Founded in 1826, Furman is a private, undergraduate liberal arts and sciences university of 2,800 students in Greenville, S.C. The university is noted for its rigorous academic program and strong faculty, and its 750-acre campus is widely recognized as one of the most beautiful in the nation. Furman also has outstanding visual and performing arts programs as well as NCAA Division I athletics, and the university community embraces a diversity of ideas and perspectives.
Through campus organizations such as the award-winning Heller Service Corps, the Institute for the Advancement of Community Health, the Shi Center for Sustainability and the Riley Institute, Furman actively participates in the local community and makes an impact far beyond the gates of the campus.
The primary mission of Furman as a liberal arts institution is to provide a distinctive undergraduate education encompassing humanities, fine arts, social sciences, mathematics and the natural sciences, and selected professional disciplines. In addition to its primary emphasis on undergraduate education, Furman offers graduate programs in education, chemistry, community engaged medicine, and strategic design.
The university also provides a continuing education program for the larger Greenville community. At the heart of the undergraduate program are the general education requirements. The requirements ensure that all undergraduates will be introduced to the major methods of inquiry that characterize liberal study. In accordance with the traditional assumptions of liberal education, both out-of-class and in-class experiences are designed to develop the whole person - intellectually, physically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually. Furman seeks highly motivated students with inquisitive minds, varied perspectives, a sense of personal integrity and moral responsibility with the potential to be leaders and to make future contributions to society.
Character and Values
Furman University was founded by Baptists in 1826. Even before it opened its doors, Richard Furman outlined the character and values of the institution he envisioned: “The course of education and government will be conducted with a sacred regard to the interests of morality and religion, according to the conscientious sentiments of the founders; yet on principles of Christian liberality, and in favor of private judgment.” The Latin motto of the university, Christo et Doctrinae (For Christ and Learning), underlines the interrelationship of faith and learning.
Each subsequent generation has sought to reassess Furman University’s character and values as it has evolved from an academy to a denominational college to an independent liberal arts college. The university has sought to remain faithful to its Judeo-Christian heritage by encouraging students, faculty, administration and staff to grow in faith as they grow in knowledge and to express their faith through lives of service.
In 1992 Furman University separated from the South Carolina Baptist Convention. The University became a self-governing institution in order to preserve its values in a religious atmosphere that had become highly combative and increasingly restrictive. In light of this event the purpose of this statement is to identify and clarify the university’s character and values once more to its faculty and administration, its staff and students, and the wider community.
As a community of liberal learning, Furman University maintains its commitment to freedom of inquiry and excellence in the quest for truth. The university is a community that encourages and nurtures individuals as they search for truth with passion, integrity, and rigorous intellectual discipline. The university must zealously guard its freedom to look for truth wherever it is to be found. Furthermore, the university understands its mission to be not only the transmission of knowledge, attitudes, and values, but also their examination and correction in the light of continuing discovery and the integration of knowledge. The university, which is the natural arena for such an engagement, is committed to securing a diverse faculty who find learning exciting and can communicate such excitement to students who are intellectually and emotionally prepared to respond to the challenge. Conscious of the crucial importance of the teacher to the achievement of its goals, Furman seeks faculty members who combine scholarly achievement, a life of faith, high moral principles, concern for students, and a sympathetic awareness of Furman’s tradition and purposes.
Furman is a person-centered community, emphasizing the prime worth of persons and encouraging concern for others. Development of the proper regard for the rights and feelings of others is one of our primary values. The imperative to love our neighbors as ourselves is expressed in the Furman community through:
- an appreciation for its diversity,
- a concern for the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual needs of each person,
- a continuing effort to strengthen community ties through open communication and mutual respect,
- the appropriate involvement of all members of the community in decision-making,
- the commitment to excellence at every level of our life together, and
- an appreciation for the university’s heritage and the contributions of those who have shaped the institution.
Furman students are recruited from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives. The university seeks to nurture their development into mature, integrated persons by encouraging all students to develop a mature understanding of their own identities, to establish meaningful personal goals, and to understand their own faith and outlook. Furman celebrates freedom of conscience and opposes efforts to impose beliefs on students. Furman is a learning community where faith is cherished but not coerced. The university makes its own spiritual commitments explicit through faculty, staff, and administrators who provide models of faith, academic excellence, maturity and wisdom.
