Menard Center to host free speech and civil dialogue program for teachers

Event Sept. 16, supported by national center, aligns with UW System initiative
UW-Stout Professor Tim Shiell, director of the Menard Center for the Study of Institutions and Innovation, will lead the Free Speech, Citizenship and Dialogue symposium on campus Sept. 16.
​Jerry Poling | September 12, 2023

A group of high school and middle school teachers will return to the classroom on Saturday, Sept. 16, at UW-Stout to explore issues related to free speech.

The university’s Menard Center for the Study of Institutions and Innovation will host the Free Speech, Citizenship and Dialogue symposium for 24 teachers from around Wisconsin, many from western Wisconsin.

The event seeks to “enhance teachers’ curriculum on the subject of expressive rights and their relationship to citizenship and civil dialogue. This is an especially important topic in the current environment,” said UW-Stout Professor Tim Shiell, director of the Menard Center.

UW-Stout is home to the Menard Center for the Study of Institutions and Innovation.
UW-Stout is home to the Menard Center for the Study of Institutions and Innovation. / UW-Stout

Shiell will lead the symposium. Teachers will discuss state and national court cases related to free speech. Part of the day will focus on how to apply the knowledge in their classrooms.

The event is sponsored by the Jack Miller Center’s Wisconsin Founding Civics Initiative. The Jack Miller Center is a nonprofit from Philadelphia “dedicated to reinvigorating education in America’s founding principles and history, an education vital to thoughtful and engaged citizenship.”

One of the presenters will be a former teacher who works for the Jack Miller Center.

Shiell has been a facilitator and speaker for similar symposiums at UW-Madison’s Center for the Study of Liberal Democracy. The Jack Miller Center also supported those events.

The Menard Center event aligns with a UW System decision in 2022 to create the Wisconsin Institute for Citizenship and Civil Dialogue, Shiell said.

“MCSII's mission is to be a leader in Wisconsin promoting the study and discussion of civil liberties, and the symposium topic is a perfect fit with that,” Shiell said.

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