About Westminster College

Mission | History | Core Values | Educational Goals | Core Themes and ObjectivesThe Campus | The Faculty | The Students | Student Life and Services | Accreditation and Affiliation | Inquiries

Mission

Westminster College is a private, independent college dedicated to student learning. We are a community of learners with a long and honored tradition of caring deeply about students and their education. We offer liberal arts and professional education in courses of study for undergraduate, selected graduate, and other innovative degree and non-degree programs. Students are challenged to experiment with ideas, raise questions, critically examine alternatives, and make informed decisions. We encourage students to accept responsibility for their learning, to discover and pursue their passions, and to promote more equitable and sustainable communities.

Our purposes are to prepare students to lead lives of learning, accomplishment, and service and to help them develop skills and attributes critical for success in a diverse and interdependent world. We promote distinctive approaches to engaged learning that emphasize theory and practice in our academic and co-curricular programs. Grounded in a culture of creativity and innovation, we work to pursue excellence while promoting inclusiveness and respect for differences.

History

Westminster College has played a pivotal role in the educational heritage of the intermountain area. Founded in 1875 as the Salt Lake Collegiate Institute, a preparatory school under the auspices of the First Presbyterian Church of Salt Lake City, Westminster first offered college classes in 1897 as Sheldon Jackson College. Named in honor of its primary benefactor, Sheldon Jackson, a Presbyterian clergyman and supervisor of public education in Alaska, the college operated for many years on the Collegiate Institute campus in downtown Salt Lake City. Gradually the institute became identified as the college preparatory department, and high school classes continued to be an integral part of the curriculum until 1945.

In 1902 college trustees adopted a new name to reflect a more generic Protestant orientation than its former title afforded. The name Westminster derives from The Westminster Confession of Faith, a comprehensive exposition of Presbyterian theology produced by English Puritans and Scottish Presbyterians at Westminster, a borough of London, in the seventeenth century.

Moving to its present location in 1911, Westminster became the first accredited two-year junior college in the intermountain area. In 1935 Westminster modified its curriculum to qualify as a four-year junior college and in 1949 became a four-year liberal arts institution offering baccalaureate degrees in the arts and sciences. In the years since, the college has added a number of professional programs.

Founded by Presbyterians but always interdenominational in outlook and governance, Westminster had legal ties to the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America administered through the regional Synod of Utah. By mutual consent of church and college, Westminster ended its official covenantal relationship in 1974. Today Westminster exists as a fully independent, privately funded, nondenominational, comprehensive liberal arts institution of higher learning with selected graduate programs, meeting the West’s educational needs as it has since 1875.

Core Values

As members of the Westminster College community, we are committed to the following values:

  • Impassioned teaching and active learning
  • Respect for diverse people and perspectives
  • Collaboration and teamwork
  • Personal and social responsibility
  • College-wide excellence
  • High ethical standards

Educational Goals

To distinguish the College by preparing “Graduates of Westminster College”: graduates who have developed skills and attributes crucial for success.
“Graduates of Westminster College” will achieve the following college-wide learning goals:

  • Critical Thinking
    Students will comprehensively explore issues, ideas, artifacts, events, and other positions, before accepting or formulating an opinion or conclusion.
  • Creativity
    Students will combine or synthesize new ideas, practices, or expertise in original ways that are characterized by innovation, divergent thinking, and risk taking.
  • Collaboration
    Students will demonstrate self-awareness, understanding of effective group dynamics, and project management skills.
  • Communication
    Students will communicate ideas to audiences in oral, visual, and written forms to establish knowledge, to increase understanding, or to advocate for a particular position.
  • Global Responsibility
    Students will (i) employ practices informed by social responsibility across the spectrum of differences and (ii) demonstrate knowledge of and evaluate solutions for, challenges affecting local, regional, and global communities.

