Mission Statement

New College of Florida prepares intellectually curious students for lives of great achievement. It 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.


To maintain our mission, New College of Florida focuses on:

  • Providing a quality education to students of high ability who, because of their ability, deserve a program of study that is both demanding and stimulating.
  • Engaging in undergraduate educational reform by combining educational innovation with educational excellence.
  • Providing programs of study that allow students to design their educational experience as much as possible in accordance with their individual interests, values and abilities.
  • Challenging undergraduates not only to master existing bodies of knowledge but also to extend the frontiers of knowledge through original research.


Four principles define our educational philosophy. These principles serve as guideposts along each student’s educational path.

  • Each student is responsible in the last analysis for his or her education.
  • The best education demands a joint search for learning by exciting instructors and able students.
  • Students’ 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 areas of deep interest to them.


A just, diverse, equitable and inclusive community

New College is on an ongoing journey to become a place where people can experience a sense of belonging and exist in their fullness no matter their human attributes. We seek a balance between recognizing and celebrating difference, respectfully supporting each other’s growth, and ensuring that historically marginalized and oppressed groups are not experiencing trauma and harm. We acknowledge that we do not always get this balance right, but we are committed to engaging in difficult conversations that consider a multiplicity of voices to build a more inclusive community on and off campus. New College values equity and is actively working toward eliminating outcome disparities for underrepresented and underserved groups. Above all, we commit to coming together to make changes to support everyone’s goals, needs, and humanity.

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 educational projects 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: public archaeology, endangered butterfly conservation, coastal habitat restoration, and mammal cognition.

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.

Statement on Free Expression

As the designated Honors College for the State University System of Florida, New College of Florida strives to provide an undergraduate education of the highest caliber to leading students from Florida, around the country and beyond. The College has an enduring history of preparing intellectually curious students for lives of great achievement. New College of Florida adopts this Statement on Free Expression to support and encourage full and open discourse and the robust exchange of ideas and perspectives on our campus. The principles of freedom of speech and freedom of expression in the United States and Florida Constitutions, in addition to being legal rights, are an integral part of the mission of New College. We deliver a liberal arts education of the highest quality in the context of a small, residential public honors college. Our distinctive academic program develops the student’s intellectual and personal potential as fully as possible, encourages the discovery of new knowledge and values, provides opportunities to acquire established knowledge and values and fosters the individual’s effective relationship with society. The purpose of this Statement is to document our dedication to these principles and to seek the commitment of the entire New College community to maintain our campus as a place where the open exchange of knowledge and ideas furthers our mission.

A fundamental purpose of an institution of higher education is to provide a learning environment where divergent ideas, opinions and philosophies, new and old, can be rigorously debated and critically evaluated. Through this process, often referred to as the marketplace of ideas, individuals are free to express any ideas and opinions they wish, even if others may disagree with them or find those ideas and opinions to be offensive or otherwise antithetical to their own world view. The very process of debating divergent ideas and challenging others’ opinions develops the intellectual skills necessary to respectfully argue through civil discourse. Development of such skills lead to personal and scholarly growth and are an essential component of the academic and research missions of each of our institutions.

It is equally important not to stifle the dissemination of any idea, even if other members of our community may find those ideas abhorrent. Individuals wishing to express ideas with which others may disagree must be free to do so, without fear of being bullied, threatened or silenced. This does not mean that such ideas should go unchallenged, as that is part of the learning process. We should empower and enable one another to speak and listen, rather than interfere with or silence the open expression of ideas.

Each member of our campus community must also recognize that the institution may restrict expression that is unlawful, such as discrimination, true threats, or defamation. Also, reasonable limitations may be placed on the exercise of free speech and freedom of expression. Because New College of Florida is, first and foremost, a place where people go to engage in scholarly endeavors, it is necessary to the efficient and effective operation of New College for there to be reasonable limitations on the time, place, and manner in which these rights are exercised in accordance with Florida’s Campus Free Expression Act, section 1004.097, Florida Statutes, and with the United States and Florida Constitutions and the legal opinions interpreting those provisions. These limitations are narrowly drawn and content-neutral and serve to ensure that all members of our campus community have an equal ability to express their ideas and opinions, while preserving campus order and security.