History, Tradition & Mission


A Liberal-Arts Opportunity

Founded in 1838, Greensboro College provides undergraduate students a true liberal-arts education while also offering four master’s degrees. Greensboro College provides a coeducational and independent learning atmosphere with approximately 1,000 undergraduate students from 29 states and territories, the District of Columbia, and seven foreign countries. We have 45 full-time faculty who teach 32 majors and more than 1,000 different courses directly to our students. We pride ourselves on our one-on-one contact between faculty and students, with no graduate assistants or teaching assistants teaching courses at Greensboro. We consider ourselves a leader in academic advising and leadership development programs. In addition, our 17-sport NCAA Division III athletic program is nationally recognized. Our affiliation with the United Methodist Church affords students the opportunity to stay grounded in their faith, and to grow spiritually. When searching for the college that best fits you, think about what’s most important to your overall experience and what will help guide you to a successful and prosperous future. If intellectual, personal and spiritual development are important to you then your search ends at Greensboro College. Greensboro College is a Yellow Ribbon school and is also designated as a Military Friendly School. To learn more about GC’s history, visit the college’s Brock Historical Museum online. View GC in the news.

Vision Statement

The Strategic Vision Statement of Greensboro College, which frames the aspirations of the college for the long-term future:
Greensboro College, grounded in the traditions of the United Methodist Church, aspires to provide all students with a transformative, universally designed educational experience that positively affects their lives so they may realize their full potential.

Mission Statement

The Mission Statement of Greensboro College, which is the definition of what GC is today and why the institution exists:
Greensboro College provides a liberal arts education grounded in the traditions of the United Methodist Church and fosters the intellectual, social, and spiritual development of all students while supporting their individual needs.

The Three Pillars Upon Which the College’s Strategic Plan is Founded:

1. A liberal arts college

Grounded in antiquity, the liberal arts (in Latin, artes liberals, or, in Greek, enkuklios paideia, which means education in a circle) are built upon the academic disciplines proven to be essential for living as a free person prepared to take an active part in civic life. The liberal arts have been foundational for more than three centuries in American higher education and remain the core of the academic mission of Greensboro College after 177 years. A liberal arts education provides a broad general education curriculum in the humanities, arts, sciences, education, and business. The liberal arts develop a student’s ability to analyze and synthesize information and to think critically and logically, with the ability to communicate well both orally and in writing. A liberal arts education also has characteristics that include affordability, access, diversity, personal attention, alumni satisfaction, enabling student success, and allowing student and alumni contributions to the public good. The liberal arts are well proven as the best possible preparation for both a successful career and a well-lived life of meaning, self-reflection, and service as a contributing citizen for both community and the world. (as described in literature of the Council of Independent Colleges’ recent campaign for the liberal arts)

