REVIEWING AND REVISING THE INSTITUTIONAL VISION OF U.S. HIGHER EDUCATION
Cleveland State University, OH, USA
• Institutional mission and vision statements have become ubiquitous in higher education, with strategic planning, recruitment initiatives and student support services predicated on their formulation.
• More than 80% of all colleges and universities have made major revisions in their declarations of institutional vision within the last decade.
• A widely diffused, generally accepted and readily adopted institutional vision must contain language that unifies members of the institution (Shared); is unambiguous (Clarity); generates enthusiasm (Compelling); articulates what is to be gained (Relative Advantage); is robustly expressed (Complexity); and presents outcomes that are pragmatic (Observability).
• The rhetorical flavor of institutional vision varies in accordance with institutional culture and the distinct challenges faced by these types of colleges and universities.
• Institutional size, region, or highest degree granted has little impact on the rhetorical f lavor of institutional vision.
• The language contained in vision statements and in mission statements is significantly different.
• The highest scoring institutional visions on each of the rhetorical attributes are: Tribal community colleges (Shared; Observability); Catholic immersion schools (Clear; Complex; Relative advantage); and Evangelical schools (Compelling).
• The lowest scoring institutional visions on each of the rhetorical attributes are: HBCUs (Shared); Tribal community colleges (Relative advantage); Catholic schools (Observability); Secular 4-year public schools (Clear); Evangelical schools (Complex); and “Christ-Centered” schools (Compelling).
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.
THE VERBIAGE OF INSTITUTIONAL VISION
INSTITUTION TYPES : ISSUES , CONTROVERSIES , PROBLEMS
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)
Religious Colleges and Universities
Catholic Colleges and Universities.
Catholic Immersion Schools.
Evangelical Colleges and Universities.
The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU).
Tribal Community Colleges.
SUMMARY AND RESULTANT RESEARCH QUESTIONS
Unit of Analysis
Computerized Content Analysis
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Table 1. Shared Mean DICTION Scores
Table 2. Clarity Mean DICTION Scores
Table 3. Compelling Mean DICTION Scores
Table 4. Complexity Mean DICTION Scores
Table 5. Relative Advantage Mean DICTION Scores
Table 6. Observability Mean DICTION Scores
APPENDIX A. STUDIES AND SAMPLES INCLUDED IN THE COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS
APPENDIX B. GENERAL COMPARATIVE SAMPLE INSTITUTIONS
APPENDIX C. DICTION CONSTRUCTS , FORMULAS , AND SAMPLE WORDS
APPENDIX D. INSTITUTIONAL VISION OF BARBER-SCOTIA COLLEGE
APPENDIX E. INSTITUTIONAL VISION OF LOYOLA UNIVERSIT Y OF CHICAGO
COPYRIGHTS AND REPOSITORIES
Robert Abelman Keywords: Institutional Vision; Mission Statement; Vision Statement; Organizational Communication; Strategic Planning; Institutional Rhetoric; Philosophical Template; Higher Education; Branding; Language of Institutions
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Keywords: Institutional Vision; Mission Statement; Vision Statement; Organizational Communication; Strategic Planning; Institutional Rhetoric; Philosophical Template; Higher Education; Branding; Language of Institutions
Abelman, R. (2014). Reviewing and Revising the Institutional Vision of U.S. Higher Education. Review of Communication Research, 2(1), 30-67. doi: 10.12840/issn.2255-4165.2014.02.01.002
Institutional Vision, Mission Statement, Vision Statement, Organizational Communication, Strategic Planning, Institutional Rhetoric, Philosophical Template, Higher Education, Branding, Language of Institutions
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