Institute of American Civics
The Institute of American Civics is a new opportunity to strengthen civic engagement and combat political polarization in our state and nation.
The Institute is a natural extension of the work the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy has done since its beginning, and the Institute is designed to build on the University of Tennessee’s capabilities in politics, economics, philosophy, American history and American government. The legislated mission of the Institute is to provide a comprehensive civic education for University undergraduates and the state at large, including America’s founding principles, the economic and political institutions that maintain American democracy and the basics of civic engagement.
About the Institute
Since its founding in 2003, the Howard H. Baker, Jr. Center for Public Policy has served as the Knoxville campus’s hub for civic engagement and education.
In 2022, legislation creating the Institute of American Civics received strong bipartisan backing in the 112th Tennessee General Assembly.
Lawmakers from both parties spoke in favor of the Institute’s mission to strengthen civic education and participation while reviving thoughtfulness, civility and respect for opposing viewpoints in national discourse. Senator Baker’s legacy of conciliation and respect for opposing viewpoints, along with his deep patriotism and commitment to public service, provide an ideal foundation for the Institute’s activities.
For additional information on the founding and the role of the Institute, click here.
Consulting Services Engaged
Prior to naming the Board of Fellows, we engaged a number of scholars at other institutions in paid consulting arrangements to provide feedback on the Institute’s potential role on campus and in society at large, including Paul Carrese (ASU), Steve Smith (Yale), Dan Cullen (Rhodes), Jonathan Haidt (NYU), and Ed Ayers (U Richmond).