Q: Why the Institute for Citizens & Scholars?
A: This new identity reflects the organization’s twin commitments: to strengthen American education and to ensure a flourishing civil society.
The Institute for Citizens & Scholars prepares leaders and engages networks of people and organizations to meet urgent education challenges. The overarching goal is to shape an informed, productively engaged, and hopeful citizenry.
Q: Why are you changing the name?
A: In June 2020 the Board of Trustees of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation voted unanimously to rename the organization and to remove Woodrow Wilson from its name. The Board took this action because the racist policies and beliefs of Woodrow Wilson are fundamentally incompatible with the Foundation’s values and work.
Q: How did you decide on the name?
A: Citizens & Scholars convened focus groups of Fellows, Trustees, staff, and strategic partners to gather insights and feedback as part of the renaming process. The process, led by an outside partner, helped us select the new name. The Institute for Citizens & Scholars both reflects the legacy of the organization and signals a clear direction for the work we will do in the future.
Q: Can you say more about what you mean by citizens and scholars?
A: When we say citizen,we’re referring to someone who demonstrates the ancient concepts of civic virtue and civic spirit, and who works toward the common good. This kind of citizenship has nothing to do with legal status or formal national identity. Rather, informed, productively engaged, hopeful citizenship, as it’s called in our mission statement, rests in a commitment to the well-being of society as a whole; knowledge of and respect for the full range of histories, perspectives, and priorities that the whole encompasses; and active engagement in sustaining and furthering one’s various communities. Scholars help to create and develop the base for this kind of commitment by learning, enriching, and transmitting knowledge of our communities, nations, and world. To be a scholar in community is to be a citizen of the academy, and to be a citizen, in this sense, is to be a scholar of the nation and world.
Q: What does the Institute for Citizens & Scholars do?
A: Citizens & Scholars is rebuilding how we develop citizens in our country. We do this in three distinct ways: (1) we support young people to be better citizens; (2) we prepare a diverse and responsive next generation of college faculty; and (3) we network civic leaders to ensure a resilient democracy. To make this possible, Citizens & Scholars brings groups together as a collective force for progress on the nation’s biggest education challenges.
Q: What does the Citizens & Scholars logo represent?
A: The logo is intended to be evocative. It’s been interpreted, variously, as columns (like those on an academic or municipal building), books, stairsteps, a person standing out from the crowd, or a nod to forward motion—and there are surely other possibilities.
Q: Are you erasing Woodrow Wilson from the institution’s history?
A: No. When the Woodrow Wilson Fellowships were established 75 years ago at Princeton University, their mission was to recruit new generations of professors to teach a rapidly expanding body of university students. Thus, our founders named the organization after Princeton’s most famous president, who was himself a proponent of excellence in college teaching. We retained the name even as our work grew to include building academic fields and promoting gender and racial diversity in American higher education. More recently, that work has also focused on improving the quality of K–12 education in our country, strengthening STEM teaching in high-need schools, and improving understanding of American history and civics.
Over the years more than 27,000 Fellows from various Foundation-based programs have contributed to creating not only a better educated, but also a more just and inclusive America. We are proud of that work, even though we will be doing it under a different name. You can learn more about the full history of our organization here.
Q: What did President Wilson have to do with the Foundation?
A: The organization has never had any formal ties to President Wilson. The Woodrow Wilson Fellowships were created at Princeton University after World War II to recruit and prepare college professors, and our founders chose to name the awards—and the organization that evolved from them—after Princeton’s most famous president, a proponent of excellence in college teaching.
Q: Will the name of my Fellowship change?
A: No. Anyone who received a Fellowship prior to or during 2020 that contained the name Woodrow Wilson (for example, a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, a Woodrow Wilson Teacher, a Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellow in Women’s Studies) should continue to use that name, as the correct name of the award that was given at that time. We do not anticipate any retroactive change in the names of any of these programs. Several current programs that have used the WW name may, on a case-by-case basis, continue to use “WW” temporarily.
For any C.V./résumé listings, you can continue using Woodrow Wilson. If you prefer to make a change, you may use the abbreviation “WW,” or list the program name without WW or Woodrow Wilson, so long as the new name of the organization is included. If you would like to modify the name, here are some examples:
- WW Teaching Fellowship, 2015, Institute for Citizens & Scholars
- Teaching Fellowship, 2015, Institute for Citizens & Scholars
- Career Enhancement Fellowship, 2001, Institute for Citizens & Scholars
- WW Fellowship, 1967, Institute for Citizens & Scholars
- WW Dissertation Fellowship in Women’s Studies, 1977, Institute for Citizens & Scholars
- Dissertation Fellowship in Women’s Studies, 1977, Institute for Citizens & Scholars
- WW-RBF Fellowship for Aspiring Teachers of Color, 2010, Institute for Citizens & Scholars
- RBF Fellowship for Aspiring Teachers of Color, 2010, Institute for Citizens & Scholars
Q: Why am I still seeing the Woodrow Wilson name on the website and in other materials?
A: We are in the process of completing necessary legal and administrative steps, as well as finishing a recruitment cycle for some existing programs and building a new, more comprehensive website. We are currently operating as the Institute for Citizens & Scholars and will be transitioning everything—including the website, email addresses, donate pages, applications, and other materials—to the new name over time.
Q: I made a donation to the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. Will it still go through?
A: Checks made out to the WW Foundation or the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation will still be accepted. If you would like more information about giving options, please visit woodrow.org/giving. If you would like to make a donation to Citizens & Scholars, please visit https://ctzn-schlr.org/give.
Q: I have made a commitment to WW in my will; do I have to make changes?
A: Thank you for including WW in your planned giving. Planned gifts to the Woodrow Wilson Foundation will still be accepted; you do not need to change your legal documents.