Educational Principles

For more than 125 years, Whitworth’s vision has been the pursuit of intellectual and spiritual development. Through decades of change, this fundamental purpose has remained firmly centered in the person of Jesus Christ. Our understanding of Christ is based on Scripture, the inspired and trustworthy record of God’s self-disclosure and our final rule for faith and practice. As a university affiliated with the Presbyterian church, Whitworth stands within the historic Reformed tradition. Believing that God is the ultimate source of all truth and is to be loved with “all our mind and heart,” Whitworth embraces freedom of inquiry and the unhindered pursuit of truth. Therefore, we equip our diverse student body to honor God, follow Christ and serve humanity, working for redemption and healing in a broken world.

Whitworth’s educational principles are grouped broadly into three categories: the knowledge that students will gain, the skills they will need to work effectively in the world, and the faith and values that our community seeks to reflect. These principles are interdependent: Together they reflect an institution-wide commitment to providing a Whitworth education in which faith, learning and living are purposefully integrated.


Whitworth’s educational mission is fulfilled through instruction and mentoring by Christian faculty and staff. Informed by their disciplines, which they attempt to view thoughtfully through the eyes of faith, faculty members encourage students to know themselves, the world, and the nature of their responsibility to God and to creation.

Specifically, Whitworth is committed to providing its students with the following:

• A solid grounding in the liberal arts and sciences

We promote a knowledge of the methods, assumptions and content areas of at least one discipline, and an understanding of interdisciplinary themes and connections. We are also committed to helping our students to appreciate intellectual and aesthetic traditions throughout the world and to understand challenges to those traditions. 

• An understanding of Christian faith and its implications for liberal arts learning

As an educational community open to a wide variety of voices, Whitworth is shaped by a theological heritage that examines the implications of faith for what is known and strives to understand the limits as well as the importance of rational knowledge.


We are committed to preparing students to pursue fulfilling careers and to make an effective contribution to the common good; this is a challenging task in a rapidly changing world that is technologically, culturally, and intellectually complex. We equip students for meaningful vocations by developing the following abilities:

• Intellectual skills

We are committed to developing the capacity for critical thinking, ethical decision-making, problem-solving and creative expression. We also aspire to build skills in computation, quantitative analysis, and responsible use of technology.

• Relational skills

We encourage reflection, self-understanding, and the ability to relate well within and across cultures. We are also committed to developing in our students the capacity to communicate with empathy and effectiveness through the skills of listening, speaking, and writing.

• Professional skills

We equip students with the technological literacy and other skills appropriate to their chosen areas of study and essential to their professional contributions to society. We encourage thoughtful career choices and lives of meaningful service.

Faith and Values

A Whitworth education is grounded in commitment to Christ and His teachings by faculty and staff members who embrace a variety of Christian traditions. We offer Christian perspectives on learning, and we support character development that relates faith to life’s most central issues. These include the following:

• Response to God

We encourage serious consideration of commitment to Christ, the gospel and the church, and to living as an act of worship and gratitude to God.

• Relationship to others

We encourage the development of character virtues (including compassion, humility, honesty and courage) in intellectual pursuit, as in all of life. We want our students to think and to act ethically, and to embrace responsible citizenship and service.

• Stewardship of creation

We encourage exploration and appreciation of the complex nature of life, responsible care for the natural world, and commitment to human health and well-being.