The Multiple Missions of Higher Education


Education institutions that provide postsecondary education have an academic mission statement that points out the most vital information for students, such as purposes, missions, goals and learning outcomes. Even though some points tend to be similar, these statements differ depending on the type of the institution. This paper will discuss and analyze the multiple missions of public, private not-for-profit, denominational, for-profit, and corporate schools to reveal their sense and connection with the size of the institution as well as students enrolled.

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Selection and Brief Discussion of Five Institutional/Corporate Academic Missions

Public Higher Education Institution

The University of Florida is a public higher education institution located in the Gainesville, FL. Its main general purpose is to challenge its staff and students in order to make a positive impact on society, assist people and improve their lives. It focuses on the opportunity to create and organize those things and events that do not happen currently but could be possible in the future.

The mission of the university is to provide the next generations with economic, cultural, and scientific advantages through its students. Its teaching goal is the main one. In its framework, the University of Florida is willing to educate students allowing them to reach the undergraduate and graduate levels. It also considers research and scholarship to be vital, as more information about this world can be obtained due to them. Service deals with the promise to benefit the general public. Mainly, the University of Florida focuses on the people’s clinical needs. It is ready to assist diverse population regardless of their nationality or profession.

The university provides its students with the opportunity to become professionals in agriculture, life sciences, arts, business, design, medicine, education, engineering, journalism, law and other related areas. It offers programs focused on innovation and maximization of personal resources. Also, there is a possibility of online learning and certification, and there are life-long opportunities available. The University of Florida works with about 5,000 efficient faculty members, which allows it to be highly valued by the public and reach 14th place in the list of the best public universities (The University of Florida, 2016).

Private Not-for-Profit Higher Education Institution

The George Washington University is believed to be the largest private not-for-profit higher education institution in the District of Columbia. The main purpose of the University is to benefit the global society and ensure its well-being. The mission of the university is to provide the positive environment for the creation, acquisition, and application of knowledge. The teaching goal of the George Washington University focuses on the outstanding learning experiences. It is ready to work with diverse students in undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. Both full-time and part-time education is available.

This institution is considered to be a center for intellectual inquiry and research. Thus, it pays much attention to scholarship and ensures that all practical studies conducted by its students and professionals are based on theory. The university values creativity, integrity, and professionalism. It encourages its stakeholders to interact for the advantage of the communities it serves. Lifelong learning opportunities are also offered.

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The university serves more than 25,000 students from the USA and other countries. It allows mastering forensic science, law, international affairs, medicine, computer engineering and other disciplines. In addition to that, students have an opportunity to attend summer sessions and apply for online learning (The George Washington University, 2016).

Denominational Higher Education Institution

Central Christian College of the Bible is a prominent representative of a denominational higher education institution in Moberly, MO. It is targeted at raising up servant leaders who will be able to benefit their churches with the course of time. The college is focused on the affordability of the education because it believes that all people should have an opportunity to receive an education of a good quality regardless of their financial condition.

The college values authority, heritage, and affordability the most and emphasizes dedication to the Christianity. It is willing to educate the qualified students for them to support Christian community. Students are allowed to maintain dual enrollment. They can also have Specialized Educational Experiences. They are free to choose any occupation from the offered ones, including ministry, health, business, education, and industry. The college also allows applying for online education as well as honors or internship programs. Thus, students can be involved in research activities and practice in service the Lord’s kingdom.

This college is not big, and it usually has about 300 students, including those who study full-time and part-time. Still, the majority of them like this peculiar feature of the institution because it allows them to be close to each other and avoid crowds. In addition to that, more people receive a chance to obtain a scholarship (Central Christian College of the Bible, 2016).

For-Profit Higher Education Institution

The University of Phoenix is an institution owned by Apollo Group (2016). It is a for-profit higher education institution. The very Apollo Education Group is willing to provide both the youth and adults with the opportunity to receive an appropriate education. The organization highly values the possibility of lifelong learning and employment that is why it ensures that its educational institutions are able to benefit targeted population. The group owns several subsidiaries, and the University of Phoenix is the one that can provide working learners with the knowledge they require to develop as professionals so that they can also lead their communities and provide them with needed services.

