In thinking about mission statements to compare I wanted to compare a large research university with a semi-large grad school, and a smaller university with a smaller graduate program and less research intensive. I chose my undergraduate university, Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas for the large school, and James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia for the smaller university. Both mission statements are relatively short, for TTU a quick three sentences and for JMU and even quicker one sentence.
TTU explains in their mission statement how it is a public research university advancing knowledge through teaching and research. It goes on to explain that TTU prepares ethical leaders for the workforce and is “committed to enhancing the cultural and economic development of the state, nation and world.”
Since JMU’s mission statement is one sentence, I won’t paraphrase it, here it is:
We are a community committed to preparing students to be educated and enlightened citizens who lead productive and meaningful lives.
It is clear from the mission statements that both universities are focused on education. Both of them mention preparing students for their future. TTU focuses on preparing students to be “ethical leaders for a diverse and globally competitive workforce.” There are a couple things that stood out to me when I read this. First I really liked the focus on ethics in the classroom. I also think it’s interesting that they included “globally competitive workforce.” I’m not sure why they felt they needed to stress the globally competitive thing. Is there a difference in the way TTU would prepare their students if this wasn’t included in the mission? JMU’s short and sweet educational message had obviously similar tones as TTU’s, with their reference to the students’ future in, “lead productive and meaningful lives.”
The obvious difference in the two mission statements is TTU’s focus on research, and the total absence of research from JMU’s mission. It makes sense that TTU would include research as they have a large graduate school and most of the faculty are research focused. What I find interesting is that JMU doesn’t include research at all. My fiancé attended JMU and so I know that they do have undergraduate research opportunities and therefore some research going on there. I take this omission of research in their mission to mean that although there is research at the university, it is used as an educational tool and it is not the main focus of the university to bring in as much research as they can. But I could be wrong. Maybe they are just in a transition and soon research will be in the mission and be more of a focus for them.
Any input on what I’ve taken from these mission statements would be greatly appreciated.