The Riley Institute’s Teachers of Government summer program makes social studies and civics education in our state’s middle and high schools more compelling and relevant by taking teachers of government to Washington D.C. for an intensive week of meetings with lawmakers, government officials, NGO leaders, and other policymakers, combined with evening seminars and readings led by Furman faculty. Eight competitively selected teachers participate at no charge in this annual program.

Participants are eligible to receive Graduate Professional Development credit from Furman by paying a minimal tuition per credit hour. For more information, contact Dr. Elizabeth Smith, Politics and International Affairs professor and Teachers of Government program coordinator.

The 2024 Teachers of Government program is taking place July 12-19, 2024, splitting time between Greenville, S.C. and Washington, D.C. Applications are open through March 8, 2024, and can be accessed here.

Comments from past participants

“While my history degree from Furman prepared me well to teach social studies in a South Carolina high school, it was the experiential learning I gained through the Riley Institute’s Teachers of Government program that brought me a hands-on and enriching understanding of the content and made me a better civics teacher. The program also helped me develop new professional relationships across South Carolina with other government teachers with whom I continue to share resources and ideas in order to improve our students’ understanding of the content.” Sara Crider, 2019 participant and teacher at J.L. Mann Academy

“Teachers of Government was a life-changing experience. I still refer back to experiences from the trip — standing next to part of the Berlin Wall, the ‘VIP’ Capitol Hill tour, hearing a live debate on the U.S. Senate floor, meeting with my representative — in my classroom every year, and the connections and friendships I have made from my cohort will last a lifetime. I know my teaching drastically improved after this trip, and this was by far the best professional development I have ever attended.” Crystal Whitaker, 2017 participant and Fairfield County Teacher of the Year 2019-20

Lesson Plans

During the two-week program, teachers are provided with structured opportunities to network with others in their field, promoting the sharing ideas and best practices. As a result of those experiences, past participants have submitted lesson plans to be used by their colleagues who may benefit from their ideas.

View lesson plans