II. The Academic Program: An Overview and Introduction
Guilford stresses breadth and rigor in its academic program. As a Quaker-founded college, it offers an educational experience that emphasizes the study of human values and the inter-relatedness of the world’s knowledge and cultures.
The curriculum prescribes for all students a basic framework from which they choose courses. This framework consists of a set of general education requirements and completion of at least one major and one minor.
Guilford also supports students in creating individualized programs and in selecting studies which will best contribute to their own development and interests. Faculty advisors readily assist students in exploring their interests and abilities and in relating their courses of study to future plans.
Students with varied talents and aims may profit from different methods of instruction. Guilford deliberately offers a selection of educational experiences: courses combining lectures with discussion or laboratory; seminars demanding more direct participation by the student; and opportunities for independent study.
The College encourages off-campus learning and foreign study, and advisors help students design internships in the community as a way of relating study and work experiences.
The Five Academic Principles
These principles govern all courses and other educational experiences at the College:
- Innovative, student-centered learning Guilford embraces effective and adventurous pedagogy. Learning formats are chosen to promote dynamic exchange among students and between students and faculty. Throughout, Guilford places the individual student at the core of its educational mission. In an environment committed to the value of interdependence, each student is encouraged to develop an individual viewpoint through the sharing of ideas with other members of the College’s intentionally diverse community.
- Challenge to engage in creative and critical thinking Guilford emphasizes these activities: identifying and solving problems; delving below the surface of things to understand phenomena in their complexity; considering how frameworks and perspectives affect observations and analyses; appreciating the interplay of believing and doubting; and combining intuition, imagination, and the aesthetic sense with reasoning, quantitative analyses, and factual knowledge. Students learn not only to develop and synthesize ideas but also to articulate them clearly via the spoken and written word and other forms of creative expression. In particular, Guilford emphasizes writing as a mode of both learning and communicating, and thus students write intensively throughout their years here. Guilford especially values courses that connect different ways of knowing: hence the College’s interdisciplinary emphasis.
- Cultural and global perspectives Guilford strives to prepare students to be citizens of the world. Thus the curriculum is designed to encourage students and faculty to respect and learn from people of other cultures and also to foster an understanding of ecological relationships within the natural environment. By interacting with people from different cultures and gaining sensitivity to other ways of life, students deepen their academic investigation of Western and other traditions. In the process, students are challenged to envision better societies and to work collectively with others toward mutual benefit.
- Values and the ethical dimension of knowledge The Quaker ethos deeply influences the academic program as it does all other aspects of college life. In particular, the curriculum nurtures the spiritual dimension of wonder, the pursuit of meaning in life, and sensitivity to the sacred. It also promotes consciousness of those values necessary to successful inquiry: honesty, simplicity, equality, tolerance. The College’s courses explore the ethical dimension of knowledge. This often requires close attention to such issues as gender, race, ethnicity, religion, social justice, and socioeconomics in historical and contemporary contexts.
- Focus on practical application: vocation and service to the larger community Noting Quaker founder George Fox’s call for schools to teach “things civil and useful,” Guilford’s teachers help their students choose majors and sequences of supporting courses that fit their interests and aptitudes and lead to work and service possibilities that will bring personal fulfillment and challenge. The College also upholds each individual’s obligation to the larger community: thus its commitment to personal responsibility, social justice, world peace, service, and ethical behavior. Rooted in the Society of Friends’ social testimonies, the College aims to help its graduates learn to evaluate the effects of their actions and the implications of their decisions.
The curriculum consists of five tiers:
- Explorations (Breadth and Critical Perspectives)
Students must complete requirements in each of these five tiers. The general education requirements consist of the Foundations, Explorations and Capstone tiers.
Students need a minimum of 128 credits for graduation, so the remaining courses a student takes may either count as electives or establish a second major and/or minor.
Students who expect to study abroad or who plan to spend a semester off campus in an internship program should plan ahead carefully to fulfill requirements.
