Commitment to Value

Return on Education

In the Fall of 1876, Gustavus founder Eric Norelius set the tone for the future of the College at the dedication of Old Main when he made the simple statement “in whatever we do, let us do it well.” For over 150 years, Gustavus Adolphus College has been committed to offering students of high aspiration and promise a liberal arts education of recognized excellence provided by faculty who embody the highest standards of teaching and scholarship.

The College takes very seriously its commitment to helping students attain their full potential as persons, to develop in them a capacity and passion for lifelong learning, and to prepare them for fulfilling lives of leadership and service in society.

Gustavus strives to be a distinctive community of learning, known for dedication to excellence and to the development of the whole student. This means nurturing an intellectual climate that encourages scholarly activities by both students and faculty. Central to this vision is excellence in teaching. Conversations among students, between students and faculty, and among faculty members are the fabric of the College community.

Woven into this fabric are programs and opportunities that strengthen and add substance to a college education. They include academic advising, a core of course-work to develop both a breadth of knowledge and writing skills, an academic calendar that offers flexibility, special academic opportunities, and top-notch facilities.

There are a number of yardsticks by which to measure the quality of an institution: a Phi Beta Kappa chapter, low student-faculty ratio, average class size, high retention and graduation rates, strong graduate school and job placement rates, and more. By these measures, Gustavus demonstrates excellence. Additionally, the College continually assesses the effectiveness of its programs through departmental assessment of student learning outcomes, regular review of its general education programs, and involvement in research initiatives such as the Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education, funded by the Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts, and a value-added assessment project to measure writing, critical thinking, and civic engagement funded by the Teagle Foundation.

The Council for the Advancement and Support of Education has ranked Gustavus among the top colleges in the country in the percentage of alumni who contribute to the school. This is strong evidence of the degree of satisfaction that Gustavus graduates have with their educational experience.