The University of Texas at Austin - Civitas Institute

People

Leadership and Staff

  • Justin Dyer

    Justin Dyer, Executive Director

    Justin Dyer is the executive director of the Civitas Institute, professor of government, and Jack G. Taylor Regents Professor at The University of Texas at Austin. He also is professor (by courtesy) of business, government, and society in the McCombs School of Business. Dyer writes and teaches in the fields of American political thought, jurisprudence and constitutionalism, with an emphasis on the perennial philosophical tradition of natural law. He is the author or editor of eight books and numerous articles, essays and book reviews. His most recent book, with Kody Cooper, is The Classical and Christian Origins of American Politics: Political Theology, Natural Law, and the American Founding, forthcoming from Cambridge University Press. Previously, he taught for 13 years at the University of Missouri, where he was the founding director of the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy, a signature academic center for the study of American political thought and history. After attending the University of Oklahoma on a wrestling scholarship, he completed his M.A. and Ph.D. in Government at The University of Texas at Austin.

  • Sarah Beth Kitch, Associate Director

    Sarah Beth V. Kitch is Associate Director for the Civitas Institute.  An award-winning teacher, she invites students to intentional opportunities to reflect on the task of being human.  Kitch’s teaching and research interests are in American political thought, African American political thought, political theology, and ethics.  She has written for the Journal of Church & State, American Journal of Political Science, Law & Liberty, and Starting Points.  In a recent contribution to Liberal Education in a Free Society (forthcoming May 2023), she reflects on the kinds of ethical formation that prepare students to meet suffering in their own lives and in society.  In the last decade, Kitch taught at St. Agnes Academy (Houston), was Assistant Professor at the University of Missouri, Visiting Assistant Professor at Northern Illinois University, the Thomas W. Smith Postdoctoral Research Associate in Religion & Public Life at Princeton University, and Instructor of Political Science at Louisiana State University.  A Baton Rouge native, Kitch earned an MA and PhD in Political Theory at Louisiana State University.  She holds a BA in Mass Communication & Journalism from Southeastern Louisiana University.

  • Antonio Sosa

    Antonio Sosa, Associate Director

    Antonio Sosa is Associate Director for the Civitas Institute. In this capacity, he oversees the development of fellowships, conferences, and courses that invite students to reflect on the principles of a free society. Prior to joining the Institute Antonio was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught classes on classical political philosophy, the American Founding, modern European history, and the history of liberal arts education. He is primarily interested in the defense of liberal democracy that is found in the thought of Tocqueville, Ortega y Gasset, and Leo Strauss. He graduated with B.A.s in English and Film from Pennsylvania State University and earned his M.A. in International Relations from The New School. He is also a doctoral candidate in political philosophy at the University of Dallas. His dissertation focuses on Tocqueville’s solution to what he called “the fate of civilized man,” that is, that advances in equality and material well-being are necessarily accompanied by a loss of depth and vigor in the human soul. His writing has appeared in journals such as Interpretation and Perspectives on Political Science and in online magazines such as Public Discourse and Law and Liberty.

  • Allison Smythe

    Allison Smythe, Sr. Project Manager

    Allison Smythe is the Sr. Project Manager for the Civitas Institute. In this capacity, she oversees academic and community events; branding, marketing, and communications; and alumni engagement. Prior to joining the Civitas Institute, Allison was Sr. Program Coordinator at the Kinder Institute at the University of Missouri where she developed strategic marketing campaigns for undergraduate and graduate student recruitment; designed an alumni engagement program; and promoted and coordinated academic and community events and conferences, locally and internationally. In addition, she continues to direct the award-winning boutique graphic design firm Ars Graphica on a limited basis. She graduated from Texas Tech with a BFA in Design Communication and studied creative writing as an MFA student at the University of Houston. Her essays and poetry have been published in various literary journals and magazines.

