This blogging exercise is to share mission statements from two institutions of higher learning.
The first example comes from my Alma Mater, Mississippi State University (MSU), a land-grant institution located in Northwest Mississippi’s Golden Triangle, in a city called Starkville. I went to MSU for both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees; attending from 2004-2009 for my B.F.A. (sculpture) and again from 2012-2015 for my M.L.A. The following mission statement is from the Department of Landscape Architecture’s website:
“The Department of Landscape Architecture at Mississippi State University has pledged to “foster the will and ability to plan, design, build, and manage regenerative communities” through our mission statement. We believe that the professions of Landscape Architecture and Landscape Contracting should strive to connect art, culture, and the environment to provide society with places that people love and that are cognizant of a holistic, ecological model of design. Our students explore subjects such as the design process, storm water design, energy flow, native landscapes and plant materials, green infrastructure, sustainability, community planning, and regional planning.
Goal 1: Teach students the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to plan, design, build and manage regenerative communities.
Goal 2: Create new knowledge in landscape planning, design, and management of built and natural environments.
Goal 3: Serve, and build relationships with the public, the landscape architecture and landscape contracting professions, and allied professions.
Goal 4: Create a place and culture that advances our mission.”
I love this mission statement because it reflects/relates deeply to my own design and teaching philosophies. On one hand, I realize the reason is because this is the program that shaped me (and I admit I was drinking the kool-aid); on the other hand, I honestly think it’s a beautiful mission. It speaks to the part of me that wants to both protect the environment and enhance communities. It stands out to me because of its focus on ecology, sustainability, and regenerative design. As the global population and demand for resources grows in the face of changing climate, I believe these focus areas are going to become increasingly important to maintain the health and wellness of both local and global communities in the coming years.
The second mission statement comes from Clemson University a public university, located in Clemson, South Carolina.
Our mission is to serve as a resource for the state of South Carolina and beyond through excellence in teaching, research and service in landscape architecture that emphasizes transformative design, sensitivity to environmental and socio-cultural issues, and responsible land stewardship.
We are committed to fulfilling our part of the university’s mission: “providing talent for the global economy by recruiting and graduating outstanding students; retaining faculty and staff nationally recognized in their disciplines; offering exceptional educational experiences grounded in student engagement; driving innovation through research and service that solves problems, stimulates economic growth and creates jobs; and serving the public good by focusing on the great challenges of the 21st century.” We are also committed to fulfilling the mission of the College of Architecture Arts and Humanities: “focused on transformative education, knowledge development and creative expression to anticipate and meet the needs of rapidly changing local, regional, national and global environments.”
- The art and science of design
- Ethical environmental and social justice
- Responsible land stewardship
- The power of place
- International education
- Creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking.”
I chose the mission statement from Clemson University’s Department of Landscape Architecture because it was a school that I was highly interested in for pursuit of my Ph.D. They have an extremely strong program, beautiful facilities, and engaging faculty–and I debated whether or not it was a better fit for me and my education/career pursuits. I was drawn to this mission statement because of it’s global orientation and focus on stewardship and the 4 C’s: creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking.
An institution’s mission statement is one of the first things prospective students (should) look at. It helps to set the tone for what they can expect from the culture and community of the university. In the end, I’m confident I made the right choice in choosing to come to Virginia Tech. The university’s mission statement helped me to make that decision:
“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.”
The last sentence of our mission is what really speaks to me as a student in pursuit of an academic career. “[F]ocus on teaching and learning, research, and discovery, and outreach and engagement” is the core of what I believe makes a strong educator.