College Mission and Profile
McDaniel College is a diverse student-centered community committed to excellence in the liberal arts & sciences and professional studies. With careful mentoring and attention to the individual, McDaniel changes lives. We challenge students to develop their unique potentials with reason, imagination, and human concern. Through flexible academic programs, collaborative and experiential learning, and global engagement, McDaniel prepares students for successful lives of leadership, service, and social responsibility.
Recognized nationally among 40 Colleges that Change Lives and U.S. News top-tier liberal arts colleges, McDaniel offers more than 70 exceptional undergraduate programs of study, including dual and student-designed majors, plus 25 highly regarded graduate programs.
The college’s hallmark faculty-student collaborations in research, teaching and mentoring plus hundreds of leadership and service opportunities enrich a lively learning experience that is rooted in the McDaniel Plan, a student-centered curriculum delivered in small classes by dynamic faculty who connect flexible learning plans to global opportunities for engagement.
Innovative January Term courses take students to points all over the world while McDaniel Europe, the college’s degree-granting European campus offers international students and American students a unique opportunity for international study at the only American university in Budapest, Hungary. A diverse and close-knit community of 1,600 undergraduates from 35 states and 15 countries plus 1,560 part-time graduate students, McDaniel also boasts a spectacular 160-acre hilltop campus in Westminster, Md., an hour or less from Baltimore, D.C., the Chesapeake Bay, the Amtrak station and BWI international airport.
The First Principles
McDaniel College believes that liberally educated individuals think and act critically, creatively, and humanely. They take charge of their lives and develop their unique potentials with reason, imagination, and human concern. They take their place in the global community, understanding their responsibilities to aid individuals and to contribute to the larger society. McDaniel College accepts the challenge to provide an academic and social environment that promotes liberal learning.
- We strive to place students at the center of a humane environment so that they may see and work toward their personal goals while respecting others and sharing the responsibility for the common good.
- We provide a foundation of knowledge about the past and present so that students may be informed about the world.
- We provide various approaches to knowledge and personal achievement so that students can think critically about, respond creatively to, and form sensitive, intelligent decisions concerning the world and its future.
- We provide instruction in fundamental skills so that students can express themselves for their own satisfaction and to the larger community.
- We provide solid and respected professional programs for the committed student, and, more important, we provide a liberal arts education as an integral part of professional training so that students will be more flexible, more successful, and happier in the world of work.
In the classrooms, in the residence halls, in the laboratories, on the playing fields, and in the lounges, McDaniel College works to disseminate these First Principles.
Thirty miles northwest of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and 56 miles north of Washington, D.C., the campus overlooks historic Westminster, Md., Carroll County’s largest town and county seat. Within walking distance are gift boutiques, book and music stores, art galleries, and restaurants which line one of America’s longest main streets. Both nearby metropolitan cities offer students opportunities for learning and leisure – art and history museums, internships on Capitol Hill, Baltimore Orioles and Ravens games, and bayside seafood and nightlife.
Among the 73 buildings on the 160-acre campus are Hoover Library, offering access to materials from rare books to DVDs and a 24-hour computer lab and study commons; Hill Hall, featuring the Writing Center and multimedia presentation classrooms; Peterson Hall, which offers a modern photography lab, a graphic arts computer classroom, and art gallery for the College’s permanent collection as well as visiting exhibitions; and WMC Alumni Hall, home to the performing arts program. Eaton Hall, a $13-million biology and chemistry lab building was opened in fall 1999, and, in 2002, the lower level of Baker Memorial Chapel was renovated to accommodate a new World Languages Computer Lab, classrooms, and seminar rooms. Merritt Hall, adjacent to Hoover Library, is the home of the College’s Graduate and Professional Studies, Education, Psychology, and Student Academic Services. Wireless access is available in all residence halls and academic buildings.
Hoover Library houses over 200,000 books, periodicals, media and U.S. government documents, and provides access to thousands of full-text databases and online journals. Hoover’s online catalog is searchable at hoover.mcdaniel.edu, and also links to the holdings information of the Carroll County Public Library System and the Carroll Community College Library, which, with Hoover, form the Carroll Library Partnership. McDaniel College Library I.D. cards are valid at either of the other CLP sites. Hoover Library’s memberships in the Maryland Independent Colleges and Universities Association library group as well as the Baltimore Academic Libraries Consortium allow for additional reciprocal borrowing opportunities for students and faculty. Interlibrary loan services are also freely available, and state-of-the-art reference services include extensive course-integrated bibliographic and information literacy instruction. Visit the Hoover website for more details as well as hours information.
Information technology enhances the educational experience through campus-wide use of technology. Many faculty and their students use classroom computer projection systems to enliven classes with multimedia, or solve problems through communal use of software. The Blackboard course management system provides a resource to post online discussions, assignments and readings as well as to share digital portfolios with the greater world. Students and faculty can access the Blackboard site easily through the internet.
Over 25 accessible computing laboratories enable learners to search world-wide information sources, to create their own art, video and music, or to conduct research. To accommodate mobile computing, and push communications, the campus has expanded its wireless hotspot network and supports student-directed streaming radio and television production.
