Education for a Free Society

Liberty depends on citizens who understand the ideas and institutions that have made free, prosperous societies possible.

UT Austin’s School of Civic Leadership is a new school that prepares a rising generation to advance human flourishing in our state and nation.

The School of Civic Leadership is home to community of scholar and students who draw on ancient questions—What is justice? What is liberty? What is true?—to prepare for lives of significance and for successful careers. We wrestle with the great ideas of the Western tradition to prepare ourselves for the opportunities and challenges of our moment. We study the best achievements and greatest difficulties of the American tradition in order to understand what it takes to preserve the blessings of liberty for ourselves and for others.

Students in the SCL encounter the distinct inheritance of Western civilization and the American constitutional tradition as part of a larger quest for wisdom about how to live and how to lead.

Public universities owe to citizens an education that enables them to sustain democracy. The UT Austin motto says that “Education is the guardian genius of democracy.” The School of Civic Leadership provides students with knowledge of America’s political philosophy, economic system, and civic institutions. Building on the University’s tradition of civic education, we prepare students to draw on the wisdom of the past to meet the challenges of the present.

Civic education is a central aspect of liberal education. From the Latin root liber, meaning free, a liberal education is an education in and for freedom. Such a Socratic, liberating education is indispensable for citizens, who are responsible for the future of American life. It rests on open inquiry, reasoned debate, civil discussion, and freedom of thought and speech. The School of Civic Leadership advances this vision by offering a civic education that makes one free to form and exercise reasoned judgment and engage with others to improve our world.

Foster Thoughtful Citizenship

The major in Civics Honors gives students an education that prepares them for life and for responsibility in their communities. Learn to deliberate on questions of policy as well as broader questions that frame our common life, such as what it takes to live well.

2023 American Enterprise Institute (AEI) Executive Council Spring Summit, co-sponsored with the Civitas Institute at the University of Texas at Austin.  Friday, February 17, 2023 Morning sessions and panel discussion.
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Ask Great Questions

The minor in Civics gives students of any major resources to live well and lead well. In this interdisciplinary program, students learn to think by wrestling with the great questions of the Western tradition and the American constitutional tradition. 

Explore the Tradition

The minor in PPE introduces students to insights on freedom, prosperity, and society. Explore our course descriptions, and learn about the PPE minor.



Dan Bonevac

Daniel Bonevac is Professor of Philosophy and Human Dimensions of Organizations in the College of Liberal Arts, where he teaches and does research in logic and ethics, especially organizational ethics.

Scott Carrell

Scott Carrell is Professor of Economics in the College of Liberal Arts.

Sheena Greitens

Sheena Chestnut Greitens is Associate Professor in the LBJ School of Public Affairs.

Patricio Fernandez

Patricio A. Fernandez is Associate Professor of Philosophy in the College of Liberal Arts

Devin Stauffer

Devin Stauffer is Professor of Government. He specializes in classical and early modern political philosophy.