Core Themes

Core Theme #1: Excellence in Liberal Arts Foundation

Smiling student at desk

At George Fox University, helping our undergraduate students gain a strong liberal arts foundation and academic preparation is central to our mission. It is our desire that our graduates acquire the foundations for participation in work, life and citizenship, both at home and abroad.

The liberal arts curriculum builds general knowledge and develops students’ rational thought, critical thinking, and intellectual capabilities. Our undergraduate majors each embrace a liberal arts core, the bulk of which is typically completed during the first one and a half to two years of study. Students then step into a specialized curriculum in the major they have declared. Our majors allow students a specified number of elective credits, which they can use to broaden their liberal arts studies or deepen their major concentrations.


1.1 - General Education. George Fox undergraduates complete a general education curriculum that helps them develop foundational skills (e.g. reading, writing, speaking, thinking), acquire knowledge in a breadth of disciplinary domains, and interact productively across differences.

1.2 - Liberal Arts in Graduate Programs. George Fox graduate programs provide opportunities for their students to practice and improve essential liberal arts skills, including critical thinking and analytical reasoning, oral and written communication, quantitative reasoning, ethical decision making, and effective interaction within diverse groups.

1.3 - Campus Climate. George Fox regularly sponsors a wide variety of public lectures, performances, activities, and other events that provide opportunities for students to use their liberal arts skills and preparation to engage with critical issues facing our community, society, and world.

Core Theme #2: Excellence in Professional Preparation

An engineering student opporating a machine

Alongside the liberal arts, the university offers many professional programs that prepare undergraduate and graduate students for careers to meet society’s pressing needs. Theory and practice coexist in these programs; the big ideas of academia are connected to the practical matters of making a life and a living, equipping students to serve the changing world’s needs.

Our goal is to provide our graduates with an academic background that addresses the specific professional knowledge, skills and dispositions to which they are called. We provide students with multiple opportunities to practice their professions as they work toward meeting the competencies defined by their respective fields. We teach students in every discipline that service to the community and to the world is an indispensable component of professional excellence.


2.1 - George Fox students demonstrate competence in their respective fields of study by obtaining licensure or credentials needed to practice.
2.2 - George Fox students apply professional competence by successfully obtaining entrance to graduate school, additional preparation, and/or successful employment in the field.
2.3 - George Fox students demonstrate an ethical orientation, shaped by Christian values, in their professional practice.
2.4 - Program Excellence: George Fox University programs achieve state and national accreditation or certification, where appropriate.
2.5 - Faculty Excellence: Faculty will demonstrate excellence in preparation, practice, and teaching.

Core Theme #3: Christ-Centered Community

Leading worship outdoors

Christ-centered community provides the context for the work of faculty, staff, and students and is our third core theme. Christ-centered commitments influence the way in which we teach the content of our disciplines and further apply that knowledge and skill in ways that hopefully impact the world.

The mission outcomes – think with clarity, act with integrity, and serve with passion – are pervasive in our community. Faculty and staff seek to help students understand these foundational constructs and then model those ideas for students. They mentor students, giving them feedback, as individuals develop these commitments in their lives.

One of our goals at George Fox is to seek truth together in community. Thinking with clarity includes the ability to think rationally: to look carefully at evidence, to realize and understand bias, to learn how to differentiate and weigh the values of competing points of view and to recognize and hold these competing points in healthy tension. It is in community, alongside faculty, staff and administrators, that students begin to know what it “looks like” and “sounds like” to think with clarity as it is modeled for them.

Learning to act with integrity is a developmental process involving congruence between values, beliefs and actions. Our Christ-centered community provides students with a place where they can ask difficult questions as they seek to synthesize their learning from academic texts, current research, class discussions, and human experience.

Over time, students develop a framework that reflects an assimilation of new ideas into a coherent belief structure that can adapt and respond to new ideas. The Christ-centered community provides both challenge and support for students to act in ways that are consistent with their Christian worldview. Acting with integrity may involve subtle behavior changes: avoiding gossip, demonstrating stewardship, or committing to a spiritual discipline. However, acting with integrity may also involve significant risk and courage as students move beyond their close friends and family to demonstrate God’s love to an increasingly diverse, global community.

At the center of our Christ-centered community is the belief that all are gifted and “spiritually called” to service in a needy world. One of our hopes is to identify the gifts of students, faculty, staff and administrators, and to equip them for the tasks to which they have been called, their vocation. Serving passionately within a person’s giftedness results in fruit such as love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control that enriches the whole world. Implicit in this hope is a desire to be purposeful in our community about providing service opportunities as well as encouraging campus dialogue surrounding significant issues.

As a result of this exposure, students increasingly model a capacity for making reflective and responsible decisions regarding involvement and engagement with the broader community of which they are a part. This “ethic of service” is integrated into students’ experiences on both a curricular and co-curricular level in our Christ-centered community.


3.1 - Basics of Christianity. Traditional undergraduate students demonstrate basic understanding of Christian scripture, church history, and orthodox theology.
3.2 - Impact of Faith. George Fox employees and undergraduate students in the traditional program demonstrate that formative Christian faith, informed by foundational Quaker beliefs and practices, is evident in their lives and experiences; graduate and DPS students participate in a community committed to these beliefs and practices.
3.3 - Christian Community. George Fox students and employees experience a Christ-centered, caring community that actively pursues cultural engagement and diverse representation reflective of Christ’s kingdom.

Core Theme #4: Local and Global Engagement

People from different cultural backgrounds holding hands

At George Fox, we value experiential learning, both locally and globally. This learning is often aimed at understanding and improving the human condition. We desire to serve and connect with people from diverse cultures through relationships and reciprocal teaching and learning opportunities.

Preparing students to serve with passion arises out of a belief that meeting the needs of others is essential to fulfilling our Christ-centered and Quaker commitments. Implicit in this goal is a desire to be intentional about providing service opportunities as well as fostering campus dialogue surrounding significant issues.

As a result of this exposure and dialogue, students develop a broadened perspective characterized by concern for the world’s poor and marginalized and a spirit of generosity toward others. These experiences are both character-forming and culture-forming; they prepare our students to meaningfully engage and make reflective and responsible decisions with respect to the broader community of which they are a part.


4.1 Engaging Diversity. George Fox students engage meaningfully with people from diverse cultures both locally and globally.
4.2 Serving Others. George Fox students, faculty, staff and administrators demonstrate engagement in improving the human condition by serving people both locally and globally.
4.3 Leadership. George Fox students, faculty, and staff/administrators apply their leadership knowledge and skills in communities, both local and global.