Welcome to a new kind of program.

One that looks beyond time and borders to explore the fundamental questions of life, freedom, and governance. One that looks inward to the guiding principles of America’s founders and the leaders who have inspired us. One that combines classic works and altruistic statesmanship to develop a new kind of leader: trained in critical thought, humble about human imperfection, and ready for anything. 

Check out our Spring 2023 courses.

Upcoming events

October 24, 2022 | "Is the 'woke newsroom' a danger to American democracy?"

October 24 Lecture

In this panel discussion, you will hear from the three media representatives on whether the mainstream media produce ideological conformity. According to some national commentators, some of the major media outlets are led by a progressive bias which they believe might be anti-democratic and a danger to American democracy. 

  • Batya Ungar-Sargon (Newsweek)
  • Megan McArdle (Washington Post)
  • Jason Nichols (University of Maryland College Park)

When: Monday, October 24 | 5 - 6:30 pm
Where: Memorial Union’s Ventana BC (301 E Orange St., Tempe)
Light refreshments will be served.

Register to attend.

Fall 2022 Courses

The school combines philosophy, history, economics, and political science to teach students how to examine great ideas and solve contemporary problems. Courses like "Great Ideas in Politics and Ethics," "Globalism, Nationalism and Citizenship," and "American Constitution 1" prepare students for leadership in a diverse and changing world.

Fall 2022 courses.

News from the school

Grad student blends career, education into all-encompassing life experience By Marcia Paterman Brookey

May 6, 2022 | ASU News

Jonathon Hofer shares his takeaways from studying classical education in the 21st century

Read more »


Should students have to pass a civics test to graduate? By Elizabeth Evans

April 25, 2022 | The New York Times UPFRONT Magazine

SCETL's Civic Education Program Director Elizabeth Evans argues that, unless there is a way to assess civic education, it will continue to be ignored in schools.

Read more »

Heterodoxy on Campus - The Role of Universities By Carol McNamara

April 13, 2022 | Arizona Capitol Times

What is the purpose of the university? Until recently, this question was uncontroversial.

Read more »

The return to tribal identity and its impact on civic life in America By Vanessa Reynaga

March 9, 2022 | ASU News

ASU conference featuring Andrew Sullivan and Kmele Foster addresses intellectual orthodoxy on campus, meritocracy and identity politics.

Read more »

Students to apply Socratic method in fall 2022 ASU course By Marcia Brookey 

March 7, 2022 | ASU News

CEL 394: Comparative Political Thought aims to stimulate critical thinking.

Read more »

Paul Carrese: Shaping Students into Citizens and Leaders

March 6, 2022 | Higher Ed Now

ACTA's Doug Sprei interviews Paul Carrese, Founding Director of SCETL. Professor Carrese shares the underpinnings of this influential program, which aims to prepare the next generation of young leaders through the study of great works of civic, economic, political, and moral thought.

Listen here »

Ukraine crisis

Considering Options in Ukraine By Luke Perez

March 6, 2022 | Providence

Assistant professor Luke Perez recently wrote about the on going Ukraine crisis.

Read more »

Alexis de Tocqueville

Visiting scholar to discuss Tocqueville's influence on American democracy By Marcia Brookey

March 4, 2022 | ASU News

Class offers ASU students a deeper understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of American democracy.

Read more »

ASU course prepares students for civil disagreement in times of increased polarization By

Marcia Brookey

March 2, 2022 | ASU News

Dichotomy nationalism vs. globalism under the microscope this fall.

Read more »


ASU master's program teaches students to 'live well and lead well' By Marcia Brookey

February 9, 2022 | ASU News

Classical liberal education and leadership program impacts students professionally, academically and personally

Read more »


Local lawmakers have a firsthand glimpse into faculty and student work impacting the future of the state and globe. By Krista Hinz

January 27, 2022 | ASU News

AZ lawmakers are impressed by our faculty and the CPTL’s work to revive K-12 civic education across the country and restore civic debates in America.

Read more »

Politics argument_Getty Images

Viral video aside, ASU can have an honest and civil debate on race and social justice, by Paul Carrese and Carol McNamara

October 2, 2021 | The Arizona Republic

A recent video showing a heated argument between ASU students shows how polarizing we've become. It's also an opportunity for honest and civil talk.

Read more »

The Signing of the American Constitution

The making of individuals citizens, and beliefs, in Arizona — thoughts on Constitution Day, by Colleen A. Sheehan

September 20, 2021

"Through the modes of civic participation, we learn the tools of citizenship – the 'how' of democracy. Just as important, we learn the substance of citizenship – the 'what' of democracy – the meaning and conditions of the American maxim that all men are created equal. In essence, republican government makes individuals into citizens."

In this article published by the Phoenix Business Journal, SCETL professor and director of graduate studies Colleen A. Sheehan reflects on the legacy of Constitution Day.

School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership Dean’s Medalist to follow up an impressive academic career with one in foreign service

April 23, 2021

Cameron didn’t always know he was destined for a career in Washington, D.C. But a last-minute decision to take part in the model United Nations Conference changed his trajectory forever. After graduation, Cameron will attend Johns Hopkins University for graduate studies with a full ride. He plans to pursue a master of arts in international relations, after which he will join the U.S. foreign service for five years.

How the 2016 presidential election led this ASU grad to Columbia Law

April 26, 2021

When Nicole Morote was 6, she and her family moved from Lima, Peru, to the United States. After moving around the country, her family settled in Georgia, which is where she lived before she visited Arizona State University’s Tempe campus.

The summer after her first year at ASU, Morote moved to Washington, D.C., for the summer to intern at a congressional office. After graduation, Morote plans to attend Columbia Law School in New York City.

Explore our video programming

Our annual public events are designed to engage the community and ASU students, staff, and faculty on the pressing issues of our time. Events are free and open to the public. They are also available for viewing on our website and our YouTube channel

Our centers

Center for the Study of Economic Liberty

The School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership at Arizona State University

The Center for the Study of Economic Liberty serves students and the public through research, education, and community outreach regarding the nation’s most pressing economic policy issues. Committed to communicating the role that economic liberty and free enterprise play in increasing opportunity and improving well-being, the Center seeks to advance understanding through independent thinking, scholarly debate, factual argument, and honest communication of research and policy findings.

Learn more.  

Center for Political Thought and Leadership

The School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership at Arizona State University

The Center for Political Thought and Leadership develops leaders well-versed in the principles of liberal democracy. Its mission is to impart a deeper understanding of the meaning of political liberty and economic well-being to the academic and at-large community through undergraduate education, scholarly research, and public events. The Center adeptly provides a setting for national and international scholarship in political thought. 

Learn more.

Our lecture series.