The Mission of Higher Education
What is the purpose of higher education? What goals should colleges and universities attempt to pursue? What obligations do colleges and universities have to society? Academic missions are not static; they can shift with societal needs and historical contexts. Core academic missions of institutions of higher education have changed over time from serving an elite, to teaching the liberal arts, to producing scientific research, to teaching vocation, to providing service. Most of today’s colleges and universities adopt comprehensive missions spanning an array of elements, but often including some combination of teaching and research, liberal arts and sciences. Service often has been a third element alongside teaching and research, but its security can be tenuous depending on the institution.