I. Introduction to Guilford College
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.
The College’s seven core values are based on, and consistent with, the five Quaker testimonies. Indeed, three testimonies—community, equality and integrity—are also core values. Core values are the essential and enduring tenets of the institution.
*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 non-white cultures and backgrounds may succeed.
*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, sexual identity or socio-economic condition. Through the work of this institution, we will both create awareness of and work especially to eliminate individual and institutional racism.
*Excellence. We are committed to setting high standards of academic rigor in courses and creating high expectations for achievement by everyone in our community. We seek the personal and intellectual transformation of our students.
*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.
*Justice. We are committed to peacefully resolving conflict, sharing economic and natural resources and achieving 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.
Principled Problem Solving (PPS) is a central and unifying aspect of Guilford College’s practical liberal arts educational experience. First identified and defined by faculty, staff and students as part of a campus-wide long range planning process, PPS builds on the knowledge, skills, interests and life experience of the Guilford and local communities and seeks to address a broad range of problems and opportunities. PPS as philosophy and practice emerges from Quaker testimonies and is grounded in Guilford’s seven articulated core values (above).
The Center for Principled Problem Solving was established in 2007 to deepen the understanding of PPS at Guilford. This interdisciplinary, College-wide center promotes student, faculty, staff and community participation in PPS projects that put Guilford’s core values to work in the world. These funded projects help us learn to address problems — and engage significant opportunities — critically and creatively with both courage and conscience.
The Principled Problem Solving Scholars Program was established in the fall of 2008. Twelve to fourteen students are selected each year for this program that features a combination of required academic seminars, skills development programming and PPS placements and internships. PPS Scholars take seven to eleven PPS academic credits extending over two semesters and including a six-week summer internship. Students from any discipline may apply for this program but must have a 3.0 GPA to be selected for it. A partial tuition scholarship and summer internship stipends are offered under this program.
PPS at Guilford is organized in three distinctive yet overlapping categories or levels. These levels correspond to classroom and engaged learning activities beginning in their first semester and available through the senior capstone experiences. The three levels of PPS are:
PPS Foundations. Critical thinking analysis, skills and values. Guilford students are able to generate valuable questions and approach problems and issues by writing well, making use of quantitative data, understanding historical context, possessing ethical sensitivity, learning from cross-cultural experiences and combining creativity, imagination and discipline.
PPS Practices. Case studies in the classroom. Problem-solving skills are honed and defined through the examination and analysis of real and hypothetical examples. Invited PPS speakers and conferences supplement this aspect of the PPS curriculum.
PPS Application. PPS projects and a wide range of other engaged learning and scholarship opportunities at Guilford provide our students with opportunities to put our core values to work in the world. These learning opportunities help to shape our world by addressing complex problems and identifying opportunities for advancing human fulfillment in a variety of contexts.
The Guilford campus occupies 350 wooded acres in northwest Greensboro, N.C. Most college buildings show a Georgian influence. The campus includes a forest, exercise and nature trails and a small lake. These contribute to the College’s quiet, serene and friendly atmosphere.
Guilford has students from across the United States and many other countries.
The student body includes traditional‑aged students, students 23 years of age or older who are enrolled in the Center for Continuing Education, and students in The Early College at Guilford completing their high school education and two years of work toward a bachelor’s degree.
Guilford recognizes the special abilities of college students with physical impairments and learning differences. Through the Office of the Academic Dean, the College endeavors to serve the individual learning needs of any such student upon request. The request should be supported by appropriate medical documentation. The plan for these students may adjust the normal instructional process with un-timed exams or innovative approaches to assignments. The Learning Commons coordinates and refers resources for these students. Guilford’s normal nondiscriminatory admission policy governs the admission of these students. The standard policies on academic standing and the prescribed graduation requirements also apply.
Guilford attracts teachers of outstanding ability, creativity and enthusiasm. The faculty consists of 124 full-time members supplemented by a number of qualified part-time instructors.
The Guilford faculty has excellent professional credentials. Approximately 90 percent have earned doctoral or equivalent terminal degrees from leading universities in the United States and several other countries.
With an average student-faculty ratio of 16:1, students can consult with their teachers about their studies and careers. Students and faculty interact on a first-name basis and friendships between them are common. They often share professional and vocational interests inside and outside the classroom and participate together in campus and community activities.
The faculty’s primary commitment is to undergraduate teaching. They view learning as a common venture with students into life’s key questions.
In 1837, Guilford opened its doors as New Garden Boarding School founded by the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).
Quakerism has traditionally represented a mode of life rooted in simplicity, one that highly regards the individual, peace and social concern. It also has been a mode of inquiry, a search for truth by the individual sustained by the whole community of seekers.
These characteristics have nourished the College from its beginnings. Guilford’s original purpose was to train responsible and enlightened leaders, both women and men. Its method was the liberal arts, viewed not as a static body of knowledge but as a stimulus to intellectual and spiritual growth.
The Friends tradition harmonizes well with the college’s atmosphere of free inquiry. Liberal education requires an atmosphere of academic and personal freedom, founded on intellectual and moral responsibility and an atmosphere of commitment to ethical values and human beings. The combination of these qualities contributes to Guilford’s character.
