Making a Difference in a Changing World
About Prescott College: Roots and Foundations
Prescott College began in the 1960s, a time of optimism and growth when leaders of a small town in the stunningly beautiful pine and chaparral country of central Arizona were searching for a new cultural identity.
Dr. Charles Franklin Parker, minister of Prescott’s First Congregational Church and Prescott College founder, announced the ambitious project of creating the Harvard of the West – Prescott College.
With the group of visionary leaders, Parker drew on the Congregationalist tradition of founding over 50 leading colleges and universities in America, beginning with Harvard in 1636, and including such institutions as Middlebury, Dartmouth, Amherst, Smith, Yale, Oberlin, Grinnell, Whitman, Colorado, Pomona and Scripps.
Making a Difference in a Changing World . . .
Many of the College's core philosophical and educational principles emerged in 1963, in a conference of state and nationally known leaders from higher education funded by the Ford Foundation’s Fund for Post-Secondary Education, Business and Industry. These principles crystallized around a central goal: To produce the leaders increasingly crucial to successfully meeting the challenges of the changing world.
Dr. Parker’s vision “for a pioneering, even radical experiment in higher education “ and “to graduate society’s leaders for the twenty-first century who would be needed to solve the world’s growing environmental and social problems” seems especially prescient today, as humanity comes to terms with global warming and its potential for large-scale, adverse health, social, economic and ecological effects. Society looks to new models of education to better prepare students of all ages for their role as global citizens.
A New Educational Paradigm
Over a half-century of leadership in developing and refining such new educational models has kept Prescott College at the forefront of schools seeking to address the urgent issues that face human societies right now.
The themes students and faculty have identified over time as central to this effort include environmental awareness, social justice and peace studies, sustainable communities and sustainable agriculture, outdoor leadership, teacher preparation that includes multicultural education, and artistic and critical response to the issues of our world. The methods they have developed – collaborative learning, experiential education, and student-designed programs – assure students' impact in their future roles.
The College's tradition of educating with ethics, vision, and sensitivity supports Prescott College students as they become the leaders the world needs now, and in the decades to come.
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