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Mission Statements

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. 

AAiT:"To educate competent graduates and researchers in Engineering and Technology by advancing relevant, innovative and creative teaching, research and Technology Transfer to foster social and economic development of the country." Source

MSU: "As a public, research-intensive, land-grant university funded in part by the state of Michigan, our mission is to advance knowledge and transform lives by:
  • providing outstanding undergraduate, graduate, and professional education to promising, qualified students in order to prepare them to contribute fully to society as globally engaged citizen leaders
  • conducting research of the highest caliber that seeks to answer questions and create solutions in order to expand human understanding and make a positive difference, both locally and globally
  • advancing outreach, engagement, and economic development activities that are innovative, research-driven, and lead to a better quality of life for individuals and communities, at home and around the world" Source

Macalester: "Macalester is committed to being a preeminent liberal arts college with an educational program known for its high standards for scholarship and its special emphasis on internationalism, multiculturalism, and service to society." Source


  1. Your post really made think about mission statements for large universities like MSU. You mentioned the statement feeling vague and without clear direction. I wonder if this is the balance of a large university to appeal to a wide audience but still trying to focus on their core values. I see an emphasis in research from their statement, but it is generalized. I too see value in reading mission statements to better understand universities in future job searches. They set the tone for the culture and focus.

    1. My name did not seem to show in the comment above.
      Elizabeth Shealy


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