Villanova’s Graduate History program is known for its outreach to local secondary educators to provide them with an affordable, flexible Master’s program to satisfy their continuing education requirements. As a student, I have noticed and greatly enjoyed the company and intellectual discourse of many secondary teachers in each of the courses I have taken at Villanova. In fact, I am a certified secondary educator myself and chose Villanova’s graduate history program because of its flexibility, affordability, and recommendation from an alumnus who, like myself, received the James Madison Memorial Fellowship. The purpose of this post is to highlight the James Madison Fellowship and its compatibility with Villanova’s graduate history program for current or prospective graduate students who are interested in secondary education.
Briefly, the James Madison Memorial Fellowship (JMF) subsidizes a master’s degree for one to two secondary teachers from every state that seek to expand their knowledge of U.S. constitutional history. As a result, a James Madison fellow is required to take at least two courses in their graduate program that relate to the Constitution, and also attend a six-credit course on the Constitution and the Founding at Georgetown University during a summer of their choosing. After a Fellow has completed their coursework requirements, they are obligated to teach secondary school for however many years they received funding from the Foundation.
Villanova’s graduate history program has meshed extremely well with the JMF. I have been able to satisfy my constitutional coursework requirements through both formal coursework and independent study just one year into the program.
This past summer, I attended the Summer Institute at Georgetown University and the experience was once in a lifetime. The Institute is a one-month long course on the origins of American Constitutionalism that brings together teachers from around the country (and even one Fellow from Cuba) to intellectually immerse fellows in the primary sources of the American Founding. All four professors were wonderful and very knowledgeable, providing daily lectures and discussions that considered extremely thought-provoking historical inquiry.
The experience was truly immersive, as we lived on Georgetown’s majestic campus and traveled around D.C. and northern Virginia to visit some of the places relevant to our study. We enjoyed private Q&A talks with Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, Secretary of Education John King (a former Madison Fellow himself), and Federal District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth.
We also traveled to the Capitol Building, the Supreme Court, Arlington National Cemetery, Mt. Vernon, Monticello, Montpelier, Gunston Hall, and the Society of the Cincinnati.
Best of all, I have made quite a few friends and professional connections that span the nation, several of which I remain in contact with nearly three month’s post-Institute.
For current or prospective teachers who are seeking their master’s degree in history, Villanova’s graduate history program and the James Madison Fellowship combine to provide a rich graduate experience in U.S. constitutional and legal history.