The Maryville College Statement of Purpose establishes a commitment to diversity:
“Maryville College is, in essence, a community for learning. This community includes persons with a variety of interests, backgrounds, beliefs, and nationalities.”
The College has a distinguished history of affirming diversity as essential to higher education. The first woman to graduate from college in Tennessee received a Maryville College degree. The College was among the first to educate African-Americans and led the late nineteenth century effort to sustain racial integration in higher education in the state. The College has other longstanding commitments to diversity that include international education, addressing the concerns of the Deaf community, and educating students from Southern Appalachia. But Maryville College also recognizes the beginning of the twenty-first century as a window of opportunity to address new and continuing challenges of diversity in local, national and global settings. These challenges include racial and cross-cultural relations, issues of gender and human sexuality, dialogue and conflict within and across religious faiths, and diversity in the College faculty, staff and students.
The presence of a diverse educational community provides opportunities to fulfill a commitment to democratic citizenship. Exposure to the ideas, cultures, and values of others enables all members of the learning community to grow intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally. Diversity enhances learning because it recognizes the inherent worth of all individuals. It motivates learners to discover the achievements and traditions of near and distant cultures, to more fully appreciate their own heritage, and to develop greater self-awareness. Equally important, diversity facilitates critical inquiry about the histories, assumptions, and behaviors that serve to marginalize some members of our local and global communities. Thus, diversity encourages learners to develop the intellectual agility and the sensitivity to re-examine long-held assumptions about others after carefully listening to or observing the expression of different realities. Although such an examination may reveal contradictions and invoke strong emotions, the dialogue fostered by diversity can extend critical thinking, compassion, and humility.
Motivated by the educational benefits of diversity, Maryville College seeks to provide a safe and civil environment that encourages awareness of, curiosity about, and respect for those whose insights and experiences come from varied traditions. The College strives to promote cross-cultural collaboration and to invite new voices to expand the learning community. Recognizing that critical engagement with diversity requires personal experience, faculty, staff and students are encouraged to explore diversity in curricular and co-curricular settings as they learn about and celebrate the rich variety of human gifts. Community members affiliate with various groups in order to enjoy support, to increase knowledge, to gain new perspectives, and to open windows of opportunity through social action. By design, membership in the Maryville College community promises interaction with diverse people, perspectives, and ideas.
Maryville College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, ethnic or national origin, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability, or political beliefs in provision of educational opportunities and benefits.