Since I am from China, I would like to compare a mission statement of universities in China with that of universities in the US. I choose Tianjin Polytechnic University (TJPU) as an example of universities in China, where I got my master’s degree. TJPU is a state-run institution of higher education, which is financed by the Ministry of Education and the Tianjin Municipal People’s Government. Meanwhile, I choose Virginia Tech (VT) as an example of universities in the US, where I am currently working towards my PhD degree. TJPU’s mission statement is “Teaching and Research promote each other; Learning and Ability improve together”. VT’s statement is “Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) is a public land-grant university serving the Commonwealth of Virginia, the nation, and the world community. The discovery and dissemination of new knowledge are central to its mission. Through its focus on teaching and learning, research and discovery, and outreach and engagement, the university creates, conveys, and applies knowledge to expand personal growth and opportunity, advance social and community development, foster economic competitiveness, and improve the quality of life.”
When I read both mission statements, some highlighting points in common stood out to me, a graduate student who want to pursue an academic path in the future. First, I should focus on some basic responsibilities – teaching and research for my future career during PhD life. Second, I am supposed to have correct philosophies to help others. One example is that I should help student learn and understand basic knowledge, improve their abilities to apply knowledge in real practice, or even encourage students to create new methodologies. Last but not least, both mission statements setup a good vision for me to chase.
Although the length of the two mission statements is a little different, one sentence for TJPU but a short paragraph for VT, the essential purpose of both mission statements is similar. The significant similarity is that both mission statements emphasize the importance of research and teaching for universities. The main difference between them is that TJPU only talks about the relationship of research and teaching. It considers that research and teaching are mutually related. However, VT mainly provides more information about how the mission statement is valuable for each person in the university. Moreover, it considers teaching and research as methods to improve the quality of people’ lives.
As we all know, both mission statements do a good job in clarifying their purposes and visions of the universities they represent. Only do we know goals of and ways to the future, we can efficiently make full use of our resources and work hard for them. The mission statement is very instructive for guiding people to design their future.