Core Themes and Objectives

Core Theme One: Graduates with the Skills and Attributes Critical for Success

  • Develop a learning-centered environment focused on helping students achieve College-wide and program-specific learning goals

Core Theme Two: Distinctive Programs and Learning Designs

  • Develop degree and non-degree programs that are mission driven, market sensitive, and focused on clearly defined learning goals
  • Develop undergraduate and graduate programs that effectively and efficiently utilize distinctive approaches to engaged learning
  • Expand and enrich opportunities for student learning by engaging local urban and natural resources
  • Engage the college community in both the theory and practice of sustainability

Core Theme Three: Diversity and Global Learning

  • Enrich and broaden the curriculum and co-curriculum to include international and domestic diversity perspectives and experiences
  • Increase the recruitment and retention of international and historically under-represented students, faculty, and staff
  • Provide faculty and staff professional development opportunities related to diversity and global consciousness

Core Theme Four: Culture of Innovation and a Commitment to Continuous Improvement, Effectiveness, and Value

  • Invest in programs, facilities, and people critical to the College’s ability to realize its mission and long-range vision
  • Develop strategies to promote affordability and maintain the college as a student-centered, highly effective, and valued educational experience
  • Continue to strengthen the college’s resource base, visibility, and capacity for improvement
  • Foster innovation in all operations of the college
  • Improve our use of assessment data to drive institutional effectiveness and value

The Campus

The Westminster College campus is situated on 27 acres in a residential area of Salt Lake City within the shadows of the Wasatch Mountains. Students residing in the coeducational residence halls or nearby local housing are just 10 minutes from downtown, 15 minutes from nearby canyons, and only 30 minutes from spectacular ski slopes. Many cultural events, including symphony, ballet, and opera; as well as professional sports are available to students year-round.

The campus has nineteen major buildings, including a performing arts center; student union; gymnasium; and residence halls, three of which have been built since 1998. The Bill and Vieve Gore School of Business building was completed in 1988 and expanded with a 32,000 square foot addition in Fall 2002. The flagship building of the campus, Converse Hall, was built in 1907 and renovated in 1989. It features classrooms and art studios, and houses a carillon. Foster Hall, renovated 1993–94, houses Arts and Sciences faculty and classrooms. Converse Hall and Foster Hall, together with the Jewett Center for the Performing Arts, compose the Jewett Center for the Arts and Humanities. The student union—the Shaw Center—was remodeled in 2001. In addition, there is a science laboratory building, computer labs, a flight simulator lab, a print shop, a theater, and a nursing laboratory. Classes in wheel-thrown and hand-built pottery are held in the Eccles Ceramics Center. Stately old trees, flowering shrubs, a mountain stream, and a towering water fountain in the center of the campus plaza enhance the overall beauty of Westminster’s campus.

The Giovale Library, completed in 1997, is a 50,000-square-foot state-of-the art library and information services center. The collection presently includes 127,000 books and 310 current journal subscriptions (with over 100 of these available electronically). Local access to other formats, including videos, DVDs, maps, microforms, and music CDs are available. Additionally, students have full-text access to over 28,500 electronic journals and more than 54,000 electronic books via some 90 online electronic databases (most of which are available from off-campus via a proxy server). The Giovale Library has seating capacity for 290 people, group study areas, a multimedia classroom, media viewing areas, a computer lab, an information commons area where multiple students can work together, and individual study carrels, all with wireless internet access. The library staff is well-trained to assist students, staff and faculty in formal classes or on an individual basis in accessing various databases and locating materials and information. The library also includes the Writing Center and an Assistive Technology Lab. The Giovale Library is a member of the Utah Academic Library Consortium.

The dedication of the library marked the first in a series of master-planned campus improvements, which include a tiered parking structure on the northwest end of campus behind the Jewett Center as well as an apartment-style residence which were both opened for Fall Semester 1998. A second apartment-style residence was opened for Fall Semester 1999, and a third was opened for Fall Semester 2001. The 35,000-square-foot expansion to the Gore School of Business Building was completed in Fall 2002. In the administration building, Bamberger Hall, the Registrar’s, Financial Aid, and President’s Offices were renovated in Summer 2002. Future building projects include a Science building and additional parking.

