New Mission Statement

Courtney Garloff, Editor in Chief

Students, faculty and staff are on a mission to get the whole campus community involved in creating a new mission statement.

Middle States reaccreditation reviewers advised the university to recreate its statement.

“The current mission statement is very lengthy. It takes up almost a whole page, and we are working to making it more concise,” said Vice President for Mission Integration Sr. Jean Messaros.

The goal is to reduce the mission statement from a page to about one paragraph that defines the university, and is easier to understand.

Faculty, staff and students are using a compression planning strategy to get the job done.  According to “The Compression Planning Advantage,” by Patrick McNellis, members take  a visual group approach to bring out the group’s best thinking and energy to resolve a complex issue in an environment of fair play and equal participation. It is led by a trained facilitator.

“This is a great way to cut down time.  You get to the point faster than you do with brainstorming,” said Vice President of Planning Barbara Loftus.

This planning process will be conducted in a series of 50-minute sessions.

Two students, Michael Scarnato and Ryan Hacket, attended a three-day training session at the Compression Planning Institute at Oglebay, in Wheeling, West Virginia. They are the only two students to ever participate in the institute’s program.

“This was a great opportunity to learn something that will really help increase creativity,” said senior government law and nation security and philosophy major Scarnato.

The compression planning method will be used because it is inclusive of members of university community.

“I’ve used this method many times before, and it is a great way to include everyone in the process,” said University President Dr. Thomas Botzman.

The strategy includes the use of a large storyboard and note cards with topics and ideas written on them to help guide the process.

“I feel this works a lot better than brain storming. You get to the point faster and come up with better ideas in a shorter amount of time,” said Loftus.

Each planning group will include only eight to 10 people to make sure everyone’s ideas are heard.

“This is a very visual process that helps to channel the focus and make this a really creative experience while being focused on a main idea,” said Scarnato.

A committee of trained facilitators has organized a campaign titled “On A Mission,” and has planned several methods to get everyone involved.

There will be  in-person sessions, e-forms on eMU and community members can place forms in submission boxes around campus. Students will receive an email listing  dates and times for all  compression planning sessions and a link to sign up. All times are on a first-come first-served basis.

“We would love the problem of having too many students for sessions. As the need presents itself, we will create more sessions to fit the need,” said Scarnato. “I stay up late and would do sessions at 11 o’clock at night if I have to.”

The main goal of these group meetings is to come up with 50 words that describe the university or the university’s values in 50 minutes.

“We don’t expect participants to create the mission statement. We just want their opinions and ideas,” said Scarnato.

“Clarifying the mission statement is the first step in creating our new strategic plan,” said Messaros.

The goal is to have the final mission statement ready to present to the Board of Trustees at their February meeting because a clarified mission as well as new values and vision statements, is the first step in a march larger task: developing a new strategic plan.

“Scarnato has used compression planning with campus groups, including the Business Professionals Association and offers the service to any group that needs help generating ideas.

“I have done this before for groups and campus and it worked really well, so I am very confident that this will be a great process to help us with the mission statement,” said Scarnato.

For more information about participation, email [email protected]