chapter  1
14 Pages

Introduction: More Than Just "Mission"

Colleges and universities are expressions of faith in certain idealistic notions. America is an idealistic country. Throughout our history we have served as a haven for hundreds of Utopian communities and social movements (Kanter 1972; Pitzer 1997). America has also given birth to thousands of institutions of higher learning under the premise that individual lives and the larger society can be improved-perhaps even transformedthrough the pursuit of knowledge and truth. Some colleges and universities have developed very specific notions about what constitutes a worthwhile education. They have created distinctive missions (Townsend, Newell et al. 1992). However, the efficacy of liberal learning, instruction in a useful trade, or preparation for enlightened citizenry are themes common to most founding documents (which read more like manifestoes than legal contracts).