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.
It is the mission of Prescott College to educate students of diverse ages and backgrounds to understand, thrive in, and enhance our world community and environment. We regard learning as a continuing process and strive to provide an education that will enable students to live productive lives while achieving a balance between self-fulfillment and service to others. Students are encouraged to think critically and act ethically with sensitivity to both the human community and the biosphere. Our philosophy stresses experiential learning and self-direction within an interdisciplinary curriculum.
Prescott College, tucked into a corner of the central Arizona town whose name it bears, is an evolving experiment in collaboration and teamwork as the cornerstone of learning, rejecting hierarchical thinking.
Optional grades. Narrative Evaluations. No barriers. Limited bureaucracy. No summa or magna or “best in show” ribbons. Just a peripatetic community of lively intellects and fearless explorers whose connecting threads are a passion for social justice and the environment – and a keen sense of adventure.
Prescott’s highly individual philosophy mandates and incorporates experiential learning into every course, blending rigorous coursework with a specific focus that prepares students for important but nontraditional roles in society.
The approximately 500 Prescott students are exceptional in a number of categories — their concern about the environment, their interest in other cultures and racial understanding, their psychological well-being and their inclination toward socially responsible leadership.
Prescott students spend less time memorizing and more time synthesizing and organizing information into new, more complex ideas. In a combined measure of Active and Collaborative learning, Prescott students score near the top of the 1,000+ institutions that participate in the annual National Survey of Student Engagement.
The most popular majors include Environmental Studies/Sciences, Adventure Education /Outdoor Education, Cultural and Regional Studies/Social Sciences and Psychology. Majors are also offered in the Visual Arts, Creative Writing and Professional Teacher Preparation.