Spelman places emphasis on the entire college experience, including academics. Classes are kept to small groups of students, allowing for easy interaction with peers and instructors. Almost every class is taught by a professor, and the College makes little use of TAs as instructors. Dialogue in the classroom is open, and it is common to find a discussion that has wandered away from the course syllabus to a relevant current event. One mandatory freshman course, African Diaspora & the World (ADW), inspires discussions about issues faced by those of African descent throughout history. Regardless of the class, most professors are approachable and sincerely interested in their students as people.
Spelman is academically sound, and not only because of its well-known and published professors or the recognition it receives in the press. At all levels students are challenged to take on both group and individual projects meant to expand their knowledge, as well as enhance their approach to problem solving. Spelman has always had a strong reputation as a liberal arts college. In recent years, the college has widened that reputation to include the sciences with the addition of the Albro Falconer Manley Science Center. There is a strong emphasis on studies and the pursuit of graduate degrees. Some instructors believe in conducting their classes and disciplining students in a traditional style that, by today's standards, may seem strict, but students will have a unique connection with professors.