A single course may fulfill multiple requirements between the general education program and a student’s major and minor fields. Each major must consist of at least thirty-two discrete credits and each minor must consist of at least sixteen discrete credits. For example, a student completing one major and one minor must complete at least 48 discrete credits, and one major and two minors requires at least 64 discrete credits.
|First-Year Experience – FYE 101, 102 – 2 courses (CCE students, graduates of The Early College at Guilford and Traditional-age transfer students with 12 or more transferred credits are exempted from this requirement)|
|College Reading and Writing: Many Voices – ENGL 102 – 1 course|
|Historical Perspectives – 1 approved course; may double-count with major or minor|
|Foreign Language 101 – 1 approved course or test placement (CCE students may also use SPAN 111 to satisfy this requirement)|
|Quantitative Literacy – test placement, GST 120 Quantitative Literacy, or any Guilford math course or equivalent|
|EXPLORATIONS – BREADTH (courses may double-count with major or minor)|
|Arts – 1 approved course|
|Business & Policy Studies – 1 approved course|
|Humanities – 1 approved course|
|Natural Science & Mathematics – 1 approved lab science course|
|Social Science – 1 approved course|
|EXPLORATIONS – CRITICAL PERSPECTIVES (courses may double-count with Breadth, Historical Perspectives, major, minor, or IDS 400)|
|Intercultural – 1 approved course|
|Social Justice/Environmental Responsibility – 1 approved course|
|Diversity in the U.S. – 1 approved course|
|CAPSTONE (IDS 400) (may only double-count with Critical Perspectives, major or minor)|
|Interdisciplinary Studies (IDS 400) – 1 approved course|
Throughout their time at Guilford, students will develop skill competencies in the following specific areas:
- Oral Communication
- Information Technology
- Quantitative Reasoning
The platform for these competencies occurs generally in the Foundations courses; students then continue to develop these competencies during their course of studies. The IDS 400 course represents the completion of this development at Guilford.
Students must satisfy all Foundations requirements within the first 40 credits they complete at Guilford. The four required Foundations courses plus an additional quantitative requirement, which provide solid grounding in Guilford’s five academic principles, are:
1. The First Year Experience (FYE 101, FYE 102) The First Year Experience is for traditional-age students. Adult Program students and graduates of The Early College at Guilford are exempt from this requirement. FYE aids in the academic and social transition to college life.
This requirement includes a four-credit course and a one-credit lab. The four-credit course engages students in significant interactive and values-based inquiry. With a focus on speaking, listening and experiential learning, each FYE course explores an interdisciplinary content area. The FYE 102 First Year Experience Lab helps introduce students to Guilford and includes such topics as time management, choice of career and major, honor code and academic integrity. The instructor for FYE 101 serves as the student’s academic advisor until the student declares a major.
Students who fail or withdraw from FYE 101may not retake this course but instead must take and pass (D- or better) an additional Historical Perspectives course or take and pass (D- or better) an additional IDS (interdisciplinary) 400 course. FYE 101 cannot double-count in the major or minor.
Students who fail FYE 102 in the fall, must repeat the course during the following spring semester.
If a traditional-age transfer student enters with 12 or more transfer credits he or she is exempt from this requirement. Traditional-age transfer students entering the spring semester with fewer than 12 credits must take the FYE 101 and FYE 102, if offered, to satisfy the requirement. If FYE 101 and FYE 102 are not offered, the student must satisfy the requirement by taking FYE 101 and FYE 102 in the following semester.
- Minimum grade to satisfy this requirement: D- for FYE 101 and 102.
Adult Transitions (GST 101) This course, an equivalent of FYE 101, is limited to adults aged 23 years and older in their first term of courses at the college. Its curriculum is geared to first-time college students or students who performed less than optimally in their prior college experience. The course acclimates students to the rigor of academics at Guilford, orients students to the college and emphasizes critical thinking and analytical, critical reading and critical writing skills at the college level. The instructor of the course serves as the student’s academic advisor for the first semester, after which the student is assigned an advisor in the major.
- Minimum grade to satisfy this requirement: D-.
2. College Reading and Writing: Many Voices (ENGL 102) This course provides a main site for identifying and working on the reading and writing skills that students need as members of the Guilford community. Course emphases include invention, arrangement, style, revision and editing, as well as college-level reading strategies.
Embracing the value of multicultural issues and perspectives in our society, the theme of the course is “Many Voices.” Readings celebrate a range of diverse populations that collectively define the American landscape, groups including Native Americans and Americans of African, Asian, Hispanic, Jewish and Arab descent.
To enroll in ENGL 102 requires a prerequisite of either a C- or better in ENGL 101, or placement by the writing director. The Department of English reviews student essays before the semester begins to confirm correct placement. Students with scores, four or five on an English AP exam are exempt from ENGL 102
- Minimum grade to satisfy this requirement: D-.
3. Historical Perspectives (HP) (Offered by departments throughout the college). This course focuses on historical change and how individuals and groups both initiate change and respond to social, economic and political forces. Taught by professors from across the College, Historical Perspectives courses link with College Reading and Writing in a two-semester, first-year writing sequence. Course focuses include critical and research writing and responsible use of the Internet. Historical Perspectives courses are indicated with the letters “HP” at the beginning of the course title. Courses without this designation will not satisfy this requirement. This course may not double count with Breadth, but can double count with Critical Perspectives.
