Mission statement exercise: Briefing note

All too often, mission statements end up as a generic statement of what a university is for – or what a particular institution sees as the core purpose of the ideal university. As a result, most say very similar things.

What this is

The Mission Statement Exercise is a tool designed to help you to think about distinctiveness in general, and to evaluate the distinctiveness of your institution’s mission statement in particular.

Why it's useful

If you want your university to stand out from the crowd - to give stakeholders (students, staff and potential partners) a reason to choose to engage with you - then your mission statement is a good place to start. Furthermore, the process of examining the mission statement encourages a dialogue about what it is that makes your institution different.

View full briefing note (PDF 92 KB)

Further information

When you've worked through the Mission Statement Exercise, you may like to read a recent review of the statements of a number of Scottish universities; this concludes that: "the mission statements convey an overall impression of sameness rather than distinctiveness".  This independent study confirms that institutions are not differentiating themselves when seeking to define their core values and identity.  The study:

Kuenssberg, S (2011) The discourse of self-presentation in Scottish university mission statements Quality in Higher Education, vol17 no3 pp279-298

can be downloaded via your university or college library.


Topics: The case for change.

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