A Tale of Two Statements

I decided to look at the mission statements of my universities (current and previous) and their honors colleges.

I was in the Honors program at College of Charleston for undergrad and one thing I noticed was how the Honors program sought to emphasize itself as separate from the college at-large. I was curious about whether Virginia Tech‘s honors college did the same.

College of Charleston is a mid-size liberal arts university in Charleston, South Carolina compared to Tech’s large, science-focused program.

The first thing I noticed was that CofC’s mission statement was the Board Approved and seemed very corporate, whereas the Honors statement appeared corporate because of the formatting of the website but was actually very student- and values-oriented.

Tech’s mission statement was much less corporate than CofC’s and had the same feel as both honors statements. The Tech honors statement was saturated with adjectives (a little too much) .

While the Tech statement mentioned transdisciplinary (?) study, the CofC Honors statement made specific mention of the “world,” which goes along with the Cortés-Sánchez article that found an increase in global references in university mission statements.

Overall, I was unsurprised at the student and success focus of the honors program statements. I was actually very surprised at CofC’s sterile sort of mission statement, especially given that it’s smaller and has a liberal arts approach to education, which is usually associated with more openness for exploration that science universities.

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