Mission and Institutional (In)Stability

November 5, 2023

CIC colleges and universities are distinguished by the commitment to live our missions. Our communities coalesce around a sense of shared values. However, understandings of exactly what commitment to our values looks like in practice differs among various core constituencies (students, faculty, parents, alumni, donors, etc.). What, for instance, does educating students for leadership and service (a common mission element) really mean? Does it mean material success, public service, commitment to a religious tradition, a worldview informed by the liberal arts? Depending on whom one asks, it is likely all of these might be the answer. How do chief academic officers and other institutional leaders who are charged with articulating the educational value of the institution manage these sometimes disparate definitions of mission and values? What happens when values come into overt conflict? What kinds of partnerships and outreach can help to mitigate the effects of value conflicts? How do we tell a coherent and authentic institutional story recognizing the competing meanings beneath our common language?

Catharine O’Connell, Dean of the College and Provost, Illinois College (IL)
Lynda Szymanski, Vice President for Academic Affairs, William Peace University (NC)
Martha Walker, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Notre Dame of Maryland University (MD)
Chair: Daryll Coleman, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Lane College (TN)