Teaching is our faculty's number one job.
Many universities have honors colleges, but at we ARE an honors college. If your child is bright and self-motivated and wants to be academically challenged, then he or she will thrive here in the company of like-minded young people. Ours is an intellectually-driven community that promotes the free exchange of ideas and self-expression. We are small, residential in nature, and we have a deep sense of community. New College’s innovative academic program encourages out-of-the-box thinking and the love of learning for a lifetime.
Faculty members do conduct research at New College, but their main job is to teach. Classes are small and are structured more like discussions than lectures. Many students work in small groups, and some classes are so small that teamwork naturally fits into the curriculum. Learning also happens beyond the limitations of the classroom setting, from conducting environmental field studies and participating in an experimental music program to internships related to one's field of study.
Professors instill in each student a sense of personal accountability for his or her educational journey. 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 here by semester "contracts," negotiated with their academic adviser, rather than by simply accumulating credit hours. Because completed contracts reflect skill and mastery (in combination with three January-term Independent Study Projects), it is possible to graduate in seven contracts, although most students choose to complete a full eight. Professors provide narrative evaluations instead of grades for each course or project completed. Through this process, faculty get to know students well and can provide detailed reference letters for graduate school applications, scholarships and employment.
The Future for Liberal Arts Graduates
The mission of a liberal arts education is to help students become educated citizens and productive members of society. That’s exactly what we do at New College. Within the context of studies in the Humanities, Social Sciences and Natural Sciences, we have a strong focus on broad skills in thinking and writing as opposed to a more narrow focus on specific professional skills. A recent survey conducted by The Chronicle of Higher Education pointed out that today's business leaders are looking for candidates with strengths in teamwork skills, critical thinking and analytical reasoning skills, and oral/written communication. Only nine percent of those polled listed "able to work with numbers/statistics" as one of the top two skills they were seeking.
Forbes Magazine reports that while only five percent of U.S. college graduates attended liberal arts colleges, these graduates represent 20 percent of U.S. presidents and eight percent of Fortune 500 CEOs. On a per capita basis, liberal arts graduates are 50 percent more likely to obtain a doctorate degree in science than graduates of non-liberal arts colleges. That’s quite a track record — and a compelling argument for the value of a liberal arts degree.