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July 27-28, 2021

Schools of Democracy: A Federalism Teacher Workshop

A Federalism Index Project Event

This event is sponsored and made possible by the Utah Federalism Commission 


July 27-28, 2021


This two day workshop for teachers will focus on the basic principles of American federalism and how to make those principles accessible to students in the classroom. By the end of the workshop, teachers will:


  • define American federalism

  • identify powers traditionally reserved to the state governments or delegated to the national government, or both

  • understand how American federalism has changed over time

  • identify the arguments in favor and against a federal republic

  • analyze current events as they relate to the American federal system 

  • evaluate policy debates and determine which issues might be better dealt with at the national, state, or local level 



Teachers selected to participate will receive a $500 stipend. Sessions will run from 9:00am to 4:30pm. Teachers will meet with faculty and staff of the Federalism Index Project, in person, at Utah Valley University. Teachers will be provided with an online orientation, syllabus, schedule, and readings. To receive the stipend, teachers are expected to attend all eight sessions, including the pre-institute orientation. 


July 27

  1. What is federalism and why is it a unique feature of the US Constitutional structure?

  2. Why does federalism matter today? How can federalism balance or resolve the tensions between: liberty and equality, unity and diversity, progress and tradition? 

  3. How does federalism shape current events, or public debates "in the news"?

  4. Was American federalism effective in mitigating the worst consequences of the Coronavirus? In what ways did federalism help the COVID response, and in what ways did it harm the ability of the US government to respond to the pandemic? 

July 28

  1. How is federalism built in to the United States Constitution? What are the relationships between federalism and other principles in the Constitution? 

  2. How has federalism evolved over time? Why did early Progressives and later New Deal defenders seek to nationalize the federal system? 

  3. How has federalism been transformed since the New Deal? What is "coercive" federalism, and how can we understand and/or measure centralization? 

  4. Debating centralization: what are the causes and consequences of centralization? Is centralization good, necessary, or desirable? If not, why not? 

Tentative Schedule

July 27th: Historical and Philosophical Foundations

9:00 AM: What is Federalism?

  • Conference Welcome by Director Scott Paul, CCS

  • Presentations from Andy Bibby, Kendra Savage, Sam Hill and Johana Linford

  • Session Facilitator: Andy Bibby, CCS

10:45 AM:  Why Federalism?

  • To Realize Self-Government on a Grand Scale

  • Presentation by Prof. Troy Smith

  • Session Facilitator: Andy Bibby, CCS

12:15 PM: Lunch Break

1:30 PM:  Federalism in the News

  • Group Breakout:  Enumerated and Reserved Powers

  • Session Facilitator: Kendra Savage and Johana Linford, CCS

3:15 PM:  Debate 

  • Federalism and Coronavirus

  • Session Facilitator: Sam Hill, CCS

July 28th: Evolution and Change

9:00 AM: Centralization and Polarization

  • How can we Visualize/Measure Changes to the Federal System over Time?

  • Presentation by Andy Bibby

11:00 AM:   Evolution of Federalism

  • Why did the Progressives Seek to Nationalize the Federal System?

  • How did the New Deal Give Rise to a New American Federalism?

  • Presentation by Akram Elias 

  • Session Facilitator: Andy Bibby, CCS

12:15 PM: Lunch Break

1:30 PM:  Federalism in the US Constitution

  • Federalism as a Way to Distribute Power, Jurisdiction, and Representation?

  • The Relationship of Federalism and other Constitutional Principles

  • Presentation by Ray Christensen

3:00 PM:  Conference Wrap Up

  • Closing Remarks and Survey


Videos of our previous conferences are available to view at the link below.

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