The mission and goals of New College evolved out of intensive dialogue about higher education at the College's inception in the early 1960s.
The mission and goals of New College evolved out of intensive dialogue about higher education at the College’s inception in the early 1960s. That dialogue involved administration, trustees and the charter faculty. Later, the faculty developed a unique, intellectually-rigorous curriculum designed to sustain the College’s broad commitment to individualism, pluralism, flexibility, freedom and excellence.
As stated in the very first college catalog: “New College was named for a purpose. It is not, and never will be another college. It is, and will always remain, the new college, seeking new solutions to educational needs, accepting no dogma without test, striving to eliminate all barriers that inhibit the growth of ideas.”
More than 50 years later, New College’s mission remains essentially unchanged:
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.
In 2008, the College’s Board of Directors approved an Academic Master Plan that is firmly rooted in the College’s mission and reaffirms the distinctive, innovative academic features developed by our founders over 50 years ago. More recently, we identified four core values that sum up what New College is all about: an intellectually rigorous curriculum; an innovative academic program; a collaborative learning environment; and a place to chart one’s one course.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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
To maintain our mission, New College of Florida has the following goals:
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. It all adds up to a very personalized experience.
Four principles define our educational philosophy. These principles serve as guideposts among each student’s educational path.
New College’s establishment as an independent member of the State University System in 2001 has given way to focused strategic planning on the part of the board, staff, faculty and administration. We invite you to read some of the more important documents that reflect the College’s recent strategic plans.
New College of Florida is a national leader in the arts and sciences and is the State of Florida’s designated honors college for the liberal arts. Consistently ranked among the top public liberal arts colleges in America by U.S. News & World Report, Forbes and The Princeton Review, New College attracts highly motivated, academically talented students from 38 states and 23 foreign countries. A higher proportion of New College students receive Fulbright awards than graduates from virtually all other colleges and universities.