Yo folks, hope everyone’s having a fantastic weekend!
As the fall starts, one particular memory comes back to me from a long time ago: applying for college.
All throughout the world, rising high school seniors must make one of the important decisions of their young lives: they must decide which college or university they will attend. With over 4,000 accredited degree-granting institutions in the United States alone, this is no easy task; often times, these young students must consider numerous factors in their decisions. For many, the majors provided by the school weigh heavily, while for others, extracurricular activities such as sports play an influential role.
With so much competition from other universities, schools must find a way to make themselves appealing to potential new students. One common method of doing so, albeit overlooked, is the school’s mission and vision statement. Typically displayed prominently in bold font on the university’s home screen, the mission and vision statements provide students with a look at what the university can do for them, what kind of students the university puts out, and how they mold and shape them for the future. Professor Julián David Cortés-Sánchez, a principal professor at the Universidad del Rosario’s School of Management (Colombia), conducted a content analysis of themes present in mission and vision statements and found many trends including global influence, emphasis on research and teaching, and focus on the individual’s growth.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the mission and vision statements of two universities I previously attended and compare them.
Mission statement: Lincoln University, the nation’s first degree-granting Historically Black College and University (HBCU), educates and empowers students to lead their communities and change the world.
It does so by:
Providing a rigorous liberal arts education featuring active and collaborative learning;
Integrating academic and co-curricular programs with the University’s distinctive legacy of global engagement, social responsibility and leadership development; and
Cultivating the character, values and standards of excellence needed to enable students to become responsible citizens of a global community.
Delaware State University
Mission statement: Delaware State University is a public, comprehensive, 1890 land-grant institution that offers access and opportunity to diverse populations from Delaware, the nation and the world. Building on its heritage as a historically black college, the University purposefully integrates the highest standards of excellence in teaching, research and service in its baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral programs. Its commitment to advance science, technology, liberal arts and the professions produces capable and productive leaders who contribute to the sustainability and economic development of the global community.
Both of these schools are historically black degree granting institutions in the northeastern United States. Lincoln University was founded in 1854 while Delaware State University was founded later in 1891. Right of the bat, Lincoln emphasizes its impressive historical landmark as being the first university of its kind. It then goes on to provide an overarching goal for what they desire students matriculating through its program to become. It then provides details on how it will create these students in short and concise points, stressing its academic programs, global/societal engagement, and building student character. Delaware State offers a somewhat similar statement. They also bring up their status as a historically black college, but also provide their status as a land-grant institution. From there, they discuss diversity at the school, express the high standards they hold for the academics provided, and state their commitment to education and producing future leaders.
Both statements are inspiring and share a few similarities: They discuss being an HBCU, something critical for young black students to be aware of when searching for an institution of higher learning. They also stress the importance of the academic programs and the type of leaders they wish to create upon graduation.
In my opinion, the Delaware State statement just has a bit more appeal, but that’s easily debated. At any rate, the mission statements of schools can be underappreciated and overlooked, but when a young high school student trying to decide where they will be molded into a functioning member of society, reading up on the university’s mission could help tip the scales.
Let me know in the comments what other factors you think play a role in selecting a college. Does the mission statement have any impact on your choices?
Until next time, Dr. Chaos, signing off ~