Our students and their parents frequently mention “the value” of education here, the “outstanding, caring faculty who know students by name,” the “individual attention,” the fact that “most classes have fewer than 20 students,” and “the wide variety of majors and the opportunities to create individualized majors.” Those factors matter and they are very significant to us. They are part of what makes the academic experience here a transformative one. At the same time, none of those claims necessarily makes us distinctive.
What does make our program distinctive is the way we bring together three contexts that shape the value and values here. Those contexts are described by our name: “Virginia Wesleyan College.” Some students might be attracted to “Virginia” because of its rich historical background or because of the surfing opportunities afforded by the beach. Similarly, some students might be interested in “Wesleyan” or “College,” because those words signal the opportunity to be very involved on campus in a variety of extracurricular activities. However, those contexts also shape who we are in terms of our academic identity.
The “Virginia” in Virginia Wesleyan College points to our geographical and historical location. We are not located in Arizona or Nebraska, so your education will be shaped in different ways than if you were there. Similarly, we are not in rural Virginia, so you will have very different opportunities than you would have there. For a class you may visit the Virginia Opera, the Stihl Manufacturing Company, WHRO (public television), NATO, or the Chrysler Museum. You may take a course on Problem Solving that focuses entirely on case studies from the Cheasapeake Bay. You may visit the largest naval military installation in the world. Or you may go with a science class into the bay or to the ocean in Virginia Wesleyan’s new research vessel. You will see all sorts of opportunities for the kinds of internships and externships that will provide an important foundation for after you graduate.