Creating a Mission Statement

Creating a mission statement for a new university specializing in integrative health care sciences is a vital task. A mission statement must be concise, tell the audience why the university exists, and should differentiate the institution from others. Here's the final mission statement that evolved from an elaborate process involving the entire campus.
The mission of the University of Western States is to improve the health of society and advance the science and art of integrated health care through leadership and excellence in health sciences education, service, and the enhancement of knowledge through research and scholarship.
The following is a summary of the steps taken to arrive at the final mission statement. The process involved the Board, administration, faculty, staff and students. You can click on any of the framed images or "slides" to enlarge the view.

1) Establish the essential components of the Mission Statement

The foundation for the new mission statement was established by the administration and the Board setting a vision for the new university, and then agreeing on the essential components of the mission statement.
Mission Components

2) Engage the campus constituents

Participation by Constituent Groups
In strategic planning, especially when looking at something as impactful as the mission statement, it is vital to reach out to the campus constituents. We had a high degree of participation from faculty, staff, administration, and even students. The chart on the left shows the breakdown of participants in one of the surveys used in the mission development process.

3) Ask, Don't Tell

Nothing turns a campus off in strategic planning faster than a failure to gather input and to truly use that feedback. I relied heavily upon web-based surveys to gather input and test the response to different drafts of the mission statement. In the initial survey, I created 4 different mission statements based on the essential components and then asked the campus to evaluate each for clarity, content, etc. On the right is an example of one of the survey questions I used.

Below are some other parts of the initial survey. Participants were asked to rank the 4 draft statements and to identify the sections of the different draft statements that they particularly liked. There was also an opportunity for people to create and submit their own draft mission statement. 18 people took the time to do just that - far more than I had anticipated.
Initial Survey Question
Ranking the Draft Statements