Vision and mission statements are declarations that tell us about an organisation’s purpose. They describe a better future the organisation is working towards, and how it will work to bring it about. Generally, the former is defined as vision and the latter as mission, though in the real world, there’s plenty of overlap between the two
This is particularly the case with universities, where by and large, the two are rolled into one rambling (commonly generic) statement, and served up with a collection of values – often in some dusty, neglected corner of their websites.
In a crowded and competitive marketplace, however, it might be worth giving vision and mission statements a little more thought. Done well, they can serve as a crystallisation of what an institution stands for; the crowning glory of a comprehensive branding strategy. This statement should be the ultimate end which all the diverse ends that make up a university serve.
Good mission and vision statements will give staff and students alike something to rally around, to be inspired by. They will help external stakeholders to understand a university’s values and raison d’être. And they will guide management to make the right decisions regarding their institution’s direction of travel.