In a more personal note, the 1card system permits easy identification, access to secure locations, and simplifies financial transactions, and a new email/calendar system makes networking easier.
Faculty and Curriculum
Faculty members – 151 professors, almost all of whom hold the most advanced degrees in their fields – devote themselves to classroom, lab, and studio teaching. Many conduct research and involve students in their work. Professors generally teach three courses each semester and spend ample time with students outside of the classroom helping them plan academic programs, arrange internships, and prepare for careers. An average class size of fewer than 16 students encourages discussion and learning that is collaborative rather than competitive. Faculty members also serve as advisors to many student organizations.
The College’s distinctive academic program, the McDaniel Plan, challenges students to become liberally educated individuals who think and act critically, creatively, and humanely. An expansive curriculum enables students to acquire a broad base of knowledge in the areas of humanities, natural sciences and mathematics, and social sciences and also to pursue learning in depth in one or more of the 70 fields of study. The program links wide-ranging educational experiences with strong career preparation and extensive internship and community outreach programs in the Center for Experience and Opportunity (CEO).
Faculty advisors offer guidance across the curriculum and work closely with their advisees in planning their academic program about course selections and planning strategies. Students may receive additional guidance from the Office of Academic Life, Student Academic Support Services, and the CEO, which offers vocational testing, counseling, and guidance.
The College’s academic program, the McDaniel Plan, provides a liberal education that combines a comprehensive program of general education and a rigorous program in the major, complemented by electives and a range of special opportunities. The Bachelor of Arts degree is offered in more than 40 major areas of study: accounting, actuarial science, applied mathematics, Arabic and Middle Eastern studies, art, Asian studies, American Sign Language, biochemistry, biology, biomedical science, business administration, chemistry, cinema, communication, computer science, criminal justice, economics, elementary education, English, environmental studies, food studies, health sciences with athletic training, chiropractice, nursing, occupational therapy, pharmacy, physical therapy, and physician assistant specializations, history, international business, kinesiology, marketing, mathematics, philosophy, physics with computer science and engineering specializations, political science, psychology, social work, sociology, Spanish, theatre arts, and writing and publishing.. Students may choose a dual major or design their own major if their academic interests and goals take them outside of an existing program. In addition, most departments offer minor programs or particular courses to help students focus on or achieve individual goals.
McDaniel College offers a licensure program in social work and initial teacher certification in elementary, PK-12, and secondary education (Maryland certification includes reciprocity with more than 45 other states), pre-professional programs in dentistry, law, and the heath professions. The College also offers an Army ROTC program.
Graduate Degree Programs
McDaniel College offers more than 25 graduate and professional programs, including an M.S.in Counseling, Data Analytic, Educational Leadership, Education Innovations in Teaching and Learning, Education of the Deaf, Elementary/Secondary Education, Gerontology, Human Resources Management, Human Services Management-Special Education, Kinesiolgy, Public Administration and Policy, Reading Specialist: Literacy Leadership, School Librarianship, Special Education, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), and Teaching plus post-baccalaureate certificates in Administrator I, Data Analytics, Equity and Excellence in Education, Gifted and Talented Education Specialist, Learning Technology Specialist, Specialist in Aging, STEM Instructional Leader, and Writing for Children and Young Adults. Graduate and professional programs leading to a M.L.A., M.S. or certificate enroll more than 1,500 students each term.
There are abundant opportunities for students to engage in academic work off campus. Many students enroll for a semester or full year in study abroad programs in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East with the assistance of the International Programs Office. Each semester study abroad students from the home campus and other colleges join international students from around the world at McDaniel’s Budapest campus (see McDaniel Europe below). The College also offers semester-long student exchange programs at the Facultés Universitaires Saint Louis in Brussels, Belgium, and at Africa University in Mutare, Zimbabwe, as well as a special program at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, specifically for Honors students.
Students also take advantage of internship opportunities regionally, nationally, and internationally. Domestic off-campus study programs are offered through American University’s Washington Semester, Drew University’s Semester in New York on the United Nations, and the Gallaudet Visiting Students Program, to name but a few. Many overseas study programs also provide internship opportunities in a range of fields and settings.
McDaniel Europe in Budapest, Hungary, is the branch campus of McDaniel College. Established in 1994, the Budapest campus has educated hundreds of American and international students in the liberal arts tradition. Study abroad students may enroll at McDaniel Europe for a semester or a full year program. Credit-bearing internships may be possible in some disciplines. Students also travel on field trips to cities throughout Central Europe as a regular part of the program. In addition to serving as a national study abroad center for U.S. students, the Budapest campus provides a four-year undergraduate curriculum for international students from more than 20 countries, leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History/Studio Art, Business, Business/Economics, Communication, Political Science and International Studies, and Psychology plus a minor in Journalism & New Media. International students enrolled at McDaniel Europe have the option of spending at least one semester in residence on the home campus. All Budapest courses are taught in English by highly qualified Hungarian, British, and American faculty. The Budapest campus is fully accreditied by the Commission of Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
In addition to Phi Beta Kappa, the national honor society which recognizes liberal arts scholarship of a high order, there are numerous other honorary societies on campus. Two organizations oriented toward general accomplishment are Omicron Delta Kappa, a national society recognizing leadership qualities; and the Trumpeters, a local society honoring senior students dedicated to service.