The Bill and Vieve Gore Center for Business, Aviation, and Entrepreneurship is one of the most technologically advanced facilities for business education in the nation. Interactive classrooms facilitate discussion and case analysis; the Entrepreneurship Center provides opportunities for students to mentor and consult with early-stage companies; the Center for Financial Analysis enables students to bridge the theoretical and practical components of finance; the Behavioral Simulation and Team Learning Lab simulates group, teamwork, and interpersonal relationships; mentor-team rooms provide space for students working on company-specific projects; and, in the Aviation Simulation Center, students practice their flying, instrument, and procedural skills.

The Emma Eccles Jones Conservatory, completed in Fall of 2004, adjoins the Jewett Center for the Performing Arts and helps meet the growing needs of our students in the performing arts. Some of the highlights of the new conservatory include a new concert hall with seating for 285, a rehearsal facility, seven practice rooms, a black box student theatre and a larger foyer to allow for public receptions and art exhibits.

The Dolores Doré Eccles Health, Wellness, and Athletic Center was completed in February of 2006. This 84,500-square-foot, three-story building houses a fitness complex featuring a gymnasium, climbing wall, swimming pool, fitness and training center, and lockers and training space. The third floor of the new facility is home to the college’s growing Center for Nursing Education, which provides classrooms, offices, and a Skills Center that includes a state-of-the-art simulation laboratory to support experiential learning for students at all levels of nursing education.
Dumke Field and parking structure, originally Dane Hansen Memorial Stadium, was completed in Fall 2006. This underground parking structure and elevated field houses Westminster’s soccer and lacrosse teams, as well as other intramural and club sports.

The Meldrum Science Center, completed in Fall 2010, is a four-story, 60,000-square-foot facility featuring 14 high-tech classrooms with integrated laboratories and five dedicated research labs. The new building provides 10 times the current space for undergraduate research, an important aspect of our faculty’s inquiry-based curriculum and a significant factor in the success of our graduates. The building is designed to support active, hands-on learning, which prepares our students to be critical thinkers and problem solvers. The building’s layout clusters faculty offices and student workspaces to promote interaction and cross-disciplinary learning. A LEED® Platinum certified building; the Meldrum Science Center is the college’s newest and most visible example to the community of sustainability in action. Among its many energy-saving features are the 20kW solar panel system on its roof, use of ambient light and recycled water, and locally sourced building materials.

The Bassis Center for Student Learning includes the college’s first-ever indoor student commons, a full-service coffee shop, an architectual skylight, fireplace, and solar light gathering tubes that bring in natural light. The center is also home to the Center for Civic Engagement, Environmental Center, WestARCHES Program, photography labs and a new, state-of-the-art eportfolio lab. The facility is named after Dr. Michael Bassis, the college’s former president, in honor of his intense focus on student learning.

The Faculty

There are approximately 161 full-time faculty and 250 adjunct instructors who teach at Westminster College. Of the full-time faculty, more than 95% hold a Ph.D. or professional terminal degree. Among the members of the faculty are published writers, active scholars, and many who left successful professional careers in order to teach. The Genevieve W. Gore Distinguished Residents Program and the Weldon J. Taylor/American Express Executive Lecture Series bring noteworthy faculty, scholars, and business leaders to campus every year. The Anne Newman Sutton Weeks poetry series brings distinguished poets from around the world. The Tanner-McMurrin Lecture Series attracts an outstanding scholar in the history and philosophy of religion each spring, the Diversity Lecture Series helps focus the College’s commitment to diversity and respect for differences, and the Kim T. Adamson Chair and annual lecture helps bring international perspectives to disciplines and majors throughout the college. The Westminster Concert Series features Westminster music faculty and other superb local and out-of-state musicians—many of them nationally or internationally respected—in the Vieve Gore Concert Hall.

