Coe College is a national, residential liberal arts college offering a broad array of programs in the arts, sciences, and professions. Our mission is to prepare students for meaningful lives and fulfilling careers in a diverse, interconnected world. Coe's success will be judged by the success of our graduates.
American higher education is facing unprecedented challenges in terms of economics, technology, government funding, and student demographics. These conditions are especially difficult for residential liberal arts colleges, causing many of them to abandon (or at least diminish) their liberal education curricula as they seek to attract students who are concerned largely with career preparation. This is ironic in light of the abundant evidence demonstrating that a broad-based liberal education, which includes deep learning in multiple areas of study, integration of knowledge across disciplines, and a host of other benefits in terms of critical thinking, problem solving, independent research, and communication skills, remains the very best form of career preparation. It is also the foundation of our democratic system, which relies on a liberally educated populace for self-governance.
We do not believe that Coe should follow this trend. We affirm that students still desire an education of surpassing excellence in a wide range of areas, and that the residential model - characterized by small classes and close student-faculty relationships - remains the most effective form of teaching and learning. We acknowledge that students invest a great deal in their educations and they are understandably concerned about career preparation. Our job is to demonstrate to them why our residential liberal education - which includes traditional liberal arts disciplines as well as professional programs taught within a liberal arts context - is superb preparation for both citizenship and careers.
We are hampered by the fact that Coe has a smaller enrollment and lower per-student tuition revenue than comparable colleges. Therefore, the primary purpose of this plan is to increase Coe's value proposition among prospective students. We will add or enhance programs that affirm Coe's value in terms of the campus educational experience, and that demonstrate how a Coe education prepares graduates for lives and careers in the world beyond our borders. We will do this by emphasizing a small number of significant improvements that we can make over a five-year period - improvements that will convey to students Coe’s academic mission and distinctive qualities. This plan affirms that the student experience (in and out of the classroom) is of paramount importance, and acknowledges that Coe's strength is in residential liberal education.