the mill

Less certain, more curious.

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Why Our Work Matters

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The Mill Institute is leading a movement of educators across North America that have the skills and the support to open their classrooms to diverse viewpoints and open inquiry.

American educators are facing a social and political climate that stifles open classroom conversations. Students and teachers have become increasingly reluctant to discuss controversial issues or take intellectual risks for fear of harsh social or professional penalties. This is not a “Right” or a “Left” problem, but an education problem. And the result is a failure to teach students how to engage across ideological and political differences. This is a threat to our democracy and the civic institutions that enable it to thrive.

The Mill Institute fills a gap in the education landscape left by organizations that teach critical thinking skills but shy away from tough political topics, and those that address controversial topics in ideological ways. We help teachers dig into topics that others may be afraid to touch, and we do so without a political agenda.

What we do

Education means emancipation. It means light and liberty. It means the uplifting of the soul of man into the glorious light of truth, the light only by which men can be free.

Frederick Douglass
Blessings of Liberty and Education • 1894

How we do it

Create resources

We create resources that support the open and curious exploration of important but contentious topics

Run Programs

We run programs that model productive dialogue and identify the core differences on why people disagree

Conduct Research

We conduct research that furthers the public understanding of what educators and students need to create viewpoint diversity in the classroom

Advise UATX

We work with UATX administrators, faculty, staff, and students to help the institution uphold its principles and maintain a campus culture of open inquiry and civil discourse

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High School Teacher Fellowship

OCTOBER 2024–March 2025
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Applications for the Mill Institute’s 2024-2025 Teacher Fellowship are now open!
Each year, we bring together high school teachers from across the U.S. and Canada who are passionate about cultivating viewpoint diversity and open inquiry in the classroom.

Accepted fellows have the opportunity to:

  • Join an active community of educators committed to promoting viewpoint diversity.
  • Travel to Austin for an in-person collaboration weekend.
  • Receive training on the Mill Institute's Framework.
  • Create and workshop new classroom resources.
  • Receive a $1,000 stipend for their efforts.

Learn more and apply at the registration link below. Applications close June 15th.

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Weekend Professional Development Workshops for Teachers

The Mill Institute will be taking our one-day professional development workshops on the road in Spring 2024! These workshops are focused on applying theory to practice. Participating high school educators will:
  1. Receive an introduction to the Mill Institute's Framework for Challenging Settled Thinking
  2. Develop a shared vision and ground rules for open inquiry and challenging settled thinking in the classroom
  3. Engage in exercises around how to tackle difficult conversations in the classroom

If you are interested in participating in or hosting one of these workshops, please let us know by filling in the type form below.


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Ilana Redstone


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Elisheva Avishai


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Lauren Kish

Program Manager

support our work

Make a contribution

The Mill Institute is funded separately from the University of Austin. Help us expand our capacity, with an aim to serve 10,000 classrooms across the country by 2027.

Please note that the following link leads to the general UATX donation page. If you would like to make a gift towards the Mill Institute, please be sure to let us know in the notes section of your donation.

funding opportunities

Teacher Fellowship Program

Expanding our flagship Teacher Fellowship Program by tripling the number of our existing teacher communities ($350,000)

Democracy Project

Launching our Democracy Project to help students and teachers unpack key voting issues during the 2024 election and beyond ($200,000)

Viewpoint Diversity Challenge

Scaling our Viewpoint Diversity Challenge by 10x to reach 1,000 classrooms (and 30,000 students) by 2025 ($500,000)

Open Access Resources

Building an open-access virtual resource library for teachers ($150,000)

We need your support to transform the experiences of students and teachers across America, and to help thousands of classrooms be spaces where open and honest conversations can happen.

Apply now