Since its founding, Ohio Wesleyan has maintained its connection with the Methodist (now United Methodist) Church, offering a quality of scholarship, leadership, and service that has enriched both Church and society. Its charter provided that “the University is forever to be conducted on the most liberal principles, accessible to all religious denominations, and designed for the benefit of our citizens in general.” In the spirit of this heritage, the University defines itself as a community of teachers and students devoted to the free pursuit of truth. It attempts to develop in its students qualities of intellect and character that will be useful no matter what they choose to do in later life. The transmission, extension, and discovery of knowledge are central to the liberal arts tradition. While encouraging professional scholarship and feeling justifiably proud of its faculty and graduates who enjoy national or international reputations in their fields, the University has as its preeminent purpose to be a quality institution for teaching and learning. Because effective teaching is of the highest importance, members of the faculty regularly are reviewed and evaluated for excellence in teaching.
Ohio Wesleyan judges itself successful when it has accomplished three objectives in its work with students:
The first is to impart knowledge. Included here is knowledge about our cultural past; a liberal education communicates what great minds have thought, great artists have created, great leaders have done. Also included is new knowledge; a liberal education communicates what is being acquired on the frontiers of contemporary inquiry and current advances of the human spirit. The objective of imparting knowledge begins with the conviction that it is intrinsically worthwhile to possess the knowledge and insight transmitted through the humanities, arts, and sciences.
A second major objective is to develop and enhance certain important capabilities of students. As they progress through the curriculum of the University, students secure the foundation skills of reading, writing, and quantitative analysis. They build on these skills the capacity to think critically and logically, to employ the methods of the different fields of inquiry, and to understand the symbolic languages used to codify and communicate knowledge in today’s society. They may develop aesthetic sensibilities or creative talents in several fields. Many students learn to integrate theory with practice by preparing for careers within various disciplines and through pre-professional and professional programs.
The third objective is to place education in the context of values. Liberal education seeks to develop in students understanding of themselves, appreciation of others, and willingness to meet the responsibilities of citizenship in a free society. It recognizes that trained sensitivity to private and public value issues, grounded in a sound grasp of various cultural heritages, is important for maturation and for living a good life. It accords high honor to intellectual honesty. Consistent with our Methodist tradition, Ohio Wesleyan encourages concern for all religious and ethical issues and stimulates its students to examine their own views in light of these issues.
To the extent that Ohio Wesleyan educates liberally, it fulfills its ultimate purpose of equipping students with knowledge, competence, and character for leadership, service, and continued learning in a complex and increasingly global society.