Mission Statements for Higher Education Institutions

A recent assignment has requested that we select two mission statements from higher education and reflect on the following prompts:

  • Where are the mission statements from?
    • Location?
    • Country?
    • Type of university/college?
  • What stood out to you?
    • In what manner?
    • Why?

For this assignment, I chose two “Institutes of Technology:”  Massachusetts Institute of Technology and New Mexico Institute of Technology, my alma mater.  Being a PhD student in STEM, I am particularly interested in the on-goings of universities that prioritize research in STEM-related fields. In both mission statements, I will be considering whether I find the institute to be reflective of  their mission statement — are they sticking to what they say?

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

cambridge, massachusetts. United States of america. Private University.

“… to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century.”

My initial observations about this mission statement is that it is short, specific, and time-oriented. As this is one of the first mission statements I have read critically, I was expecting a bit more detail about the schools’ views in other areas of academia (equity, research, community, ect). However, I appreciate that MIT does have strong merit in “science and technology” and I began to question if their mission statement came first (to guide what they would excel in) or if they tailored their mission statement, like post-processing, to what they were already great at.  Clearly, I would say their mission statement reflects what I know about the institution: strong emphasis/merit in science and math, but is that all a mission statement should highlight?

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

“New Mexico Tech serves the state and beyond through education, research, and service, focused in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Involved faculty educate a diverse student body in rigorous and collaborative programs, preparing scientists and engineers for the future. Our innovative and interdisciplinary research expands the reach of humanity’s knowledge and capabilities. Researchers, faculty, and students work together to solve real world problems. Our economic development and technology transfer benefit the economy of the state and create opportunities for success. We serve the public through applied research, professional development, and teacher education, benefitting the people of New Mexico.”

At first glance, this statement falls on the other end of the spectrum in terms of length and wholistic perspective. I appreciate that they mention their service to the state, their diverse faculty pool, and their emphasis on interdisciplinary research. As a prior student with first hand experience, I did experience a diverse faculty pool and an emphasis on interdisciplinary research. However, I would expect that since service to state is listed twice in the mission statement, service would be a foundational pillar of the university. Although, the school has wonderful student led committees that connect with the surrounding community,  I am unaware of “higher-up” organizations that give back to the New Mexican people. What would be great is for the institution to have linked pages that answer these big questions. “How are we giving back? Click here to read about the money, time, education, etc we have provided to surrounding communities.”

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