Occidental College will be recognized as the most distinctive urban liberal arts college in the country.
Reinterpreting the Liberal Arts
The bedrock of our success depends on our capacity to reinterpret the great tradition of the liberal arts and sciences for a new generation of students. In order to do that, we will reinvigorate our curriculum, make the case for the importance and relevance of the liberal arts, and define the skills and qualities of mind that we want our students to possess when they graduate. We will be known as a place that produces students who can analyze and synthesize complex material, develop and communicate new knowledge, take risks, tolerate ambiguity, and embrace difference. These habits of mind comprise the essence of an Occidental education, and they are the foundation not only for successful careers, but also for successful lives. This transformative and interdisciplinary education can only be accomplished in an intimate, residential college where teaching matters, and where faculty develop close working relationships with their students. The dyad between teacher and student is at the heart of everything we do. We will dedicate ourselves to strengthening that bond as the centerpiece of an Occidental education.
Los Angeles as Resource
Our location in Southern California provides Occidental College with unmatched cultural and natural resources. The City of Los Angeles is one of the most dynamic metropolitan environments in the world and is an unparalleled place to study the intersection of the natural and cultural spheres. A nexus of immense creativity, diversity, and complexity, Los Angeles is also a place where the world's opportunities and problems are played out on a daily basis. We will significantly increase the advantage of our location by creating additional partnerships and connections with various Los Angeles institutions and organizations, as well as by providing our students with internships that lead to successful careers, and by providing access to leading artists, activists, scientists, and political and business leaders who live and work here.
A Cosmopolitan Campus
Los Angeles is by no means the end point of our aspirations. As one of the world’s truly global cities, Los Angeles is the springboard for the transformation of Occidental College into a vibrant international campus. We begin by creating a much more cosmopolitan environment on campus inspired by the city in which we live: a campus where diverse backgrounds, interests and ideas are welcome, where acquaintance with other cultures is the norm, where international students are actively recruited, and where opportunities for study abroad, international internships, and exchanges are readily available. Each Occidental graduate will be prepared to take on responsibility as a "citizen of the world," skilled at negotiating its complexities and eclectic in interests and tastes.
This is the vision for Occidental. It is ambitious. But so was the notion of creating a college on the outskirts of a ramshackle city in 1887. With this vision, we have an historic opportunity to make Occidental one of the most distinctive colleges in the United States: a place where access and excellence are deeply intertwined.