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Former U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl teaching new ASU course in the spring 2021

Former U.S. Senator Jon Kyl

Former U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl.

October 27, 2020

Former U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl will co-teach an undergraduate course at Arizona State University this spring on American civic and public affairs with the hope of demonstrating how good government can function despite an increasingly polarized political climate.

The course, CEL 394: Debates in American Civic and Public Affairs, is being offered by the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership and is being led by Professor Sean Beienburg. Kyl will participate in lectures and discussions regularly throughout the semester, offering his insight based on his more than 25 years as a state representative and U.S. senator. 

“We hope to show students who are frustrated with the way their federal government operates these days that the existing structures, including the Constitution and the traditions and precedents that have allowed it to function, provide all that is needed to enable debate, negotiation, protection of minority rights and compromise necessary for good government in the United States,” Kyl said.  

Students who participate in the course will receive an introduction to key American debates in American politics, focusing specifically on how our institutions and political ideas have developed and how they connect to current events. Students will read famous works in American political thought including the Federalist Papers, "Democracy in America" by Alexis de Tocqueville, original documents in American history, modern works in political science, and more. 

Cameron Decker, a second-year student double-majoring in global agribusiness and civic and economic thought and leadership, signed up for the course after a recommendation from a faculty member. 

“I am interested in hearing about Sen. Kyl’s philosophy on compromise,” Decker said. “Being that we are so divided in the public sphere, Sen. Kyl must certainly have experience in compromise. I am interested to see if his experience in compromising on positions ever made him compromise his principles and if so, was it worth it?” 

"Sen. Kyl is that rare figure who is both an expert in contemporary public policy as well as the deeper issues underlying American constitutionalism and history,” Beienburg said.  “I am thrilled to be able to learn from him and get as much out of the class as the students will."

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