Mission Statements of Higher Ed Institutions: Reflection Post

In this post I will be discussing mission statements of two universities, The University of Jordan and the University of Stuttgart. I have attended The University of Jordan for my undergraduate studies in Civil Engineering, therefore, I have a good level of familiarity with the institution. I chose to look into the University of Stuttgart because a friend of mine attended it for his master’s degree, he also earned his bachelor’s degree from The University of Jordan. My friend and I had many discussions in the past about his academic and campus life experiences in both institutions and that motivated me to write this post.

The university of Jordan

Located in Amman, the capital city of Jordan, The University of Jordan is a public university and is the largest and oldest institution of higher education in the country [1]. The university consists of 24 schools with various disciplines of sciences and arts[2]. The total number of students enrolled was 50,000 during the 2019/20 academic year. Their mission statement is [3]:

  • Providing students with fulfilling learning experiences, conducting knowledge-generating research, and building firm societal ties, within an environment that is attractive and financially stable, and conducive to creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship

What stands out, at least to me as a reader, is that the university is aiming at balancing their focus between different aspects of their role as an institution.  One can see four broad themes in the mission statement: learning, society, financial stability, and creativity. It was interesting to find a “financially stable” environment mentioned in the mission statement, however, it reflects on a lot of the financial challenges that continue to face both students and higher education institutes in developing countries such as Jordan. Based on my experience, the university adopts a model where they introduce a trade off to keep education affordable by limiting campus facilities and non-academic activities/resources available to students compared to academic resources. In my opinion, the last part of the mission statement is forward-looking in the sense that strong academics can fuel innovation in the future.

The University of Stuttgart

Located in Stuttgart, Germany. The University of Stuttgart is one of the oldest technical universities in Germany with highly ranked programs in civil, mechanical, industrial and electrical engineering. During the academic year 2019/20, a total of 24,540 students were enrolled in all 10 colleges within the university[4]. Their mission statement is[5]:

  • The University of Stuttgart is a leading, technically-oriented German university with a global presence.
  • Basic research that is both insight-oriented and practically-relevant is the key to its functioning.
  • The University educates not only outstanding experts in their chosen domains but also personalities who think globally and interactively and act responsibly for the sake of science, society, and the economy.
  • Through its research and teaching, it fosters the general welfare and contributes to economic success.
  • As an employer, it creates space for diversity and equal opportunity as well as fair treatment for all – regardless of status, age, ethnicity and gender.
  • The University of Stuttgart advocates for open-mindedness, individualism, and community spirit. Thanks to this culture of integration, it is able to create and pass on knowledge for a responsible shaping of our common future.

The university of Stuttgart seems to bring forward their global presence and strength as a technical university, this is closely tied to its reputation in certain fields such as advanced automotive engineering and industrial engineering. Keeping in mind that Stuttgart is the home of notable companies such as Mercedes-Benz and Porsche which influences the culture of the institution to be technically and economically oriented.

The university of Stuttgart’s mission statement also includes the contribution to economic success, my interpretation of this point, after reading their strategic goals, was that they want to equip their graduates to be attractive for future employers of a global scale. This part stood out to me when I compared it to the University of Jordan’s statement, it shows how universities in an advanced economy think differently compared to smaller, developing economies.

The University of Stuttgart addressed inclusion for both students and employees in a specific manner to show their commitment to diversity, perhaps because Germany is the second most desired immigration destination in the world after the United States [6]. The university of Stuttgart’s efforts in community spirit can be seen through programs that promote diversity such as the cross-cultural mentoring program [7] which encourages German students to interact with international students. On the other hand, The University of Jordan has a similar program offered only for students of “Arabic for Speakers of Other Languages”, that is most likely because those students make up the vast majority of international students on campus.

References

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Jordan

[2] http://www.ju.edu.jo/Pages/AboutUJ.aspx

[3] http://www.ju.edu.jo/Lists/Strategy/Strategy.aspx

[4] https://www.uni-stuttgart.de/en/university/profile/figures/

[5] https://www.uni-stuttgart.de/en/university/profile/mission/

[6] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immigration_to_Germany

[7] https://www.student.uni-stuttgart.de/en/participate/mentoring/

 

4 thoughts on “Mission Statements of Higher Ed Institutions: Reflection Post

  1. Thanks for the post. The financially stable aspect in University of Jordan’s statement definitely stands out, and actually sounds financially responsible to their students.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read my post! It definitely stands out to me more now after I attended universities in the US.

  2. Sam, I really appreciated your choice of institutions and the personal connection that you have to both through your’s and your friend’s experiences. I haven’t seen a mission statement of another university describe the work environment they create as an employer for their staff, which I thought was an interesting point from the University of Stuttgart’s mission statement. Do you have any idea why they included that point? I think of mission statements as targeted for audiences of students or other academic institutions, but do you think this is also geared towards current/potential future staff?
    You mentioned discussions you have had with your friend who has attend both institutions and comparing his experience at both places. Just curious what were the main similarities and differences he noted from both institutions?

    1. Jenn, thanks for reading my post. I believe University of Stuttgart included that point about them as an employer is due to being a part of TU9, they probably want to be as attractive as possible to employ high quality staff to live up to the expectations as I expect it to be very competitive in an industrial country like Germany!

      In comparing and contrasting the two universities*, my friend thought that both universities have a similar assessment system (exams and homework based). One of the major differences is that University of Stuttgart was more oriented towards technology integration into the material taught in class, whereas The University of Jordan relied more on students learning software outside the classroom for example.

      * Keep in mind that my friend was in undergrad in Jordan compared to being an international graduate student in Germany, so it’s not exactly comparing apples to apples

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