Enhancing our academic program and the liberal arts
We will build on our commitment to excellence in liberal arts education.
In the context of this Strategic Plan, Cedar Crest reaffirms its mission as a liberal arts college. Our success in providing an education grounded in those disciplines deemed crucial to forming the knowledge and expertise of a well-educated person is both a source of great pride for the faculty and a defining characteristic of the College’s legacy. A liberal education creates an enlightened and thoughtful citizen who lives a free and rational life, a citizen with a broad perspective, equipped to make reasoned choices and informed decisions, with the keen ability to analyze and evaluate, with the knowledge, judgment, and thinking skills that enable success across all career areas.
The College recognizes, however, that the knowledge and skills required for success in this new decade of the 21st century are more complex than they were twenty or even ten years ago. Our graduates’ success will depend upon their ability to understand and navigate a world shaped by advanced technologies, globalization, economic and social changes, and shifting demographics. This calls for the redefinition of the College’s liberal arts education so that it will meet the demands of the world in which our students will live and work.
This redefinition must have, at its center, our students. This generation of students has grown up in an era wherein education is valued primarily for the instrumental purpose that it serves. Whereas the Cedar Crest student of the 1960’s, 1970’s, and 1980’s may have viewed college as an opportunity to find herself, today’s student is more inclined to view college as an opportunity to position herself for the next step in her career. We must be able to articulate why the liberal arts education offered at Cedar Crest is uniquely suited to prepare students for life in the 2010’s and present this message in ways that women will readily understand and appreciate.
This message applies to the College’s liberal arts curriculum as well as majors in liberal arts disciplines, which are at the heart of the College’s mission. The faculty agenda will include a meaningful discussion of these topics to determine what the Cedar Crest experience can and should be in the 21st century. We will commit to improving the vitality of majors in the arts, humanities, and social sciences to help promote a vigorous intellectual culture and influence scholarly discourse across the entire academic program.
Our liberal arts mission aligns perfectly with our women’s leadership mission. A liberal arts education develops and strengthens a student’s formation as a leader. She will learn to communicate effectively in her writing and speaking, including debate and persuasion; how to conduct and use research; the value of critical thinking and decision making; the ability to understand and assess diverse peoples and perspectives; how to work with others in teams; and how to apply theory to practical situations. She will develop greater insight into her own leadership strengths and aspirations.
We will build on the strength and reputation of our professional programs.
Our professional programs are consistently recognized for their excellence and distinctiveness. Professional majors complement the liberal arts program by teaching students to apply their liberal arts education to the challenges of career-oriented study.
Cedar Crest’s professional education presents unique opportunities to fulfill our mission of educating women leaders. We are confronted daily with reminders that the world desperately needs strong, competent, ethical leaders in professional areas. These are leaders whose decisions directly affect our lives, our families, and the quality of our communities and our world. Thus our professional education constitutes an important mandate for the College, one that will guide academic planning for the life of this strategic plan.
We will build on our pledge to foster all aspects of student development.
The teaching/learning model of the Cedar Crest classroom, however rich and stimulating, is only one aspect of the student’s formation. The “whole student” referred to in our new Mission Statement is educated not only in the academic setting, but also in the broader learning environment of campus activities, community service, athletics, and residence halls, and in a multitude of other ways and places on and off campus.
The Strategic Plan will create Living Learning Communities in residence halls, a Women’s Leadership Institute, and an innovative First-Year Experience. These initiatives will greatly enhance the campus experience, helping to develop students who will participate in our learning community and, upon graduation, contribute to the community beyond our borders. We commit to reinvest in the process of student formation and character development, imagining new ways to create a broader and fuller education for each student and, ultimately, a more satisfying life for each graduate.
We will build on the stature and success of our graduate programs.
At this writing, Cedar Crest has established three prominent Master’s degree programs, in Education, Forensic Science, and Nursing. These programs have added to the intellectual vitality of the campus and enhanced undergraduate education by fostering the creation and exchange of ideas, encouraging scholarly discourse, and promoting research.
As the demand for graduate education grows locally and nationally, the College will respond with new opportunities for students to pursue advanced study, including a number of initiatives in the Strategic Plan. Our graduate programs align with our leadership mission in important ways: students with post-baccalaureate education have greater potential to provide leadership in their fields and contribute in valuable ways to their profession, their community, and the world.
The Strategic Plan reinforces liberal arts programs in a number of ways. The Global Studies major, the Media Studies and Visual Communication Majors, and the First Year Experience, as well as new enrollment strategies aimed at improving the health of majors in liberal arts disciplines, will strengthen liberal arts education in broad ways.
Download Strategic Plan