
  • Lance Banning (1993), University of Kentucky
  • Herman Belz (1996–2012), University of Maryland
  • Roger Brown (1993–1995), American University
  • Susan Hansen (2008), University of Dallas
  • Jerome Hanus (1998–2001), American University
  • Suzette Hemberger (2001–2007), Johns Hopkins University
  • Gordon Lloyd (2013), Pepperdine University
  • Marion Nelson (2009–2014), Virginia Commonwealth University
  • R. Kent Newmyer (1993), University of Connecticut Law School
  • Whitman Ridgway (1996–2001), University of Maryland
  • Sandra Van Burkleo (1993), Wayne State University
  • Rosemarie Zagarri (1994–2000), George Mason University
Lynda Boyle

Lynda Boyle

Utah Fellow

Linda is earning her Master's in History and Government at Ashland University. She teaches at Monticello High School in Monticello, UT.

This Summer Institute experience will forever be an academic highlight of my life. I did not fully understand the depth and density of thought and debate that went into every aspect of the Constitution. I am so proud to belong to a profession that is full of individuals that are dedicated to a profession that is full of individuals that are dedicated to increasing their knowledge of American history and constitutionalism and committed to relaying that knowledge to their students. I am proud to be a teacher and honored to be teaching the good and the bad found within our nation's history.

Ethan Rettew

Ethan Rettew

Maine Fellow

Ethan is earning his Master's in History at Slippery Rock University. He teaches at Erskine Academy in South China, ME.

The Summer Institute was amazing and an eye opener for the way I teach and look at the founding of our nation. The opportunity to study the constitution in the capital with four experienced professors is invaluable. I've made some new friends and learned a lot from colleagues from around the country, it is beyond useful to be able to hear various views from so many different educators.”