Higher Education Mission Statements

I chose to search for mission statements from Purdue University-West Lafayette (IN) and Case Western Reserve University (OH).

Purdue University-West Lafayette (IN)

Purdue University-West Lafayette is the flagship campus of the Purdue University System.  A public Research I (i.e., very high research activity) institution located in West Lafayette, Indiana, Purdue is a land-grant, sea-grant, and space-grant college.  Related to its designation as a land-grant college, Purdue was established, in part, with funds provided by the Morrill Act of 1862, “where the leading object shall be, without excluding other scientific and classical studies and including military tactics, to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts” (7 U.S. Code § 301 – Investment of proceeds of sale of land or scrip).

The mission statement from Purdue does not appear to be published online.  However, a Statement of Integrity and Code of Conduct is available here.  Specifically, the Preamble to the Statement of Integrity and Code of Conduct will be considered in lieu of an explicit mission statement.  The Preamble reads as follows:

Purdue University has a tradition of ethical conduct spanning its history. As a land-grant institution, we demonstrate our responsiveness to our constituencies and extend to them access to our knowledge resources. We nurture relationships with other partners in education who support our vision or join us to foster common interests. We integrate our mission with our responsibilities. We contribute our knowledge resources impartially in serving our public purposes. As faculty, students, staff, and administrators, we are a community of dedicated learners, scholars, professionals, and practitioners — all contributing our talents to uphold our standards, and improve ourselves and the broader community in which we live and work. Our responsibilities and obligations toward the advancement of learning, discovery, and engagement in the University and in Indiana extend to our nation and the world.

Albeit without reference to its original purpose of teaching specific disciplines, including, but not limited to, military tactics, engineering, and agriculture, Purdue continues to be strongly committed to the mission of the land-grant colleges as a contributor of knowledge for the public good.  This is evidenced by action items such as “demonstrate our responsiveness to our constituencies and extend to them access to our knowledge resources[,]” “nurture relationships with other partners in education who support our vision or join us to foster common interests[,]” and “contribute our knowledge resources impartially in serving our public purposes”.  Moreover, the Preamble also emphasizes general principles universal to institutions of higher learning, calling for “faculty, students, staff, and administrators” to ethically contribute to “the advancement of learning, discovery, and engagement” within their “community of dedicated learners, scholars, professionals, and practitioners” and beyond.

Case Western Reserve University (OH)

Established by the merger of Western Reserve University, best known for its programs in the liberal arts, and Case Institute of Technology, best known for its programs in the sciences and engineering, Case Western Reserve University is a private Research I (i.e., very high research activity) institution located in Cleveland, Ohio.

Case Western Reserve publishes not only a mission statement but also a vision statement and a core values statement.  All three statements are available here.   For purposes of this assignment, the mission statement reads as follows:

Case Western Reserve University improves and enriches people’s lives through research that capitalizes on the power of collaboration, and education that dramatically engages our students.

We realize this goal through: 

  • scholarship and creative endeavor that draws on all forms of inquiry.
  • learning that is active, creative and continuous.
  • promotion of an inclusive culture of global citizenship.

Recall that the Preamble to the Statement of Integrity and Code of Conduct at Purdue emphasizes general principles universal to institutions of higher learning, calling for “faculty, students, staff, and administrators” to ethically contribute to “the advancement of learning, discovery, and engagement” within their “community of dedicated learners, scholars, professionals, and practitioners” and beyond.  Similarly, the mission statement of Case Western Reserve calls for an institution of higher-learning that “improves and enriches people’s lives through research that capitalizes on the power of collaboration”.  However, Case Western Reserve also places a specific priority on its students, calling for “education that dramatically engages” based on preeminent research, modern pedagogy, and open community.

 

Interestingly, “What do universities want to be? A content analysis of mission and vision statements worldwide”, a December 2017 blog post by Julián David Cortés-Sánchez, principal professor at the Universidad del Rosario’s School of Management (Colombia), includes the following finding: “Public universities were more focused on individuals … while private universities were more focused on process”.  This is actually contrary to the mission statements from Purdue and Case Western Reserve, with the former public university focusing on process and the latter private university focusing on students.

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