Every university has a mission. You may see a university’s mission statement on a highway billboard, in a magazine, or on television; but that’s the type mission statement you want to be leery of. The true mission of the university can be seen in the way it serves the public good and in how it disperses its resources.
What are the civil projects the university is working on, and where is the focus? Is it more concerned about building a world renowned business program to befriend profitable corporations, while under-funding its Humanities and Arts programs? Is it more concerned about its sports program, paying top tier athletic coaches three times as much as an excellent instructor? Is it funding a massive overhaul of its stadium, while letting labs and lecture halls deteriorate? In other words, find out if the university is concerned with something other than educating and serving local and global communities, because your tuition payments may be funding that “something” without your approval. You want to be certain that your tuition payments are going toward a good cause, a worthwhile mission.
Education was never meant to be a selfish endeavor, especially at the collegiate level. But we tend to think of how “my” college education can benefit “me.” The quality of education you receive impacts all of us, not just you; and the more education you obtain, the more responsibility you have in the community. Every subject is meant to benefit community. Think about any subject: Economics, Business, Biology, Medicine, Law, Linguistics, Art, etc….all of them inherently meant to serve communities of people, not just individuals. Colleges, like businesses and yourself, are moving along a track and they are building momentum towards something. What is your college of choice building momentum towards?
A good way to discover the momentum of a university is by finding out what projects are happening there, and what tuition payments are funding. The university’s Biology department may be working to catalog new or endangered species, or helping to cure a disease. The Economics and Finance Departments might be researching the best ways to steer people away from poverty, or they might be helping the SEC determine best practice protocols for institutional investors. The Arts Department might be creating therapeutic programs for disadvantaged children, disabled veterans, or nursing homes. Also, departments across the university may be collaborating on a significant service project – for instance, the Finance, Humanities, and Law Departments might be working together to address limited housing options for the local impoverished. These are all examples of positive momentum toward something that will benefit the local and global community. You would feel better to know that your tuition payments were helping to support these positive missions, and not supporting ridiculously high administrator salaries or an unethical marketing ploy for open-enrollment.
There are many honorable universities and colleges out there, but the opposite is also true. A university’s mission statement can be misleading, so use common sense and ask yourself if the university has truly served any communities in the last few years, and how so. You want to attend a university that is building positive momentum toward something good – after all, you’ll be carrying that university’s name with you for the rest of your life. You want to make sure it is moving in the right direction for you and the community. In the end, it is not just about gaining knowledge, but using that knowledge for global good, and coupling it with solid principles that will help develop you into a dignified servant of local and global interests.
Being in sync with the university’s momentum is huge! Know where your university is headed.