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Academic Advantage 

The Westminster Experience:  The Westminster Advantage

The Westminster ExperienceAt Westminster, we take our mission seriously: to offer our students not only a distinctive liberal arts education but also a dynamic developmental experience during their years on campus. We are committed to offering all students a transformational experience – both inside and outside the traditional classroom – that will prepare them well for life beyond college.

At the heart of our mission is our statement of purpose – Developing Leaders in a Global Community.  This statement weaves together our focus on the liberal arts, leader development, and global engagement. The result is an integrated plan that lays the foundation for the transformation that takes place from the time we welcome new students through graduation.

This transformation involves all aspects of personal growth, including intellectual, ethical, professional, social, and wellness.  As a result, Westminster students are prepared to make the most of their experiences, are inspired to stretch and grow within a highly supportive environment, are given the guidance they need to understand their development, and most importantly are encouraged to become lifelong learners and leaders of character who will make a difference in their world.

Westminster students don’t simply earn diplomas; they leave with the knowledge and skills they need to be highly successful in every area of life. And Westminster students don’t just get jobs; they become the leaders and shapers of the world to come.

The College has put many pieces in place to get all students off to a great start, including specialized coursework, holistic advising, and career development from day one.

 WSM 101 The Westminster Seminar

The foundational piece of the Westminster Experience is the Seminar, which all freshman and transfer students take in their first semester. The seminar is designed to help students read analytically, think critically, and communicate effectively, while also understanding what it means to become a Westminster student.  Each seminar explores its own topic, which may include the following:

  • Globe-Trotting: Getting the Most from a Global Education
  • Global Sport:  The Westminster Symposium and You
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: The Many Faces of Leadership

While getting students on-board at the College, the Seminar also involves students in field trips, service projects, concerts and lectures, and occasional meals in the home of the faculty member who serves as the seminar leader. In addition to teaching the course, each seminar leader serves as academic advisor for students in their seminar and remains in that capacity until the students declare their majors.

LST 101 The Leader Within

Complementing the Westminster Seminar is a one-hour course known as “The Leader Within,” taken by all freshman students. This course teaches students how to make the most of their years at Westminster by challenging them to take charge of their academic and personal development. By exploring their own potential for intellectual, social, professional, and ethical growth, as well for establishing the habits of a healthy life, students learn to operate at their optimum potential from their first semester, through graduation, and beyond.

Academic Advising

Academic advising at Westminster begins during the summer prior to the student's first year. Students are typically advised by the faculty member who teaches their Westminster Seminar course, and they have this same advisor until they declare a major, at which point they are assigned to a full-time faculty member in the department of the major.

Academic advisors assist students in course scheduling and planning and in determining co-curricular experiences that match the student's interests and career goals. They help students learn to chart their own development in areas of academics, social life, professional goals, ethics, and wellness. They will help students plan enriching experiences to enhance their major, such as study abroad, internships, service-learning, independent research, and leadership opportunities. Students should understand that their advisors are concerned about their total development, and available to discuss students’ progress at any time.

Preparing for the Future

Westminster coursework and advising are enhanced by a comprehensive leadership-learning program that allows each student to take charge of his or her development, while also receiving constant mentoring by faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of the College. In their first semester at Westminster, all students will design an e-portfolio that allows them to set goals for all aspects of intellectual and personal growth, collect the best examples of their work, build a first-rate resume, and reflect on the change and growth they experience throughout the course of their college career.

In addition, each year students will meet with a personal mentor – sometimes an advisor, sometimes a Westminster alumnus, and sometimes a professional in their area of study.  The mentor will challenge students to greater heights of success, coach them in job preparation and career development, and provide networking opportunities to help them get started in life beyond Westminster.  Westminster is invested in each student’s success, and the leadership-learning program makes that success a reality.