About Whitworth University
Whitworth University is a private, residential, liberal arts institution affiliated with the Presbyterian church. Since 1890, Whitworth has provided its diverse student body an education of mind and heart, equipping its graduates to honor God, follow Christ and serve humanity. This mission is carried out by a community of Christian scholars committed to excellent teaching and to the integration of faith and learning.
Since 1890, Whitworth University has held fast to its founding mission to provide its students an education of mind and heart characterized by rigorous and open intellectual inquiry and the integration of Christian faith and learning. Anchored in the Reformed tradition and enriched throughout its history by strong evangelical and ecumenical currents, Whitworth’s mission is carried out by a diverse community of dedicated Christian scholars and staff members who are called to a variety of vocations to serve and support students. Whitworth believes that the best learning occurs in the context of relationship – inside and outside of the classroom – where faculty and staff members alike invest in the lives of students. Whitworth is committed to modeling the highest standards of integrity and fairness and to being a trusted and valued member of the community.
Whitworth’s three core themes flow from its mission statement and guide the Whitworth community. As a Christian liberal arts university Whitworth strives to fulfill its mission through the following:
- a community of Christian scholars integrating faith and learning and promoting worldview development in its graduates;
- an academically excellent education firmly rooted in the liberal arts and sciences preparing its graduates for careers and lives of service; and
- an inclusive campus community fostering in its graduates intercultural competencies and civic engagement in an increasingly diverse world.
In 1853, George Whitworth, a minister in the Ohio Valley, convinced 15 families to join his in a wagon train heading from St. Louis to the West. Whitworth's was the only family to complete the brutal five-month journey and reach the Puget Sound area.
An ordained Presbyterian minister, Whitworth had initially set out on the Oregon Trail to follow his calling to serve as a missionary. He would go on to found at least 15 Presbyterian churches across the Pacific Northwest. He also served as president of the University of Washington and as superintendent of schools in Thurston and King counties.
In 1883, Whitworth opened Sumner Academy in the village of Sumner, in Washington Territory, under the charge that "No efforts will be spared to elevate the character of the school and to make it an institution of learning of the highest grade." On Feb 20, 1890, the school's trustees signed resolutions to increase the curriculum and stature of the academy, which would be known as Whitworth College.
The catalog from 1890 defined the vision for Whitworth College: "It is intended to give both sexes a thorough course of education...ever directing them in pursuit of that learning and culture of mind and heart that make the finished scholar....While it is denominational, it does not aim to be sectarian, opening its doors to all lovers of truth and learning."
In 1899, the college had outgrown the rural community of Sumner and moved to Tacoma. Fifteen years later, when Spokane developer Jay P. Graves offered land in his Country Homes Estates, Whitworth moved a final time. In September 1914, classes began in Spokane.
Whitworth began a new era after 117 years as a college when, in 2007, the board of trustees approved changing the school's name to Whitworth University. The change was prompted by trends in the higher-education marketplace that led the board to clarify Whitworth's standing as a four-year liberal arts institution. Whitworth's 17th president, Bill Robinson, helmed the transition and said at the time, "As Whitworth University, we will remain as committed as ever to the liberal arts emphasis and the warm, interpersonal culture for which Whitworth is known."
Today, under the leadership of Beck A. Taylor, Whitworth's 18th president, the university is carrying out its 10-year vision and strategic plan, Whitworth 2021: Courage at the Crossroads. The university has made great strides in deepening its commitments to academic excellence and to the integration of Christian faith and learning, equipping graduates to respond to God's call on their lives with intellectual competence, moral courage and deep compassion.
Whitworth University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Accreditation of an institution of higher education by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities indicates that it meets or exceeds criteria for the assessment of institutional quality evaluated through a peer review process. An accredited college or university is one which has available the necessary resources to achieve its stated purposes through appropriate educational programs, is substantially doing so, and gives reasonable evidence that it will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Institutional integrity is also addressed through accreditation. Accreditation by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities is not partial but applies to the institution as a whole. As such, it is not a guarantee of every course or program offered, or the competence of individual graduates. Rather, it provides reasonable assurance about the quality of opportunities available to students who attend the institution. Inquiries regarding an institution’s accredited status by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities should be directed to the administrative staff of the institution. Individuals may also contact:
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
8060 165th Ave. N.E., Suite 100
Redmond, WA 98052 425.558.4224
Whitworth University has formal authority from the state of Washington to offer undergraduate and graduate education programs through the master’s degree under Washington Student Achievement Council Approval Section 3675, Chapter 36, Title 38, U.S. Code (Eligibility Requirement 2).
