I chose to look at and compare the mission statements of 3 colleges/ universities close to my family; Michigan State University (MSU), Addis Ababa Institute of Technology (AAiT) and Macalester College. I was interested in how the mission of a small liberal arts college like Macalester would compare with two much larger universities and how an international setting would alter the stated mission.
All three missions are quoted below with links to finding them. Examining each mission statement I was struck by how the different emphases related back to the school’s identity. AAIT emphasizes the importance of “technology transfer” which I think is vital to helping educate the public of Ethiopia. MSU, as a contrast, emphasizes research and improving quality of life around the world and Macalester, as an internationally oriented small liberal arts school, really reflects this in their stated mission. I am interested in the contrasting lengths and vagueness that comes with establishing a mission statement for large university like MSU and I feel that this leaves the university somewhat at a disadvantage with no clear direction they want to take. While they emphasize global work, there is minimal specifics. I feel that the mission statements of the smaller institutions like AAiT and Macalester closer reflect what I have experienced with these universities and this is most likely why MSU’s individual colleges also have mission statements in addition to the university at large.
As a future faculty member I feel like reading the mission statements of potential places I could work will show more clearly how the institution orients itself and can help me decide if this is something that reflects my values. For example there is no aspect of the MSU mission statement that hopes to represent a diverse community while Macalester emphasizes the importance of multiculturalism in their school.