Jul 18, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog 
2023-2024 Catalog

Wesleyan College Mission Statement and History

Mission. Wesleyan College is committed to women’s education and helping every student find a unique voice and purpose. As the first college in the world chartered to grant degrees to women, and shaped by Methodist values, Wesleyan provides students an academically challenging and relevant liberal arts education. Our diverse, inclusive community encourages creativity, innovation, and leadership so all graduates are prepared to thrive in a complex world.

Guiding Principles. Wesleyan’s community is:

  • Academically challenging: We believe students succeed when they are challenged academically. Wesleyan’s dedicated faculty and staff offer individualized support to motivate students to achieve their potential.
  • Purposeful: We believe students thrive when they have a purpose and a clear vision of their goals. Wesleyan helps students define these goals and strategically plan for the future.
  • Inclusive: We believe all student voices are important. Wesleyan is diverse and inclusive, gaining strength from and celebrating the many ways we can learn from each other.
  • Connected: We believe we gain strength from our connections to each other. Wesleyan encourages students to find their own places within a community and to contribute in meaningful ways.

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 proud of our From Here to Career program that ensure that all students will have a professional development experience before they graduate. This experience includes internships, working directly with faculty on research or completing a public performance or presentation. These high-impact practices ensure our graduates are prepared for life 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.