Short, sweet and completely accurate.
As you might have learned from the emails that aren’t quite as persistent as Pam Smith’s suggestions to do your course evals but just as likely to prevent you from interacting with them, TU has come out with a new mission statement. This new mission statement is fairly simple and yet still discerning. Peer-reviewed and finally voted in after months of meetings, TU committee members came up with a very catchy and overarching phrase that represents how the university represents its students: fuck you.
This mission statement meets all the goals of a good one: it’s short enough to motivate everything that the University of Tulsa is doing, it communicates the direction the university wants to go and it shows how it wished to affect markets it’s influencing (students). Once you break down what this means for all the silos of the university, the direction I’ve personally seen the university move makes sense.
As tuition has increased, the diversity of offerings for students has gone down. Some of the liberal arts emphasis that allowed students to major and minor in completely different things was pushed by the wayside with True Commitment, preventing students from colleges outside of arts and sciences from taking previously open classes on subjects like American Sign Language. Students have to look toward independent studies to complete courses that were full courses in the past, which impacts not only their learning, but the course-load of professors. At the same time, professors have to do more work and teach more, making it harder for them to complete their research at this research university, hampering the quality of work being published.
Coming from TU’s administration, this mission statement also implies some level of censorship, as obviously, half of the mission statement cannot be said twice in family friendly films (though it is used liberally at this institution). However, as the administration values memorability over hope toward a brighter and more productive future, this mission statement does fit particularly well.
The simplicity of the new mission statement leaves little room for addition, but as the aforementioned student survey does question if there’s anything missing from TU, something noting the disproportionate praise for athletics over arts, neglecting the accomplishments of the latter might be beneficial to hint at. However, I can see how from a PR perspective that might not be the best addition. And, as some might argue, some of the arts (creative writing, computer simulation and gaming) are doing well, as shown by the new e-sports lounge, so there might be less validity to that addition as a whole.
However, I doubt that anyone could disagree that adding students to the end of the mission statement would be remiss. With all the changes in my time at the university, the input by students was definitely limited, if there at all, and as changes made by administration limit the ability for students that are paying the university to get the quality of education they desire, Tulsa has raised a specific finger at their students time and time again, in big and small ways.