WMU News

Revised mission statement ready for comment

Aug. 31, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- A revised mission statement for Western Michigan University is being developed, and the committee charged with the effort is looking for input from members of the University community.

The committee, comprised of 30 members from across the campus, has been working since March to draft new language for WMU's official mission statement, which was last reviewed and approved by University trustees in 1991. The committee chairperson is Vice Provost Linda Delene.

Two sessions for campus and community comment have been set for early October to get feedback on two alternative statements the committee has drafted. The events will be held Monday, Oct. 1, and Tuesday, Oct. 2, from 4 to 5 p.m. in the Faculty Lounge of the Bernhard Center.

"We've drafted two different types of mission statements," Delene says. "Both are designed to address the University's continuing transformation and help set the overall institutional direction and implementation of the strategic plan. What we need now is public feedback on our recommendations before arriving at a final draft."

The committee intends to provide its recommendation to President Floyd in early November so that he can make his final recommendation to trustees in December.

According to Delene, WMU's commitment to being a "student-centered research university" has implications that are substantial and "will shape its continuing institutional development and educational recognition." Those implications may include the adjustment of some curricula to provide more research-learning opportunities, broadening the definition of student research, providing additional operating funds to support student research activities; adding faculty support programs and better dissemination of information about student accomplishments. These educational considerations are reflected in the committee's mission statement recommendations.

The committee's first draft mission statement-Alternative #1-uses a traditional two-part format that is common to some educational mission statements. The first part of the first mission statement indicates what type of a university WMU is. The second part of the statement (institutional goals) identifies how the University measures major institutional accomplishments that characterize its institutional mission.

The second draft mission statement-Alternative #2- is a terse summary statement.

Mission Statement Alternative #1


Western Michigan University is a student-centered research university. Nationally recognized and globally engaged, the University provides leadership in teaching and learning and in the discovery of knowledge to educate individuals for change in diverse societies.

As a student-centered research university, Western Michigan University:

  • Builds intellectual inquiry, investigation, and discovery through both research and teaching as the exemplar of its academic programs
  • Instills educational foundations for continuous growth and adaptation
  • Seeks contributions from diverse individuals and diverse ideas in all its decision-making
  • Fosters an ethical and engaged University community
  • Engenders an awareness and appreciation of the arts
  • Contributes to technological and economic development.

Institutional goals

Western Michigan University's mission is characterized by its achievement of the following goals:

  • To furnish a safe, civil and healthy University community
  • To provide access to educational programs at reasonable cost and in multiple settings
  • To increase diversity within the student body, faculty and staff through institutional practices and programs
  • To recognize the teaching, research, learning, creative work, scholarship, and service contributions of students, faculty and staff
  • To demonstrate the University's knowledge base through ongoing assessment and improvement initiatives
  • To establish lifelong relationships between graduates and the University
  • To develop organizational partnerships that bolster mutual endeavors.

Mission statement Alternative #2

Education at Western Michigan University is grounded in broad and rigorous student preparation, pursued through intensive study within and across the disciplines of the University, and marked throughout by active critique and discovery. The University is further defined by the research, service and artistic expression of its faculty and students.

Copies of the committee's full report on its work are available at the reserve desk at Waldo Library. Those who wish to comment on the alternatives, should do so by attending one of the public sessions or sending their written remarks by Oct. 15 directly to any committee member, including Delene.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 616 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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