The Wheatley Institution



Defending and Strengthening the Family as the Core Institution of Society

The Wheatley initiative on the family seeks to bring the best scholars and most rigorous scholarship to bear on preserving and strengthening the family as a core institution. Scholarship is focused on not only the demonstrable moral and social benefits of families and family life but also the broader issues facing the family as an institution, including the development of a rigorous intellectual understanding of the family. The Wheatley Institution continues to invite top scholars with perspectives ranging from natural law to postmodernism to bring their best thinking to this crucial task. In addition to other scholarly work, the Wheatley Institution initiated in 2014 an annual student conference on the family, bringing together students from across the nation and the best scholars in family studies to discuss crucial issues in the defense of marriage and the family as the core institution of society.


Addressing Current and Emerging Challenges in Education

The Wheatley initiative on education recognizes the importance of education in a free and moral society and the need to expend effort and resources in improving education in America and throughout the world. We encourage and support broad and innovative thinking and rigorous, sophisticated research into all aspects of education with the intent of identifying issues in our current systems that need to be addressed. We seek also to produce and promote scholarship aimed at strengthening and improving education at every level, from the philosophical and systemic to the pragmatic and pedagogical. The goal of scholarly work in this initiative is discovering, formulating, and proposing practices and programs that hold promise for improving every aspect of education in a free society.

Business Ethics and Leadership

Fostering Integrity, Service, and Leadership

Many business and civic leaders have noted and commented on a general decline in moral maturity and moral sensibility in our own and other societies. This decline in basic integrity has important implications for the tenor of public life and the viability of our most important civic and economic institutions. The real costs of dishonesty in business are staggering. Fostering ethical behavior in the business world is an important priority of the Institution. We encourage research aimed at improving ways in which the sense of integrity, ethics, and leadership are fostered in the most basic institutions of society, including homes, elementary schools, churches, businesses, professions, and government. Research will be directed toward the identification and articulation of core moral principles and the processes by which they can be effectively taught to contemporary and future generations to strengthen and preserve core social institutions. One institutional goal is to be a major center for research and teaching ethics in business and other professions, all with an eye to enhancing our ability to transmit the virtues that sustain our core institutions to the next generation. Work within this scholarly initiative also recognizes the inevitable connection between ethics and leadership. The Institution seeks to become a center for scholarship and education in effective, ethical leadership in all sectors of society.

BYU Ethics Gateway >>

International Affairs

Understanding and Promoting Sound Principles and Policies in International Affairs.

As the world shrinks and nations become interconnected in increasingly complex ways, it is crucial to understand the issues that face our society in the context of the international community. The viability of our social institutions and the well-being of families are strongly influenced by the state of international affairs. The Wheatley Institution supports quality scholarship and rigorous thought across the broad spectrum of international affairs. We seek to bring to the public forum the views of thought leaders on important topics facing our society in broad areas of international relations, including core principles that have been influential in governmental policy in the past and at present, economic issues and opportunities around the world that will affect our nation and our social institutions, and the defense of the core values of our democratic society.

The international affairs initiative brings remarkable public figures to campus, offering faculty, students and members of the community opportunities to hear from experts and engage in discussions on key international issues.

In addition, the annual Wheatley International Affairs Conference (WIAC) draws students from across the United States, offering opportunities to learn from and interact with experts in international affairs in a context that facilitates networking, first-rate instruction, energetic exchanges of ideas, and collaborative work on policy issues.

Foundations of Civic Life and Civic Virtue

Preserving the Core Virtues and Founding Principles of a Good and Free Society

This initiative focuses on the intellectual history and the philosophical principles that informed the American Founding. It seeks to preserve the key intellectual ideas that inspired the founding of the novus ordo seclorum that was and is our democratic society. The Institution seeks also to produce and support scholarly work that identifies, explicates, and advances the moral and civic virtues that ground the lives of beings fit for and able to sustain a virtuous and flourishing civic live and the social institutions that arise from, and, at the same time, sustain this form of life. These virtues will manifest themselves in love of freedom, personal responsibility, respect for the rule of law, protection of religious freedom, and civil discourse, as well as strong families, high standards of personal integrity, and clear moral standards in all sectors of public life. In the words of Wheatley Senior Fellow, Daniel N. Robinson, this scholarly initiative "[is] at once an inquiry into the constitutive principles of civic life and also a 'diagnostic' laying out the signs and symptoms of challenges to such a life." Those concerns continue to inform Wheatley's work on civic life and the American Founding.

Faith and Intellect

Investigating the Interface of Vibrant Religious Faith with Rigorous Intellectual Life

The Wheatley Initiative in Faith and Intellect preserves the work of founding Senior Fellow Truman G. Madsen, by encouraging excellent scholarship that is informed by mature and unapologetic faith. The guiding premise of scholarly work in this initiative is that strong, vibrant and committed faith is in no way inimical to rigorous intellectual inquiry into important philosophical and scientific principles. Rather, it seeks to produce and support work that demonstrates that faith and intellect are mutually enriching. Work in this area draws from a rich history of significant intellectual work on religion, philosophy and science. It is a major goal of the Institution to bring together the best scholars from varied religious traditions and intellectual traditions to discuss crucial issues of common interest, and to encourage rigorous and civil scholarly discourse and exchange of great and important ideas. A major event of this scholarly initiative is the annual Truman G. Madsen Lecture on Eternal Man.