The Mission of New College

New College offers a liberal arts education of the highest quality in the context of a small, residential public honors college with a distinctive academic program which develops the student's intellectual and personal potential as fully as possible; encourages the discovery of new knowledge and values while providing opportunities to acquire established knowledge and values; and fosters the individual's effective relationship with society.

As a member of the State University System of Florida, New College of Florida, the 4-year residential liberal arts honors college of the State of Florida, preserves its distinctive mission as a residential liberal arts honors college. To maintain this mission, New College of Florida has the following goals:

·          To provide a quality education to students of high ability who, because of their ability, deserve a program of study that is both demanding and stimulating.

·          To engage in undergraduate educational reform by combining educational innovation with educational excellence.

·          To provide programs of study that allows students to design their educational experience as much as possible in accordance with their individual interests, values, and abilities.

·          To challenge undergraduates not only to master existing bodies of knowledge  but also to extend the frontiers of knowledge  through original research.1

New College pursues these goals through highly selective admissions, an individualized and intensive "academic contract" curriculum, frequent use of individual and small -group instruction, an emphasis on student/faculty collaboration, a required senior thesis, and innovative approaches to the modes of teaching and learning.2

1 As described in Florida Statutes 240.2011 & Florida Legislature 2001 SB 1162, Section 39 and Florida Statutes 1004.32.
2 As endorsed by New College Faculty, fall 2000.


New College of Florida is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award baccalaureate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call (404) 679 -4500 for questions about the accreditation of New College of Florida.

Complaints regarding New College of Florida may be addressed to the accrediting agency or to the Florida Board of Governors.

Equal Education and Opportunity Policy

New College of Florida is committed to the principles of equal educational  and employment  opportunities  for, and non - discrimination  towards applicants  and employees  with respect to race, color, religion, age, disability, sex, marital status, national origin, sexual orientation,  gender identity, gender expression,  and veteran status, as provided by law and in accordance  with the College's respect for personal dignity. It is the College’s goal to create and maintain a work and study environment that is positive and free of unlawful discrimination.  Further, the College encourages the recognition of diversity of its population and seeks to promote delivery systems, curricular activities, and programs that reflect this diversity in all facets of College life.

What is New College

A Philosophy

·          Four guiding principles underlie New College's approach to education:

·          Each student is responsible in the last analysis for his or her own education.

·          The best education demands a joint search for learning by exciting teachers and able students.

·          Student progress should be based on demonstrated competence and real mastery rather than on the accumulation of credits and grades.

·          Students should have from the outset opportunities to explore, in depth, areas of interest to them.

The greatest asset New College offers a student is serious dialogue with faculty and other students passionately committed to a better understanding of themselves and their world. At New College, research is undertaken by both faculty and students, not by faculty alone or by faculty with students as mere assistants. Faculty members have the freedom to teach what they think is appropriate for their students, while students are encouraged to initiate projects they believe will further their education. New College has renovated traditional academic structures so students and faculty can better listen and respond to each other across disciplines, across experiences, across generations.

The pages that follow provide some of the specifics about New College, as it exists at this time. They answer questions about where faculty earned their degrees, about costs, about disciplines offered and facilities available. They cannot, however, capture the spirit of New College or the energy and aspirations that abound here.

A History

The history of New College began in the late 1950s, when a group of Sarasota civic leaders came to the conclusion that their community was an ideal site for a college. In 1960, with assistance from the national Congregational and Christian Church, those civic leaders created the framework  for a small liberal arts college whose students would come from all parts of the nation and whose faculty and curriculum would reflect the highest standards of academic excellence.

With this in mind, a board of trustees was organized and the charter for the college was duly drawn up, a college to be named New College – as new as the future, yet based on timeless values.

During the next four years, a president was selected, the essential fund-raising was carried out, land for a campus was acquired, and a faculty was assembled.  By the fall of 1964 the new college was ready to open; and so it did, with a first class of 101 students.

What made New College not only new but different was that it brought together a faculty primarily committed to teaching – to new ways of teaching and new kinds of courses – and a student body motivated  to work intensively, unimpeded by obsolete curricular designs.

The first class graduated in 1967. Most of its members went on to graduate schools, many of them recipients of graduate scholarships and fellowships.  In that same year, New College was accredited, in record time, by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

During the 1960s, New College enjoyed increasing recognition in the academic world as its students came to be known in the graduate and professional schools. By 1972 the enrollment had reached 500 and a handsome complex of buildings, designed by the noted architect I. M. Pei, had arisen to complement the original buildings – the landmark mansions of the Ringling families.

