Former FBI director James Comey to co-teach course on ethical leadership at William & Mary

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – Former FBI director James Comey will be teaching a three credit course on ethical leadership for William & Mary starting in the fall, the school announced Friday.

James B. Comey at the William & Mary’s annual Opening Convocation ceremony. (Photo: Stephen Salpukas/William & Mary)

Comey graduated from the university in 1982 and spoke at William & Mary’s 2009 opening convocation ceremony.

Comey will co-teach the course with Drew Stelljes, executive assistant professor of education and assistant vice president for student leadership, during the fall 2018, spring 2019 and summer 2019 semesters.

The course will meet primarily in the center’s classroom in Washington, D.C., and once at the W&M School of Education in Williamsburg with that session being live-streamed back to students in the nation’s capital.

“Jim Comey is among William & Mary’s most distinguished alumni,” said W&M President Taylor Reveley. “Over the years, he has been deeply committed to his alma mater. He understands to the core of his being that our leaders must have an abiding commitment to ethical behavior and sacrificial service if we are to have good government. Our students will benefit significantly from his experience and wisdom.”

Stelljes will administer online discussion and research paper components of the three courses. He will also conduct lectures and discussions and prepare students for classes with Comey by teaching them background information on the subjects.

“I am thrilled to have the chance to engage with William & Mary students about a vital topic — ethical leadership,” said Comey. “Ethical leaders lead by seeing above the short term, above the urgent or the partisan, and with a higher loyalty to lasting values, most importantly the truth. Building and maintaining that kind of leadership, in both the private sector and government, is the challenge of our time. There is no better place to teach and learn about it than the W&M Washington Program.”

Students receiving priority in enrollment for the course include:

  • Undergraduates who are enrolled in the W&M Washington Center’s fall 2018 and spring 2019 DC Semester Program and its 2019 DC Summer Session can take the course as an elective in addition to their required program.
  • Graduate students, with students in the W&M School of Education’s Educational Policy, Planning and Leadership program receiving first priority because of the program’s emphasis on leadership studies
  • Undergraduate students minoring in educational studies

As space allows, other students at W&M may also enroll in the course, provided that they are able to travel to Washington, D.C., for the sessions to be held there.

Comey has held a number of senior leadership positions in and out of government, including U.S. attorney and deputy attorney general, the second-highest position in the U.S. Department of Justice, before taking the helm of the FBI in 2013.