Citizenship in the American and Global Polity
an interdisciplinary seminar for college and university faculty

July 16-22, 2016 
Aspen Institute-Wye River Campus | Queenstown, Maryland

The Wye Faculty Seminar assists professors from colleges and universities in relating their teaching to broad issues of citizenship in the American polity and beyond. The Seminar seeks to address a central need of faculty in liberal arts institutions—to exchange ideas with colleagues from other colleges and other disciplines while probing ideas and values that underlie their teaching and the lives they lead as liberally educated persons. Modeled in the tradition of The Aspen Institute Executive Seminars, each Wye Faculty Seminar strives: 

- first, to gather a diverse group of thoughtful men and women in intellectually rigorous roundtable discussions – truly around the table to converse with rather than confront one another;
- second, to explore great literature stretching from ancient to contemporary times, not merely for artistry of language but for the power of ideas on fundamental issues in our society, and;
- third, to translate ideas into action suitable to the challenges of our age.

To more fully understand this transformative experience, read the essays commemorating 30 years of Wye Seminars and an essay on Revitalizing Discourse about a “Good Society” by David L. Baker,  Professor, California State University, San Bernardino CA. Each seminar begins with an opening reception and dinner on the evening of the first day and closes with lunch on the final day. 

How to Apply

Presidents, provosts, and deans are invited to nominate up to three faculty members from their organization to attend this unique faculty development program. Nominees must apply here, only when approval has been granted by the university's sponsoring Chief Academic Officer. Application deadline is April 15, 2016, and nominee(s) will be contacted by the Aspen Institute of their acceptance by April 20, 2016. 

We encourage participation by professors representing a wide variety of disciplines. In past seminars, specialties have ranged from the classics, languages, history, drama, and philosophy, to economics, political science, biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics. Alumni of these seminars have consistently praised the week at Wye and the many benefits they bring back to their home campuses. 


Each college or university is required to provide travel costs and a participation fee of $2,975 for each Fellow. The fee includes tuition, lodging, meals, social events, and the seminar readings that are sent to participants well in advance of the seminar. Payment by check is preferred although the Institute will accept major credit cards. Limited scholarship funds are available in cases of special need.

Participants’ guests are welcome on a double occupancy basis for a small additional fee, which includes room, board, social events, and a copy of the readings. Guests are welcome to observe the seminar, but do not participate in the roundtable discussion.


Founded by Douglass Cater, then president of Washington College, and Josiah Bunting III, then president of Hampden-Sydney College, the Wye Faculty Seminar began as a pilot program in August 1983, when five small liberal arts colleges—Washington, Hampden-Sydney, Hood, Sweet Briar and Spelman—sent twenty professors to participate in an experimental, round-table discussion of “Citizenship and the American Polity.” Upon the retirement of Douglass Cater from Washington College and Josiah Bunting’s assumption as headmaster at the Lawrenceville School, the Association of American Colleges and Universities and The Aspen Institute agreed to co-sponsor the Wye Faculty Seminar in 1991. This established partnership ensures that the Wye Faculty Seminar will remain unmatched in its power to provide professors teaching in the nation’s liberal arts colleges and universities the opportunity to come together for a week of intellectual dialogue.


For further information, contact: Charlene Costello, Senior Coordinator, phone 410-820-5374, fax 410-827-9182, or