University Mission Statement Analysis

For this first blog, I am taking a Future Professoriate class at Virginia Tech, and I explore the nature of mission statements of educational institutions by analyzing two mission statements: Morehouse College and Texas Tech University. Morehouse College is located in a predominantly Black metropolitan, Atlanta, Georgia and an all-male private institution. Texas Tech University is a public university located in Lubbock, Texas, near a region that originated in thousands of slaves who were unaware of their emancipation for years, and their freedom is now celebrated by Black people as Juneteenth (June 19th). I provide both institution’s mission statements below for my analysis.

Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA (Male HBCU)
The mission of Morehouse College is to develop men with disciplined minds who will lead lives of leadership and service. A private historically black liberal arts college for men, Morehouse realizes this mission by emphasizing the intellectual and character development of its students. In addition, the College assumes special responsibility for teaching the history and culture of black people.

Texas Tech University, Lubbock , TX (PWI)
Committed to teaching and the advancement of knowledge, Texas Tech University, a comprehensive public research university, provides the highest standards of excellence in higher education, fosters intellectual and personal development, and stimulates meaningful research and service to humankind.
I found difficulty in trying to find the Texas Tech University mission statement on their website. I went to the “About” page and there were no clear identifiers to steer me in the right direction. After conducting a Google search for the mission statement in question, I arrived to two mission statements: one for their study abroad and another for international affairs. I resolved to heading back to the “About” page and this time selected the subpage “Texas Tech Facts.” I encountered what appears to be a mission statement that I have noted above. If mission statements are governing language to align stakeholders with the university’s plan, then at a minimum, the mission statement should be easy to locate and clearly identifiable.

Key elements that are explicit in both mission statements are as follows:

College Name

Morehouse College

Texas Tech University

College Type

Private, HBCU, Liberal Arts

Comprehensive public research university

Intended Demographic

Male Only

Not stated

Target Audience

Black Males

Humankind

Mission Focus:

Intellectual and character development

Intellectual and personal development

Teaching the history and culture of Black people

Teaching and the advancement of knowledge

Develop men with disciplined minds who will lead lives of leadership and service

Stimulates meaningful research and service

In reviewing both mission statements, Morehouse College’s statement mirrors the university’s demographic (Black males), whereas Texas Tech’s mission statement attempts to account for a broader student population and stakeholders but their student demographic is approximately 60% white. The mission statements are essentially identical as we compare the stated key elements: college name, college type, intended demographic, target audience, and mission focus. The difference between the mission statements is only in that Morehouse is structured for a Black male student population. Texas Tech (a PWI) states a general audience of “humankind” without taking the opportunity  for the integration of diversity into the university’s mission.

In “What do universities want to be? A content analysis of mission and vision statements worldwide,” Julián David Cortés-Sánchez explains that mission statement’s should be centered on the following four questions: “Why an organisation exists,” “What it believes in,” “The policies and behavioural patterns that guide its operations,” and “The strategy for achieving its purpose.” I attempted to place Morehouse College and Texas Tech’s mission statements into this four-question heuristic to identify if what Cortés-Sánchez states as the essence of a mission statement is captured by these universities. I must say I anticipated by choosing these institutions that are of different types and are located in drastically different regions of the country that the mission statements would be just as disparate. I would be interested in knowing if the majority of U.S. institutions are using similar language to meet the structure of the mission statement genre. Is the intent of the mission statement being upheld? Who is actually reading mission statements? Are potential stakeholders making decisions to unite with universities because they share the values and interests stated in the mission statement. My final thoughts are that the mission statement is a signpost and a required element for business structures, but they do not provide the depth that one would anticipate to truly understand the culture of a university.

Questions

Morehouse College

Texas Tech University

Why an organization exists

Develop men with disciplined minds who will lead lives of leadership and service

Provides the highest standards of excellence in higher education, fosters intellectual and personal development, and stimulates meaningful research and service to humankind.

What it believes in

Teaching the history and culture of black people

Committed to teaching and the advancement of knowledge

The policies and behavioral patterns that guide its operations

Not clearly defined

Not clearly defined

The strategy for achieving its purpose

Emphasizing the intellectual and character development of its students.

Fosters intellectual and personal development, and stimulates meaningful research and service to humankind

​*Source: https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2017/12/20/what-do-universities-want-to-be-a-content-analysis-of-mission-and-vision-statements-worldwide/

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