Wye Faculty Seminar at the Aspen Institute

The Association of American Colleges and Universities is pleased to have a strong history of working with The Aspen Institute, whose mission is to foster enlightened leadership and open-minded dialogue to promote nonpartisan inquiry and an appreciation for timeless values.


Wye Faculty Seminar
Citizenship in the American and Global Polity
July 14-19, 2019 | Wye River, Maryland

How do we foster civil discourse on campus about the most important questions facing our democracy?

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 meets 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:

  • 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;
  • To explore great texts stretching from ancient to contemporary times, not merely for artistry of language but for the powerof ideas on fundamental issues in our society, and;
  • To translate ideas into action suitable to the challenges of our age.

Each seminar begins with an opening reception and dinner on the evening of the first day and closes with lunch on the final day.

Outcomes and Impact

Past participants have emphasized the following outcomes and impact of their participation in the Wye Faculty Seminar:

  • Personal and professional refreshment;
  • Deeper and broader knowledge of interdisciplinary approaches to classroom discussions;
  • Exposure to diverse academic and personal perspectives.


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, roundtable 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.

Application and Contact
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.

Participation at the Seminar: $2,975
All costs include lodging, meals, group events, and materials. Airfare and transportation to and from the closest airport is not included; early flight booking is strongly recommended.

For further information, please email Kalissa Hendickson or visit the Wye Faculty Seminar website.