- Minimum grade to satisfy this requirement: D-.
4. Foreign Language This course provides an intensive, interactive experience in learning a foreign language and culture that prepares students to continue to be lifelong learners of languages and cultures. Such courses are offered in French, German, Japanese and Spanish.
A student can satisfy the Guilford College foreign language requirement by passing language 101 at Guilford College with a D- or better. Adult students may also satisfy the requirement by passing language 111 with a D- or better. Traditional-age students are not eligible to take FREN or SPAN 111.
A student may also satisfy this requirement through one of the following means, all subject to final approval by the Department of Foreign Languages:
- pass one semester of a modern, spoken language at another accredited university. The chosen language must have both written and cultural components. ASL cannot satisfy the language requirement.
- place into language 102 or higher on one of Guilford’s language placement tests. We will not accept placement scores from exams taken at other universities. Students are limited to taking the placement test two times per language. In the case a student takes the test more than twice, the highest score from the first two tests will count.
- score of 4 or higher on an AP modern language exam.
- complete secondary school in a language other than English, and in a non-Anglophone country. Completion of primary education in another language is not sufficient.
Students are encouraged to continue their study of language beyond the introductory level. Incoming students who wish to continue a previously studied language must take a placement exam in the appropriate language before enrolling in a foreign language course.
For the foreign language requirement to be waived, a student must qualify for a learning disability as defined by the state of North Carolina. If the foreign language waiver is granted, the student must substitute a course with an international or intercultural emphasis that has been approved by the Department of Foreign Languages. Substitution courses may not double count with other graduation requirements.
|Spanish Placement Exam|
|below 286||Spanish 101|
|above 440||Spanish 301|
|German Placement Exam|
|below 328||German 101|
|above 548||German 202|
|French Placement Exam|
|below 280||French 101|
|above 392||French 202|
There is no placement exam for Japanese. Incoming students should speak directly to Hiroko Hirakawa to determine the best placement.
5. Quantitative Literacy Guilford also has a Quantitative Literacy requirement. Students may satisfy it in several ways:
1. Earning a Math SAT score of 650 or higher
2. Receiving a score of 15 or below on the Guilford Quantitative Literacy test
3. Successfully completing GST 110, a 2 credit course that focuses on quantitative literacy or
4. Passing (D- or above) any mathematics course offered at Guilford or a transfer course equivalent.
To gain educational experiences in each of the five disciplinary divisions, students are required to take one “Breadth” course in each of these divisions. The following list identifies these disciplinary divisions, as well as the academic departments belonging to each (interdisciplinary programs like African and African American studies and environmental studies span the areas of study but are not primarily located in any one of them).
Not all courses taught in each of these divisions will satisfy this requirement. Those courses that do satisfy one of the Breadth requirements are so identified in individual course descriptions.
- Arts-Art, Music, Theatre Studies
- Business and Policy Studies-Accounting, Business, Computing Technology and Information Systems, Justice and Policy Studies, Sport Studies
- Humanities-English, Foreign Languages, History, Philosophy, Religious Studies
- Natural Sciences and Mathematics-Biology, Chemistry, Geology and Earth Sciences, Physics
- Social Science-Economics, Education Studies, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology and Anthropology
Minimum grade to satisfy the Breadth requirement: D- in each of the courses taken to satisfy this requirement.
B. Critical Perspectives
Additionally, each student must complete three specially designated “Critical Perspectives” courses. These three courses can double-count with Breadth courses, a Historical Perspectives course, major and minor courses or a capstone course. Those courses that will satisfy the Critical Perspectives requirement are so identified in individual course descriptions. Only courses so designated may be used to satisfy this requirement. The three categories are:
- Intercultural, which focuses on an approved course on Africa, Asia, Latin America or the Middle East.
- Social Justice/Environmental Responsibility, which focuses on race, class, gender, sexual orientation or the environment.
- Diversity in the U.S., which explores sub-cultures within the United States.
Minimum grade to satisfy the Critical Perspectives requirement: D- in each of the courses taken to satisfy one of the three requirements.
III. The Major
Each student must choose a major field of specialization. It is expected that students should declare a major online in the college’s BannerWeb system by the time they have earned 32 credit hours.
Students may pursue options outlined below, including disciplinary majors, double majors or interdisciplinary majors.
