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Fort Lewis College offers accessible, high quality baccalaureate liberal arts education to a diverse student population, preparing citizens for the common good in an increasingly complex world.
Fort Lewis College is a four-year, state-assisted, undergraduate institution that offers quality baccalaureate degree programs in the arts and sciences and in the professional areas of education and business. The College has an enduring commitment to develop and maintain its programs at a level equal to those of other outstanding undergraduate institutions in the nation. Fort Lewis College has an approximate enrollment of 4,000 students.
Fort Lewis College offers a number of programs leading to the bachelor’s degree. The Bachelor of Science degree is offered in biology, chemistry, engineering, geology, and physics; the Bachelor of Arts degree is granted in all other four-year programs.
The Fort Lewis College teacher education programs have been approved by the Colorado Department of Education. Licensure programs are offered for the following: early childhood education (birth to 3rd grade); elementary education (grades K-6); secondary education (grades 7-12), in select fields; and K- 12, in select fields.
College-Wide Liberal Education Outcomes
A liberal arts education encompasses more than specific curricular requirements. The College has defined four liberal education outcomes that students will attain through fulfilling their Liberal Arts Core requirements as well as through in-depth study within the major and the experiences available to them at a liberal arts institution. The four liberal education outcomes for Fort Lewis College students are:
- Learning As Inquiry – The ability to use modern methods to access, analyze, interpret, and apply a wide range of information, data, and appropriate sources.
- Critical Thinking As Problem Solving – The ability to analyze, synthesize, evaluate, and apply information in order to solve complex problems.
- Communication As Intellectual Contribution – The ability to contribute to scholarly understanding of a subject by balancing complexity and clarity of argument, clear conceptual organization of evidence, and adaptation to context and audience.
- Action As Responsible Application Of Academic Learning – The ability to use all of the above to make positive contributions to one’s community and the larger society.
Fort Lewis College is named for Fort Lewis, a U.S. Army Post established in 1878 at Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Two years later, the military post moved to Hesperus, Colorado, a location more central to Indian settlements and pioneer communities. The U.S. government abandoned the site as a military post in 1891 and, in its place, established the Fort Lewis Indian School, an off-reservation boarding school.
By 1911, Congress had deeded the Hesperus site to the State of Colorado, which then established a high school of agriculture under the supervision of the State Board of Agriculture. A stipulation of the land grant was that Indian students would be able to attend tuition free. The school began to offer some college-level courses in 1925 and, in 1933, Fort Lewis began to offer college courses exclusively. In 1948, Fort Lewis was officially designated a junior college with its own president.
Fort Lewis moved to the Durango campus in 1956. The first baccalaureate degrees were granted in 1964. From 1986 to 2002, Fort Lewis was part of the Colorado State University System under the governance of the State Board of Agriculture. An independent board of trustees currently governs Fort Lewis College.
The State of Colorado continues to honor the commitment made in 1911 to Native American education by offering tuition scholarships to all American Indian and Alaskan Native students who attend Fort Lewis College.
Fort Lewis College sits on a mesa-like terrace overlooking Durango and the 13,000-foot peaks of the La Plata Mountains. With a population of approximately 15,000, Durango is the largest community in Southwest Colorado and serves as a hub of commercial activity for a regional population of more than 60,000. Durango’s elevation is 6,500 feet; it is surrounded by the Rocky Mountains, yet it is only 50 miles away from the deserts of the Southwest. Durango is about 350 miles from Denver, 200 miles from Albuquerque, and 450 miles from Phoenix.
The distinctive architecture of custom stonework found on the Fort Lewis College campus reflects the heritage of Southwest Colorado’s Ancestral Pueblo Indians. The backdrop of the rugged San Juan Mountains creates a learning environment of incomparable natural beauty.
Academic activities are centered in Art Hall, Berndt Hall, Center of Southwest Studies, Chemistry Hall, Education-Business Hall, John F. Reed Library, Jones Hall, Noble Hall, Skyhawk Hall, and the Theatre Building.
The John F. Reed Library and the Student Union are at the center of campus. The John F. Reed Library houses the Center for Civic Engagement, Continuing Education, and the Program for Academic Advancement. The Student Union houses the Terry R. Bacon Leadership Center, the Ballantine Media Center, the Native American Center, and El Centro de Muchos Colores Hispano Center as well as several places to eat, the post office, the bookstore, and the I.D. office.
The Health Center, Office of Financial Aid, Registrar’s Office, Student Affairs Office, and Student Housing and Conference Services are in Miller Student Services.
About one-third of Fort Lewis College students live on campus in residence halls and apartment complexes. Physical education and recreation facilities include the Student Life Center, Outdoor Pursuits, Whalen Gymnasium, an indoor swimming pool, football stadium, tennis courts, softball fields, soccer fields, track, and nature trails. The nearby golf course provides cross-country skiing in the winter in addition to golf in the other seasons.
Fort Lewis College operates on a semester calendar. The semesters are each 15 weeks. The fall semester generally begins in late August or early September and ends in mid-December; the winter semester begins in early January and ends in late April or early May; the summer semester begins in early May and concludes in early August. The summer semester is divided into three five-week sessions.
The summer programs at Fort Lewis College offer a variety of courses from the regular curriculum for students who wish to graduate in fewer than four years.
Fort Lewis College recruits its faculty from the best colleges and universities in the country. Approximately 93 percent of the tenured and tenure track faculty hold the highest degree attainable in their disciplines. Many of Fort Lewis College’s faculty have developed national reputations for excellence in teaching, research, and curriculum development. Because Fort Lewis College is primarily an undergraduate institution, faculty members focus on teaching and work closely with students.
Fort Lewis College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (www.ncacihe.org). Additional accreditations include:
Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education
American Chemical Society
Teacher Education Accrediting Council (national); Colorado Department of Education (state)
Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology
National Association of Schools of Music
School of Business Administration
Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International
To improve instruction and to ensure achievement of educational goals, the College regularly assesses students’ progress. The College assesses institution-wide and departmental goals by using a variety of measures including surveys, student work samples, its own instruments, and nationally standardized tests such as Graduate Record Exam, ETS Major Field Tests, and National Survey of Student Engagement. The College frequently requires students to participate in assessments to help the College improve its academic programs and teaching methods. All departments have assessment processes in place that provide data on student learning in the majors. For more information about assessment, contact the Coordinator of the Assessment Office.