The Whitworth Music Department is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music. Certification programs in the School of Education are approved by the Professional Educators Standards Board of Washington. The College of Nursing of Washington State University, Eastern Washington University and Whitworth University is approved by the Washington State Board of Nursing and the Commission for Collegiate Nursing Education. The Whitworth Athletic Training Education Program is nationally accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education.
Whitworth is also a member of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the Council of Independent Colleges, the Association of American Colleges, the Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities, and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.
In addition to the programs listed above that are accredited by external agencies, all of Whitworth’s academic programs undergo an internal systematic review managed by the faculty-led Teaching, Learning, and Assessment Committee (TLAC). TLAC reviews the student learning outcomes and assessment results of each area on a three-year cycle. The purpose of these reviews is to support continuous improvement in all of our programs. In addition to reviewing its programs regularly, Whitworth also regularly assesses its general education programs for effectiveness.
Review of Accreditation, State & Federal Approval
Current and prospective students have the right to review the documents describing the institution’s accreditation, state, and federal approval. If you wish to review these documents, please contact the Director of Assessment and Accreditation (firstname.lastname@example.org, 509.777.3441).
The 4-1-4 Calendar
In 1969, Whitworth became one of the first educational institutions in the country to adopt the 4-1-4 academic calendar. This calendar is now favored by many liberal arts colleges and universities due to its flexibility and its potential for innovative short-run and off-campus courses.
Whitworth’s fall semester begins in early September and ends with Christmas Break. During Jan Term, Whitworth's one-month winter term between semesters, students take one intensive course. Many students participate in internships, independent studies or study-abroad programs during this month. Whitworth has also developed a number of tuition-reciprocity agreements with other colleges and universities on the 4-1-4 calendar; these agreements allow students to experience another college or university during January without upsetting tuition or financial aid arrangements. The spring semester begins in early February and ends in mid-May. A 12-week period of summer instruction is also offered in varied formats, from weekend workshops to online and traditional lecture courses.
|Saturday||Sept. 1||Residence Halls Open for New Students|
|Monday||Sept. 3||Residence Halls Open for Returning Students|
|Tuesday||Sept. 4||Advising and Registration|
|Wednesday||Sept. 5||Day and Evening Classes Begin|
|Friday-Monday||Oct. 26-Oct. 29||Fall Break|
|Wednesday-Friday||Nov. 21-23||Thanksgiving Vacation|
|Monday||Nov. 26||Classes Resume|
|Tuesday-Friday||Dec. 11-14||Final Examinations|
|Wednesday||Jan. 2||Residence Halls Open at 1 p.m. for Returning Students|
|Wednesday||Jan. 2||Residence Halls Open at 3 p.m. for New Students|
|Thursday||Jan. 3||Classes Begin|
|Monday||Jan. 21||Martin Luther King, Jr., Holiday|
|Thursday||Jan. 24||Last Class Day|
|Monday||Jan. 28||Residence Halls Open at 10 a.m. for New Students|
|Wednesday||Jan. 30||Advising and Registration|
|Wednesday||Jan. 30||Evening Classes Begin|
|Thursday||Jan. 31||Day Classes Begin|
|Monday-Friday||Mar. 25-29||Spring Break|
|Monday||April 22||Easter Holiday|
|Tuesday-Friday||May 14-17||Final Examinations|
|Saturday||May 18||Graduate Commencement|
|Sunday||May 19||Undergraduate Baccalaureate and Commencement|
Summer School Dates
Summer school dates extend from May 20-Aug. 9, 2019. Whitworth offers three-week, six-week, nine-week and 12-week course options during this time period.
Note: Whitworth's Adult Degree Program and Master of Business Administration program operate on a different academic calendar than the one that applies to the rest of the university. For the most up-to-date adult degree calendar information, see www.whitworth.edu/forms/dynamic/school-of-continuing-studies/classschedule.aspx. To view the academic calendar for Whitworth's Master of Business Administration program, go to www.whitworth.edu/cms/academics/mba/curriculum-and-course-schedule.