When New College convened a broadly representative group of faculty and staff in the summer of 2011, we discovered that the institution was still very aligned with the aspirations and values of our founders. Four core attributes emerged:
An intellectually rigorous curriculum: Our students are smart and motivated, allowing our faculty to teach challenging courses and critical thinking skills to last a lifetime. Students work one-on-one with faculty to research and write a senior thesis, the culmination of their academic program. It’s hard work – but excellent preparation for graduate school or the workplace.
An innovative academic program: Faculty guide students through an academic program that is uniquely suited for, and designed by, each individual student. Flexible course requirements allow students to mold their program of study and, with faculty input, students can even create a major of their own. Students’ progress is measured by narrative evaluations instead of grades, they engage in Independent Study Projects each January, and they have the opportunity to design courses of specific interest to them.
A collaborative learning environment: Small, intimate classes are the norm at New College. Students meet with faculty mentors to develop seminars, tutorials, independent research and off-campus study. Faculty involve students in their own research projects: archaeological digs; expeditions to Honduras or the Amazon; experimental music performances, or maize research to help feed the world’s population.
A place to chart one’s own course: Professors instill in each student a sense of personal accountability for his or her educational journey. In addition to designing their own course of study, students are guided toward stimulating summer internships and volunteer posts that relate to their interests. Each student is truly responsible for his or her own education.