Defining mission with meaning : a case study of Georgia college & state university
Snyder, Eugenia Marie
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A case study of Georgia College & State University (GC&SU) was conducted to examine the processes taken to create a change of institutional mission at a public university. Prior to 1996, the institution was designated as a regional comprehensive university. In 1996, a new liberal arts mission was adopted by GC&SU. This study gives an overview of the background leading to the mission change decision. The findings focus on how the university began to make changes in academic and operational aspects of the institution to implement the mission in meaningful ways, evidenced by numerous changes on the campus. The alignment of institutional functions was a critical component of this study. The findings emerging from interviews and focus groups underscored the importance of campus-wide communication, visionary leadership, and collaborative planning for implementation of a pervasive change of mission. It was concluded further that before a liberal arts education can be claimed fully, the spirit of liberal arts must be manifested in the core curriculum, as well as in the major courses. It was also concluded that a public liberal arts institution is limited in curricular change by transferability issues among other state system institutions. Also, a liberal arts campus today must incorporate professional courses into their curriculum to provide broad professional options for students. Obstacles associated with the change of mission, as well as recommendations for other institutions or higher education policy makers desiring to study mission implementation are included.