Seeking out perceptions of college stakeholders to help write a mission statement

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Journal/Book Title/Conference

North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Conference

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A College of Agriculture has expanded its academic programs since the existing mission statement was written. The purpose of this study was to discover the perceptions of stakeholder groups affiliated with the college to assist in developing a new mission statement. A total of 3 faculty members, 18 students, 10 alumni, and 10 staff members participated in the focus group sessions. A moderator’s guide was followed to ask how participants perceived the college, what stakeholder groups the college serves, what the college does, and what the college’s purpose is. Sessions lasted roughly 90 minutes and were held in April 2012. Researchers analyzed the transcripts to identify patterns within and among the responses of participants. Most participants believed the college embodied the land-grant mission through research, extension outreach, and teaching of science, genetics, social sciences, and traditional productions. Many participants recognized the hands-on learning experiences offered to students, the support received from faculty, and the leadership and networking opportunities available for students. Participants identified stakeholders the college serves, including students, donors, researchers, anyone who eats, the world, alumni, agriculture production groups, and agri-business firms. Emphasis should remain on a land-grant institution’s purpose in the new mission statement. Some suggested that agriculture be described as a life science or applied science. Many participants wanted past ties to agriculture to remain but convey the diversity of programs now offered within the college, considering the changing demographics of the state. Participants did not suggest naming departments or academic programs in the mission statement.

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