Curricular Vision Statement
Note: This Curricular Vision Statement, approved by Faculty Meeting, was part of a longer report document from the Curricular Steering Committee dated 11/8/16.
At Earlham’s core we foster the communal search for meaning, truth, and justice. We emphasize teaching, learning, and community involvement for these reasons. Our Quaker principles lead us to dedicate our work at the College to peace and justice as we strive to make the world a better place. Earlham’s curriculum aims to strike a balance between innovation and preserving the tradition of the liberal arts, ensuring that each field we offer is coherent and sufficient, that it provides an intellectually rich and deep experience.
An Earlham education strives to develop in students the habits of mind, caring, and action that allow and inspire them to apply their knowledge and skills inside and outside of the classroom. Curricular vision is about what we teach, how we teach, how we relate to our students, the ways we structure knowledge, and the ends or outcomes towards which we work. It is a vision of what and how our students learn and the way they develop. We strive to help students learn to develop creative solutions – esthetic, scientific, societal, and other – to problems of many kinds, to see the world from a variety of different perspectives, and to learn multiple “ways of knowing.” We aim to prepare students for lifelong learning and a successful future.
Curricular visioning is both time-bound and provisional; each generation of educators must rethink the direction and particulars of the curriculum to ensure its flexibility and relevance. At the same time, the enduring values of the College offer continuity from one curricular vision to the next. At Earlham this visioning is done in the context of Quaker values articulated in our major documents, Principles and Practice, the Mission Statement, and the Diversity Aspirations Vision Statement, as they shape our intentional learning community. Our curricular vision is based on three foundational values outlined in these documents, and emphasizes the following:
- Provide the highest quality of undergraduate education in the Liberal Arts. As defined by the American Association of Colleges & Universities, “Liberal Education is an approach to learning that empowers individuals and prepares them to deal with complexity, diversity, and change. It provides students with broad knowledge of the wider world (e.g. science, [arts], culture, and society) as well as in-depth study in a specific area of interest. A liberal education helps students develop a sense of social responsibility, as well as strong and transferable intellectual and practical skills such as communication, analytical and problem-solving skills, and a demonstrated ability to apply knowledge and skills in real-world settings.”
- Ensure that this education is shaped by the distinctive perspectives of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). As set forth in our Mission Statement, “A basic faith of Friends is that all truth is God’s truth; thus Earlham emphasizes: pursuit of truth, wherever that pursuit leads; lack of coercion, letting the evidence lead that search; respect for the consciences of others; openness to new truth and therefore the willingness to search; veracity, rigorous integrity in dealing with the facts; application of what is known to improving our world.”
- Increase the degree to which this education reflects a diversity of human experiences, voices, and identities. As suggested by our Diversity Aspirations Vision Statement, we envision Earlham as a place where a diverse student body, faculty, and staff all encourage contributions to the community. We seek intercultural and cross-cultural communication. We strive to cultivate the ability to discuss complex issues, including discrimination in our society, about which we may deeply disagree. We talk with one another in a spirit of openness and thoughtful exploration.