The key to college life is involvement. Eighty percent of students live on campus; more than one-third compete on one of 24 athletic teams, and all enjoy activities sponsored by more than 90 diverse student groups including an active Greek system.
The College keeps its fees within the reach of students coming from families with moderate incomes while offering a liberal arts education of outstanding value. Tuition for 2022-2023 is $46,800, room and board are $13,422 and personal expenses (including books and transportation) are estimated at $3,582 per year.
The College supports a program of financial aid to eligible students on the basis of both need and merit. More than 90 percent of students receive financial assistance. Students who have been accepted by the College and can demonstrate financial need as required by the federal government may be eligible for assistance in the form of scholarships, grants, loans, and opportunities for student employment. Typically an award is a package of these four resources tailored to the student’s needs.
Academic scholarships covering partial to full tuition are available for qualified students based on their academic records and extracurricular involvement. The College also offers partial and full ROTC scholarships.
Athletic teams compete in NCAA Division III as a member of the Centennial Conference, a group of 11 national liberal arts colleges and universities. Twelve sports are available for men: baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, tennis, indoor and outdoor track, and wrestling. Twelve sports are available for women: basketball, cross country, field hockey, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, indoor and outdoor track, and volleyball.
McDaniel College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), 1007 North Orange Street, 4th Floor, MB #166, Wilmington, DE 19801. MSCHE is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Commission of Recognition of Postsecondary Accreditation. Accreditation was first granted in 1922, with the last reaffirmation occurring in 2013. The next reaffirmation cycle takes place in 2022-2023.
Shortly after the Civil War, Fayette R. Buell, a Westminster teacher, embarked on his dream of founding a small private college. He purchased a tract of land – a hill overlooking the town – and issued a prospectus in search of support for his dream. Although financing was slow to materialize, he did receive generous support from two of the community leaders: the Reverend J.T. Ward of the Methodist Protestant Church, who would become the College’s first president, and John Smith, president of the thriving Western Maryland Railroad and a resident of nearby Wakefield Valley.
Mr. Smith, who became the first president of the College’s Board of Trustees, suggested that the College be named Western Maryland College after the railroad, which maintained an important terminal in Westminster. On the day in 1866 that the cornerstone was laid for the College’s first building, free rail passage was granted to everyone who attended the ceremonies. Eventually, the Western Maryland Railroad merged with another company. But the College that bore its name continued to grow.
The first building of Western Maryland College was completed in September 1867; 37 men and women were enrolled in eight areas of study. Already, the new college was in many ways ahead of its time. In the original Charter, the founders and the first Board of Trustees clearly reflected their intentions that the College be an innovative and independent institution.
The College was one of the first coeducational colleges in the nation. Since its inception, it has been an independent liberal arts college with an autonomous Board of Trustees. A voluntary fraternal affiliation with the United Methodist Church existed from 1868 to 1974; today there are no ties to any denominational body. Control and ownership are fully vested by the Charter in the trustees, under Maryland state law.
On January 11, 2002, the trustees announced their unanimous decision to change the name of Western Maryland College after discussion and surveys confirmed confusion over where and what the College was. Under a new name, the College would be better recognized as a private college of the liberal arts and sciences within an hour’s drive of Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
Alumni, students, parents, faculty, and emeriti faculty, administrators, and trustees participated in the process to select a name which embodied the essence of the College. On July 1, 2002, McDaniel College renewed its educational mission in honor of William R. McDaniel, a man who meant as much to the College as the College meant to him.
In recognition of the College’s 135-year history as Western Maryland College, Alumni Hall was renamed WMC Alumni Hall, and each year, the course “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about McDaniel College/Western Maryland College” is offered during January Term.
Billy Mac, as William R. McDaniel was affectionately known, arrived on campus in 1877 as a 16-year-old sophomore from the Eastern Shore. He was salutatorian among the six men and four women in the Class of 1880. He taught for 36 years and also served as an innovative administrator and trustee. Presidents called him indispensable. Colleagues respected his dedication to teaching and the hand he extended to faculty newcomers. His students spoke of his attention to detail and demanding yet patient way of guiding them through algebra, geometry, and astronomy. McDaniel’s dedication to the College spanned 65 years and ended only with his death in 1942.
In its 150-year history, the College has had only nine presidents: Dr. Ward, Dr. Thomas Hamilton Lewis (1886–1920), Dr. Albert Norman Ward (1920–1935), Bishop Fred G. Holloway (1935–1947), Dr. Lowell S. Ensor (1947–1972), Dr. Ralph C. John (1972–1984), Dr. Robert H. Chambers (1984–2000), Dr. Joan Develin Coley (2000–2010), Dr. Roger N. Casey (2010–2021), and Dr. Julia Jasken (2021-present). Under their guidance, the College has assumed a place in the nation among the quality colleges of the liberal arts and sciences, developing programs and material and physical assets that fulfill the vision of its founders.