Rockford University graduates contribute to the world as knowledgeable, ethical and productive citizens with the necessary resources to be active, effective and reflective: knowledge for understanding the world, values for envisioning the world, and skills for shaping the world. These resources are developed through academic, social, civic and personal educational experiences in the liberal arts and academic disciplines of the University. Knowledge and skills require values to be ethical; knowledge and values require skills to be effective; and values and skills without knowledge are at best empty, and at worst, destructive.

Knowledge for Understanding the World

Knowledge is foundational for developing skills and values. A rigorous liberal arts education provides opportunities for acquiring both general and discipline-specific knowledge. Such knowledge enables graduates to understand the world as it exists and how it came to be, and to envision how it might be. Graduates acquire knowledge of individuals, the social world, and the natural world.

  • Knowledge of individuals. Understand the strengths, aspirations, aptitudes and limitations of self and other individuals; the explicit and implicit aspects of identity; and the functioning of individuals in context. Develop self-knowledge to set and achieve life goals.
  • Knowledge of the social world. Understand the history, culture, structure and function of U.S. and other world societies, and how societies affect individuals and groups through their institutions, principles, traditions and values.
  • Knowledge of the natural world. Understand the structures and principles of the natural world recognizing its beauty, complexity, richness and value.

Values for Envisioning the World

Values are explored, debated and formed at Rockford University. Graduates are educated to make ethically informed choices as individuals and citizens within a democratic society and the world community. Values for ethical decision-making are learned throughout the university experience, which emphasizes creative and experiential learning. Values for a better world include those relating to self, others, society and nature.

  • Valuing individuals. Discern the consequences of personal behavior for one’s self and on others; practice civility, courage, curiosity, honesty, independence, integrity, objectivity, open-mindedness and perseverance. Develop the aesthetic, intellectual, professional and social realms of one’s life.
  • Valuing society. Value and exercise one’s civic rights and obligations in the community, nation and world. Critically and creatively assess one’s own and others’ cultures and societies; strive to shape public policies and work for justice.
  • Valuing nature. Acknowledge humanity as a part of nature, understanding the value of scientific and aesthetic inquiry for the quality of the natural world.

Skills for Shaping the World

The liberal arts at Rockford University embody a set of skills and habits of mind. These skills and habits include thoughtful analysis, precise communication and creative and effective application. Living in complex and diverse situations requires making connections among knowledge, values and behavior.

  • Individual skills. Listen, read, speak, and write effectively and professionally; use basic mathematical concepts and operations; think creatively and logically, analytically and synthetically; and evaluate appropriately. Applying these skills for decision-making may involve using technology.
  • Social skills. Creatively use information from multiple disciplines, perspectives and technologies; work collaboratively; and communicate effectively in groups to understand, manage and solve complex issues, situations and problems.
  • Scientific skills. Devise, test, and verify hypotheses and evaluate results for their effects; gather data and evidence systematically using appropriate technology; and correctly apply scientific methods to problems in the natural and social worlds.

In summary, the Rockford University experience leads to a life of active learning, personal development, professional growth, and informed citizenship.