||Developing Program Mission Statements
Defining the program mission statement
The mission statement is the starting point for an assessment program, because in order to think about the outcomes the program aims to achieve, one needs to understand the purpose, which these outcomes are serving. Without a mission statement, faculty members may have different ideas as to the purpose of the program and, therefore, be unable to reach consensus as to what the outcomes of the program should be. Also, students may have different ideas about the aims of the program than the faculty and expect a type of education that the program is not designed to deliver. A clear mission, shared by faculty, and administrators, and students is likely to enhance the quality of the program by providing focus and direction; it also provides the standard against which achievements are measured.
The program mission is a broad statement of what the program is, what it does, and for whom it does it. It reflects the values and philosophy of the program, a vision of what the program is supposed to do. It establishes the broad directions and aspirations of the program and provides a clear statement of purpose. It might include a brief history of the program, they type of students to be served, the academic environment and primary focus of the curriculum, faculty roles, the contributions to and connections with the community, and a stated commitment to diversity and nondiscrimination. The mission statement guides decision-making about the curriculum and provides a framework for setting goals for graduates of the program. A program mission statement should be consistent with the mission statements of the school and of the Institute and with standards of accrediting agencies.
A well-defined program mission statement usually
- is directly related to and supports the mission and vision of the Institute and the mission of the school; (Pratt Mission and Vision statements and school statements can be found below)
- provides a clear description of the primary purpose(s) of the program;
- reflects the philosophy and values of the program is distinctive for that particular program and establishes broad directions and aspirations of the program.
- includes language regarding the learning environment: faculty roles; how the teaching and other activities of the program are used to enhance student learning;
- describes in general terms what the ideal graduate of the program knows and is able to do and refers to how the program contributes to the education and future careers of its students;
- describe the contributions to and connections with the community;
- is developed with extensive participation from faculty and reflects widespread intra-departmental agreement;
- is brief and concise;
- is clearly written in terms that can be understood by students, faculty, and persons outside the discipline;
- addresses the standards of accrediting agencies;
- is aspirational, but not unrealistic; it takes into consideration current realities.