Six Steps to Educational Success

Macalester faculty and staff have developed six learning goals for students to achieve by graduation. Use these goals to navigate your learning experiences at Macalester, e.g., in meetings with your faculty advisor, when selecting particular courses, in choosing co-curricular programs, or when applying for a job on campus.  Statement of Student Learning complete text

By the time you graduate…

Macalester’s Mission

“Macalester is committed to being a preeminent liberal arts college with an educational program known for its high standards for scholarship and its special emphasis on internationalism, multiculturalism, and service to society.” (approved by the Board of Trustees in 1992)

Your future at Macalester is largely up to you! Your Macalester education will be transformative. You will have learning opportunities within and outside the classroom that will prepare you to be a learner throughout your life, to seek academic excellence, to take responsibility for your choices, and more. It will be an exciting and fun four-year process, from which you will gain important skills before you graduate.

The mission statement touches on four key parts of a Mac education: scholarship, internationalism, multiculturalism, and service to society. While these are listed as four separate things, you couldn’t be a Mac student without any one of them—and combined, they demonstrate what Mac is all about.


Students are expected to pursue academic work with high standards both in and out of the classroom. Scholarship means taking challenging classes, reading in the library late into the night, writing and editing an essay, or participating in a class discussion. Your engagement with academic work will occur outside of classroom assignments too—in your dorm room at two in the morning, as you and your roommate pick apart a reading from your first-year course, in Cafe Mac, in discussions at the Department of Multicultural Life, or at the Kofi Annan Institute for Global Citizenship.


As the world shrinks, metaphorically, the opportunity to engage with individuals with distinct histories, politics, and perspectives increases. No matter where you’re from, learning how to interact respectfully with people from different countries will be an invaluable part of your Mac experience.


The Mac community includes people from a wide variety of social groups and identities. As a student at Macalester, you will have an opportunity to explore your own identities and engage with others who are both similar and different from you. When you examine the dynamics of power and privilege, your educational experiences can be truly transformative. You will learn how to contribute to a more just and equitable environment in which all members of our community thrive.

Service to Society

Macalester is located in the heart of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Your learning on campus will extend into the local community and beyond through applied coursework, internships, or civic engagement. These hands-on experiences will deepen your academic growth, increase your capacity to solve public problems, and enhance your commitment to make decisions for the common good.

Six Steps to Educational Success (PDF)

This introduction to Macalester’s institutional learning goals and outcomes was written by the Assessment Office. Cole Callahan ’14 and Madeline Spolin ’15, student employees in the Assessment Office, were the lead authors. We also acknowledge the Student Learning Committee for its work in developing the institutional learning goals and outcomes, which were adopted in 2012.

Version 2 revised 7/14