For class this week we were assigned to review some mission statements. I chose to look at the three colleges where I would most want to gain future employment and see how they stack up.
First off: University of Tennessee
Our primary mission is to move forward the frontiers of human knowledge and enrich and elevate the citizens of the state of Tennessee, the nation, and the world. As the preeminent research-based, land-grant university in the state, UT embodies the spirit of excellence in teaching, research, scholarship, creative activity, outreach, and engagement attained by the nation’s finest public research institutions.
UT’s Carnegie Classification is “Research University” (very high research activity). Most undergraduates are full-time, and admission is selective with a fairly low transfer-in rate. Admission to graduate and professional programs is also competitive. Graduate offerings include master’s, doctoral, and professional programs that focus both on research and practice. Nationally ranked programs, as well as our partnerships with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, are among UT’s unique characteristics.
I find it interesting that they mention admission and their transfer rate. Once I complete my degree program I very much want to continue both research and teaching work. In any mission statement I view, I prefer to see research as a high priority, and UT certainly does that. Go big orange!!
Next, let’s look at my current institution where I am a doctoral student and would very much like to continue at once I graduate.
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.
2001 Mission Statement adapted in 2006, by the Board of Visitors
Again, we see here another land-grant university. Given my current course of study, land grants offer me the best job opportunities. Given Virginia Tech’s motto Ut Prosim I would hope to see a bit more about service in their mission statement, but they do mention outreach and teaching as part of their goals. Growing up just outside of Blacksburg I’ll always feel at home with Virginia Tech.
Finally: NC State
Statement of Mission
The University of North Carolina is a public, multi-campus university dedicated to the service of North Carolina and its people. It encompasses the 16 diverse constituent institutions and other educational, research, and public service organizations. Each shares in the overall mission of the University. That mission is to discover, create, transmit, and apply knowledge to address the needs of individuals and society. This mission is accomplished through instruction, which communicates the knowledge and values and imparts the skills necessary for individuals to lead responsible, productive, and personally satisfying lives; through research, scholarship, and creative activities, which advance knowledge and enhance the educational process; and through public service, which contributes to the solution of societal problems and enriches the quality of life in the State. In the fulfillment of this mission, the University shall seek an efficient use of available resources to ensure the highest quality in its service to the citizens of the State.
Teaching and learning constitute the primary service that the University renders to society. Teaching, or instruction, is the primary responsibility of each of the constituent institutions. The relative importance of research and public service, which enhance teaching and learning, varies among the constituent institutions, depending on their overall missions.
This mission statement is very interesting as it includes “personally satisfying lives”. This speaks to what I envision to myself and why I returned to graduate school to pursue my doctoral degree. Overall I find their mission statement the most detailed and focused. I would have to say that this is probably my favorite mission statement of the three because of the amount of detail. However their focus leans more towards serving the state rather than the country and the world. I appreciate that the other two had that component.
Overall, mission statements to tend to mirror one another and can blend together. If you really look you can find nuianced differences that can help your decision making process when looking for a job or deciding to pursue higher education.