Prescott College is a small, private liberal arts college in the pine and lake country of Prescott, AZ. Founded in 1966, Prescott College charts its origin to a 1963 conference of higher-education leaders sponsored by the Ford Foundation’s Fund for Post-Secondary Education, Business and Industry. At this conference, Congregationalist minister Charles Franklin Parker was inspired to found a college in the Congregationalist tradition that includes Harvard, Yale, and Dartmouth. Though the experimental college nearly went under in 1974, a core of believers kept the college going in a hotel basement, growing over the next forty years to become know as one of the most prestigious, innovative, and visionary institutions in the West.
Academic ProgramsPrescott College is built on experiment and innovation, with a dedication to taking on the cultural and existential threats to human civilization in the 21st century. Research at Prescott revolves around grounded, real-world problems and collaborative solutions, including environmental awareness and sustainability; peace, justice, and human rights; culturally conscious and productive education; and artistic analysis and critique of world events and issues. Students are encouraged to encounter these problems in collaborative, experiential ways, creating their own projects and developing their own assessments. Vision and ethical action are at the center of Prescott’s learning.
Prescott is committed to finding the best learning methods for each students and each subject, and abandoning outdated, obsolete models. Those efforts include entirely unique ways of assessing success and developing talent, including grade-optional courses, narrative evaluations, self-evaluation, and real-world testing of concepts and theories. Students work closely with faculty to develop their own curriculum and goals, aided by a 7:1 student/faculty ratio, one of the lowest in the US. Prescott even offers low-residency and online options for distance students.
Student LifeWith an experimental, experiential model like Prescott’s student life and academics are virtually inseparable; the whole environment is a learning community, characterized by diverse thought, background, and experience. While Prescott is known for its independent spirit, many student-led organizations and clubs offer opportunities for students to develop friendships and support networks, including interest groups like cycling and gardening, and advocacy and support groups like the Black Student Union and the Queer Student Union. Prescott is also the first private Arizona college to certify as a Veteran Supportive Campus.
With its underlying focus on sustainability, environmentalism, and social responsibility, Prescott’s student life also has a deeply activist and service-oriented aspect. Students led the acquisition of the Franz Fanon Community Strategy Center, a space and library in which students work together to develop solutions to pressing community problems, and Prescott is home to the nonprofit comMUSIKey, a foundation that uses music performance and recording to build community. Students also started the Butte Creek Restoration Council, which works to preserve and protect the environment around the Upper Granite Creek Watershed.