Civitas Institute Faculty Fellows

  • Charity Joy Acchiardo

    Charity-Joy Acchiardo

    Charity-Joy Acchiardo is Faculty Fellow of the Civitas Institute and Associate Professor of Instruction in the Department of Economics at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the faculty lead for UT’s OnRamps microeconomics course for high school students and is director of the Economic Education and Financial Literacy program, both joint projects of the Civitas Institute and the Department of Economics. She is an Economic Educator Fellow at the Fraser Institute, Canada’s top-ranked think tank, and has served as the Executive Director of the Journal of Economics Teaching. Her websites econkahoots.com and econshark.com are dedicated to making the economics classroom more engaging. Professor Acchiardo’s passion is sharing her joy about economics with others, and she is a frequent speaker, both domestically and internationally, at workshops for educators and students. She completed her Ph.D. in Economics at George Mason University.

  • Daniel Bonevac

    Daniel Bonevac

    Daniel Bonevac is Faculty Fellow of the Civitas Institute and Professor of Philosophy and Human Dimensions of Organizations at the The University of Texas at Austin, where he teaches and does research in logic and ethics, especially organizational ethics. His book Reduction in the Abstract Sciences received the Johnsonian Prize from The Journal of Philosophy. His other books include Deduction (Blackwell), Simple Logic (Oxford), Worldly Wisdom (Mayfield), and Historical Dictionary of Ethics (Rowman and Littlefield). Among his edited volumes are Today’s Moral Issues (McGraw-Hill, seven editions) and World Philosophy (Oxford, with Stephen Phillips). Professor Bonevac’s articles have appeared in such journals as Philosophical ReviewMindNoûsThe Journal of PhilosophyPhilosophy and Phenomenological ResearchSyntheseJournal of Philosophical LogicEthicsPhilosophical Studies, and Erkenntnis. He was Chairman of the Department of Philosophy from 1991 to 2001. He earned his PhD at the University of Pittsburgh.

  • J Budziszewski

    J. Budziszewski

    J. Budziszewski is Faculty Fellow in the Civitas Institute and Professor of Government and Philosophy at The University of Texas at Austin, where he also teaches courses in the law school and the religious studies department.  He specializes in political philosophy, ethical philosophy, legal philosophy, and the interaction of religion with philosophy. Among his research interests are classical natural law, virtue ethics, conscience and moral self deception, human happiness or fulfillment, the institution of the family in relation to political and social order, religion in public life, and the problem of toleration. Professor Budziszewski is the author of nineteen books, including his recent four-part commentary on the works of Thomas Aquinas: Commentary on Thomas Aquinas’s Treatise on Law (Cambridge University Press, 2014), its free online partner volume, Companion to the Commentary (Cambridge University Press, 2014), Commentary on Thomas Aquinas’s Virtue Ethics (Cambridge University Press, 2017), Commentary on Thomas Aquinas’s Treatise on Happiness and Ultimate Purpose (Cambridge University Press, 2020), and Commentary on Thomas Aquinas’s Treatise on Divine Law (Cambridge University Press, 2021).

  • Richard V. Burkhauser

    Richard V. Burkhauser is Senior Research Fellow at the Civitas Institute and Emeritus Sarah Gibson Blanding Professor of Public Policy in the Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy at Cornell University. Previously, Burkhauser held tenured faculty positions in the Department of Economics at Vanderbilt University and in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. Between September 2017 and May 2019, he was a member of the Council of Economic Advisers in the Executive Office of the President. His professional career has focused on how public policies affect the employment and well-being of vulnerable populations. In 2010 he was the President of the Association for Public Policy and Management. He has published widely in the fields of economics, public policy, demography and gerontology.  He received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Chicago.

  • Carlos Carvalho

    Carlos Carvalho

    Carlos M. Carvalho is Faculty Fellow of the Civitas Institute and the La Quinta Centennial Professor of Business in the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin. He is also Executive Director of the Salem Center for Policy, a research center that draws from multiple disciplines and empirical methods to help navigate the trade-offs of public policy decisions in pursuit of human flourishing and the preservation of a free society. Originally from Brazil, Professor Carvalho received his Ph.D. in Statistics from Duke University in 2006 and was assistant professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business before joining UT in 2010. His research, which focuses on Bayesian statistics in complex, high-dimensional problems with applications ranging from economics to genetics, has been published widely in top journals including Bayesian Analysis and Annals of Applied Statistics.