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The University of Phoenix is willing to promote lifelong learning. It focuses on the development of communication, cooperation, and critical thinking. This educational institution is highly valued by employees who are currently present in the job market. In addition to that, students find it beneficial as their needs receive much attention and schedule is rather flexible. They have an opportunity to receive scholarship and grants and to study humanities, sciences and information technology. Advanced studies and continuing education programs are also available. The university offers online degrees and helps to find a career so that students can be sure of their future (The University of Phoenix, 2016).

Corporate Higher Education Institution

Disney College is a corporate higher education institution that is owned by the Walt Disney Company (2016). This organization is willing to become the leader in the global market. It is targeted at the production not only of the entertainment but also information. It values creativeness, innovation, and profitability and is willing to ensure them through its operations. The Disney College Program is offered to those students who are willing to enter the sphere of entertainment. It provides them with the opportunity to receive skills and knowledge required to start working and achieve success in the world of Disney.

The college is mainly targeted at the US population, but it also welcomes students from the abroad. Students can take courses focused on hospitality management, corporate analysis and communication, innovation, human resource management and leadership. There is also an opportunity to learn more about the Disney operations during explorations series. The Professional Development Studies and the Seminar courses allow professionals to improve their knowledge and continue education. The college offers online and distance learning programs as well as opportunity to participate in those courses that interest one most of all. As the program lasts less than a year, about 10,000 students take in annually. The college attracts a lot of attention due to the popularity of the company to which it belongs and its offerings (Disney College, 2016).

Analysis of Five Institutions

Common Themes and Distinctions

Considering the information found about the discussed higher education institutions of various types, it can be concluded that they have a lot of similar themes in their missions. Still, it is critical to mention at first that the very mission statement was not always available, and the information that is supposed to be included in it was gathered due to the investigation of the institution’s website.

First of all, the University of Florida, the George Washington University, Central Christian College of the Bible, the University of Phoenix, and Disney College are all willing to benefit society by educational offerings. These five institutions tend to value innovation and/or creativity. They emphasize that the knowledge and skills obtained during the education can be then used to reach those general goals the organizations have. In fact, the main purpose of each institution is connected with the service to the public in this or that way. For example, the public education institution is willing to teach its students how to improve the quality of life utilizing the knowledge obtained at the university as well as the private non-for-profit institution. The denominational college wants to benefit the public through its students who will serve their churches. The for-profit university is more focused on the personal and students’ benefit. It is willing to prepare efficient students who will be able to work at one organization during their life, continuing their education. In this way, it hopes to improve organizational performance and profit as well as to and provide the population with products and services of excellent quality. The corporate institution is even more focused on the personal profit. Its mission is to increase profit through the provision of the population with advanced services.

Interpretation of the Teaching, Research, and Service Components

All types of the discussed institutions are willing to educate students. Still, as it can be seen, public and private not-for-profit universities believe this goal to be the main one. They do not emphasize the further usage of the obtained knowledge and skills, which seems to be decent as they do not expect anything in return. Others teach students with a particular purpose that is identified in a mission statement.

All these institutions provide an opportunity to study online, which seems to be a right decision due to the global tendencies (Disney College also offers distant learning). They focus on the research opportunities for the same reason, as innovation and creativity are highly valued in today’s world. The curriculum of the institutions is rather diverse but those that are smaller offer less, which allows them to operate decently. The goal of the organization is tightly connected with its type. Thus, non-profit institutions are willing just to assist others, while denominational ones also focus on the connection with churches. In their turn, for-profit and corporation institutions want to benefit from the students they taught.

Comparison and Contrast of Positioning, Public Reputation, and Targeted Students

All education institutions emphasize their peculiar features so that they are more likely to be selected by students. The University of Florida focused on the wide range of disciplines available and those things that could be discovered or achieved by the students to benefit the society. The George Washington University underlined the value of creativity and innovation. It positioned itself as a place that can teach students how to apply theoretical knowledge in practice. Central Christian College of the Bible discussed its devotion to Christianity and the opportunity to study the Word of God while learning other disciplines. The University of Phoenix emphasized that it allows adults who are already working to study. It claimed that both education and work should be life-long. Disney College pointed out its connection with the sphere of entertainment and promised interesting studying.

