Core Values


We are committed to the cultivation of positive relationships between, and common experiences among, students, faculty and staff.


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.


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.


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.


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.


We are committed to the peaceful resolution of conflict, sharing of economic and natural resources and parity in educational opportunity.


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.

Core Values, Mission and Strategic Plan

Guilford’s longstanding mission is clear and distinctive: 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.

Core Values

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.

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. 

Vision for the Future

Strategic Plan

The Strategic Plan for Guilford College 2011-2016:  Outcomes of a Guilford Education is an exciting vision focused on our core business:  the education of our students. Our ends are graduates who think critically, know globally, communicate effectively, create insightfully, choose diversity and engage responsibly­. Our vision is institutional excellence. We have merged our excellent teaching, practical liberal arts education and Core Values—areas of longstanding strength—with an intentional spotlight on the increasingly competitive global marketplace students confront after graduation.  Our strategy exists on two levels: (1) strategic outcomes, the fundamental goals of the plan that are carefully assessed, and (2) strategic support, the “means” and programs needed to achieve the outcomes.

Strategic Outcomes

In addition to the general education and disciplinary centerpieces of a liberal arts education, these are the skills, knowledge, values and other attributes students need to succeed in the 21st century. Strategic outcomes for traditional, Adult Programs and Early College students fall into four broad areas:

  • cognitive (think critically, know globally)
  • skills (communicate effectively, create insightfully)
  • values (engage responsibly, choose diversity)
  • applications (ability to learn experientially, achieve personal and career goals)
Strategic Support

Strategic support consists mainly of maintaining or expanding activities we already do and aligning efforts. Initiatives include:

  • Principled Problem Solving
  • Expanded service and community learning
  • Guilford Connects and digital portfolios, with staff support
  • Career and graduate school advising and preparation
  • Internships
  • Faculty development opportunities
  • Integrative learning, including an optional special term and grants for students’ self-designed projects and undergraduate research
  • International focus and education, including more study away/abroad (semester-long and 2-3 week opportunities with scholarships) and international students (including financial aid)
  • Information technology resources
  • Communications education
  • Sustainability and green initiatives
  • Diversity plan initiatives and full completion of plan, including diversity of students, faculty and staff; academic and classroom experiences; workshops; and community initiatives
  • Integrated communications and marketing plan, new Guilford website and intranet  

Guilford will not stop preparing students to lead fulfilling lives guided by a meaningful philosophy. That would not be consistent with our liberal arts focus and Core Values. What we propose in SLRP II is the continued preparation of students by engaging them in creative and critical thinking by linking Core Values; academic and liberal arts excellence; and community and global involvement, experiences and engagement. We want our graduates to be well educated, employable and equipped for life’s pursuits.

Read the final report of The Strategic Plan for Guilford College 2005-2010: Creative Leadership for the 21st Century

Read the 2012 Progress Report

Diversity Plan

The College’s diversity plan, Connecting Communities and Embracing Diversity: A Plan for Guilford College 2010-15, reflects the community’s desire for an institution characterized by substantive equality and other aspects of our vision of multiculturalism, diversity and inclusion.

The development process of the plan was a community-driven effort, with participation and input from all constituencies. Continued community involvement and participation will be key to ensure the visions of the plan become reality. The plan has specific goals, objectives, action steps, timelines and a budget.  Progress will be tracked and monitored carefully with qualitative and quantitative measures.

Substantive equality focuses on the acceptance of many identities, desire for inclusive engagement, and assurance that entitlements, opportunities and access are fairly and justly distributed throughout an organization.  It builds on cultural pluralism, defined as a condition of community in which numerous distinct ethnic, religious or cultural groups interact constructively.  To achieve substantive equality, the Diversity Plan helps to determine how the College can increase the success of a diverse student body; monitor and assess its policies, practices, procedures and programs; and ensure that faculty, staff and other members of the College community are equipped with the knowledge, skills and capabilities to address systemic racism.

Accessibility Plan

We all have differences of some degree, and we are all unique in our learning styles, mental and emotional processes and physical abilities. We are all enriched by our differing ways of existing in the world. Guilford College is strengthened as a community when we appreciate neurodiversity and diversity among our staff, faculty and students. By understanding, acknowledging and supporting different ways of being, learning, processing information, perceiving the world and relating to others, we are strengthened as an educational and social community.

The Accessibility Plan focuses on breaking down barriers and fostering a culture of acceptance and support for differences and to develop attitudes that promote equality, mindfulness, inclusion, respect and diversity.

The Accessibility Subcommittee of the Diversity Action Committee and Guilford community have developed a comprehensive plan entitled, Empathy, Equality, Access: Report, Vision and Recommendations for Disability Resources, the Learning Commons and the Counseling Center/Mental Health Services.