Since 2009, the James Madison Fellows Program has attracted more than 200 senior-level congressional staff to annual retreats, monthly networking luncheons, and other special events to learn about and discuss constitutional first principles and their role and application in American politics and public policy. Co-sponsored by Hillsdale College and the Heritage Foundation, the Madison Fellows Program is led by Matthew Spalding, Hillsdale's Associate Vice President and Dean of Educational Programs for the Kirby Center.



Upon acceptance into the Madison Fellows Program, staffers attend an intensive day-long seminar focusing on the foundational principles and institutional framework of American government, the rejection of those ideas by progressivism beginning in the early twentiety century, and the recovery of constitutionalism in current politics and modern public policy debates.



Regular roundtable discussions consider the pressing issues of the day in light of first principles with the input of constitutional scholars and experts. Past speakers have included former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese III, The Weekly Standard founder Bill Kristol, University of Nevada-Reno professor John Marini, House Majority Whip policy director Michael Franc, U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Janice Rodgers Brown, and Hillsdale College scholars.



In addition to regular luncheons, Fellows are invited on an annual retreat to Washington's Mount Vernon, Gettsyburg National Battlefield, or another local historical site. The Kirby Center holds regular lectures and seminars where Fellows are invited as special guests to engage in public policy discussions from a constitutional perspective with a variety of scholars, journalists, and policymakers.



The Madison Fellows Program, curriculum readings, and educational materials—such as We Still Hold These Truths by Matthew Spalding and Hillsdale's essential collection of constitutional primary sources The U.S. Constitution: A Reader—are provided free of charge to participants. Current senior-level congressional staff can be nominated or submit an application to become a Madison Fellow.

If you are interested in the Madison Fellows Program or you know of a qualified candidate, please contact Ashlea Frazier.