Purpose, Vision, Mission & Values

Naropa has a mission that is unique among America’s institutions of higher learning: We are the only school in the country that grounds the student experience in contemplative education principles.

Through rigorous academics, contemplative practice, and experiential learning, we look to prepare people with knowledge, wisdom, and skills so they can “be the change” in their workplaces and communities, and live joyous, meaningful lives.

Naropa's Purpose

We exist to cultivate compassionate, creative, and critical engagement with an ever-changing world through the discipline of contemplative education.

Naropa's Vision

Naropa envisions an interconnected global community that embodies an everlasting commitment to personal actions, interpersonal relations, and vocations that promote individual, social, and ecological liberation and wellbeing.

Naropa's Mission

We commit to create a more just and regenerative world by nurturing student insight and awareness, courage, and compassion. Through contemplative pedagogy, critical thinking, and active engagement we offer students the skills they need to authentically engage as effective, mindful leaders.

Naropa Values

  1. Foster lifelong learning, meaningful lives and success for students and graduates.
  2. Expand our leading-edge of contemplative education that embraces inner discovery and learning.
  3. Build a culture of belonging and challenge systems of oppression that undermine human dignity.
  4. Awaken and renew ecological interconnection and commit to regenerative practices, choices and leadership.
  5. Cultivate capacity for authentic and trusting relationships and practice radical compassion.
  6. Champion active responsibility and courageous, effective and inspired engagement with the world.
  7. Invoke artistic expression of the full human experience through creative awareness.

Envisioning 2023

Approaching the Threshold of the Next 50 Years

Beginning in July 2020 the Naropa Board of Trustees working closely with the Cabinet and other stakeholders as a task force took the opportunity to review and revise the mission, vision, and values; examine the efficacy and adequacy in addressing the current and future challenges the university faces, and to seek unified understandings of the fundamental question of stewardship into the future. In summary: Are we doing right now what we need to do to position Naropa to be successful over the next ten years?

With this question as to its foundation, the task force focused on three issues: which of Naropa's program offerings clearly and convincingly manifest "the Naropa difference", which truly support the student in their post-graduate life, and which are affordable? We expressed these questions in this way:

• Does the program manifest the Naropa difference, that is, does it offer the student the opportunity to develop as a “warrior in a changing and evolving world?”

• Does the program support the student’s vocation (as in vocare, calling, or life path); that is, does it provide the student with the skills that support a sustainable livelihood in their calling?

• Can the program be delivered at a cost that does not burden the student with debts that threaten their ability to live their vocation?


Rooted in these criteria, the task force has identified three Envisioning 2023 focus areas with high-level objectives:


Naropa Graduate School of Counseling Psychology and Graduate Collective:

a. expand current programs in pursuit of growth and financial sustainability,

b. increase enrollment, retention, and graduation rates,

c. build faculty and staff capacity to deliver with excellence to ever more students and via new modalities,

d. innovate in curricula and learning, from online to hybrid to high-touch.


Naropa College:

a. increase enrollment, retention, and graduation rates,

b. continue the evaluation, refinement, and strengthening of the existing offering,

c. Apply Title III funds to directly support and enhance the rebuilding of the undergraduate college, while re-visioning/creating an undergraduate model for the future.

d. Consider prospective focus/specialty around graduate completion, and as a feeder into graduate programs.


Naropa Innovation & New Ventures:

a. Advance innovative, revenue-producing programs and initiatives that are consistent with the criteria, allowing Naropa to expand beyond its current program offerings to maintain continued fiscal sustainability.

b. elements include:

i. Naropa Extended Campus: build the operational blueprint for an extended campus model that supports the development of programs of study that support a broader array of learning objectives, both credentialed and noncredentialed.

ii. Naropa digital learning: Development of the foundational digital learning platforms and infrastructure to support the expansion of online degree programs.

iii. Naropa University Center for Psychedelic Studies: build a training carousel/ long-range roadmap for ongoing training in partnership with MAPS, identifying capacities, technology needs, staff and faculty support, prospective partners, and funders, etc.

c. Seeking creative and alternative fundraising initiatives to support the development and implementation of these innovations and new ventures.

It is through the courageous work of the Board, Cabinet, and the faculty and staff of that we set ourselves upon these tasks to realize the work of envisioning 2023 with the unwavering support of the broader community which Naropa serves. This is our leadership challenge and opportunity in transforming ourselves to transform the world.