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This article reviews the literature on the institutional vision of higher education in the United States – that is, the philosophical template through which colleges and universities define and communicate the kinds of human beings they are attempting to cultivate. Key linguistic components found to constitute a well conceived, viable, and easily diffused institutional vision are identified and significant issues, controversies and problems associated with these guiding, governing, and self-promotional mission and vision statements are examined. Particular attention is given to those types of schools recognized in the literature as the most maligned in the academic community or misrepresented in the popular press. A comparative analysis revisits the data of a subset of these investigations with the intention of generating greater insight into the institutional vision of higher education and offering a prescription for how these statements can better serve their institutions.
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