Citizenship in the American and Global Polity
an interdisciplinary seminar for CAOs, Academic Vice Presidents, Provosts, and Academic Deans
June 9-13, 2013
Aspen Institute-Wye River Campus
For almost thirty years, college and university faculty, deans, provosts, and presidents have renewed their own commitment to liberal education in a specially-designed program of Socratic discussion. Based on the classic Mortimer Adler great books seminar that launched the Aspen Institute in 1950, the Wye Deans' Seminar consists of a week-long series of facilitated discussions drawing on primary texts from antiquity to the present, both western and global. Participants are challenged to explore the meaning of liberal education in the 21st-century in an atmosphere that is at once collegial and intellectually demanding. This is a rare opportunity, over the course of a week, to develop rich interior and communal conversations about the issues at the heart of why and what we teach. Participants become better administrators as they are renewed in their experience—both in and out of seminar—of what it means to learn.
The formal seminar sessions, limited to 20 participants, are intense explorations of the texts, the tensions within and among the texts, and the implications of the texts for our own day. Substantial unscheduled time allows for reading and re-reading, reflection, the enjoyment of the natural beauty of the Wye River Facility, and access to the many sites along the Chesapeake Bay and in historic Annapolis. Over the course of the week, participants find that their intellectual explorations are deepened and broadened as the group sustains a crescendo of conversation. For many, the conversation extends beyond the end of the seminar week and into lasting friendships.
Participants experience liberal education at its best. They have the opportunity to explore the issues and values fundamental to our civilization with administrative colleagues from different disciplines and different institutions. They sharpen their skills of cooperative conversation and collective intellectual engagement. They return to their home campuses better able and equipped to exercise leadership among their colleagues in the advancement of liberal learning and across disciplines. While there are many professional development opportunities for CAOs, none provides this unique combination of close reading, deep and extended conversation, and reflection.
“The…Seminar reinforced for me the importance of a liberal education and the interrelatedness of our various disciplines.”
“The… Seminar is unique in my experience. A forum in which the guiding questions about citizenship, interconnectedness, and belonging emerge organically from the conversation. Such a meeting of the minds and feelings is rare but essential, exhilarating and demanding all at once.”
“I felt engaged not only as an intellect, but also—and perhaps more importantly—as an embodied human being.”
Applications: Provosts and academic deans are invited to register before March 15, 2013. Each seminar begins with an opening reception and dinner on the evening of the first day and closes with lunch on the final day. 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 at the roundtable discussions.
Costs: Each college or university is required to provide travel costs and a participation fee of $3,200. The fee includes tuition, lodging, meals, social events, and the seminar readings that are sent to participants well in advance of the seminar. Payments may be made by check or major credit card.
The Wye Dean Seminar builds upon the long history of the Wye Facutly Seminar. 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.
The Wye Dean Seminar extends this experience to vice presidents, provosts, deans and other academic leaders with a focus on the particular professional and personal challenges facing chief academic officers.
Contact: For further information, contact: Charlene Costello, Senior Coordinator, phone 410-820-5374, fax 410-827-9182, or firstname.lastname@example.org.