INFORMATION ITEM #2 - Submitted by the Strategic Planning Committee
UNIVERSITY OF NORTH FLORIDA
Date: September 21, 1999
To: All Faculty
From: Donna Mohr, Chair
Re: University Mission statement
The Faculty Association's Strategic Planning Committee is charged with the review of the university mission statement and priorities, in addition to other documents. As the President is also forming an ad hoc committee to review the Mission statement, we would like to have our recommendations ready as quickly as we can.
To that end, we invite you to help us review the University Mission statement, the University Imperatives for the 1990s, and the extract of the Statement of Purpose which addresses our academic mission. Copies of these documents are part of this memorandum.
At the first meeting of our committee, comments focused mainly on the Imperatives and the academic mission statement. I have summarized these remarks in italics, below, at the end of each document. We would like your feedback on any of these issues, and welcome any suggestion for further questions that we should address. Please send your comments to Donna Mohr (firstname.lastname@example.org) by October 18.
STATEMENT OF MISSION
The mission of the University of North Florida is to provide an intellectually stimulating and caring environment which:
INITIAL COMMENTS FROM THE COMMITTEE ON THE MISSION STATEMENT: Little criticism has been raised of the mission statement, perhaps because its broad language is friendly to a variety of interpretations. The Imperatives and Academic Mission, which are more specific, attracted more attention.
UNIVERSITY IMPERATIVES FOR THE 1990s
Beginning with the fall 1990 term, President Herbert identified six imperatives that constitute the foundation for the development of the University of North Florida for the next decade.
The intellectual experience at UNF should produce very bright and able students who are well prepared to pursue their life's work and who appreciate the challenges and obligations of life in a civilized society.
INITIAL COMMENTS FROM THE COMMITTEE ON THE IMPERATIVES (we prefer a slightly less grand title, if one can be found!)
Should we not now shift to the goal of becoming a comprehensive university, with an emphasis both on undergraduate and graduate education? Is the focus on the liberal arts too restrictive?
While emphasis is likely to remain on applied research closely linked to community needs, should we recognize the value of pure research focused on advancement of the discipline?
We should remain committed to diversity, but operational documents such as the academic plan and institutional priorities should incorporate this goal in resource planning.
The interpretation of the sentence concerning the utilization of resources in creative ways seems to have been lost over the years. Put bluntly, we couldn't figure out what this one meant.
An emphasis on ethical standards is very appropriate. Again, should be reflected in documents which attempt to implement these imperatives.
Preservation of the campus' natural environment has been a recent issue. Should this be an imperative for the coming decade?
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
Academic Mission: The primary function of the University is to equip students with a strong general education foundation. It also prepares students who are well-grounded in their academic specialty, capable of meeting the demands of their professional and societal responsibilities, and able to adapt to the changing global environment. Students are introduced to the central theoretical concerns of their discipline as well as to practical skills suitable to the workforce. The acquisition of these skills and aforementioned bodies of knowledge serve as an indicator for measuring the quality of the graduates who earn degrees at UNF.
Undergraduate and graduate programs offer students opportunities for general education and specialization within the University's five colleges and reflect UNF's commitment to the highest intellectual and scholarly standards. Instructional quality is maintained by striving for relatively small classes and low student/faculty ratios. Students at UNF receive personal attention and can count on a spirit of caring service within the University community.
Educational programs, both those which are longstanding and those that have been newly developed, attempt to respond to and support regional needs and priorities. Faculty research, a necessary component of teaching readiness, also addresses the critical concerns of the community and the region.
New distance learning planning initiatives, predicated upon available technologies, commit the University to participate with local, regional and state organizations in serving as a clearing-hourse for information concerning available instructional delivery options for students, employees and residents of the community.
Credit and non-credit learning opportunities are provided by the Division of Continuing Education and Extension. This unit provides leadership and administrative support in the design, development, promotion and delivery of high-quality courses, workshops and seminars - meeting the needs of lifetime learners.
The University seeks to attract a diverse student body of high academic caliber. It also attracts and retains highly qualified full-time faculty, as well as experienced and competent adjunct faculty. All faculty are committed to the values and the philosophy of the academy. Educational activities reinforce the University's strong and unequivocal commitment to diversity among its faculty, students and staff.
INITIAL COMMENTS OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE ACADEMIC MISSION STATEMENT:
Should elements of the recent general education purpose statement be incorporated into this plan?
The sentiment for relatively small classes should be strengthened, and reflected in resource allocations within the institution.
The statement concerning faculty research should also place a value on non-applied work.
The statement regarding distance learning must be reexamined. Is our commitment simply to be a 'clearing-house', or will we participate directly? Is there a consensus among faculty regarding the role distance learning will play in our near future?
Is the reference to 'experienced and competent adjunct faculty' justified given our current usage of adjuncts?
What are the 'values and philosophy of the academy' to which we are committed?