On Institutions Missions, Ranking and Outcomes


“We prepare the leaders of tomorrow.” “We nurture lifelong learners.” “We aim to have a global impact, while serving our local community.”

How many institutions have statements like these? Tough to distinguish between them since few seem to disclose real tangible outcomes (other than those listed in national/global rankings that mostly emphasize research-related outcomes).

A recent Gallup study (a must read) found that the mission, purpose or vision statements of more than 50 higher education institutions share striking similarities, regardless of institution size, public or private status, land-grant status or religious affiliation, or for-profit or not-for-profit status. The study found that few institutions refer to tangible outcomes — such as the percentage of graduates who actually go on to be “leaders of tomorrow” — to demonstrate how effectively the institution lives its own mission or is able to provide benchmarks for comparison against other institutions. Are classrooms like the one depicted (courtesy of ckom.com) and the teaching that goes in them developing the leaders and lifelong learners needed?

In a time when society needs skilled talent and human resources to address the challenges of today and tomorrow “It’s time (for leaders in) institutions to get serious about defining their purpose, identity and culture — and aligning these (and their strategies) with their outcomes”!

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