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The Mission Statement Essay

A mission statement serves three purposes that contribute to a college’s function: A mission statement guides and inspires the college; a mission statement advertises the strengths and virtues of the college; and a mission statement distinguishes the college from its peers and rivals. Because a college’s mission statement is intended to reflect the mission of the college, it should be used, and is used, to guide decisions within the college. For example; in a community, where authority is shared among many people, a mission statement can guide effectively only if it both accurately depicts the character of the institution, its values, policies, and practices, and inspires members of the community by portraying an ideal that we believe in (McClellan, G. S., & Stringer, J. (2009).

According to Branstord (2000), the role of guiding and inspiring the college explains why the mission statement is so often taken as the starting point for the process of accreditation. At the same time, a mission statement tells the world what the college intends itself to be A mission statement succinctly describes a college’s fundamental values, purpose, and vision. Hence, many people look to a college’s mission statement as a first indicator about the institution — an early clue about how well they would fit in.

A college can and should rely on our mission statement to recruit both students and faculty. A mission statement can also aid in development, as it tells potential donors why the college’s activities are worth funding. If a mission statement clearly guides an institution, then those who are drawn to the statement will realize that the mission statement is more than just words. When these people join or fund the college community, they will strive to further support the mission. A mission statement must distinguish an institution from its peers. Particularly for purposes of recruitment and development, but also for guidance, a college must suggest why it is different from other institutions.

Otherwise, why would anyone choose that institution over its peers? A college should not just try to be “one of the pack” or even “the best of the pack”; rather, it should strive to be the best at the things it values most. Greater expectations initiative are beliefs are, a) many of our students are achieving less than they should at both secondary and postsecondary levels and b) that by raising our expectations and support for learning, higher achievement will result (http://www.greaterexpectations.org/briefing_papers/ImproveStudentLearning.ht ml).

Extensive research shows that expectations exert powerful influences upon both student and teacher behavior whether the expectations come from an external source or are held internally as self-expectations. However, according to Schilling (1999), he cites research that reveals a significant difference between the amount of homework that professors say that they expect of students and the amount that students actually do. He believes many students receive excellent grades even while maintaining minimal effort in their college studies. Student expectations for how much time they will need to study start out low in the freshman year and then decrease. I believe that the first year on campus is critical to setting high expectations both for the quantity and quality of work.

Setting high expectations in the first semester establishes the tone for the rest of a student’s time on campus. Higher expectations do not simply translate to harder grading: the level of intellectual challenge should be high, with students engaged in critical analysis, problem solving, etc. Such engagement in higher order learning motivates students and makes learning more exciting. However, efforts to change student’s expectations should begin when college’s collect data on the actual level of student academic efforts. After broad sharing of the data, a campus effort to identify policies and ways of working that either promote or inhibit efforts to raise expectations and outcomes can be conducted.

Branstord, J., et al. 2000. How people learn: Brain, mind, experience and school. A report by the National Research Council and U.S. Committee on Learning Research and Educational Practice. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. McClellan, G. S., & Stringer, J. (2009). The handbook of student affairs administration (2nd ed.). Retrieved from http://digitalbookshelf.argosy.edu/#/books/9780470902080 (http://www.greaterexpectations.org/briefing_papers/ImproveStudentLearning.html). Schilling, Karen Maitland and Karl L. Schilling 1999. Increasing expectations for student effort. About Campus, 4:2.

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