Wesleyan College Mission Statement and History

2018-2019 Catalogue

Wesleyan College, a four-year national liberal arts college for women, is a leader and innovator in women's education. The first college in the world chartered to grant degrees to women, Wesleyan took its mission of educating women seriously in 1836, and the College continues to take its mission seriously today. It continues to maintain high standards of academic excellence and to encourage the intellectual growth of its students. Wesleyan is committed to the goals of educating women to understand and appreciate the liberal and fine arts and preparing them for careers and a lifetime of learning.

Vision. Forever first for women’s education – striving for excellence, grounded in faith, and engaged with the world.

Mission. Founded in 1836 as the first college in the world for women, Wesleyan College offers an education that leads to lifelong intellectual, personal, and professional growth.

The Wesleyan experience has four cornerstones.

Academics: Wesleyan is committed to academic excellence in the liberal arts, the fine arts, and professional fields of study. We foster a diverse and inclusive academic community where we learn from each other. Wesleyan teaches students how to learn and adapt quickly, preparing them for the world of work and giving them skills to thrive in a complex, rapidly changing world.

Women: Wesleyan takes seriously our role as a pioneer in women’s education. We believe the world needs more women who lead and serve. A Wesleyan education asks women to dream big and helps them realize those dreams.

Faith: Wesleyan is proud of our long relationship with the United Methodist Church and the diverse faiths that make up our community today. We believe a firm grasp of enduring spiritual values is basic to the Wesleyan way of learning and living. We help each student explore her calling as she asks and answers deep questions about herself and her engagement with the world.

Community: Wesleyan values each member of our community as an individual and in relationship to the whole. Our diversity is among our greatest strengths. We care for each other as an inclusive community. We serve the larger community around us. We send students out into the world prepared to succeed.

Values. We believe that real education is a lifelong endeavor, fueled by curiosity, challenge, and discovery. Providing a solid foundation for a lifetime of learning and growth, the Wesleyan experience is based upon these shared values that guide us daily:

  • Academic excellence and critical thinking, personal honesty, civility, and integrity
  • Pride in teaching, learning, and working together
  • Appreciation for our traditions, and the hope we offer a divided world
  • Spirituality in the search for purpose and understanding
  • Responsible citizenship and ethical leadership in service to others
  • Celebration of our differences and the opportunities they present as a powerful force for understanding, innovation, and social justice
  • Meaningful work that begins at Wesleyan and builds to a fulfilling career
  • Belief in the arts as integral to a fully realized life
  • Physical, social, and emotional wellness
  • Laughter, humor, and joyful enthusiasm for life

A Wesleyan Education. At Wesleyan, we believe that a liberal arts education is the best education for life. A Wesleyan education offers students exposure to the full range of human knowledge, assists them in developing skills in critical thinking and analysis, encourages them to question and explore the issues that affect their lives and futures, and challenges them to discover who they are in light of the rapidly changing world around them. In a world where career changes have become the norm rather than the exception, a liberal arts education provides a broad basis that will apply to any career decision. As a result, students are prepared both for life-long learning and for the career shifts that inevitably attend their progress toward success.

A Wesleyan education is structured to ensure that students have personal interaction with the faculty both inside and outside the classroom. Wesleyan's faculty, an impressive percent of whom have earned the highest degree in their field, remain current in their fields by publishing books and articles and presenting papers at professional meetings. An undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio of 10:1 ensures that students are known by more than a grade or a number. Faculty and students know each other as individuals and make up a genuine learning community. Faculty members also serve as academic advisors and work carefully with individual students to plan their academic programs.

Wesleyan is taking the lead nationally in integrating the curricular and extracurricular life of the campus. Programming in the residence halls often extends the classroom, expanding on issues raised in courses. Model community service programs such as Aunt Maggie's Kitchen Table extend the classroom into the community. Wesleyan is committed, in the curriculum and in student life, to fulfilling its special mission as a women's college.

Another innovation that Wesleyan has pioneered to assist students in combining a liberal arts education with preparation for a career is the internship program. The internship program, a partnership of the College and the local business community, enables students to begin to explore the world of work as early as second semester of their first year. Students can pursue internships in different fields, and many go directly into jobs with their sponsoring organizations after graduation.

History of the College. Founded in 1836 as the Georgia Female College, Wesleyan was at first a joint effort of a group of Macon citizens and members of the Georgia Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1843, the Georgia Conference assumed responsibility for the College. The College was renamed Wesleyan Female College in 1844 and Wesleyan continues its affiliation with the United Methodist Church today.

When Wesleyan was founded, the idea of educating women was very new. It had taken almost two hundred years from the time that Harvard granted the first baccalaureate degrees to men in this country for any institution to offer the same privilege to women. Wesleyan's original program was a rigorous four-year classical curriculum, very similar to the curriculum being offered by the men's colleges of those times. In addition, however, it stressed, from the beginning, the exercise of judgment, discrimination, and analytical thinking. And most innovatively of all, it emphasized the importance of scientific as well as classical learning.

Over the years, Wesleyan has continued to lead the way in women's education. In 1840, we awarded the first baccalaureate degrees given to women anywhere in the world. We are also home of the world's first alumnae association. Wesleyan is the birthplace of two national sororities, Alpha Delta Pi in 1851, and Phi Mu in 1852. In the late nineteenth century, we added a strong emphasis in the fine arts to our classical and scientific curriculum. We are continuing to strengthen our preparation for careers in biological and physical sciences.

Looking to the Future. For decades, Wesleyan has been a pioneer in developing innovative academic programs such as the academic First-Year Seminar and the Senior Integrative Experience. These are but two facets of a student-centered, process-oriented general education curriculum with integrative components of the curriculum connected to each academic major. Wesleyan is taking the lead in interdisciplinary education, designing courses and faculty positions that bridge the various fields of knowledge. Wesleyan faculty and staff continue to develop infrastructure and pedagogy to enhance teaching and learning through technology. From their creative use of well-equipped classrooms and state-of-the-art laboratories to the Canvas Learning Management System for online teaching and learning, faculty design learning experiences that are engaging, meaningful, and relevant for lifelong learning.

Calendar of Events

Calendar of Events

Wesleyan College is privileged to steward many arts and cultural events and share them with the community. Most are free and open to the public. Wesleyan art galleries are open M-F 1:30 – 5:00 PM and on Wesleyan Market Saturdays from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM.

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NCAA Division III Athletics

NCAA Division III Athletics

Wesleyan College is home to five NCAA Division III sports: soccer, basketball, volleyball, tennis, and softball. In addition, we offer an award-winning Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) Equestrian program.

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