College Mission, Goals, and Planning

Parrish Hall

The College's mission may be found in the Introduction to our College Catalog, under section 1.1 Objectives and Purposes.

Swarthmore students are expected to prepare themselves for full, balanced lives as individuals and as responsible citizens through exacting intellectual study supplemented by a varied program of sports and other extracurricular activities. The purpose of Swarthmore College is to make its students more valuable human beings and more useful members of society. Although it shares this purpose with other educational institutions, each school, college, and university seeks to realize that purpose in its own way. Swarthmore seeks to help its students realize their full intellectual and personal potential combined with a deep sense of ethical and social concern.

The mission is expanded in subsequent sections, including 1.2 Varieties of Educational Experience, and the Educational Program chapter, particularly sections 7.2 Program for the First and Second Years, and 7.3 Programs for Juniors and Seniors.

Our mission drives our planning and assessment activities across all areas of the College.   Our most recent planning effort resulted in Strategic Directions (pdf), a document that is our blueprint for the future.   Many of the initiatives developed during this planning are already underway.   Learn more about our planning activities and initiatives (including our campus master plan) at our Strategic Directions website.

More recently President Smith has shared her Vision for the Future of Swarthmore College.  The priorities that she articulates also focus the activities of the College:  access and inclusion, academics, and education for the common good.

The Academic Assessment Committees in 2012-13 and 2013-14 worked to articulate our College-level goals for student learning.   The most recent draft may be found here.  The document was discussed with the faculty, as well as with faculty and staff in support areas, and submitted to the Provost at the end of the spring 2014 semester.  The Council for Educational Policy is reviewing these goal statements in 2015-16, and examining their alignment with graduation requirements.

Consistent with the College's mission and goals, academic and administrative departments develop their own goals for students and services.  Links may be found in the pages of this website, particularly Academic Areas - Goals for Student Learning and the divisions and areas listed under Support and Administrative Areas.