All majors require a minimum of 32 credit hours. Certain majors require a larger number of credit hours. See the major’s department in Chapter IV for all requirements for completing that major. For a student to earn a major at Guilford, the student must complete at least half of the major credit requirements at Guilford. This requirement applies to each major a student earns. The minimum grade to satisfy a major is a C- in each of the courses required for a major, unless otherwise specified for professional licensure. In order for Credit/No Credit courses to count toward a major, they must be explicitly designated as such in the college catalog, and must represent credits above and beyond the minimum 32 semester credits required for a major.
If a student returns to Guilford following graduation to complete a second major, but not a second degree, the designation of the original major will not be changed, but a notation will be made on the student’s academic transcript that the requirements for the second major have been met.
Accounting, African and African American studies, business, community and justice studies, computing technology and information systems, criminal justice, education (K-6), education (9-12), forensic accounting, history, political science and psychology may be completed through either daytime or evening classes. Forensic biology is an evening major.
A disciplinary major is a major in a traditional academic discipline. A student selecting an disciplinary major completes a minimum of 32 credit hours (eight courses) in that field as specified by the program. At least half of the major must be completed at Guilford.
An interdisciplinary major utilizes theoretical perspectives for analysis from more than one traditional academic discipline. A student selecting an interdisciplinary major completes a minimum of 32 credit hours (eight courses) as specified by the program. With the exception of integrative studies and peace and conflict studies, all interdisciplinary majors must also complete a second disciplinary major, which replaces the minor requirement. At least half of each major must be completed at Guilford.
A double major consist of two distinct majors, one of which must be a disciplinary major. To earn a double major, a student must complete all requirements for each of the two majors. With a double major, no minor is required for graduation. If these two majors offer different degrees (A.B., B.S., B.M., B.F.A.,), only one degree will be awarded to the student. The student will choose which degree is awarded. Both majors, however, will be listed on the student’s permanent academic transcript.
Students wishing to have more than one major must take a minimum of 32 credit hours in each major. The 32 credit hours for each major must not overlap with the other major.
At least half of each majors must be earned at Guilford.
IV. The Minor
In addition to the major course work, each student who is not pursuing a double major, triple major, B.F.A. degree, or an integrative studies major must choose a minor. A minor is a focused collection of a minimum of 16 credit hours that either provide a second, mini-depth area or involve study related to the major. The student must complete at least half of the minor credit requirements at Guilford. Students are free to take any minor so long as it does not have the same name as the major: thus an English major would not be able to use an English minor to satisfy the minor requirement. Minors may be either disciplinary or interdisciplinary.
- Minimum grade to satisfy the minor: D- in each of the courses required for the minor.
Students should declare a minor online in the BannerWeb system by the time they have earned 32 credit hours.
V. Capstone Interdisciplinary Studies (IDS)
Each student who has senior status (a minimum of 88 credits completed) must take an interdisciplinary studies (IDS) course with a 400-level prefix (e.g., IDS 402 Business Ethics). Students may take an IDS 400 class before they have earned 88 credit hours; however, under no circumstances will the course satisfy the IDS general education requirement if the student has not already completed 88 credit hours prior to the beginning of the course. Also, students must complete their Historical Perspectives requirement before taking an IDS course.
The IDS course will allow students to draw upon the knowledge and skills gained from previous college work and explore issues that cross traditional disciplinary lines. Cross-disciplinary writing will be a principal focus.
The IDS may only double-count with Critical Perspectives, major or minor.
Sufficient electives are needed to fill out the minimum of 128 credits needed for graduation. Electives may be taken in any department or field to supplement the student’s interests.
There are some limitations on the number of credit hours a student may earn in independent studies, internships and physical education classes. For detailed restrictions please refer to the sections on independent studies, internships and physical education classes.
Criteria and Process for Awarding Honorary Degrees at Guilford College
The Guilford College Bylaws state that “This authority [of the Board of Trustees], upon the recommendation of the president, shall include but not be limited to the following illustrative functions:…Approve all earned and honorary degrees as the faculty shall recommend.” (Section 2.2) This proposal establishes the criteria for honorary degrees and the process by which awardees would be recommended by the faculty and president.
The awarding of honorary degrees is a long standing tradition of many colleges and universities, including colleges founded by the Society of Friends. Earlham College, Haverford College and Swarthmore College all award honorary degrees, such as the Doctor of Laws, Doctor of Science, Doctor of Letters and Doctor of Humane Letters. Haverford and Swarthmore award them annually, but Earlham “reserves the privilege for individuals and times deemed by the faculty to be of particular importance.” Haverford has a tradition of selecting one Quaker recipient per year. Whittier College and Wilmington College also award honorary degrees.
