For this assignment, I choose to look at my alma mater, The University of Mary Washington. Additionally, I thought it might be interesting to look at something entirely different, so I chose to look at LSU’s mission statement. I figured with them being out of state, and a D1 school it would provide an interesting contrast to the small, D3, liberal arts university that is UMW.
The University of Mary Washington, which is located in Fredericksburg, Va is a wonderfully small, public liberal arts university, that has a private school feel to it. In reading their mission statement, there is a clear emphasis on lifelong learning – that what is learned in the classroom would and should be continued throughout one’s lifetime. Additionally, UMW prides itself on the connects that students are able to make with faculty members. Its unique location of being equidistant between DC and Richmond also plays into the mission statement and the opportunities available to students. As someone who has graduated from this university, and had not read the mission statement prior, it was really neat to see that each of the things that are mentioned in the statement are things that I found to be true throughout my time there.
In contrast to the small school that is UMW, I chose to look at LSU. Here, they mention that they are a “leading research-extensive university, challenging undergraduate and graduate students to achieve the highest levels of intellectual and personal development.” Similar to UMW, LSU mentions that the skills and concepts learned in school with help students and graduates alike to be successful as they move forward. However, their statement is focused more so on academics, teaching, and research possibilities.
It was interesting to see the difference in tone that the two universities used. Since the two are so drastically different in size, I think that has an impact on just how personal their mission statements can be. LSU’s had more of a nose-to-the-books feel, whereas UMW’s had more of a broad, far-reaching, perspective that functioned as both as mission and vision statement. While both approaches are neither right nor wrong, it would be interesting to see if the students that choose to come to these institutions feel that these statements adequately reflect their experiences at each of the institutions.