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Democracy and Capitalism
Teachers Institute

University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA
July 14-20, 2024
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The Conference


Join us for a week-long exploration of democracy, capitalism, and issues at the nexus of the two.

The Democracy and Capitalism Teachers Institute will bring 20 high school social studies, civics, and economics educators from across the nation to the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA, to deepen their understanding of the foundations, current state, and future of democracy and capitalism.

Participants will stay on-grounds at the University from July 14-20 and participate in daily programming focused on democracy, capitalism, and pressing issues at the intersection of the two.

The Institute is designed to:

  1. Help teachers define and understand the core elements of free markets and free societies

  2. Explore methods to convey democracy and capitalism in classroom settings

  3. Equip teachers to understand how "hot button topics" relate to democracy and capitalism

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Current high school educators in the following subjects are encouraged to apply:

  • Civics

  • Social Studies

  • Economics

  • History


We know many educators teach multiple subjects, and schools and districts may use different terminology to describe the subjects they cover. If you teach any subject you believe would greatly benefit from an advanced understanding of topics at the nexus of democracy and capitalism, we encourage you to apply!

Additional eligibility requirements include:

  • Current, active employment in a classroom teaching position

  • Intent to teach during the following (2024/2025) school year

  • Ability to commit to travelling to and staying in Charlottesville, VA, from July 14-20th and participating in daily programming from July 15-19th


Format & Details

Participants will apply online through an application opening October 30th, 2023. Twenty teachers will be selected and invited to participate in the Institute. Participants will be asked to arrive on Sunday, July 14th, participate in programming from Monday, July 15th through Friday, July 19th, and depart on Saturday, July 20th.

Lodging and meals will be provided. Participants will receive an additional stipend to defray any other costs. Travel expenses for participants will be reimbursed after the Institute concludes.

The Teachers Institute will feature instruction and training by UVA faculty and experts on subjects related to democracy and capitalism. Additionally, participants will learn about classroom tools like the case study method and utilize data analysis tools and visualizations like DemCap Analytics. Other opportunities include collaborative sessions with other educators, site visits to University of Virginia and local historic spaces, and continued engagement after the conclusion of the institute as we engage alumni in helping us improve and expand the Institute in future sessions.



The Teachers Institute will provide resources and training on the core elements of democratic and capitalist systems, as well as collaborative time to discuss how best to incorporate these methods and lessons into the secondary classroom setting. Subjects covered may include:

  • Core definitions of democracy and capitalism


  • Democracy and capitalism in history


  • Democracy and inequality


  • Gender equity and economic well-being


  • Addressing issues like climate change and democratic backsliding with students


  • Resources and methods for teaching about democratic and capitalist systems

Application Process

The application for the summer 2024 institute has closed. Please fill out the contact form on this page to be kept up to date on future institutes and opportunities.

The application components are as follows:


  • Introductory information including contact information, current teaching role, and a 1-2 minute video briefly discussing your enthusiasm for what you teach

  • Teaching experience including the number of years of experience and a resume

  • Three short answer questions addressing why you are interested in the institute, how your attendance will impact your students and community, and your unique contribution as a participant in a collaborative setting


Stay In Touch

Applications for the summer 2024 institute have closed. Please fill out the form below to stay up to date on future institutes and opportunities!

To receive reminders about the application deadline and additional opportunities with the Project on Democracy and Capitalism, please subscribe to our contact list:

Thanks for submitting!

Please reach out to with any other questions about the Institute.


Our Motivation

The last decade has seen a rapid decline in public trust in democracy and capitalism. In a 2018 survey, less than half of Americans aged 18-29 view capitalism positively, and only 47% of Democratic-leaning voters did so. Despite this, most Americans struggle to define capitalism or the ideas that comprise it. At the same time, attitudes toward democracy and free institutions continue to degrade. We believe that much of the public distrust of both democracy and capitalism stems from deficient educational opportunities. These are complex subjects that interact in complicated ways. Neither conform to strict rules or easy interpretation, and understanding requires nuanced discussion and exploration. With teachers already stretched thin, incorporating these subjects into curricula for students remains a challenge. And without new, accessible educational opportunities, misconceptions about democracy and capitalism among students will continue to grow. To meet this need, DCTI will equip teachers to meaningfully engage with topics at the nexus of democracy and capitalism. 

Miller Center of Public Affairs

2201 Old Ivy Rd

Charlottesville, VA 22903

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