The criteria and process described below have several similarities to those that Earlham and Whittier use to award honorary degrees. At Earlham, nominations originate with the teaching and administrative faculty, and are considered in turn by a) a committee consisting of “the President of the College, the Convener of Faculty Affairs Committee and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees;” b) the Faculty Affairs Committee and c) the faculty. Approved candidates are then presented to the board for approval. At Earlham, honorary degrees are intended to “reward distinguished achievement in the nation’s life by the conferring of honorary degrees on persons outside the college community” and “must be awarded sparingly.” Whittier awards honorary degrees for the purposes of “(1) recognizing scholarly, artistic, public, or civic achievement and (2) furthering the mission and goals of the college by enhancing the institution’s reputation and resources.” Nominations may be submitted by any member of the community. A subcommittee of the Faculty Affairs Committee considers the nominations and presents selected candidates to the faculty for approval. In consultation with the chair of the subcommittee, the president prioritizes the list, which includes all candidates who have been approved by the faculty over the previous five years. The president selects candidates to receive the honorary degree, with all selected candidates to be affirmed by the Board of Trustees.
The honorary degree is one of the highest recognitions any college can bestow and is therefore not lightly granted. It is intended to honor an individual who has a sustained record of achievements of lasting significance. Associating these honorees more closely with Guilford would raise the profile of the College, thereby benefitting admissions, overall engagement, and philanthropy.
The Doctor of Letters, Doctor of Humane Letters, or Doctor of Science would be awarded to individuals who meet the stated criteria. No more than one honorary degree would be awarded in any academic year.
Persons nominated for consideration for honorary degrees should have made distinguished and broad contributions to society. These may be in the traditional areas of scholarship and creative arts, research and development, the learned professions, public service, philanthropy or business and industry. It would be desirable for these contributions to reflect all or most of Guilford’s core values (Community, Diversity, Equality, Excellence, Integrity, Justice, and Stewardship), with an emphasis on Excellence and Integrity. Contributions to society that reflect principled problem solving are also desirable.
It is desirable, but not required, that the people selected have had some connection with Guilford College and its mission. It is also desirable, but not required, that some recipients of an honorary degree be widely known by the general public.
The following persons ordinarily would not be eligible:
- Persons currently serving on the faculty or staff of the College
Early in the academic year, but no later than September 15, the Office of the President will solicit confidential nominations for an honorary degree from faculty, staff, students, alumni, the Board of Trustees and the Board of Visitors. Nominations will be due on or before November 1. Those making and supporting nominations should be knowledgeable in the nominee’s field of accomplishment and therefore in a position to make an evaluation. Each nomination must be accompanied by a letter of nomination including a biographical sketch of the individual. Nominations may be co-sponsored by up to two individuals from the Guilford community. Nominations will be submitted to the Office of the President.
In any year in which nominations are received, the Clerk’s Committee will appoint an ad hoc Honorary Degree Committee, in consultation with the President, to review the nominations and supporting material. The committee may choose to seek additional information provided that the confidentiality of the process is preserved. The committee should consider any potential conflicts of interest for any of the nominees. No later than December 1, the committee will recommend to the faculty up to three nominees to receive an honorary degree. These nominations will be considered at the December faculty meeting, and the faculty may recommend that any or none of the nominees be awarded an honorary degree. Provided that the faculty recommend at least one nominee, and based on the faculty recommendation and any additional consultation, the President will recommend the person, if any, to receive an honorary degree. The President’s recommendation will be forwarded to the Board of Trustees for their review and approval. Honorary degrees will ordinarily be awarded at the opening academic convocation of the following academic year. The degree may be awarded at the spring commencement exercises on the recommendation of the Convocation and Celebrations Committee.
Accreditation & Affiliation
Guilford is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30330-4097; telephone number 404-679-4501; www.sacscoc.org) to award baccalaureate degrees. It is also affiliated with the Council on Post-secondary Education.
Guilford is on the list of colleges and universities approved by the American Medical Association, and the teacher education program is accredited by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education.
Credits earned at Guilford are accepted at face value in admission to graduate and professional schools and in certification of teaching.
Guilford holds membership in a number of organizations formed by colleges and universities: the Association of American Colleges and Universities, the American Council on Education, the Council of Independent Colleges, the North Carolina Adult Education Association, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the North Carolina Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the North Carolina Honors Association, the National Collegiate Honors Council, the Friends Association for Higher Education, The College Board, and the North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities.
Guilford is listed in the Baccalaureate Colleges-Liberal Arts category by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.