2020 Civic Leadership Institute

June 22 - June 26

The Civic Leadership Institute is a week-long program for high school students interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the Constitution and American political leaders through an on-campus experience at Arizona State University. 

This year, due to social distancing restrictions in place for the foreseeable future, the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership has made the decision to move the Civic Leadership Institute to a virtual, week-long program. The virtual CLI will include a guided curriculum that covers several themes throughout the week, a series of educational webinars led by our faculty, discussion groups facilitated by student mentors, and opportunities for students and parents to learn more about becoming a Sun Devil. 

There is no cost for the Civic Leadership Institute Program. Students who complete the program will be given a certificate of completion at a later date. 

Read more about past Civic Leadership Institutes. 

Last year’s Civic Leadership Institute:

Eligibility + Application Information

The Civic Leadership Institute is intended for mature high school students with an interest in American civics, government, history, and a strong academic potential to thrive in a challenging environment replicating a college experience. Eligible applicants will be rising high school sophomores, juniors, or seniors, with a minimum of 3.25 GPA. (Seniors graduating in May 2020 are ineligible to apply.) Applicants will be selected on the basis of academic achievement, drawn from these materials, and including the following criteria:

• Academic achievement evidenced by cumulative GPA.
• Preparation and success in relevant coursework (e.g. American History or Government) - minimum grade of B in all high school history or government classes taken to date.
• Statewide representation (geographic diversity) is also a consideration in student selection.

If the current situation prevents you from obtaining any required application materials or information, please provide a supplementary statement by email and your application will receive equal consideration. 

Applications are currently being accepted on a rolling basis.


Anyone may register to watch the daily videocast but to participate in the discussions you must complete an application. Each discussion session will consist of 12 to 15 students. Seating is limited. Students who successfully participate in discussion sessions will receive a Civic Leadership Certificate from the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership at ASU. After you are registered and once the program begins on June 22, you will be sent a daily email with tasks to complete and videos to watch, as well as our upcoming webinar schedule for students and parents. We will give priority consideration to those who have already applied or started to apply.

“This institute gives (the students) the opportunity to get a head start on having knowledge about their constitutional rights and liberties, as well as the fundamental principles that have defined American debates and aspirations,” said Zack German, an assistant professor at the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership.

The American Constitution in Action

The 2020 Civic Leadership Institute will be held virtually over the course of five days, June 22-26. The theme of the 2020 CLI will be The American Constitution in Action and will explore the ways in which the first and oldest written constitution in human history has leaped off the page and into the lives of the American people throughout our history.

The five days will be guided by interconnected sub-themes that span from the Founding Era to today:

Monday: The Constitution and the States 

Tuesday: The Constitution and the Presidency 

Wednesday: The Constitution and the Supreme Court 

Thursday: The Constitution and American Citizenship 

Friday: The Constitution and Civic Leadership 

Each day will include two curricular components: 

1. A brief introductory video featuring the school’s faculty highlighting each day’s learning material.

2. Seminar and breakout conversations between students and faculty that are centered on the primary source readings.

“We need to make sure all of our students are educated about civics so we can make informed decisions on voting and things like that,” said Sowmya V., a student at Desert Mountain High School.

Important Information

  • Statewide representation (geographic diversity) is also a consideration in student selection. 
  • Incomplete applications will not be considered. 
  • Students are able to apply for both tracks. 
  • Decisions from the selection committee are final. 
  • The program is free! 


“I like exploring things like this because it really gives you great insight on what life would be like at ASU,” said Lexie S., a student at Veritas Preparatory Academy in Phoenix. “You get to see all the great teachers and the opportunities. They talk about all this amazing stuff, and the campus here is so beautiful.”