An Analysis of the Mission and Vision Statements on the Strategic Plans of Higher Education Institutions

By Özdem, Güven | Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri, Autumn 2011 | Go to article overview

An Analysis of the Mission and Vision Statements on the Strategic Plans of Higher Education Institutions


Özdem, Güven, Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri


Abstract

This study aimed to analyze the mission and vision statements on the strategic plans of higher education institutions. The sample of the study consisted of 72 public universities. Strategic plans of the universities were accessed over the internet, and the data collected were analyzed using content analysis. The findings show that statements on providing services for the education of a qualified work force are the most common on the mission statements of the universities. "Having universal, sufficient, and competent knowledge" was among the most frequently used phrases on the mission statements of the universities. In vision statements, universities mostly emphasized services concerning their research function. "Becoming a well-known, leading, and respected research university both nationally and internationally" was among the most commonly underlined messages.

Key Words

Strategic Planning, Vision, Mission, Universities, Mission and Vision Statements.

Universities have been around for a long time as educational institutions that conduct scientific research, provide solutions for problems countries face, train qualified work force in required fields, and play a leading role in the development of democratic principles and free thinking. In this sense, universities are considered to be institutions that lead efforts for social transformation. As they transform the society, universities themselves are at the center of change, for they need to be the initiators of change.

The development of the institution of university throughout history is best told as a narrative of the emergence of three different structures of university and their transformation into one another. These three stages are represented by the Church-Centered University of the Middle Ages, the university of the nation-states (Humboldt University), and the University of the Information Society (Multiversity, Entrepreneurial University) (Tekeli, 2003; Türel, 2004).

The change observed in university models throughout history has diversified the functions universities are expected to play, and transformed some of the existing functions. From the mid-20th century onwards, universities started to provide, besides their main function of education, social functions such as applied research, counseling, and adult education (Kavak, 1990). Sönmez (2003) lists the main functions universities are expected to play as conducting scientific research, developing solutions for national and universal problems, training the labor force the country needs, spreading the knowledge, skills, and insights it has gained to other people, publishing, and setting an example in all fields. According to Karakütük (2006), universities' functions include producing knowledge via research, teaching on the basis of this knowledge, publishing to spread the knowledge, training a highly qualified work force for the development of the society, contributing to the creation of education policies, being a center of criticism, providing counseling to various institutions, and serving the society. Gasset (1998) emphasizes the somewhat latent cultural function of the universities besides scientific research and professional education.

Universities' contemporary functions can be classified under the four categories of education, basic scientific research, community service, and training a qualified work force (Gürüz, Suhubi, Sengör, Türker, & Yurtsever, 1994). Universities can also be classified on the basis of the functions they provide, as "research universities" and "mass education universities" (Gürüz et al., 1994).

An examination of the literature shows that functions universities are expected to provide the education of a qualified work force that a country needs, provision of education-training services, design, production and dissemination of basic scientific research, and providing community services. Functions of universities expected to provide are subject to change together with the expectations of various social groups from higher education. …

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