Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy
University of Missouri-Columbia
Supported by a grant from the Kinder Foundation, a family philanthropic foundation started by Rich and Nancy Kinder, the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy is an interdisciplinary academic center on the University of Missouri campus in Columbia designed to promote excellence in teaching and scholarship on the American constitutional and democratic traditions. Since programming commenced in 2014, the Institute’s goal has been to serve the following three constituent groups.
Beginning with the Society of Fellows summer conference in August 2014, the Kinder Institute has demonstrated a commitment to implementing programs that foster the growth of an intellectual community of undergraduates at the University of Missouri who are devoted to the study of American political thought and history. Along with the Society of Fellows program, which meets quarterly throughout the year for lectures and dinner debates on key themes and figures from the history of democracy in the United States, the Kinder Institute offers a Minor and Certificate in American Constitutional Democracy, an academic summer program in Washington, D.C., and faculty-led study abroad courses in the Netherlands, Scotland, and Italy, which allow students to explore the theory and practice of constitutional democracy from a global perspective.
Faculty and graduate students
Another pillar of the Institute’s core mission is advancing the work of faculty and graduate students at the University of Missouri whose scholarship focuses on the philosophical foundations and historical development of American constitutional democracy. To this end, the Institute has developed initiatives ranging from a series of research and travel grants to support the ongoing academic projects of MU professors and Ph.D. candidates in History and Political Science, to the Missouri Regional Seminar on Early American History and the Shawnee Trail Regional Seminar on American Politics and Constitutionalism, both of which provide scholars throughout the Midwest with opportunities to exchange ideas and research with colleagues from across multiple disciplines. The Institute also sponsors dissertation and postdoctoral fellowships in the Departments of Political Science and History at MU, and funds the development of undergraduate courses and Honors College tutorials for the Minor and Certificate in American Constitutional Democracy.
The greater community
The Kinder Institute’s educational mission extends beyond the University as well. Our various community seminars engage individuals in and around Columbia in dialogue about the nation’s political traditions, and through our public lecture series, we bring innovative scholars of American constitutional democracy to the University of Missouri campus to exchange ideas and research with citizens, students and faculty.