  • Sheena Greitens

    Sheena Chestnut Greitens

    Sheena Chestnut Greitens is Faculty Fellow of the Civitas Institute and Associate Professor of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin. She also directs UT’s Asia Policy Program, a joint initiative of the Clements Center for National Security and the Strauss Center for International Security and Law, and in 2022, is concurrently a Jeane Kirkpatrick Visiting Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).  Prof. Greitens’ teaching and research focus on American national security, East Asia, and the politics of democracy and dictatorship.  She is the author of Dictators and their Secret Police: Coercive Institutions and State Violence (Cambridge University Press, 2016), which won several academic awards. Her current book projects focus on authoritarianism and diaspora politics in North Korea, and on internal security as a driver of Chinese grand strategy. She completed her Ph.D. in Government at Harvard University.

  • Kishore Gawande

    Kishore Gawande

    Kishore Gawande is Faculty Fellow of the Civitas Institute, Century Club Professor, and Chair of the Business, Government and Society Department in the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin. Professor Gawande was previously Professor of International Economics and Development at Texas A&M University. He has served as a consultant to the World Bank and has been a Visiting Associate Professor at the Stigler Center, University of Chicago. Professor Gawande’s areas of research include international trade policy, international political economy, conflict and development. His research has been published across disciplines in Economics, Political Science and Management. He holds an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management and a PhD from the University of California at Los Angeles.

  • Rana Siu Inboden

    Rana Siu Inboden is Faculty Fellow of the Civitas Institute and Senior Fellow with the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law at The University of Texas at Austin. She serves as a consultant on human rights, democracy and rule of law projects in Asia for a number of nongovernmental organizations and conducts research related to international human rights, Chinese foreign policy, the effectiveness of international human rights and democracy projects and authoritarian collaboration in the United Nations. She is the author of China and the International Human Rights Regime, published in 2021 by Cambridge University Press. Previously, Dr. Inboden served in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, where her primary responsibilities included managing the State Department’s Human Rights and Democracy Fund China program and promoting U.S. human rights and democracy policy in China and North Korea. She holds a DPhil from the Department of Politics and International Relations at Oxford University.

  • Will Inboden

    William Inboden

    William Inboden is Faculty Fellow of the Civitas Institute, William Powers, Jr., executive director of the Clements Center for National Security, and Professor of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin. He is also a distinguished scholar at UT’s Strauss Center for International Security and Law. Prof. Inboden’s research and teaching interests are in the history of U.S. foreign policy. His most recent book, on the Reagan administration’s national security policies, is The Peacemaker: Ronald Reagan in the White House and the World (Basic Books, 2022). Previously, he served as senior director for strategic planning on the National Security Council, worked on the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff, and was the director of the Legatum Institute, a foreign policy think tank based in London. A life member of the Council on Foreign Relations, he completed his Ph.D. in History at Yale University.

  • Adam Klein

    Adam Klein is Faculty Fellow of the Civitas Institute and Director of the Robert Strauss Center on International Security and Law at The University of Texas at Austin.  He also serves as Senior Lecturer at the University of Texas School of Law, where he teaches courses on national security, intelligence, and counterterrorism. Before joining the Strauss Center, Adam served as Chairman of the United States Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, the independent, bipartisan federal agency responsible for overseeing counterterrorism programs at the NSA, FBI, CIA, Department of Homeland Security, and other federal agencies. Previously, Adam practiced law at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr, LLP and served as a law clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. He received his BA from Northwestern University and his JD from Columbia Law School.

  • Rob Koons

    Rob Koons

    Rob Koons is Faculty Fellow of the Civitas Institute and Professor of Philosophy at The University of Texas at Austin, where he has taught for 35 years. He is the author or co-author of five books, including: Realism Regained (Oxford University Press, 2000) and The Atlas of Reality: A Comprehensive Guide to Metaphysics, with Timothy H. Pickavance (Wiley-Blackwell, 2017). He is the co-editor (with George Bealer) of The Waning of Materialism (Oxford University Press, 2010), (with Nicholas Teh and William Simpson) of Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives on Contemporary Science (Routledge, 2018), and (with William Simpson and James Orr) of Neo-Aristotelian Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Nature (Routledge, 2021). He has been working recently on an Aristotelian interpretation of quantum theory, on defending and articulating Thomism in contemporary terms, and on arguments for classical theism. His forthcoming books include: Is Thomas Aquinas’s Philosophy of Nature Obsolete? (St. Augustine Press) and Classical Theism (Routledge), co-edited with Jonathan Fuqua. He completed his M.A. at Oxford University and his Ph.D. at the University of California at Los Angeles.

