Educational Goals & Aspirations
In Spring of 2010, the Board of Managers and the Faculty endorsed a set of student learning goals that a Haverford education is designed to achieve. This document, our "Educational Goals and Aspirations," continues to evolve as faculty consider and articulate the many facets of a Haverford education.
Mastery and Critique
Haverford College's curriculum is designed not only to help students acquire a particular body of knowledge but to develop the capacity to learn, to understand, to make sound and thoughtful judgments, and to balance creativity and analysis. Within each discipline, academic work evolves from the mastery of key concepts through critical analysis to active participation in the construction of scholarship. This intellectual preparation culminates in our academic requirement that each senior produce a piece of independent work in the form of a senior thesis or project. Students cultivate the ability to critique and analyze primary texts, to appreciate theoretical rigor, and to learn through observation, experiment, or empirical methods, as appropriate. Students thus gain mastery of their chosen disciplines.
Ownership, Contribution, and Accountability
In all disciplines, students are expected to contribute original ideas for which they are accountable. They learn to present and defend their ideas both orally and in writing. Students are encouraged to interrogate and articulate why they think what they think, both inside and outside of the classroom.
Translation and Interpretation
Students engage in acts of translation, interpretation, and cultural inquiry in every area of their studies. These intellectual habits encourage students to formulate questions, explore areas of difference, and understand their own positions vis-à-vis various forms of history, politics and knowledge. Such practices develop models of reading and analysis that illuminate students' scholarship and judgments across disciplines and contexts.
Breadth and Depth
In addition to mastering a discipline, all students are required to acquaint themselves with the breadth of intellectual approaches exemplified in the classic divisions of natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities; they must have experience of a second language and acquire quantitative skills. As distinctions among the divisions continue to blur, students are encouraged to explore interdisciplinarity through minors and areas of concentration.
Communication and Representation
All academic majors require students to communicate and represent ideas in modes that are appropriate to the discipline. The primary form of communication is often written prose, but students also learn to express themselves and their original contributions in a variety of presentation forms (e.g., oral, artistic, creative). A College Writing requirement is implemented during the first year, to ensure that all students enter their academic disciplines with basic skills of written argument and persuasion.
Non doctior, sed meliore doctrina imbutus
Our Quaker heritage is expressed in the Haverford motto: "Not more learned, but imbued with better learning." We offer our students many opportunities to engage fundamental issues of inequality and social justice. The college encourages students to put learning into action for greater ethical purposes. Our Quaker principles turn classrooms into communities where faculty and students learn from each other, and where all voices are heard. In such contexts, students and faculty alike become better thinkers, listeners and speakers, making them partners in the creation of knowledge.