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 our mission statement and guide our community. As a comprehensive and residential Christian liberal arts university, Whitworth strives to fulfill our mission through the following:
- a community of Christian scholars integrating faith and learning and promoting worldview development in our graduates;
- an academically excellent education firmly rooted in the liberal arts and sciences equipping our graduates for reflective lives, careers, and professions; and
- an inclusive university community fostering in our graduates intercultural competencies and civic engagement for lives of service 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.
Redmond, WA 98052 425.558.4224
The Whitworth Music Department is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music. 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 Program is nationally accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education. The Whitworth Marriage & Family Therapy Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education. In the School of Education, the teacher certification programs, school counseling program and school administration program are approved by the State of Washington Professional Educator Standards Board.
Whitworth is also a member of the Association of American Colleges & Universities, the American Council of Education, the Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities, the Council of Independent Colleges and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. It is also a collaborative partner of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.
State Authorization-Washington State
Whitworth University qualifies as “exempt” (WAC 250-61-060) from requiring degree authorization in the State of Washington according to the Washington State Degree-Granting Institutions Act, Chapter 28B.85 RCW. The Washington Student Achievement Council recognizes Whitworth University as a legal degree-granting institution under these exemption criteria. Specific degree programs at Whitworth University are approved by the Washington Student Achievement Council’s State Approving Agency for veterans’ education and training benefits under Section 3675, Chapter 36, Title 38, U.S. Code.
State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA)
Whitworth University is a participating institution of SARA (State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements) which is a voluntary, regional approach to provide oversight of postsecondary distance education. Under the provisions of SARA, Whitworth is authorized to provide distance education to students residing in other SARA member states. A list of SARA states and participating institutions can be found on the NC-SARA website.
State Authorization - Oregon State
Master of Education in Montessori education programs (M.Ed.) delivered in the State of Oregon are considered a “physical presence” by SARA, thus state authorization is required for conferral of these degrees in other SARA member states. Whitworth University has been granted initial authorization for these degree programs in the State of Oregon.
This school is a business unit of a corporation and is authorized by the State of Oregon to offer and confer the academic degrees and certificates described herein, following a determination that state academic standards will be satisfied under OAR 583-030. Inquiries concerning the standards or school compliance may be directed to the Office of Degree Authorization, 255 Capitol St. NE, Salem, Oregon 97310.
(Academic Programs, Accreditation)
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||Aug. 31||Residence Halls Open for New Students|
|Monday||Sept. 2||Residence Halls Open for Returning Students|
|Tuesday||Sept. 3||Advising and Registration|
|Wednesday||Sept. 4||Day and Evening Classes Begin|
|Friday-Monday||Oct. 25-Oct. 28||Fall Break|
|Wednesday-Friday||Nov. 27-29||Thanksgiving Vacation|
|Monday||Dec. 2||Classes Resume|
|Tuesday-Friday||Dec. 10-13||Final Examinations|
|Thursday||Jan. 2||Residence Halls Open at 1 p.m. for Returning Students|
|Thursday||Jan. 2||Residence Halls Open at 3 p.m. for New Students|
|Friday||Jan. 3||Classes Begin|
|Monday||Jan. 20||Martin Luther King, Jr., Holiday|
|Friday||Jan. 24||Last Class Day|
|Monday||Jan. 27||Residence Halls Open at 10 a.m. for New Students|
|Wednesday||Jan. 29||Advising and Registration|
|Wednesday||Jan. 29||Evening Classes Begin|
|Thursday||Jan. 30||Day Classes Begin|
|Monday-Friday||Mar. 23-27||Spring Break|
|Monday||April 13||Easter Holiday|
|Tuesday-Friday||May 12-15||Final Examinations|
|Saturday||May 16||Graduate Commencement|
|Sunday||May 17||Undergraduate Baccalaureate and Commencement|
Summer School Dates
Summer school dates extend from May 18-Aug. 7, 2020. 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.