  • David Leal

    David L. Leal is Faculty Fellow of the Civitas Institute, Professor of Government, and Professor (by courtesy) of Mexican American Studies and Religious Studies at The University of Texas at Austin. Since 2018, he also has been a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. Professor Leal is a scholar of Latino politics, and his work explores the political and policy implications of demographic change. He has published over fifty journal articles and edited or co-edited a dozen scholarly books and journal symposia. His recent classes include Latino Politics, Immigration Politics, Politics and Religion, and British Politics. He has been an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow, a Fulbright Distinguished Lecturer in Japan, and an Associate Member of Nuffield College at Oxford University.  In 2021, he was recognized with the Distinguished Career Award from the Latina/o Caucus of the Midwest Political Science Association. He completed his Ph.D. in Government at Harvard University.

  • Dirk Mateer

    Dirk Mateer

    Dirk Mateer is Faculty Fellow of the Civitas Institute and Professor of Instruction in the Department of Economics at The University of Texas at Austin. He is assisting with the development UT’s OnRamps microeconomics course for high school students and is Senior Teaching Fellow in the Economic Education and Financial Literacy program, both joint projects of the Civitas Institute and the Department of Economics. Prior to coming to UT, he received Penn State University’s highest teaching award and was voted the best overall teacher in the Smeal College of Business. While at the University of Arizona, Dirk received the University’s Koffler Teaching Prize, a quadrennial award for his contributions in economic education. He is the author of Economics in the MoviesEssentials of Economics and Principles of Economics.

  • Brian Roberts

    Brian Roberts

    Brian Roberts is Faculty Fellow in the Civitas Institute, Professor of Government in the College of Liberal Arts, and Professor of Business, Government and Society (by courtesy) in the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin. Professor Roberts’ teaching and research are in the fields of American political institutions, interest groups, and positive political economy, with a focus on politics and financial markets, corporate political participation, and distributive politics. His scholarship has contributed to the literature in political science, economics, and finance, and has served in the past as Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and UT’s Vice President of Information Technology. He is the co-author, with Daron Shaw and Mijeong Baek, of The Appearance of Corruption: Testing the Supreme Court’s Assumptions About Campaign Finance Reform (Oxford University Press, 2021).

  • Dr. Daron Shaw.

    Daron Shaw

    Daron Shaw is Faculty Fellow of the Civitas Institute and Frank Erwin Centennial Chair in the Department of Government at The University of Texas at Austin. His research and teaching interests include campaigns and elections, political parties, public opinion, and voting behavior. Professor Shaw is the author of The Appearance of Corruption(Oxford University Press, 2021) The Turnout Myth (Oxford University Press, 2020), Unconventional Wisdom: Facts and Myths about American Voters (Oxford University Press, 2008), The Race to 270 (University of Chicago Press, 2006) and numerous articles in leading political science including American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, and British Journal of Political Science. He is co-director of the Fox News Poll, co-director of the University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll, director of the Texas Lyceum Poll, and associate Principal Investigator for the 2020 and 2024 American National Election Studies. He completed his Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of California at Los Angeles.

  • Devin Stauffer

    Devin Stauffer is Faculty Fellow of the Civitas Institute and Professor of Government at The University of Texas at Austin. He specializes in classical and early modern political philosophy. Prior to coming to The University of Texas in 2004, Professor Stauffer taught at Kenyon College and St. John’s College in Annapolis. During his time at Kenyon College, he received two awards for teaching excellence, and he has since received two more teaching awards at UT. Professor Stauffer’s books include Plato’s Introduction to the Question of Justice (SUNY, 2001), The Unity of Plato’s Gorgias (Cambridge, 2006), and Hobbes’s Kingdom of Light (Chicago, 2018). His articles have also appeared in some of the top journals in the field, including Review of PoliticsJournal of Politics, and American Political Science Review.