Through the years Guilford has remained true to the vision of its Quaker founders. It has continually sought new methods of challenging students, bringing them into contact with vital ideas and experiences and helping them to arrive at their fullest potential as individuals and as members of society.
Friends Center at Guilford College. Friends Center at Guilford College was established by the Board of Trustees in 1982 to strengthen the bonds of the College with the Religious Society of Friends. The center provides opportunities for education and information about Quakerism, in addition to serving as a Quaker resource center for the southeastern United States. Friends Center sponsors the Guilford campus ministry program, the annual campus Quaker Festival Week and the Quaker Renewal Program in the wider Friends community.
An advisory committee composed of representatives from the College and two North Carolina Yearly Meetings works with the center’s staff to develop Quaker studies programs on and off campus. The center also brings nationally and internationally known Friends to campus through Distinguished Quaker Visitor programs. Friends Center programs are supported by the generous contributions of members of the two North Carolina Yearly Meetings of Friends, by those of other concerned Quakers and by the College.
Campus Ministry. Consistent with the College’s Quaker heritage, the Campus Ministry Office works to facilitate campus religious organizations of all faiths, provide assistance for emerging groups, encourage dialogue among different religious groups and aid community members in the process of spiritual discernment. Ongoing programs include small group “seekers sessions,” daily and weekly worship opportunities, fall and spring break work trips, teas, forums and the annual Religious Emphasis Week.
The Quaker Leadership Scholars Program. The Quaker Leadership Scholars Program (QLSP) enables members of the Religious Society of Friends to combine their academic pursuits at Guilford with community activities in a way that strengthens their involvement with Friends. Participants commit to a four-year program involving mentoring, small-group discussions, spiritual direction, leadership development, Quaker studies and internships. Financial assistance for college costs and participation in a wide variety of Quaker activities is provided. QLSP is a cooperative program of the Guilford Initiative on Faith and Practice, the Office of Student Financial Services, and the Office of Admission, with assistance from Friends Center.
The land, described as “this majestic wilderness,” was settled in the 1750s by Quakers who named it New Garden. John Woolman, the Quaker missionary who visited the settlers shortly thereafter, called them “planters of truth in the province.”
During the American Revolution this peaceful scene was disturbed by the decisive Battle of Guilford Courthouse, four miles to the north. Quakers cared for the wounded of both sides and buried the dead in New Garden Meeting’s cemetery. Today one can see a marker to the unknown British soldiers interred there as well as visit the battlefield, now a national military park.
By the 1830s large numbers of Quakers in the South had moved to free states in the North, owing to their opposition to slavery and involvement in anti-slavery causes. The Quakers who farmed what is now the Guilford College campus were among the founders of the southern branch of the Underground Railroad, and the Guilford Woods preserves parts of the old forest that harbored fugitives fleeing their enslavement.
To assure a continuing commitment to educate the youth of the Religious Society of Friends, the remnant Quaker community decided to establish a boarding school on a coeducational basis; it was chartered in 1834 and opened in 1837 as New Garden Boarding School. The school did not close during the Civil War, as its young men did not march off to fight, and teachers and administrators of the school refused induction into the Confederate army. Following the war, Northern Friends aided the few Quakers remaining in the South to rebuild their community, strengthening the Boarding School and preparing it to become a college, building a system of Quaker schools and schools for recently emancipated slaves and improving the economy through innovative agricultural practices.
This led to the development of Guilford College, the fourth oldest degree-granting institution in North Carolina. The College remained largely isolated until the 1920s, when the old trail to Greensboro became The Friendly Road. The street name still symbolizes the long-standing friendship between town and gown. Today the campus is an area of greenery, quiet and scholarship within Greensboro’s city limits. It is one of the very few college campuses in the nation listed by the United States Department of the Interior as a National Historic District.
Guilford is located in northwest Greensboro, third largest city in North Carolina. The city’s population is approximately 270,000, with about 1.6 million people living in the larger metropolitan area.
Within a 25-mile radius are located seven other colleges and universities at which Guilford students may take courses: Bennett College, Elon University, Greensboro College, Guilford Technical Community College, High Point University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
The Eastern Music Festival and School, in residence on the Guilford College campus each summer since 1961, provides an exceptional summer concert series with presentations on campus by professional as well as student musicians.
Close to Guilford are New Garden Friends Meeting, Friendship Friends Meeting and Friends Homes (a retirement community that provides highly skilled volunteers in several areas of college life as well as internships and employment for Guilford students). North Carolina Yearly Meeting offices are nearby and serve the college community in various capacities.
Also in close proximity to the College is New Garden Friends School, which rounds out the multigenerational community surrounding Guilford and provides additional internship and research possibilities.
The local climate is mild and generally pleasant, making it possible to engage in outdoor sports during every month of the year. Winters are sunny, and although there may be some snowfall, extremely cold weather is rare. Spring comes early, with flowering trees and shrubs from early March through June. Autumn is especially congenial.
Guilford is easily reached from the Piedmont Triad International Airport, five miles west; from Interstate 40, two miles south; or from Interstate 85, eight miles southeast. An Amtrak station downtown affords daily access to major cities throughout the Southeast. The College is within a half-day’s drive of both the seacoast and the mountains.