The Mission of Goddard College
To advance cultures of rigorous inquiry, collaboration, and lifelong learning, where individuals take imaginative and responsible action in the world.
Educational Philosophy, Values, and History
Students at Goddard work with faculty to direct their studies according to their personal and professional interests, goals, gifts, and desires. Students develop the capacity to understand their lives in an ever-changing social context, and thereby to take meaningful action in the world. They are encouraged to question received knowledge and the status quo and to create new understandings of the world and of human experience. As a collaborative interdependent learning community, we respect, include and appreciate differing perspectives. We challenge ourselves and each other to embrace uncertainty, experiment, and imagine unexpected outcomes. Recognizing our interconnectedness with others and with the earth, we hold our scholarship and our actions to the highest standards of integrity, authenticity, and compassion.
We recognize that teaching and learning are fully realized when they include a wide range of people, cultures, experiences, abilities and fields of knowledge. Understanding that access to resources and social and political power are not equally distributed, we offer the means to explore and articulate a wide range of personal and cultural understandings of well-being and justice, and to take action to create a more just world. In addition to keeping our education affordable, we create academic and campus environments that all Goddard community members can use. We also recognize the increasing impact of human activity on our planet’s limited resources. In our educational and institutional practices, we are committed to thoughtful and sustainable action that increases individual and social capacity for environmental stewardship and an improved future.
Goddard College has embodied this educational philosophy and these values for nearly 150 years. Initially chartered as a Universalist seminary in 1863, Green Mountain Central Institute, later renamed Goddard Seminary, exemplified the inclusive, socially engaged values of its community. Goddard College’s founder, Royce “Tim” Pitkin, was a graduate of Goddard Seminary and a student of John Dewey. Alarmed by the rise of fascism in Europe, Pitkin founded Goddard College in 1938 to unite the liberal values of the Seminary with Dewey’s belief that interactive, self-directed education could help build civil, democratic societies. An experimenting college, Goddard has continually offered new educational models in response to societal needs. It was one of the first colleges to include adult learning in its charter, the first to develop a low-residency model for higher education, and the first to offer residential programs for single parents receiving public assistance. The College continues to grow and change along with its students, who come to Goddard to transform themselves, their communities, and their world.