2. Affiliated with the United Methodist Church

The United Methodist Church is a connectional church, and at the heart of the connection is education. Since the original charge of the General Conference of the Church in 1820 to “establish literary institutions,” United Methodist-affiliated education is non-sectarian, open to all persons without restriction based on gender, race, religious preference, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status, and grounded upon a well-rounded liberal arts curriculum that enables and supports faith exploration but not dogmatic indoctrination. In the words of one of the founders of the Methodist movement, Charles Wesley, “to unite that so long disjoined, knowledge and vital piety.” Recent United Methodist literature uses the description of “Open Hearts. Open Minds. Open Doors.” GC maintains that the institution exists at the intersection of faith and reason. Methodist colleges provide a supporting institutional environment for faith formation to educate and empower those students who of their own free will commit to becoming disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. (as described in literature of the General Board for Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church) The relationship between college and church is further defined in “A Statement of the National Association of Schools, Colleges, and Universities of the United Methodist Church,” approved Feb. 2, 2015:
We the members of the National Association of Schools, Colleges, and Universities of the United Methodist Church (NASCUMC) express our deep concern regarding the violence and pain in our contemporary culture, both inside the church and in the larger society. We have witnessed, and we continue to witness, a world of racially charged violence, the suicides of young people condemned for their sexual orientation or gender identity, escalation in human trafficking and domestic abuse, rancorous political debate, and polarization within the church. As members of NASCUMC, we do not interpret societal issues with one mind, but we share a compassionate heart. Together we bear witness to our common concern for indignities in our global society and the urgency for the church and church-related institutions to witness in words and actions to the dignity of all human beings. As United Methodist-related institutions, we also bear witness to the “catholic spirit” of the Wesleyan tradition and the larger Christian tradition, interpreted in relation to our contemporary context, and the recognition of God-given grace in every human life. We commit ourselves as educational institutions related to the United Methodist Church to give leadership on behalf of social justice and human dignity by developing new patterns and practices of communication and by attending to questions of justice within our own institutions. We dedicate the years 2015 and 2016 to heralding our commitment to Justice and Dignity. In so doing, we are guided by the core humanistic and religious value that all persons are of sacred worth and equal standing. We welcome students to our campuses regardless of their race or ethnicity, their creed, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. We encourage the free exchange of ideas and therefore recognize that diversity of backgrounds, values, and viewpoints is essential for rich conversation and sound learning. We promote a vision of life in which people are judged by the content of their character and not their skin color, their gender, their sexual orientation, or any of the other artificial barriers used to devalue some of God’s children. We as presidents of United Methodist-related colleges and universities commit ourselves to foster an educational environment in which honest differences are honored. We recognize that every institution exists in a different context, and the issues we face are different. Every institution attempts to support the life of all people, and we all fall short of the policies and practices of which we are capable. Thus, it is important for us to assume our roles as educational institutions and to give leadership in significant conversations and in active evaluation and revision of institutional policies and practices. To these ends, we commit ourselves to two particular actions between March 1, 2015, and December 31, 2016:
  1. Conversations that Matter about Matters that Matter: Each participating institution will sponsor a series of conversations on concerns of justice and dignity within its distinctive context — concerns that are subject to diverse and strongly held perspectives. The purpose of these conversations is to learn to communicate with dignity across human differences — a process that includes genuine sharing, listening, and considering what others say.
  2. Institutional Action: Each institution will also assess its own institutional practices and then take explicit action to prioritize and reshape its policies and institutional culture to foster more fully the dignity of all people. These actions will include policies that address the health and wellbeing of all persons regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender preference, social class, and other aspects of human difference.

3. A Universal Design for Learning environment at the institutional level

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) at its core is a comprehensive educational framework that removes barriers to student learning and academic success. The principles of UDL recognize that variance in learning ability and style among individuals is the norm and not the exception. Therefore, curriculum should be adaptable to individual learning differences rather than the other way around. Greensboro College is unique in higher education in embracing UDL throughout all aspects of the college at the institutional level, including all academic, student development, campus infrastructure, and resource programs and units. UDL is the vocabulary, architecture, and framework for successful academic and student development for GC as a small, private, church-related liberal arts college. Developed at the North Carolina State University College of Design in the 1980s, UDL is based on research in the learning sciences, including cognitive neuroscience, guiding the development of flexible learning environments that can accommodate individual learning differences. Recognizing that the manner in which individuals learn is neither uniform nor consistent, UDL calls for creating a curriculum from the outset that provides: multiple means of representation to give learners various ways of acquiring information and knowledge, multiple means of expression to provide learners alternatives for demonstrating what they know, and multiple means of engagement to tap into learners’ interests and challenge them appropriately while motivating them to learn and succeed. UDL is intended to enable and enhance learning by reducing physical, cognitive, intellectual, and organizational barriers to learning. The term “universal” does not in any manner mean “one-size-fits-all.” Rather, it means that all learners despite their individual differences have equitable ability to learn the same content and demonstrate mastery of that content by means that work best for them. (as described in literature of the Center for Applied Special Technology and the National Center for UDL as well as in UDL in the Classroom, edited by Hall, Meyer and Rose, 2012)

The Strategic Plan Goals for Greensboro College:

(For the Web, we have condensed the plan’s goals. Faculty, staff, and students may access the full version of the plan in Moodle.) To implement the components of the strategic plan, “GC will” goal statements are organized using categories related to core academic mission, student development, and campus resources:

I. Core Academic Mission

A. Greensboro College is at its core a liberal arts college. Greensboro College will continue to provide a rigorous liberal-arts education for a diverse student population, recruiting, retaining and developing the best possible faculty and staff to do so and increasing enrollment to provide the revenue necessary for this effort. B. Greensboro College will become a UDL institution. Greensboro College will implement Universal Design for Learning strategies, techniques and facilities at all levels to increase the chances that all students will succeed.

