Welcome! Here you’ll find the Wilmette Institute’s purpose, mission, guiding principles, vision, and learning outcomes, and links to further information on the Institute’s student and faculty policies, and its courses.
Last update: March 2022
The purpose of the Wilmette Institute is to offer courses and other educational programs to youth and adults regardless of their background and to foster scholarship on Bahá’í history, texts, teachings and their relationship to social transformation.
An agency of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States.
The Wilmette Institute is a higher educational institution offering courses in Bahá’í history, texts, and the Bahá’í approach to social transformation. We are committed to a diverse academic community in our student body and faculty. Our courses facilitate consultation, action, and reflection leading to personal and collective transformation for the common good.
We seek to provide innovative and transformative learning experiences for university students and others who want to make the world more compassionate, just and inclusive.
Universal peace and justice will be realized through a global consciousness of the oneness of humanity and the interconnectedness of the earth and all its inhabitants.
Both science and religion are essential to building an ever-advancing civilization.
Systemic social problems require a holistic approach to discover lasting solutions.
Scholarship does not begin and end with words but combines theory and praxis in study, consultation, action and reflection.
Sustainable social change requires the development of human capacity, in order for people to become protagonists of their own material and spiritual development.
The Wilmette Institute looks forward to its next decade by building on its twenty-five years of steady development. Its goal of offering courses that Bahá’ís and members of the greater community can take for college or university credit is now moving forward as the Institute pursues accreditation as a postsecondary online educational institution. It will pursue partnerships with educational institutions interested in incorporating Wilmette Institute courses into academic degrees. If, at some point, there are educational or vocational reasons to offer an undergraduate or graduate degree, its courses for college students and its partnerships will have prepared it to do so. It will continue and expand its continuing education (non-credit) courses so that it is able to serve any adult wanting to pursue study of the Bahá’í Faith and related topics. It will continue to diversify its faculty and student bodies, expand its offerings to minority groups, and increase its capacity to serve the educational needs of young adults. It plans to inaugurate an online journal, expand its online publishing, and offer research grants that will strengthen Bahá’í scholarship. In sum, it seeks to be a major center for knowledge generation and dissemination related to the Bahá’í Faith and social transformation, along the general lines of a modern university that has a strong continuing education focus.
Program* Learning Outcomes
*The Wilmette Institute is developing two graduate certificate programs which will have the following learning outcomes. Individual courses may contribute more to one or another of these outcomes, and many of our community learning courses are also developed with these outcomes in mind.
Social Transformation Certificate Program
Analyze local and global issues through critical systems thinking.
Explore the intricate connections between spiritual and material solutions to personal prosperity and social issues through research, praxis, and the arts.
Engage in public discourse and social action on significant social issues.
Bahá’í History, Texts, and Tenets Certificate Program
Compare and contrast Bahá’í tenets and structures with parallels in other religious traditions.
Explore God’s purpose and process of establishing religion: God and His creation, revelation, the life of the spirit, the Covenant, essential relationships, and individual and collective advancement.
Analyze critically ethical and social issues from a historical and Bahá’í perspective; develop an evolving self-knowledge (which includes an awareness of one’s own ethical values; deepen one’s familiarity with one’s own sources for personal renewal, aesthetic experiences and experience of the Divine), develop compassion towards self and others, and acquire a stronger desire to serve others.
Develop skills to become change makers through consultation, discourse, and/or through the application of their knowledge to service.