The way these institutions positioned themselves as well as their purposes influenced their reputation in the eyes of the public. In general, people build their primary opinion on the basis of the mission statement. Thus, those who are willing to connect studying and religion would definitely choose Central Christian College of the Bible but not Disney College, etc. All these institutions allow diverse students to enroll. Nationality, gender, and other characteristics do not matter. Thus, it would be advantageous if they also identify the way they can meet cultural challenges that are likely to occur (Jeannin, 2013). Still, the information about the possibility of enrollment of students with disabilities was not found. Moreover, particular academic requirements exist which include GPA, grade level, etc. In addition to that, Disney College defines age boundaries.

Discussion of Learning Objectives, Outcomes, and What Graduates can Expect

In general, institutions ensure that students will have an opportunity to obtain the knowledge (certification if appropriate) they will require in the future and to continue lifelong education. The University of Florida gives a chance to innovate and maximize personal resources. The George Washington University provides outstanding learning and practice experiences. Central Christian College of the Bible give allows to work in a church in the future or to promote Christianity in other organizations. The University of Phoenix ensures educational opportunities for workers. Disney College gives a chance to become a part of the entertainment world after the program.

Personal Reflections

The institutions selected for this paper are prominent representatives of each type of education institution. Everything possible was made to ensure that the information about them is clear and can be easily obtained. Also, the focus was on the way they reveal the peculiarities of their type of institution. While investigating their websites, it turned out that only few institutions have a clear mission statement with all vital information included while others tend to provide shortened and more general information, which disappointed me. Still, there is hope that education institutions just simplified it for everyone to understand what to expect. This can be advantageous, as Sullivan, Ludden, and Singleton (2013) stated that students tend to be more engaged when they clearly understand the institutional mission. It was agreeably surprising to see that they provide different learning opportunities and indicate how students can use obtained knowledge and skills in the future.

Considering different types of institutions, it turned out that they all promise to give students knowledge and opportunities for practice/research. They also indicate how it can be used to serve society (directly or through some organization). Regardless of this similarity, each education institution has its own peculiarities that are mainly seen in their purposes. The very purpose of the institution is a thing that is believed to influence the focus on the academic mission and its peculiarities (Lowman, 2010). All in all, institutions successfully identify their multiple missions, as they included the information about the core (degree-granting programs), vertical (further education in colleges and universities) and horizontal activities (continuing education, training, practice). In this way, they identify what students should expect from the education and ensure their interest and engagement, as targeted populations can be easily identified.


Thus, it can be concluded that the discussed five institutions have similar missions, as they focus on the benefit for society, value innovation and/or creativity, ensure that provided knowledge and skills can be then used in practice to reach those general goals the organizations have. Still, they position themselves differently to be differentiated from others. To reach this goal, they underline different general purposes of the education they provide. In this way, they put emphasis on educational, research, religion, or working opportunities their students can obtain. Institutions follow global tendencies to meet the needs of the modern society that is why they provide online learning opportunities and enroll diverse populations. The variety of their curriculum is tightly connected to their size and purpose. Thus, big universities with no single specific focus area offer more courses than those small ones that value religion. Moreover, non-profit institutions emphasize the usage of education as a tool that will later help students to assist others. Denominational ones connect it with religious service to churches and other organizations. For-profit institutions want to benefit workers and their organizations, while corporation ones seek personal advantage.


Apollo Group. (2016). Web.

Central Christian College of the Bible. (2016). Web.

Disney College. (2016). Web.

Jeannin, L. (2013). Students’ perception of diversity in an international classroom. Higher Learning Research Communications, 3(4): 6-23.

Lowman, R. (2010). Leading the 21st-century college and university: Managing multiple missions and conflicts of interest in higher education. The Psychologist-Manager Journal, 13(4), 237-243.

Sullivan, S., Ludden, A., & Singleton, R. (2013). The impact of institutional mission on student volunteering. Journal of College Student Development, 54(5), 511-526.

The George Washington University. (2016). Web.

The University of Florida. (2016). Web.

The University of Phoenix. (2016). Web.

The Walt Disney Company. (2016). Web.

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