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Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies

American University’s Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies (CCPS) serves scholars, students, policymakers and the public by propelling actionable research, providing public education and promoting a more reasonable democratic square.

CCPS Director Professor Barker interviewed by Faculti

February 3, 2023

Democratic Policymaking requires compromise, but public support for it varies substantially. David Barker discusses the predictive capabilities of humanitarianism and egalitarianism.

Katie Engel headshot

CCPS Awards AU PhD Student Katherine Engel the Gill Family Foundation Scholarship

February 2023

We are pleased to congratulate Katherine Engel, doctoral candidate in AU’s Department of Public Administration and Policy, as this year’s winner of the Gill Family Foundation scholarship!

The Gill Scholarship supports dissertation work using quantitative methods in the areas of American Politics, Comparative Politics, Public Administration, or Policy Analysis at American University.

Katie is a PhD student in the Department of Public Administration & Policy. Her research interests include health equity and food policy. Prior to her doctoral studies, Katie worked as Director of Prospect Research at the University of Notre Dame. She also served as an AmeriCorps VISTA and worked on expanding SNAP use at farmers' markets. She holds an MS in Science, Technology & Public Policy from Rochester Institute of Technology and a BA in English from Pepperdine University.

The Gill Family Foundation was established in 1997 in Houston, Texas, to further the Gill family’s interest in support of educational philanthropy.  As a statement of philosophy, the Gill family has noted that “Education plays the critical role in providing opportunities for growth, development, success, lasting relationships and satisfaction in life.  We are committed to giving back to the system which provided us so much opportunity for success and financial independence.

The Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies would like to thank AU Professors Andrew Ballard, Liz Suhay, and Andrew Flores for serving on the selection committee for the Gill Scholarship.

CCPS Director Professor Barker interviewed by C-SPAN

Professor David Barker was interviewed on January 2, 2023 to give a preview of the 118th Congress and prospects for divided government. View the recording above.

CCPS’s Taylor-Fillmore project awarded $125,500 in grants

January 2023

The Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies recently won two grants totaling $125,500 to support the Correspondence of Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore in 2023–24. The National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) awarded $115,000 as part of its grant program for Publishing Historical Records in Collaborative Digital Editions. The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation announced a $10,000 grant as part of its Humanities Program. Both are current sponsors, and we are grateful for their continued generosity. The Taylor-Fillmore project is preparing a print and digital edition of the 12th and 13th presidents’ letters from 1844–53. CCPS faculty fellow Michael David Cohen serves as editor; CCPS fellow Amy Larrabee Cotz, as associate editor. For more information, see the NHPRC’s press release and detailed listing of grant recipients.

The First Annual International Legislators' Forum on Innovations in Democracy Recap
November 2022

The Legislators’ Forum on Innovations in Democracy was organized by the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC), a nonprofit chartered by Congress in 1953 to strengthen civic life in America, the Institute for Democratic Engagement & Accountability (IDEA) at the Ohio State University and the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University.

On November 16, 2022, The Forum brought together 12 U.S. Members of Congress with senators, members of national parliaments, Members of the EU Parliament, and senior staff from the other countries, which also included France, Greece, Italy, and the U.K. Forum participants shared findings and stories from their work to engage citizens in more productive, civil, and meaningful ways.
View Forum Recap


Thurber Dialogues on Democracy

The Center for Congressional Presidential Studies is proud to announce, and very grateful to receive, a generous gift from Distinguished University Emeritus Professor Jim Thurber and his wife Claudia Thurber. Their gift will fund the Center’s Dialogues on Democracy (now the Thurber Dialogues on Democracy), an ongoing series of conversations with prominent thought leaders about how to strengthen democracy in the US and abroad. In 2021, their inaugural year, the Dialogues drew nearly 500 attendees per event, featuring Senator Cory Booker, House Majority Whip James Clyburn, author/journalist Anne Applebaum, and social scientists Robert Putnam and Shaylyn Romney Garrett. Thanks to the Thurbers’ benevolence, vision, and public-spiritedness, the Dialogues will now continue.

The inaugural Thurber Dialogue on Democracy of 2022 featured Rep. Adam Schiff for a conversation with Professor Jim Thurber on Thursday, March 31, 2022. This event, co-hosted by CCPS and KPU, was held via Zoom and the link to the recording of the event is available here.

The second Thurber Dialogue on Democracy featured Rep. Hakeem Jeffries for a conversation with Professor Liz Suhay on Tuesday, April 19th at 7:00pm. This event, co-hosted by CCPS and KPU, was held via Zoom and the recording of the event is available here.

The third and final Thurber Dialogue of Democracy took place on Thursday, May 5th at 6:00pm via Zoom and featured Harvard University political scientists Professor Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt. They discussed their 2018 New York Times Best Seller, How Democracies Die, and broader themes of their work in recent events. This event was moderated by American University Professor Laura Paler.

Correspondence of Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore Project

This project locates and publishes letters, from 1844–53, of the twelfth and thirteenth U.S. presidents.
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Congress & the Presidency Journal

Congress and the Presidency: A Journal of Capital StudiesThis publication is an interdisciplinary journal of political science and history, published by American University, Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies since 1984. The journal is now being published three times a year. Congress & the Presidency features articles on Congress, the President, the interaction between the two institutions, and national policy-making.
View latest articles


Contact Us

(202) 885-3491

Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies
Kerwin Hall, Room 235
4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016

Rivals for Power book cover

Research ·

Rivals for Power: Biden’s Agenda in a Dysfunctional Congress

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Robert Putnam, Shaylyn Romney Garrett, Jim Thurber

Government & Politics ·

Can Today’s Polarized America Come Together Again?

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David Barker

Government & Politics ·

SPA Professor David Barker Tracks Support for Political Protests

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European Public Affairs & Advocacy Institute students

European Public Affairs & Advocacy Institute

This unique course will introduce students to the art and craft of lobbying in the European Union.

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political signs

American University Magazine American

My Favorites: Rising Political Stars

Top 10 up-and-coming politicians

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Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute

Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute

The Institute features a two-week intensive course in major aspects of lobbying and political influence.

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James Thurber, middle, sits in the Campaign Management Institute classroom.

Campaign Management Institute

The Campaign Management Institute has become an internationally recognized curriculum in the art and science of campaigning.

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CCPS Video & Audio Clips

  • Setting Limits on Presidential Power Under the Trump Administration

    Watch the video

  • The Transition and the First 100 Days of the Trump Presidency

    Watch the video

Thurber Scholarship Endowment students

Thurber Scholarship Endowment

The James and Claudia Thurber Scholarship Endowment, established by former AU students and colleagues.

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