By the end of the decade, we will be a widely recognized college in the Northeast Region that enriches student character and deepens intellectual inquiry to prepare men and women for success in a complex and diverse global community.
Adopted by the Board of Trustees, June 2012
Concise Mission Statement
St. John Fisher College is a collaborative community dedicated to teaching, learning, and research in a student-centered educational environment. The College is guided by its liberal arts tradition and its Catholic heritage, as expressed in the motto of its founders, the Basilian Fathers: “teach me goodness, discipline, and knowledge.” Fisher engages individuals in lives of intellectual inquiry, professional integrity, and civic responsibility, where diversity and service to others are valued and practiced.
Adopted by the Board of Trustees, June 2012
St. John Fisher College is an independent liberal arts institution in the Catholic tradition of American higher education. Guided since its inception by the educational philosophy of the Congregation of St. Basil, the College emphasizes liberal learning for students in both traditional academic disciplines and more directly career-oriented fields. In keeping with the openness that is characteristic of its Basilian heritage, Fisher welcomes qualified students, faculty, and staff regardless of religious or cultural background.
In addition to baccalaureate degrees, St. John Fisher College offers a number of master’s and doctoral degrees.
Through these, the College serves full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students from the Greater Rochester and surrounding areas. Our commitment to individuals from varied backgrounds and with differing educational needs reflects both our emphasis on lifelong learning and our direct involvement in the community of which we are a part.
As an institution of higher learning, we engage our students in the quest for knowledge and truth, believing that such engagement will equip them to make sound judgments as individuals, family members, and citizens.
We provide individual guidance to students as they strive for academic excellence and develop values that will guide them in meaningful and productive lives. Our dual emphasis on intellectual and personal growth derives from our belief that learning is valuable for its own sake, for the sake of those who learn, and for the sake of society as a whole.
Our chief academic goals are to help students develop intellectual skills, a foundation in the liberal arts, and proficiency in a major. We especially emphasize the liberal arts, not only because they are intrinsically valuable, but also because they prepare students for lifelong learning and for an ever-changing work environment.
Development of Intellectual Skills
Intellectual growth begins with careful attention to basic verbal and quantitative skills. By thorough preparation in these two areas, students equip themselves for the critical thinking and effective communication necessary for success in any discipline. They learn to analyze, coordinate, and synthesize information, and they increase their capacity for understanding, especially in the liberal arts, the core of the undergraduate experience.
Centrality of the Liberal Arts
Because we are a liberal arts institution, students’ educational experiences at the College should, above all, be broadening. Liberal learning is by definition free from the narrowness of interest that invites misjudgment. By taking a wide range of courses in the humanities, natural and social sciences, mathematics, philosophy, and religious studies, students learn to value intellectual curiosity and knowledge for its own sake. Study in the liberal arts also allows students to hone their fundamental intellectual skills, to understand their chosen discipline more fully, and to recognize the validity of other approaches to intellectual inquiry. While the Core Requirements at the College ensure broad exposure to the liberal arts, our emphasis on liberal learning is not confined to general education. Every educational experience at the College, both undergraduate and graduate, contributes to liberal education by helping students understand not only the basic principles and issues of the subject matter, but also its history, its cultural and social significance, its relationship to other areas of knowledge, and its ethical and moral implications.
Proficiency in a Major
In addition to general preparation in the liberal arts, undergraduate and graduate students choose a major field of study in order to develop a more specific competence. The College offers undergraduate majors in the traditional liberal arts; career-oriented programs in a variety of fields, and a growing number of graduate programs. These programs share in the commitment to liberal education and foster the same love of learning as more traditional disciplines. Similarly, liberal arts programs seek ways to respond to the career interests of students while preparing them to lead satisfying and intellectually active lives. We encourage students to recognize that there are many career opportunities, whatever one’s major, and that the best way to take advantage of those opportunities is to choose a major one finds intellectually stimulating.
Development of Values
In addition to the academic priorities outlined above, we at St. John Fisher College are committed to the development of values. This emphasis on values derives historically from our religious heritage and is expressed in the motto of the Basilian Fathers: “Teach me goodness, discipline, and knowledge.” The Basilian intellectual tradition stresses a fundamental openness in the search for truth, sees no ultimate conflict between religious faith and human knowing, and is receptive to other expressions of religious faith. In keeping with that tradition, the College emphasizes the role of religious studies and philosophy in the academic program. It also encourages the presence of members of the Congregation of St. Basil and provides an institutional commitment to campus ministry. We believe that moral and spiritual growth comes from intellectual inquiry and critical self-awareness. The basic values we share as a community are a commitment to the lifelong search for truth, a belief in the dignity of every individual, and an affirmation that service to others is a worthy expression of our humanity.
Teaching and Scholarship
The major commitment of the faculty of St. John Fisher College is excellence in teaching, with an emphasis on close interaction with students. The personal attention faculty members give to students is a hallmark of the Basilian educational tradition and is a significant part of their teaching commitment. This attention manifests itself as support both for students struggling to meet the challenge of academic success and for those undertaking individual study beyond the level of their peers. To be effective in the classroom and to serve as models of academic excellence, the faculty must also remain actively engaged in scholarship. When the faculty share the results of their scholarship, whether informally, at conferences, or in print, they not only demonstrate their intellectual vitality but also benefit from interaction with a community of scholars. Scholarship that takes the form of published, original research is especially valuable. It contributes to effective teaching, brings honor to the institution, and adds to the store of human knowledge.
Emphasis on Community
Our academic priorities and our emphasis on values naturally affect the way we deal with one another and with our students. Because we believe that intellectual and personal growth go hand in hand, we seek to create an environment in which students, faculty, and staff can reach their full human potential. We seek to overcome prejudice, including that occasioned by gender, race, age, religion, region, culture, disability, sexual orientation, or economic status. We see human diversity as positive, and we work together to set an example of tolerance and openness. By encouraging tolerance and appreciation of diversity, we help our students become useful citizens of a multicultural world. As a liberal arts institution, St. John Fisher College fosters the growth of individuals who are free from ignorance, bigotry, and fear of the unfamiliar, individuals who are therefore free for the independence that is the fruit of knowledge and love.