On Nov. 4, Faculty Senate had a lively discussion regarding the proposed changes to the TCU mission statement.
TCU belongs to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, or the SACSCOC. As part of the reaffirmation process, TCU has been directed to add to the mission statement, and members of the Faculty Senate were asked to share their feedback on the proposed additions, which will be shared with other administration officials.
One of the changes is expanding the definition of research “to include scholarship, research and creative activities,” Vice Provost Susan Weeks said.
“I teach mission statements as part of what I teach in my entrepreneurship courses, and this one would get a C-,” Dr. Ted Legatski, a professor at TCU, said. “I realize we may not have a choice, but the additional explanation is cumbersome, [and] it doesn’t really add anything of value to the purpose of a mission statement.”
The additions were presented to the faculty with the original text in bold and the new additions in regular text. Weeks said that the words in the original statement would still be prominent, emphasized perhaps by bolded text or separated from the additions by ellipses.
“Unfortunately, to check the boxes for SACSCOC, the added components are needed,” she said. “But that existing piece is succinct and well-known — even students know it; there aren’t many universities where students understand the mission statement and can recite any components of it.”
Faculty Senate members also took issue with some of the wording, calling it “vague” and “clunky.”
“We’re not going to be able to wordsmith this very much at this stage, from what I gather,” said Joddy Murray, the chair of the Faculty Senate. “What it comes down to is the SACSCOC requirements for the mission statement have changed since 2018 […] and the consultants say that [our original statement] is simply not good enough.”
According to TCU’s website, the current mission statement is “to educate individuals to think and act as ethical leaders and responsible citizens in the global community.”
Murray told the senators to send their comments and concerns to him so he could pass them on to the administration. “This isn’t at all the way anybody wanted to see this go forward,” Murray said. “This is something everyone realizes that we need to do because of SACSCOC and our reaffirmation efforts.”
In a separate meeting this Tuesday, Chancellor Victor Boschini said that the mission statement has gone back to the faculty. “They’ll come back to the board by their February executive committee with their input on it. Faculty, students and staff — everyone’s looking at it again,” the Chancellor said.
The Faculty Senate might revisit the issue at the next meeting, which will be on Dec. 2.