Mission & Core Values
Guilford’s purpose is to provide a transformative, practical and excellent liberal arts education that produces critical thinkers in an inclusive, diverse environment, guided by Quaker testimonies of community, equality, integrity, peace and simplicity and emphasizing the creative problem-solving skills, experience, enthusiasm and international perspectives necessary to promote positive change in the world.
Toward that end the College provides:
- student-centered instruction that nurtures each individual amid an intentionally diverse community;
- a challenging academic program that fosters critical and creative thinking through the development of essential skills: analysis, inquiry, communication, consensus-building, problem-solving and leadership;
- a global perspective that values people of other cultures and the natural environment in which we all live;
- a values-rich education that explores the ethical dimension of knowledge and promotes honesty, compassion, integrity, courage and respect for the individual;
- access to work and service opportunities that forge a connection between thought and action.
Guilford seeks above all to create a special kind of learning community. We are not perfect at this. Our goal of creating independent thinkers and change agents necessarily pulls against the needs of community, and our great diversity of backgrounds sometimes works against our professed acceptance and equal respect for all individuals. We are as a community at best in a perpetual state of becoming.
We intend to continue to work toward being that community: a learning community defined somewhat paradoxically by both challenge and nurture, a community which produces compassionate graduates who are independent thinkers, risk-takers and change agents possessing a strong moral compass.
Guilford College is guided by seven core values: Community, Diversity, Equality, Excellence, Integrity, Justice and Stewardship. These enduring values are the basis of the College’s mission.
The seven core values of Guilford College are based on, and consistent with, the Quaker testimonies. Indeed, some of these testimonies—community, equality, and integrity—are also core values. Core values are the essential and enduring tenets of the organization. They are timeless and independent of shifts in educational or societal values as well as current challenges and opportunities. Core values are not developed as much as identified; they exist and need only to be discovered and collectively defined. The campus community identified these values through a participative and inclusive process.
Community. We are committed to the cultivation of positive relationships between, and common experiences among, students, faculty, and staff.
Diversity. We are committed to creating an academic institution where a variety of persons and perspectives are welcome. We are committed to providing an environment where students from all cultures and backgrounds may succeed.
Integrity. We are committed to creating a community that acts with honesty and forthrightness, holding ourselves to high academic and ethical standards, and dealing with everyone with respect.
Equality. We are committed to creating an institution and a society where everyone is appreciated and judged based on their contributions and performance rather than gender, race, religion, physical abilities, sexual identity, or socio-economic condition. Through the work of this institution, we will both create awareness of, and work to eliminate, individual and institutional racism.
Justice. We are committed to the peaceful resolution of conflict, sharing of economic and natural resources, and parity in educational opportunity.
Stewardship. We are committed to making decisions that will ensure the long-term survival of this institution. We must maximize the value of our human, financial, and physical resources in ways consistent with our Quaker heritage.
Excellence. We are committed to setting high standards of academic rigor in courses and creating high expectations for achievement by everyone. We seek the personal and intellectual transformation of our students through the liberal arts.
A unique “principled” approach to education, community, and problem-solving emerges from Guilford’s core values and Quaker testimonies. The purpose is to focus Guilford’s mission in both the curricular and extracurricular life of our students towards the practical liberal arts. This commitment requires Guilford students to learn to address problems critically, creatively, constructively, with courage and conscience.