The Students

Deeply committed to each student’s success, Westminster College is a challenging and supportive community of learners where students take full advantage of our unique learning environment: our campus, the city, and the mountains. The college enrolls approximately 2,821 students; 2,159 undergraduate and 662 graduate students. Students come from 47 states and 20 countries.

Westminster offers over 45 undergraduate majors conferring BA, BS, BBA, and BFA degrees. In addition to 39 minors, Westminster also offers various emphases and special programs such as our Honors Program and pre-professional programs (pre-med, pre-law, and pre-dental). Our populate four-year Aviation program offers a choice of majors in aviation management and flight operations, and provides all professional licenses that a graduate needs to get a job in commercial or corporate aviation.

All undergraduate students are encouraged to participate in the annual Undergraduate Research Fair. This all-day event recognizes the academic achievement of students engaged in a high-level research under the guidance of the college’s faculty members. Many students also have the opportunity to present their work at national conferences and to have their work published in Myriad, Westminster’s undergraduate academic journal.

Westminster College makes extensive use of technology across the curriculum, with network connections in every classroom, library seat, and residence hall. Additionally, technology assistance is available seven days a week.

Westminster also offers 13 graduate programs.

Student Life and Services

Detailed information on student life and services can be found in the Student Handbook, which is available for download or viewing on the Student Life web page each fall. The handbook contains information on:

Academic Honesty Sexual Harassment Policy
Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Program Smoking Policy
Athletics and Intramural Programs Spiritual Life
Campus Crime and Safety START Center for New Student Advising
Campus Organizations Student Disciplinary Code
Career Resource Student Involvement and Leadership
Computer Ethics and Use Policy Student Resources
Counseling Substance and Alcohol Abuse and Weapons Policy
Federal Laws Affecting Students’ Rights Testing
Internships Tutoring
Orientation Veterans Services
 Policies and Procedures Volunteer Service Learning
Residential Life

Accreditation and Affiliation

Westminster College is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

  • The Bill and Vieve Gore School of Business is accredited by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs
  • The Flight Operations and Aviation Management programs are accredited by the Aviation Accreditation Board International
  • The Teacher Education Programs is accredited by the Utah State Board of Education and by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council
  • The Nursing Program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and is approved by the Utah State Board of Nursing
  • The Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia (MSNA) program is accredited by the Council on Accreditation for Nurse Anesthesia Programs
  • The Master of Public Health program is accredited by the Coucil on Education for Public Health

Programs at Westminster College are approved for veterans’ benefits, and the College is authorized under Federal law to enroll non-immigrant students.

In addition, the college is a member of:

  • National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU)
  • American Association of Colleges and Universities
  • American Council on Education
  • Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education
  • Council for Independent Colleges (CIC)
  • The New American Colleges and Universities (NAC&U)
  • Council for Adult and Experiential Learning
  • Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs
  • National Collegiate Honors Council
  • Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE)
  • American Association of Colleges of Nursing
  • Western Institute of Nursing

Westminster is an independent, freestanding, nonsectarian, self-governing college.

This academic catalog describes the regulations, policies, fees, and curriculum at the time of its publication. The Board of Trustees reserves the right to change tuition and fees, to make changes in curricular offerings, academic and other policies, activate or eliminate courses and/or programs at any time. Students who enroll at the college in actuality give their implied consent to abide by all the policies and regulation contained herein, in the Student Handbook, and in program bulletins. All statements herein are true and correct as of the time of publication. Westminster College reserves the right to make any changes, deletions, or revisions it deems necessary from time to time. Students and faculty will be so informed through normal channels. Substantive changes to this catalog are kept on file in the Registrar’s Office.

Inquiries

Letters of inquiry concerning the college may be addressed to:

Office of Admissions
Westminster College
1840 South 1300 East, Salt Lake City, Utah 84105
Phone: 801.832.2200 (local) or 1.800.748.4753
Fax: 801.832.3101

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