measured by the company you keep

So continuing with the theme of mission statements, we can conclude that there is a set of language that is used when developing a mission statement. Truthful or not, the exercise of having a mission statement can begin to guide the vision of a college or university.

This brings us to the next question when looking at mission statements. Why? Sometimes you go to a place and they (the faculty or students) say one thing, but show you another. When visiting architecture schools I had varying experiences as compared to what seemed to be similar mission statements.

These statements are prone to vague language and otherwise subjective goals. But that is what a goal is. A goal is a personal mandate to achieve or avoid based on its language. A mission statement can be a simple as this:

I will hold myself to the highest standards.



Now all jokes aside, something like this is extremely vague and difficult to measure. But not all things need to be measured at all times.  This is specific to my field but, architect Louis Kahn said about architecture that, “A great building must begin with the unmeasurable, must go through measurable means when it is being designed and in the end must be unmeasurable.”

These institutions and their education want to be unmeasurable, that the experience, the force of their presence is great, beyond what can be quantified. That they hold themselves to a level of excellence and intention.

It is good to be cynical, but remember that these words can shed light into the possible and the potential to learn.


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