Quentin J. Bogart
It is difficult, if not impossible, to describe an American higher education institution today without focusing on its mission. Defining and refining the mission has been a national, state, and local preoccupation among college and university leaders for the past decade--and this activity continues as communities and the social, political, and economic issues relating to and supporting them change.
The context for this chapter on "mission" is the institution we know today as the community college. Conceived and nurtured as the junior college in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, it has changed over time. "During the 1950s and 1960s, the term junior college was applied more often to the lower-division branches of private universities and to two-year colleges supported by churches or organized independently" ( Cohen and Brawer 1989). The 1960s through the early 1970s witnessed the community college's explosive development on the national educational scene with its community orientation, opendoor admission, and comprehensive program.
The term, mission, according to the current edition of Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, means the specific task one is charged with--in the case of community colleges, the mission is what the institution purports to do. An expanded and somewhat more complex version is presented by Simerly and Associates in discussing the strategic planning process. They define mission as "what the institution will contribute to society, whom it will serve, how it will serve them, and (the) social benefits that will result" ( Apps 1988). Gleazer ( 1980) believes the term mission is analogous to a process. Frequently such terms as role,
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Publication information: Book title: A Handbook on the Community College in America:Its History, Mission, and Management. Contributors: George A. Baker III - Editor, Judy Dudziak - Editor, Peggy Tyler - Editor. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 1994. Page number: 60.
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