II. Student Development

A. Co-curricular development is demonstrated as follows: Greensboro College students will acquire the skills to succeed academically, to set and meet short- and long-term goals, and to function in and contribute to a diverse community while living healthy lives. B. United Methodist Church traditions and affiliation mean that: Greensboro College will remain actively affiliated with the United Methodist Church while encouraging and supporting students in their individual faith journeys.

III. College Resources

A. Campus infrastructure requires that: GC will combine its unique downtown location with adequate facilities, resources, and capital to support its academic, co-curricular and spiritual goals. B. Governance, Management, and Financial commitments are that: GC will achieve and maintain best practices in governance, management, and finances, assuring that it provides itself with adequate resources and becomes a contributing model for its community and peers.

In Summary and Next Steps

The Latin inscription on the Greensboro College seal is Palma Non Sine Pulvere, commonly translated as Victory Not Without Toil. For 177 years, Greensboro College has met its core institutional mission by a steadfast commitment to our core values and the social contract between student and college. By way of this new strategic plan, Greensboro College recommits to its core institutional mission for the next five years, with its core values founded upon the three pillars that GC is a liberal arts college affiliated with the United Methodist Church, and has embraced Universal Design for Learning.

Measurement, Reporting and Accountability: The GC2020 Annual Report

To document and report on progress in executing the five-year strategic plan, and to hold accountable all key stakeholders, Greensboro College will produce a comprehensive GC2020 Annual Report during the summer of 2015, and at the end of each academic and fiscal year ending June 30th thereafter, for distribution of the results to a wide set of college stakeholders, including the Board, faculty, students, staff, alumni, donors, accrediting bodies, bank partners, the church, community leaders, and others. The GC2020 Annual Report will include an update of a detailed GC Institutional Fact Book, a compendium of numerous internal and external reports, audited financial statements, comprehensive institutional assessment reports, and specific narrative on performance metrics including enrollment, retention, progress to degree, academic program development, fundraising, facilities, student development, religious life, athletics, and the progress regarding implementation of the Quality Enhancement Project (QEP to be developed during 2014-15 academic year). The annual report will be the foundation for performance review for the institution and the Board of Trustees, President, Vice Presidents, Deans, Directors, faculty, coaches, and staff. In addition, the Strategic Planning Committee archives (an extensive collection of foundational and assessment data, reports, meeting minutes, analyses, and other relevant data) will be continuously updated and are available via the college’s Moodle site. The GC Annual Report will be the cornerstone of the SACSCOC self-study analysis due on September 10, 2015, and of all required internal and external reports. During the summer of 2020, GC2020 Final Report, a comprehensive report, will analyze the overall progress of the college against the goals set out in the strategic plan.

Honor Code

All academic endeavors at Greensboro College are based on the expectation and assumption that each student will uphold the highest principles of honesty and fairness. This expectation and assumption finds expression in the Academic Honor Code, which every student is committed to uphold.
  • Every student is honor bound to refrain from cheating.
  • Every student is honor bound to refrain from plagiarizing.
  • Every student is honor bound to refrain from lying.
  • Every student is honor bound to refrain from misusing library, laboratory or computer equipment or materials.
  • Every student is honor bound to refrain from disruptive classroom behavior.
  • Every student is honor bound to comply strictly with all examination and testing procedures as may be prescribed by the College, the faculty or individual members of the faculty.
  • Every student is honor bound to report Academic Honor Code violations.
Additional information regarding the academic honor code and administrative procedures related to it may be found in the Undergraduate and Graduate academic catalogs.