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Lafayette professor John Kincaid has been awarded a grant of $161,175 from the National Endowment for the Humanities to conduct an institute on state and federal constitutions for 30 high-school teachers next summer.

Kincaid is the Robert B. and Helen S. Meyner Professor of Government and Public Service. He is also director of Lafayette’s Meyner Center for the Study of State and Local Government, which will host the institute, entitled “History, Tradition, and Democratic Theory in the State Constitutions: America’s Complete Constitutional Experience.” The participating high-school teachers will be selected via a nationwide search beginning in January.

Kincaid recently was named Distinguished Federalism Scholar for 2001 by the American Political Science Association, recognizing his outstanding scholarly contributions to the study of federalism and intergovernmental relations. The association is the major professional society for the study of politics, government, and public policy in the United States and around the world.

He will be joined by seven visiting scholars and a master social studies teacher to study, discuss, and develop teaching methods for five main areas: the history of America’s state constitutions from 1776-2001; traditions of state constitutional design; theories of democracy, rights, popular government, political liberty, and representation in the state constitutions; state constitutional successes and failures; and the impacts of state constitutions on public and private life. The institute also will contrast state and federal constitutions.

“Most states now require high schools to teach about their state constitution, but there is very little material available for teachers to use in developing curriculum on state constitutions. A key purpose of the institute is to help teachers do that,” Kincaid says. “By working with the institute’s faculty, exchanging ideas with each other, and, then, contributing to a website and other communications designed to foster follow-up and dissemination, the participants will form a teaching and sharing community focused on the entire constitutional framework and history of the United States and their own states.”

Seminars will be held in Kirby Hall of Civil Rights, which contains cutting-edge instructional technology, computer facilities, and videoconferencing capabilities. Field trips will be made to the Northampton County Courthouse and the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

This is the third grant Kincaid has received this year to conduct special educational programs. These programs provide opportunities to enrich the courses he teaches for Lafayette students, he says. The curriculum ideas developed at next year’s institute, for example, will be helpful in teaching his course on state and local governments, which includes components on state constitutions, he notes.

This summer, the Meyner Center hosted 18 educators from 18 foreign nations for the 2001 Fulbright Summer Institute on “The U.S. Constitution: Origins, Evolution, and Contemporary Issues.” Kincaid oversaw the institute, whose faculty included scholars from various U.S. institutions, including Lafayette. It was funded by a $176,000 grant from the U.S. State Department.

In April and May, Kincaid directed an education program on federalism for Marina Spiliotopoulou, Counsel of the Republic in the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic of Cyprus. Emphasizing law and law enforcement in the United States, the program was administered through AMIDEAST in Washington, D.C., and was a component of the U.S. Fulbright Cyprus-America Scholarship Program, an international training project funded by the U.S. State Department.

These experiences with international visitors also will enhance Kincaid’s classroom instruction. “One of the keys is a better ability to put American government and politics in a comparative perspective by learning from people from other countries,” he says.

At next year’s institute for high school teachers, the seven visiting scholars will be Arlene Gardner, director of the New Jersey Center for Civic and Law-Related Education at Seton Hall University; Leslie Friedman Goldstein, Unidel Professor of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Delaware; Michael E. Libonati, Laura H. Carnell University Professor and professor of law at Temple University; Donald S. Lutz, professor of political science at the University of Houston; G. Alan Tarr, professor of political science, and founder and director of the Center of State Constitutional Studies at Rutgers University; David E. Wilkins, associate professor of American Indian studies, political science, and law at the University of Minnesota; and Robert F. Williams, distinguished professor of law and associate director of the Center for State Constitutional Studies at Rutgers University, Camden.

The master teacher will be Stuart Alan Rothstein, a teacher with 32 years of experience, including instruction of 11th and 12th-grade government and history classes at Midwood High School, Brooklyn, N.Y., since 1988.

Kincaid joined the Lafayette faculty in 1994. He is co-editor of Publius: The Journal of Federalism, which is devoted to the increase and diffusion of knowledge about federalism and intergovernmental relations. He is also editor of a 50-book series on the Governments and Politics of the American States being published by the University of Nebraska Press; elected fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration; member of the editorial board of the State Constitutional Law Bulletin; 1991 recipient of the Donald Stone Distinguished Scholar Award from the Section on Intergovernmental Administration and Management of the American Society of Public Administration; coeditor of Competition Among States and Local Governments: Efficiency and Equity in American Federalism (1991); editor of Political Culture, Public Policy and the American States (1982); and author of various works on federalism and intergovernmental relations.

Kincaid was executive director of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (ACIR), Washington, D.C., from 1988-94, following two years as director of research at the commission. In 1994-95 he was a Kestenbaum Fellow there. ACIR was established in 1959 by the 86th Congress as a permanent, bipartisan body of 26 members, to give continuing study to the relationship among local, state, and national levels of government.

Kincaid holds a Ph.D. in political science from Temple University. He was associate professor of political science at the University of North Texas from 1979-94 and has also taught at Arizona State University, Seton Hall University, and St. Peter’s College. He has lectured and consulted on issues of constitutionalism, federalism, intergovernmental relations, and regional and local governance in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.

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