Search for Statements

Mission statement of an educational institution is a way of communicating its core values and beliefs as well as strategies to shape and direct the action of the individual in that environment to achieve learning goals. Therefore, while reading the mission statement of the universities, I started to look for the clarity and importance of their mission. To be precise, I looked for finding the answers of the following questions (not in any particular order):

  • What do they want to achieve? (Goal)
  • How do they want to achieve it? (Operation/ Function)
  • Why is it important? (Focus on the future)

I searched for universities by their rankings among the universities of the world and settled on two US universities. I do not dare to claim (or even assume) of any relationship between the rankings of the universities and the specific focuses according to their mission statement.  Even there might exist some sorts of connection, it is hardly possible to get much insight just by studying the mission statements of two universities.  Still, eccentric brain of a researcher never stops looking for (sometimes pointless) cues or patterns .

I chose Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Texas A&M University for the blog post. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a privately endowed research university in  Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, dedicated to advancing knowledge and educating students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century. The second university is Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University is a public research university in College Station, Texas, United States with 128 Undergraduate Degree Programs and 300 Graduate Degree Programs. According to QS Top Universities, MIT is ranked as number one and Texas A&M University is ranked as 203rd among the worlds universities. Without questioning the validity of the ranking,  I proceed to read the mission statements.

(Disclaimer: There is neither interesting, nor any radical claim at the end of the blog! Reading only a few mission statements of universities, whose rankings are wide apart, is in no way near to claim, prove or disprove any idea.)

Going back to my earlier questions – unsurprisingly, both of the mission statements stated the answers (each individually tailored to their academic and research focus) for the questions I was searching for. Being research universities, the importance of knowledge and creativity and their dedication to ensure nurturing intellectual environment to navigate through the fast-changing 21st century world is clearly expressed in both statement. What I like about MIT’s mission statement is that it creates a connection of every member of their community with the larger world. There is a sense of progression from individual to many and national to global in their mission statement. Being an international student at the US, one thing from the mission statement of Texas A&M Universities spoke to me is its specific focus on diversity. By distinctively stating – “It welcomes and seeks to serve persons of all racial, ethnic and geographic groups as it addresses the needs of an increasingly diverse population and a global economy”, their mission statement underlines the tremendous importance of diversity in an academic setting.

My objective of reading into these mission statements was not to invoke any unkind comparison between them, rather to look for the aspects that spoke to me the most. However, according to their mission statements, from a broader perspective, there are more similarities than difference in the goals that both the universities are trying to accomplish . As a matter of fact, the mission statements of almost all the educational institution are very similar (I also read several other mission statements including the mission statement of Duke University) in ways of incorporating words & ideas related to creativity, collaboration, openness, diversity, intellectual growth etc. How much of these actually matters or reflected when it comes to action? I guess my point is that are these just buzzwords or a meaningful framework to practice and uphold the core values of these institutions?


2 Replies to “Search for Statements”

  1. Nice post, Farha. I also reviewed some other universities rather than ones I picked and you are right. It seems like most universities, if not all, chose the same group of words to state their missions. As you mentioned diversity, innovation or discovery and so. The other point is the emphasis of the connection to the world and not just the local and regional aspects. To my point, this part of the globalization of the statement gives a worldwide validity to the universities. The message that not only we care about our local and country, but we also include the whole world in our community.
    Again as you mentioned, it triggers a question if they are successful to fulfill the goals which are aimed in the statements?

    1. Hello Houri, thank you for you thoughtful comment. I agree with what you have said in here: “not only we care about our local and country, but we also include the whole world in our community“. Therefore, having the aspect of global focus in the mission statement of an educational institute makes it appealing. And the emphasis of it is becoming more and more important and prevalent in the 21st century education.

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