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New mission statement defines McDaniel

March 06, 2012

McDaniel College is a diverse student-centered community committed to excellence in the liberal arts & sciences and professional studies. With careful mentoring and attention to the individual, McDaniel changes lives. We challenge students to develop their unique potentials with reason, imagination, and human concern. Through flexible academic programs, collaborative and experiential learning, and global engagement, McDaniel prepares students for successful lives of leadership, service, and social responsibility.

After several months of intensive dialogue by trustees, faculty and staff, McDaniel recently adopted the new 67-word mission statement – the result of President Roger Casey’s pledge, early in his administration, to generate greater awareness and comprehensive understanding of college operations, organization and planning among members of the campus community.

In 2011, Casey formed an advisory Strategic Thinking Group (STG) of administrative and staff representatives selected from offices and departments across the college, and faculty representation identified by each of four faculty committees: Academic Planning Committee, Curriculum Committee, Faculty Affairs Committee and Faculty Council. The full faculty elected a fifth at-large faculty representative.

Casey challenged the STG members to examine how “The First Principles,” a philosophical statement of core values adopted in 1981, could serve as a springboard toward developing a mission statement. “We need words that describe us and give us a blueprint that will help us decide everything from budget to programmatic priorities,” he said.

Casey led the group through a dynamic process of lively discourse over several months. Multiple working drafts were created, comments solicited from all constituencies and brought back to the STG for review and ratification.

The result met with applause from all fronts.

“It shows how high we set our sights, captures the idealism of the College and what we are trying to achieve,” provost and dean of the faculty Tom Falkner said.

“It’s a visual statement,” said Mahlia Joyce, director of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, who serves on the STG. “I can actually see students doing many of those things.”

“The last line is a great summation of all the ideas we discussed,” said Deb Vance, associate professor of Communication and STG member.

“We champion our commitment to students first and foremost and strive to provide each student with life-changing educational opportunities,” said Casey. “Now we have a mission statement that clearly states that.”

The statement was adopted by the trustees after a careful process. Preliminary drafts from STG moved forward to the Faculty Council and to the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees for their comments. Two colloquia, open to all faculty and staff, invited further comment. Following additional revisions, the statement received faculty endorsement at their January meeting and was presented to the Board of Trustees, who adopted it at the Feb. 3 meeting.

The adopted statement will also be a defining statement in the College’s self-study, leading up to the scheduled reaccreditation visit and review by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education in 2013. As defined by the Commission, an institution’s mission statement must clearly define its purpose and answer the questions: who are we, what do we do, and what is the outcome.

“This process was one that engaged us all in a deeper conversation about change and how we define ourselves and share that with others,” said Casey.

 
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