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Summer Institute Directors, Faculty & Staff

The First Amendment and 21st Century America:
Summer Institute Directors, Faculty and Staff

Dr. Bruce Allen Murphy headshotBruce Allen Murphy, Program Director

Bruce Allen Murphy is a judicial biographer and scholar of American constitutional law and politics. He is the Fred Morgan Kirby Professor of Civil Rights at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, a position he has held since 1998. Prior to that appointment, he was a professor of Political Science and a professor of American History and Politics at Pennsylvania State University. In 1978, Murphy received his Ph.D. in Government and Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia, where he studied with Professors Henry J. Abraham and Robert J. Harris. Murphy is the author of four judicial biographies, the co-author of a textbook, and the editor of a reader. Professor Murphy’s books include The Brandeis/Frankfurter Connection: The Secret Political Activities of Two Supreme Court Justices (Oxford University Press, 1982), Fortas: The Rise and Ruin of a Supreme Court Justice (William Morrow & Co., 1988), Wild Bill: The Legend and Life of William O. Douglas (Random House, 2003), and his latest book, Scalia: A Court of One (Simon & Schuster, 2014). In addition to his judicial biographies, Murphy is the co-author (with Larry Berman) of an American government textbook, Approaching Democracy (Pearson Education). Throughout his academic career, Professor Murphy has taught political science, history, and constitutional law courses, including: American Constitutional Law, Liberty in the United States, The First Amendment, Introduction to U.S. Politics, The American Presidency, and seminars on judicial biography.  Professor Murphy has extensive experience running teacher institutes having served as the Institute Director for The Rendell Center’s Summer Teacher Institutes in 2016 and 2017, as well as participating in the Freedoms Foundations Teacher Institutes for the past 30 years.

Read the personal letter Dr. Murphy has written to teachers considering attending this institute.

Sally Flaherty head shotSally Flaherty, Co-Program Director

Sally Flaherty has been an educator in a variety of different venues and geographic areas throughout the state of Pennsylvania. Ms. Flaherty currently serves as the Social Studies Curriculum Advisor and Director of Curriculum for the Pennsylvania Department of Education, where she advises the 500 school districts in Pennsylvania in the content areas of Civics and Government, Economics, Geography and History. In addition, she actively works to create partnerships with government, private agencies, and educators to make the best educational resources available to every student in the Commonwealth. Ms. Flaherty also has considerable experience executing teacher institutes, having served as the Assistant Director for The Rendell Center’s Summer Teacher Institutes in 2016 and 2017, as well as regularly conducting teacher professional development workshops across the state of Pennsylvania. Prior to her current roles, Ms. Flaherty served as a member of the faculty of the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for Teaching Social Studies.

Beth Specker, Program Administrator

Beth Specker is the founding Executive Director of The Rendell Center for Civics and Civic Engagement, where she has worked closely with Judge Marjorie Rendell and former Governor Edward Rendell to establish the organization. In this role, she also serves as

chief administrator for The Rendell Center’s Summer Teacher Institutes, overseeing all aspects of the events from program development, to marketing and logistics, as well as financial planning. Ms. Specker was Chief of Staff to First Lady of Pennsylvania, Judge Marjorie Rendell. In that role, she was responsible for oversight of Judge Rendell’s initiative to restore the civic mission of schools, which required her to work with K-12 schools throughout the Commonwealth as well as national organizations such as iCivics, the American Bar Association and the Civic Mission of Schools.  Ms. Specker began her career in civics education at the Freedoms Foundation, a national, non-profit organization providing a wide range of educational and awards programs for students, teachers and citizens. During her 19 years at there, Ms. Specker oversaw all aspects of running 48 educational conferences each year, including graduate programs for teachers and programs for international students. Ms. Specker holds a bachelor’s degree from Villanova University and a master’s degree in Non-Profit Management from Eastern University.

Akhil Reed Amar, Program Faculty (invited)

Akhil Reed Amaris Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale University, where he teaches constitutional law at both Yale College and Yale Law School. His work has won awards from both the American Bar Association and the Federalist Society, and he has been favorably cited by Supreme Court justices across the spectrum in more than 30 cases–tops in his generation. Professor Amar is the author of dozens of law review articles and several books, including The Constitution and Criminal Procedure: First Principles (Yale Univ. Press, 1997), The Bill of Rights: Creation and Reconstruction (Yale Univ. Press, 1998), America’s Constitution: A Biography (Random House, 2005), America’s Unwritten Constitution: The Precedents and Principles We Live By (Basic Books, 2012), and The Law of the Land: A Grand Tour of our Constitutional Republic (Basic Books, 2015). Professor Amar’s most recent book, The Constitution Today: Timeless Lessons for the Issues of Our Era, was published in 2016.

Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Program Faculty (invited)

Kathleen Hall Jamieson is the Elizabeth Ware Packard Professor of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication, the Walter and Leonore Director of the university’s Annenberg Public Policy Center, and Program Director of the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands.  Five of the 15 books that Jamieson has authored or co-authored have received a total of eight political science or communication book awards (Packaging the Presidency, Eloquence in an Electronic Age, Spiral of Cynicism, Presidents Creating the Presidency, and The Obama Victory.) She recently co-edited The Oxford Handbook on the Science of Science Communication and The Oxford Handbook on Political Communication.

Graham Lee, Program Faculty (invited)

Graham Lee is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Saint Joseph’s University. A native of Boston, he was educated at the Boston Latin School, received a bachelor’s degree from Boston College and earned a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. During his 45-year career at Saint Joseph’s University, Professor Lee has served as President of the Faculty Senate, Dean of the University College, and Director of Graduate Programs. His academic expertise centers on the U.S. Supreme Court, with particular interest in church/state issues. Professor Lee has authored three books on that topic, as well as books on the Burger Court, equal protection, and Chief Justice William Howard Taft.

Helena Silverstein, Program Faculty (invited)

Helena Silverstein is Professor and Department Head in the Government and Law Department at Lafayette College.  She received her Ph.D. and M.A. in political science from the University of Washington, and B.A. in political science and economics from the University of Pennsylvania.  Her primary research and teaching specialties are in socio-legal studies, with specific interests in law and social change; legal mobilization, impact, and implementation; constitutional law and rights; abortion politics; and church/state issues.  She is author of two books: Girls on the Stand: How Courts Fail Pregnant Minors (New York University Press, 2007) and Unleashing Rights:  Law, Meaning, and the Animal Rights Movement (University of Michigan Press, 1996).  In addition to serving as Department Head, Professor Silverstein has held other administrative positions, including serving as Program Director for the Law and Social Sciences Program at the National Science Foundation.

David Keller Trevaskis, Esq, Program Faculty

David Keller Trevaskis is an attorney and former third grade teacher, with a Master’s Degree in Education. Trevaskis has long been a champion of non-violence, having been th designer of and original trainer for Project PEACE (Peaceful Endings through Authorities, Children and Educators), a peer mediation, anti-bullying and youth court program jointly sponsored by the PBA and the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General. A co-author of the 2017 updated text, School Law: Legal Framework, Guiding Principles, and Litigated Areas, David is an expert on school law and school crisis. He teaches in the classroom and online at Community College of Philadelphia, Gratz College, Arcadia University, and the University of New England.

Keith Whittington, Program Faculty (invited)

Keith Whittington (invited) is William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics at Princeton University, and the current director of graduate studies in the Department of Politics. He has published widely on American constitutional theory and development, federalism, judicial politics, and the presidency. Whittington is the author of Constitutional Construction: Divided Powers and Constitutional Meaning, and Constitutional Interpretation: Textual Meaning, Original Intent, and Judicial Review, and Political Foundations of Judicial Supremacy: The Presidency, the Supreme Court, and Constitutional Leadership in U.S. History (which won the C. Herman Pritchett Award for best book in law and courts and the J. David Greenstone Award for best book in politics and history). Whittington is editor (with Gerald Leonard) of the New Essays on American Constitutional History and editor (with Maeva Marcus, Melvin Urofsky, and Mark Tushnet) of the Cambridge Studies on the American Constitution.

Kerry Sautner, Ed.D., National Constitution Center

Kerry Sautner, Ed.D., serves as Vice President of Visitor Experience and Education at the National Constitution Center.  In her capacity as VP of Visitor Experience, Dr. Sautner oversees all aspects of the public’s on-site experience of the Center, including the box office, visitor services, and volunteer staff, as well as serving as the lead in the Center’s strategic partnerships in Philadelphia’s Historic District. Building on her classroom and program development experience, Dr. Sautner also leads the Center’s education and outreach efforts. This includes the development of interactive programs for students, teachers and the public; theatrical productions; webcasts; and standards-based classroom materials available onsite and online. Dr. Sautner obtained her Doctorate in Education Leadership and Management from Drexel University. She also holds a master’s degree in education from Drexel University and a bachelor’s degree in biology and marine science from Rutgers University.

Mike Adams, National Constitution Center

Mike Adams serves as Director of Education at the National Constitution Center. He holds an M.S. of Education and a B.S. of Secondary Education Social Studies from Temple University as well as teaching certifications in secondary Social Studies and English Language Arts. He previously taught middle and high school students in the classroom setting in the Council Rock School District in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. His experience in museum and non-traditional education emphasizes building connections between onsite learning in museums and at historic sites with classroom instruction. He has written and overseen the development of standards-aligned classroom teaching resources for multiple cultural institutions and has planned and executed professional development programs for thousands of educators at the Center and throughout the United States.








For additional information, contact Beth Specker, Executive Director:

P: 215-746-6336

E: bspecker@rendellcenter.org


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