2022-23 Civitas Institute Postdoctoral Fellow

  • William M.R. Simpson

    William M. R. Simpson is the John and Daria Barry Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Philosophy at The University of Texas at Austin, where he will continue work on the foundations of human freedom in physics and philosophy. He is also a Visiting Fellow in Philosophy at the University of Durham, a Research Associate of the University of Cambridge, and an Honorary Fellow of the University of St. Andrews. Previously, he was a Junior Research Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge. He holds a doctorate in physics from St. Andrews, for which he was awarded the Springer thesis prize, and a doctorate in philosophy from Cambridge, for which he received the Expanded Reason Award. In 2021, he was awarded the Cardinal Mercier Prize in Philosophy. He is the co-editor, with Robert Koons and Nicholas Teh, of Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives in Contemporary Science (Routledge 2017), and the co-editor, with Robert Koons and James Orr, of Neo-Aristotelian Metaphysics and the Theology of Nature (Routledge 2021).

Civitas Institute Nonresidential Fellows

  • Paul Carrese

    Paul Carrese

    Paul Carrese is Nonresidential Fellow of the Civitas Institute at The University of Texas at Austin and is the founding director of the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership at Arizona State University. For nearly two decades he was a professor at the U.S. Air Force Academy, where he co-founded a new honors program blending liberal arts education and leadership education. His teaching and research interests are in political theory, constitutionalism, and civic education. His most recent book is Democracy in Moderation: Montesquieu, Tocqueville, and Sustainable Liberalism. He also is author of The Cloaking of Power: Montesquieu, Blackstone, and the Rise of Judicial Activism, and co-editor of three other books – on George Washington, constitutionalism, and American grand strategy. He has held fellowships at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar; Harvard University; the University of Delhi (as a Fulbright fellow); and the James Madison Program, Politics Department, Princeton University. He co-led a national study funded by the NEH and US Department of Education, Educating for American Democracy, on improving American history and civics education in K-12 schools with partners from Harvard and Tufts Universities and iCivics (released in 2021). He completed his PhD. In Political Science at Boston College.

  • Chiyuma Elliott

    Chiyuma Elliott

    Chiyuma Elliott is Nonresidential Fellow of the Civitas Institute and Associate Professor of African American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, where she directs the African American Intellectual Traditions Initiative, a project that explores religious and classical influences on African American intellectual life. Her scholarly work and teaching focus on poetry and poetics, African American literature, intellectual history from the 1920s to the present, and Black Geography/Cultural Geography. Prof. Elliott is the author of four books of poems: Blue in Green (2021), At Most (2020), Vigil (2017), and California Winter League (2015).  She is currently at work on a poem cycle about technology and migration, and a scholarly monograph tentatively titled The Rural Harlem Renaissance, about rural life and art in the 1920s. She completed her Ph.D. in American Studies at The University of Texas at Austin.

  • Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde

    Jesús Fernández-Villaverde

    Jesús Fernández-Villaverde is Nonresidential Fellow of the Civitas Institute at The University of Texas at Austin and Professor of Economics at the University of Pennsylvania, where he directs the Penn Initiative for the Study of Markets. He has also been a National Fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and a Kenen Fellow in International Economy at Princeton University. Prof. Fernández-Villaverde’s research and teaching focus on macroeconomics and econometrics, and he has also developed a popular series of undergraduate courses on the relationship between markets and human flourishing. He has made the lecture notes for those courses available at his personal website. He is a Research Associate for the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and Penn’s Population Studies Center, and a Research Affiliate for the Centre for Economic Policy Research. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota.

  • Vincent Phillip Muñoz

    Vincent Phillip Muñoz

    Vincent Phillip Muñoz is Nonresidential Fellow of the Civitas Institute at The University of Texas at Austin and Tocqueville Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame, where he is the founding director of the Center for Citizenship & Constitutional Government. Prof. Muñoz writes and teaches across the fields of constitutional law, American politics, and political philosophy with a focus on religious liberty and the American Founding. He won a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship to support his most recent book, Religious Liberty and the American Founding: Natural Rights and the Original Meanings of the First Amendment Religion Clauses (University of Chicago Press, 2022). The author of numerous articles in leading political science journals and law reviews, Prof. Muñoz’ first book, God and the Founders: Madison, Washington, and Jefferson (Cambridge University Press, 2009), won the Hubert Morken Award from the American Political Science Association for the best publication on religion and politics in 2009 and 2010. He completed his Ph.D. at Claremont Graduate School.