Our Four Pillars represent a vision for Gettysburg College’s path forward. In many ways, they serve as a blueprint for what makes our community distinct and what will strengthen our institution and best respond to what students need to thrive in today’s world.
As we seek to bring the Pillars to life through programming and the creation of a truly integrated academic and co-curricular experience for our students, our work ahead focuses on our fundamental responsibilities of enhancing and differentiating the Gettysburg experience.
The Pillars will guide our strategic planning process and empower Gettysburg College to graduate students with the knowledge, skills, and instinct to have a meaningful impact on society—whether locally, regionally, nationally, or internationally.
Pillar 1: A rigorous liberal arts and sciences education
A rigorous liberal arts and sciences education is the bedrock of a Gettysburg College experience. Our education exposes students to the world. It teaches them how to think, how to marshal facts and evidence, and how to communicate effectively. It broadens their intercultural understanding, and enhances their capacities for empathy and action.
Through exposure to the arts, humanities, social sciences, and sciences, our College will equip students with an orientation to excel in an increasingly complex and interrelated world.
This is a position of enormous strength for us, given the dedication of our faculty and the quality of our academic offerings. It also underscores the vital importance of our curriculum review. An updated curriculum matters because our student body is changing in profound ways—racially, socioeconomically, and academically. As a College community, we must likewise be authentically open to change to ensure all Gettysburg students graduate with the qualities that will help them find purpose and consequence in society.
Pillar 2: Teaching students how to have an impact
At Gettysburg College, we want our students to be effective advocates for change. Yet, we know that these skills do not come naturally. They must be taught, learned, and practiced. Here, we will teach students how to have an impact, and how to convert their aspirations into action.
Our College will achieve this through a focus on three essential areas of emphasis that reach across every discipline at the institution:
Civic Knowledge and Engagement
Through our new strategic plan, we will ensure every student graduates from Gettysburg College with a clear understanding of the tools of government, public policy, and effective and persuasive communication. In other words, we want to make certain that every Gettysburg graduate is equipped to translate their ideas into purposeful action for the greater good.
Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging
Gettysburg College students will graduate with a deep appreciation of diversity and inclusivity—an understanding that diversity is a source of excellence. Our students will come to see that their own potential, and the impact they can have in their lives and in the world, is enhanced through the ability to navigate, bridge, and find strength from difference.
Ethical and Effective Leadership
Our students will graduate with essential capacities of ethical and effective leadership, including self-awareness, team building, compassion, and empathy. These skills will not only help them in their careers, but also in their lives—and the lives of those they serve.
Pillar 3: Experiential learning
As an institution devoted to the liberal arts and sciences, we will ensure that all Gettysburg College students receive curated, hands-on opportunities to apply what they’ve learned, and in the process, more fully come to understand the world and their place in it.
In short, our College will help students put their education into practice.
Through our new strategic plan, we will reinforce our students’ instinct for action and cultivate an environment in which every Gettysburg student is afforded relevant hands-on learning experiences. Likewise, we will prioritize opportunities for student-faculty research and creative activities, fellowships, internships, study abroad, and the many offerings that provide value and vibrancy to the student experience.
After four years of study on our campus, and through actively applying their education in tangible ways, our students will graduate ready, willing, and eager to make the kind of difference we know they are capable of out in the world. Indeed, as a community, we must do more to help guide our students into career paths that speak to their passions and talents.
Pillar 4: Integration
Gettysburg College has remarkable academic offerings and co-curricular programs, but there is more we can do as a community to give our students the opportunity to reflect on, synthesize, and truly integrate what now often occurs on separate tracks.
As an academic community, we want our students to graduate with more than a collection of experiences en route to a degree; we want them to graduate with a clarity and understanding of what they learned here, and who they became here.
Our College will accomplish this through the work of our exceptional programming, but also through advising, mentoring, and career counseling that focuses on the whole student.