When looking at mission statements I decided to make my first choice my undergraduate university, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Rose-Hulman focuses on undergraduate engineering, has approximately 2,000 students, and has been ranked as the #1 undergraduate engineering school in the nation for the past 17 years.
For my second choice I wanted to get a slightly different perspective, in the sense of academic material taught. Therefore, I decided to choose a university that was similarly ranked, but for liberal arts material. After doing a little bit of internet searching I decided on Williams College as my second choice. Williams College was ranked as the #1 liberal arts university in the nation. Like Rose-Hulman, it also has around 2,000 students.
Rose-Hulman’s Mission Statement: http://www.rose-hulman.edu/about/mission-vision.aspx
Williams College’s Mission Statement: http://archives.williams.edu/mission-and-purposes-2007.php
Location and Population:
Rose-Hulman is located in Terre Haute, IN which has a population of approximately 61,000 people. While the population is fairly significant it still has a Midwest, rural feeling. Williams College is located in Williamstown, MA which has a population of approximately 8,000 people. From a location perspective both universities seem to be located in fairly rural locations with one being in the Midwest while the other is in the Northeast. Therefore, when it comes to location I feel like the biggest difference between the two universities is the Midwest versus the northeast and the social norms that are associated with these two areas.
The length of the mission statements
Without evening reading the mission statements the first thing I noticed between the two mission statements was the length difference. Rose-Hulman’s mission statement is a single sentence and has two other sentences in their vision statement while Williams College has a multi-paragraph mission statement. The engineer inside of me appreciates the direct and simplistic form that Rose-Hulman takes with their mission statement.But, I still do appreciate the effort that Williams College put into their mission statement to explain everything.
While the short length of the mission statement is quicker to read, if I had not attended Rose-Hulman I think their mission statement and vision would not have made as much sense and been as clear. Since Williams College spent more time and more paragraphs describing the mission in details it was very clear.
I feel like the length and wording of the mission statements reflects the type of universities. Rose-Hulman is an engineering university and when it comes to writing engineers tend to be direct and simplistic. Whereas, liberal arts are known for using a diverse set of vocabulary, being more flowery/verbose, and constructing writings that do a good job at pulling the reader in.
What can be pulled from Rose-Hulman’s mission statement?
It seems that their goal is to provide ‘the World’s best undergraduate education in science, engineering, and mathematics’ while providing an atmosphere that promotes one-on-one attention and support from professors. It is really hard to boil down this mission statement any further since it is one sentence long. But, from this single sentence the main focus of the university is established (provide one of the best undergraduate science, engineering, and mathematics education in the world) and a single important detail about the culture is provided (an environment of individual attention and support).
When looking at the mission statement and the first sentence of the vision statement it becomes apparent that Rose-Hulman wants to prepare their students for a future in engineering. The second sentence of their vision provides the idea that once you graduate from Rose-Hulman it is expected that there is this partnership between alumni and the university that allows both to thrive and provide continuous support.
When looking at the audience, this mission statement is not only important for prospective students but also for prospective faculty. I feel it is targeted to prospective faculty because it gives the impression that this university is focused on teaching. Thus, by being a faculty member at this institute your focus is to provide the best education to students and not on performing cutting edge research.
What can be pulled from Williams College’s mission statement?
Williams College also strives to be the best institute, but in liberal arts instead of engineering and this is evident by the first sentence of their mission statement. They go through great detail explaining how they plan on handling the curriculum and attempting to prepare students for the unknown and unpredictable future. In addition, Williams College makes sure to put an emphasis on learning and how important it is.
The mission statement from Williams College seems like it is less targeted towards prospective students. I say this because of the wording and the material that was presented in the mission statement. The flowery wording and in-depth detail makes this mission statement sound more for prospective faculty and the general public.
Some final remarks
I find it interesting that both universities make it evident that education and learning are of great importance. Overall, I feel like both universities have similar goals (to provide the best education possible and to the proper environment for that education to occur in). The main difference comes in the delivery of these goals. Rose-Hulman designed their mission statement to be concise and to the point while Williams College spent multiple paragraphs discussing in detail how they plan to achieve these goals.