Furman also conveys its concern for the character and well-being of members of the community through reasonable, negotiable and enforceable regulations. Such standards should reflect the nature of the institution, the wider community of which it is a part, and the reality that the university itself is made up of persons of diverse views and backgrounds. Rules express the university’s belief that the undisciplined life is self-destructive and intrusive upon the rights of others. The application of regulations should reflect the effort to encourage personal responsibility, which alone liberates. The administration of justice is always aimed at being redemptive rather than punitive. The university recognizes its responsibility both inside and outside the classroom to encourage students to confront the problems of contemporary society and to exercise moral judgment in the use of knowledge. To this end, Furman fosters in its students a sense of social justice and encourages them to exercise their civic responsibility in creating a fair and equitable order. Students are educated to solve human problems rather than to use their knowledge as a means of gaining further advantage over those who are disadvantaged.
Furman University affirms the worth of both the life of learning and the life of faith and integrity. The occasion of receiving a university degree should become a genuine commencement for graduates to continue their education, to engage in moral reflection, and to deepen their civic involvement “with a sacred regard to the interests of morality and religion.”
It is the desire of Furman University to unite its members in a collective commitment to integrity. In so doing, Furman University strives to teach its members to live lives of humility, respect, and responsibility. Therefore, it is the expectation that all members of the Furman University community will conduct themselves with integrity in all endeavors. In honoring these values and ideals as Furman University’s foundation, it is with the utmost faithfulness and dignity that I will subscribe to them.
An Engaged Approach to Liberal Learning
Furman University enriches traditional liberal arts education by offering students an array of opportunities to learn by doing. While grounding its curriculum in the humanities, fine arts, and sciences, Furman offers courses in fields that are more professionally oriented: business administration, accounting, education, health sciences, and music performance. In addition, Furman emphasizes education outside the traditional classroom, providing opportunities for students to put into practice the theories and methods learned from texts or lectures. For example, Furman has become a national leader in undergraduate research and collaborative research projects involving students and professors. Engaged learning takes additional forms at Furman. A significant number of Furman students participate in internships. Others serve as teaching apprentices on campus or in elementary and secondary schools. A large number enroll in study away programs sponsored by the university while many work as volunteers for social service agencies or other helping programs in the Greenville community. For many Furman students, these out-of-class opportunities become life-changing experiences. By supplementing classroom instruction with opportunities for collaborative research and off campus learning, Furman aims to give students greater responsibility for their education, to develop their self-confidence, and to sharpen their leadership skills.
The Furman Curriculum
Furman nurtures a commitment to independent thought and lifelong learning. By providing students with a broad exposure to the liberal arts, it seeks to produce graduates grounded in the traditional sources of knowledge yet capable of devising new solutions to problems in their chosen field. At the core of Furman’s educational mission, the curriculum is dedicated to the following ideals of liberal learning:
- Invigoration and stimulation of intellectual curiosity,
- Broad preparation in a diverse set of disciplines, including the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and the fine arts,
- Intellectual inquiry in sufficient depth to allow one to contribute to a greater body of knowledge;
- Development of expressive capabilities in writing, speaking, and the arts,
- Cultivation of world citizenship-an understanding of those not like oneself, and
- Integration of knowledge into a meaningful synthesis.
Furman University is accredited by the the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award bachelor’s, master’s and educational specialist degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call (404) 679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Furman University.
The commission requests contact only be initiated if evidence of significant non-compliance with accreditation requirements or standards exists. Requests about the normal and routine operation of the university should be directed to appropriate university offices.
Furman is a member of the Southern University Conference, the Association of American Colleges and Universities, and is on the approved list of the American Chemical Society. The program in music is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music. The Teacher Education Program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.
Statement of Non-Discrimination
Furman University is committed to providing equal access to its educational programs, activities, and facilities to all otherwise qualified students without discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, color, creed, religion, sex, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other category protected by applicable state or federal law. An equal opportunity employer, Furman also affirms its commitment to nondiscrimination in its employment policies and practices. In compliance with Title IX (20 U.S.C Sec. 1681 et seq.) Furman University prohibits sex discrimination, including sexual harassment. For student related disability discrimination concerns, contact the Student Office for Accessibility Resources, 864-294-2320, 3300 Poinsett Hwy, Greenville, SC 29613. Title IX concerns should be directed to Connie L. Carson, Vice President for Student Life, at 864-294-2202, 3300 Poinsett Hwy, Greenville, SC 29613.