Guiding Principles

The Plan and the initiatives herein are premised on a set of principles that have their roots in the educational values and Quaker heritage that have been thematic to Haverford since its founding. Each of these principles, we believe, is essential to the College’s continued ability to thrive as a community of higher learning. To ensure that these values guide the institution throughout the duration of the Plan, they will also serve as the overarching standards by which we will gauge our progress as we implement the Plan’s various initiatives.

  • Integrity.  Haverford is committed to providing a liberal arts education based on a rich academic curriculum, distinguished by its rigor and concern for individual growth.  Owed in large part to its Quaker origins, the College is a place where the excellence of the academic program is deepened by its moral and ethical dimensions.  The Plan calls for programmatic renewal and innovation in ways that deliberately strengthen the enduring values of a Haverford education.
  • Connection.  Our Quaker-­rooted values turn classrooms into communities where faculty and students learn from each other, and where all voices are heard.  In such contexts, students, faculty, and staff as well become better thinkers, listeners, and speakers, making them partners in the creation of knowledge.  Just as the connections among community members generate energy and insights, so too does the constructive interplay among the College’s curricular, co-­curricular, and extra-­curricular endeavors, in concert with those of our Bi-­Co, Tri-­Co and other collaborative partners.  Many of the initiatives in the Plan aim to foster greater collaboration and synergies among individuals and programs to make the whole of a Haverford education greater than the sum of its parts.
  • Diversity and inclusion.   Diversity is a necessary component of a rigorous learning community. Only through engagement with people representing different ideas, experiences, attributes, and talents can individuals become fully educated and prepared for citizenship in a globalized world marked by difference.  Diversity on its own, however, is insufficient; only an inclusive learning community that genuinely embraces difference and is mindful of differential power, privilege, and other barriers to success can realize its potential.  Diversity and inclusion are longstanding and cherished ideals of Haverford College but also require consistent and comprehensive stewardship.  This theme becomes particularly explicit when we discuss how we will hire and retain faculty and staff, how we admit and support students, how we build community genuinely premised on equality, and how we engage with communities beyond our campus.
  • Sustainability.  Haverford was founded as a perpetual institution, and that imperative permeates all we propose in the Plan.  For Haverford to fulfill its mission in an unknowable future we must wisely steward all of our assets – environment, infrastructure, dollars, and people – and enable them to work in support of the College’s highest priorities.  We recognize that faculty and staff time is precious, and we must not build programs whose labor demands erode energy, creativity, and good will.  We must keep Haverford affordable to students and families so they do not mortgage their futures to receive a great education.  All we do for Haverford today must make us a stronger learning community tomorrow, even better able to play a productive role in society.
  • Visibility.  The most important benefits of a liberal arts education are also intangible ones: providing the “Meliore Doctrina” of Haverford’s motto, or endowing students with the intellectual capacities and humane values to lead enlightened, meaningful lives.  We affirm these ideals while recognizing that the College will serve its students and society better by making more visible the means and ends of a Haverford education.  The Plan considers how to help students to understand and navigate the many productive pathways through the curriculum, to reflect on the connections between undergraduate experiences and their own values and aspirations, and to translate their Haverford educations into “lives that speak” after graduation.  The Plan calls upon Haverford as an institution devoted to the greater good to make more visible to outside audiences the power of liberal education to foster a more just and peaceful world.