Gannon reviews mission statement

Gannon University’s current mission statement has been in place for nearly 20 years, dating back to its creation for the 1992-93 academic year. But by the end of this academic year, the university might see a change in the words that establish its identity and duty to everyone involved in the community.

The mission statement is reviewed nearly every five years, according to the Rev. George Strohmeyer, university chaplain and vice president of University Mission and Ministry. The process is headed by the Mission Identity Council, but the ideas for changes are created by the council subcommittee and shared through forums of faculty, staff and students.

Strohmeyer said that everyone involved did not set out to change the mission statement, but rather examine if the university is still accomplishing what its mission articulates.

“All through this process, there was no great dislike for the past mission statement,” he said. “We called it mission review, not mission revision.

“Maybe people would say at the end, ‘We like the statement the way it is,’ and we were open to that.”

Surveys were held to determine reactions to different statements about what should or should not be in a mission statement. Then the results from the discussions of the focus groups of faculty and students were given to Dr. Melanie Hatch, Ph.D. dean of the College of Engineering and Business, who compiled the data of responses into general categories of the ideal mission statement.

“Every organization should periodically review their mission statement,” Hatch said.  “The mission statement is a public presentation of who you are, who you serve and what you do.

“As internal and external changes happen, it is a good idea to make sure your mission statement reflects those changes.”

The council subcommittee took Hatch’s data and came up with three proposed statements that were then sent back through the forums. The focus groups liked certain aspects of each statement, however, leading to production of a fourth one. This statement was then proposed to the Board of Trustees last month, Hatch said.

According to Strohmeyer, the notes from last month’s meeting of the Board of Trustees regarding the Mission Statement will be evaluated further by the subcommittee. A final proposal will then be given to the Board of Trustees in February.

“We ended up with a general sense that our mission statement is pretty good,” Strohmeyer said. “But that it can be updated a little bit and even made a bit more clear.”

Strohmeyer said that even if the changes made are more for clarity instead of content, he’s been assured of the quality of the mission statement review process.

“If it’s a living document, it’s because it comes out of living people,” Strohmeyer said. “It’s a tradition, yes, based on Gannon’s history, but it’s a living, breathing document, based in the minds and hearts of the people of Gannon.

“So even if it doesn’t change verbally, or in its wording, we will change as we review it. We’ll deepen in it, we’ll appreciate it, we’ll reaffirm it.”


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