Mission, Values & Educational Priorities
Cornell College offers an innovative and rigorous learning community where faculty and staff collaborate with students to develop the intellectual curiosity, creativity, and moral courage necessary for a lifetime of learning and engaged citizenship.
- A liberal education that celebrates discovery and embraces the integration and application of knowledge
- Intellectual, moral, and personal growth
- Civic and social responsibility
- The dignity and worth of each individual in a diverse community
Diversity and Inclusion Statement
Cornell College values diversity and strives to create a welcoming community in which all individuals are respected and included. We support respectful and meaningful inquiry across actual or perceived differences. These differences include ability, age, appearance, athletics and student organization involvement, ethnicity, family/marital status, gender, gender expression, immigration status, language, military/veteran status, nationality, political ideology, race, religion/spirituality, sex, sexuality, socio-economic status, and other personal identities and experiences.
We live in an increasingly interconnected world. The ability to include, communicate, cooperate, and collaborate with diverse individuals is important. To that end, we engage in dialogue around issues of difference, identity, and ideology in the classroom, residence halls, and throughout campus. We embrace diversity, and as a result our viewpoints are enriched and our community strengthened.
The entire campus community is called upon to play a role in Cornell College’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Cornell will continue to evolve into a more inclusive and equitable campus that is committed to civic and social responsibility through the collaboration of the President, Diversity Committee, students, faculty, and staff.
Freedom of Expression and Civil Discourse Statement
Cornell College is an institution of higher education that aspires to develop lifelong learners and engaged citizens. Consistent with that mission, we strongly endorse freedom of speech, as articulated in the First Amendment, as an inherent right of individuals to express themselves. Expression and personal identity are inextricably intertwined. Further, while freedom of speech and expression are accorded constitutional protection in our civic life, the value of free expression must be given even more rigorous affirmation in an intellectual community that prizes liberal education, academic freedom, and critical thinking.
As a small, residential community of persons with diverse identities and backgrounds, Cornell is committed to maintaining an inclusive campus climate and emphasizes the importance of communication and cooperation between individuals who hold different perspectives, opinions, and identities. Civil discourse refers to the inherent responsibility of individuals to engage respectfully with the intent to foster understanding. In a community like ours, civil discourse is highly valued, as it guides the approach all individuals should take in order to achieve an inclusive campus.
Therefore, we expect that community members, when engaging in civil discourse, will approach each other with:
- The intention to understand—The process of civil discourse places responsibility on both the speaker and the listener to be willing to learn, acknowledging that neither one has all of the answers. It can be messy, involves risk, and is ultimately rewarding. Active listening and asking thoughtful questions are key components.
- Respect for the inherent dignity and worth of every person—Civil discourse means that we recognize that all persons, regardless of differences and disagreements, have inherent dignity, worth, and their own unalienable right to freely express themselves.
- Commitment to learning and appreciation of critical thinking—Freedom of speech is fundamental for learning, critical inquiry, and growth as an individual and as a community. Civil discourse involves thinking critically about all ideas, opinions, and identities one encounters. The invitation to think critically is meaningless unless diversity of opinion and perspective is not only respected but actively sought out.
- Empathy—A critical component of civil discourse is empathy. In practicing empathy, each individual involved attempts to understand the feelings, experiences, and perspectives of another.
[This statement supersedes the 2006 Faculty Resolution on Free Speech and Expression.]
Educational priorities & outcomes
The Mission and Core Values guide learning at Cornell College. The College recognizes that meaningful education occurs in multiple formats and venues, and encompasses a wide variety of disciplines and learning objectives. As an intentional learning community, the college has chosen to emphasize the following Educational Priorities and Outcomes for all students.
In order to achieve these Outcomes, the Educational Priorities are embedded in curricular, co-curricular, independent, and collaborative contexts across the campus. Faculty and staff provide opportunities for learning in a supportive environment where students ultimately take responsibility for their own education.