As one of the nation's leading liberal arts colleges, Denison offers an authentic education in the fine arts, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences.
Innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in the pursuit of knowledge and the cultivation of independent thinking. And because Denison is a residential college, students are deeply engaged as citizens of the campus community. They learn from one another in a rigorous academic setting, but also in rich social, cultural and political environments.
As a residential undergraduate liberal arts college, Denison is among those places that have been called “distinctively American” in their contribution to higher education worldwide. In fact, it is one of a select number of institutions that today defines the type.
Confident in the distinction of its graduates and advantaged by unusual resources, Denison has pointedly resisted the tendency in higher education to add layers of graduate degrees, professional schools, and service functions beyond the scope of baccalaureate education of the highest order. Entering its 177th year, Denison has maintained a fully residential campus based upon the well-tested premise that learning flourishes in community.
Denison selectively admits successful, confident, and motivated students who seek to take advantage of highly participatory learning within classroom, laboratory, and studio and who expect to learn and grow through their investment in the challenges and opportunities of college life.
The college attracts matriculants from across the country and more than three dozen nations. Denison engages students with outstanding professors in small classes that encourage men and women to take a high degree of personal responsibility for learning. Students pursue a major field of study selected from 39 areas offered by 28 disciplinary departments and interdisciplinary programs in the divisions of Natural Science, Humanities, Social Science, and Fine Arts as well as complete a sequence of General Education and a personalized curriculum of electives from across the college.
A Denison education is not just for a living but for a life. Denison graduates are educated to be curious, resourceful, and reflective. They are expected to begin a life of learning at Denison, not complete it. They are well prepared for the rapidly changing world of the 21st century.
Nothing defines a Denison education more than the mutually enriching relationships that develop between students and faculty. The heart of the college is a full-time faculty of almost 200. These men and women, who hold the most advanced degrees in their fields, are selected on the basis of pedagogical and scholarly ability and are encouraged to be innovative teachers whose continuing growth in their discipline through active scholarship allows them to be among the best at their craft. They look forward to the challenge and stimulation of their students even as they seek to draw the best efforts from them. Many Denison students come to regard professors as mentors, who frequently oversee students' independent scholarly projects.
At Denison, men and women learn and grow in community, and the residential character of the campus is more than a convenience but a way of engaging the full student body in a shared enterprise. The college actively seeks academically superior students who bring diverse talents, interests, backgrounds, and experiences, believing that out of the classroom as well as within learning takes place by sharing, questioning, and growing together. Denison students have unusual opportunities to participate in the arts, in athletics and recreation, in service to others beyond the campus, in student organizational life, and in campus governance.
The goals of the college are spelled out clearly in an up-to-date Mission Statement:
Our purpose is to inspire and educate our students to become autonomous thinkers, discerning moral agents and active citizens of a democratic society. Through an emphasis on active learning, we engage students in the liberal arts, which fosters self-determination and demonstrates the transformative power of education. We envision our students' lives as based upon rational choice, a firm belief in human dignity and compassion unlimited by cultural, racial, sexual, religious or economic barriers, and directed toward an engagement with the central issues of our time.
Our curriculum balances breadth with depth, building academic specialization upon a liberal arts foundation in the arts, the sciences, the social sciences and the humanities. Responsive to new ways of learning, we continue to develop interdisciplinary integration of the many forms of knowledge. While our students pursue specialized learning in their chosen majors, they also develop the framework for an integrated intellectual life, spiritually and morally informed.
Our faculty is committed to undergraduate education. As teacher-scholar-advisors, their principal responsibility is effective teaching informed by the best scholarship. Faculty members place a priority on close interaction with students, interactive learning, and partnerships with students in original research. Our low student/faculty ratio allows for close supervision of independent research and collaborative work in small groups and classes.
We seek to ensure an ever-broader range of racial, ethnic, international and socioeconomic backgrounds in a student body of about 2,100 students. We offer different kinds of financial aid to meet the different needs of our students.
The focus of student life at Denison is a concern for the whole person. The University provides a living-learning environment sensitive to individual needs yet grounded in a concern for community, in which the principles of human dignity and ethical integrity are paramount. Students engage in a wide range of co-curricular activities that address the multidimensional character of their intellectual and personal journey.
Denison is a community in which individuals respect one another and their environment. Each member of the community possesses a full range of rights and responsibilities. Foremost among these is a commitment to treat each other and the environment with mutual respect, tolerance, and civility.