As New College entered the 1970s, while its academic program matured, inflation threatened the college's economic existence.  In 1974, the trustees, acting on the initiative of the college president, proposed a novel solution in the interest of preserving the institution. Aware that the University of South Florida, in Tampa, had some interest in establishing a regional branch in the Sarasota area, the trustees offered the New College campus to the State University System as the site for such a branch. In return, the State University System agreed to provide funds for New College at the same per- student level as for the state universities.  The New College trustees, changing the corporate name to "New College Foundation, Inc.," would provide the supplemental funds needed to support the distinctive New College program. A unique combination of public and private funding for higher education was thereby created.

Another momentous change for New College had its beginnings in 2000, when the Florida Legislature challenged the USF President to develop a plan to improve support for USF’s regional campuses.  The plan for New College included separate accreditation and improved funding. This plan became a stepping- stone for action by the 2001 Florida Legislature, which designated New College of Florida as the eleventh member institution of the State University System of Florida. The Governor signed the legislation and appointed a Board of Trustees for New College of Florida on June 26, 2001.

New College quickly began the important task of securing independent accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Accreditation was approved in June 2004 and made retroactive to January 1, 2004

Two years later, in summer 2006, the state transferred  the property lease to New College of Florida in recognition of its taking full responsibility  for the campus, New College initiated a “re-envisioning” of the campus to develop a new master plan, as required of each state university.  Nationally known architects and planners engaged the community in a series of planning charettes, generating an exciting 50-year vision of the campus as work on five new residence halls began on the East campus.

In 2008, the Campus Master Plan was matched by an ambitious Academic Master Plan, which lays out a roadmap for navigating the terrain of academic change over the period 2008-2018. The plan is firmly rooted in the College’s mission and reaffirms the distinctive, innovative academic features developed by the College’s founders in the 1960s. At the same time, the plan lays out a framework to enhance learning for our 21st century students.

New College students pay relatively low state tuition rates. The Foundation continues to provide the extra support, through its endowment and fund-raising efforts, that enables New College to maintain a highly favorable student/faculty ratio. In addition, many students receive scholarships funded by the New College Foundation.

New College alumnae/i make their presence known in many fields. They are faculty members at colleges and universities, physicians, attorneys, corporation executives, ministers, musicians, journalists, entrepreneurs, and authors. They run government agencies, design buildings, market real estate, conceive advertising campaigns, perform in symphony orchestras and jazz combos, and manage libraries and hospitals.

New College has evolved into a unique institution - a nationally recognized public honors college that considers the student an equal partner in the design of her or his own education.

A Location

Sarasota is a bayfront city roughly one hour south of Tampa. Simultaneously a dynamic, progressive city and a tourist/retiree destination, the City has adopted new urbanist Andres Duane’s intriguing plan for downtown (4 miles from campus). About 53,000 live in the city, while the entire county population is about seven times that size. Public transit and a multi-use recreational trail connect the campus with downtown.

In addition to coping with the same sprawl that most thriving communities  face, Sarasota has become a Florida center for sustainability  and citizenship,  with the Florida House Learning Center, a County Office of Sustainability  and a unique citizen (not government)  effort (SCOPE)  to promote civic engagement.

Known for its arts and cultural life (symphony, opera, performing theatres and the Taliesin-designed Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall) downtown also features bookstores, many high end and second-hand stores, a Saturday Farmers Market and numerous art galleries. There are now 23 movie screens downtown as well as dozens of restaurants.

Across the bay (which is home to the longest studied population of wild dolphins) lies Mote Marine Laboratory, a research and education facility known for studies on dolphins, sharks, manatees, sea turtles and other marine and estuarine topics. Public beaches on Lido and Siesta Keys provide access to the clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico and long stretches of fine white sand.

In addition to the urban fabric adjacent to the coast, Sarasota County’s land area is roughly one-third protected natural lands - over 150 square miles of native habitat have been protected, which afford a wide range of recreational and research opportunities.

Because retirement plays a major economic and cultural role in Sarasota, young people are especially valued here, perhaps as an antidote to the Florida motif of aging, and for the contribution they can make to the growing economy.  In contrast to a large university center, students in Sarasota don't have to compete with thousands of other students and new graduates for jobs or recognition.  In fact, if a student fancies herself or himself a budding entrepreneur, or is looking for work experience, Sarasota is an excellent place to be.


Office of the Provost
New College of Florida
5800 Bay Shore Road
Sarasota, Florida  34243

Phone: (941) 487-4200
Fax: (941) 487-4201