A new class of leaders

Welcome to the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership

Inspiring leadership and statesmanship for the common good

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. 


Channel your ambition

Become a problem solver and servant leader who navigates differences, unifies interests, and finds common ground.


Inspire and be inspired

Stretch your intellect in a program that attracts strong leadership candidates and uses the most innovative resources available.


Shape the world around you

Solve real-world issues by harnessing the wisdom of classical liberal education with a focus on America’s Constitutional principles.

A New Class of Leaders

Can you see yourself here?

America was the first polity founded on ideas, and we keep generating new ones. Through rigorous coursework and strategic learning partnerships you will study the world’s greatest minds – and America’s greatest leaders – to dissect who we are and how we can become better.

If you want to make your mark on the world through public service and find yourself contemplating which principles made America thrive and which ones need reform, then you belong here. ASU will prepare you for the responsibilities you’ll face when your time to lead arrives.  

Over the past century, the United States has been a driving force in democracy, justice, and humanitarian efforts. Explore innovative solutions that address the core challenge of our sustainability: How do we continue to contribute to and benefit from the globalized era of humanity we helped build?  

The perspective you gain with a major, minor, or certificate from the School of Economic Thought and Leadership will inspire you to shape your field of study in ways you never dreamed possible.

ASU is #1 in the U.S. for innovation

The unprecedented complexities of the 21st century demand a new approach to developing leaders. The School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership provides the multifaceted perspective and the comprehensive educational resources necessary to succeed in our globalized world. The result is a new breed of scholars who are uniquely positioned to address contemporary challenges through a traditional lens.

ASU’s role in growing new leaders

The Arizona Republic

14 Sep 2017

Amid our polarized politics and angry public debates, perhaps now more than ever, we may appreciate the value of well-rounded leaders who possess hindsight, foresight and a firm understanding of America’s national ideals and position in an increasingly interconnected world.

As Americans, we have an exceptional intellectual heritage and history of innovation from which our leaders, including educational ones, should be drawing and imparting knowledge. Our nation’s founders revolutionized the world by creating a new government, economy and society. That combination remains the ideal for billions around the globe.

There are myriad lessons to be learned from these political giants, and from the philosophers and thinkers they studied — as well as from the complicated trajectory of our country’s efforts to bring practice into line with principle.

Yet, to date, no U.S. academic institution has fully leveraged this legacy in its programming and purpose to prepare forward-thinking leaders with a deep appreciation for our fundamental principles. Moreover, studies show that knowledge of basic civic facts and principles also is dangerously deficient, and that confidence in America’s public institutions and leading professions is at record lows.

That’s why we launched Arizona State University’s School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership. The school will function as a national hub of teaching, scholarship and public engagement about leadership and statesmanship, civic and constitutional thought, and political economy.

Our courses will provide this fall’s inaugural cohort of students with fundamental ideas and debates of civic and economic thought as the basis for critical and adaptive thinking. When they study important intellectual works with lessons learned from great American leaders, we hope they will take this knowledge to prepare for their possible leadership roles in civil society and as future statesmen and stateswomen.

This first-of-its-kind school, which will offer an undergraduate major and minor with a top-notch faculty and visiting fellows, will also conduct research, produce scholarly writing and provide community outreach through lectures, forums and other events related to public policy issues.

Both the mission and curriculum of the school have been shaped by an advisory board of preeminent scholars — from Harvard, Stanford, Notre Dame, and the American Enterprise Institute — as well as by ASU’s senior educational leaders.

We expect the school’s curriculum and busy schedule of guest speakers will generate renewed attention to, and debate about, America’s constitutional principles, free-market ideals and the value of free expression and intellectual diversity.

We envision the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership as a valuable asset for our state. And more: We expect our graduates to send a ripple effect far beyond our state’s borders by providing principled leadership, grounded in deep knowledge of our nation’s character.

Our motto is, “Inspiring Leadership and Statesmanship for the Common Good.” That might sound old-fashioned, but amid the unprecedented complexities of our globe and our acrimonious politics, we see this as a new approach to develop a new breed of leaders — armed with historical insight, based on American principle, and ready for the bracing demands of the 21st century.

Paul Carrese is the founding director of ASU’s new School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership. Email him at pcarrese@asu.edu.

Upcoming Events


Summer Common Read and Fall Kickoff Social

Location: Social Sciences Building, room 109
Sep 6 2018 - 4:30pm

Recent News


Just as the school year was ending for most Arizona State University students, the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership began its first summer se

“ASU has the spirit of America in it,” says Khashayar “Shay” Khatiri, a recent graduate of the School of Politics and Global Studies and the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studie