Mission Questions

Value Proposition

  • Why does our college or university exist? What is our purpose?
  • What are the key attributes of our identity?
  • What does our institution provide to our students and communities?
  • Why was our institution founded? Is the rationale still relevant?
  • What is the role of our religious affiliation or origin (if applicable)?
  • What is our impact?  What outcomes do we produce? With what evidence of effectiveness and success?
  • What are we doing that maximizes mission attainment?  What are our key obstacles?
  • What are the primary features, advantages and/or benefits of our college or university? How are these unique, and how do we know?


  • Who does our college or university serve?
  • What energizes and excites our current and potential constituents?
  • What numbers and types of students should be served? What are their characteristics and needs, and how do we serve them now?
  • What is our value proposition for students? How is it communicated?
  • Do we have different missions for different student constituencies?
  • Is our mission congruent with our recruiting geographic reach? Can technology extend our reach?
  • How does our mission adapt to changing student demand and preferences?
  • What are our intended student learning outcomes?
  • How is student success a part of our mission?
  • Are there new potential student populations that might strengthen our mission?
  • What political, social or economic changes might reduce or increase our access to new populations?

Market Factors

  • What does our community need?
  • Is market demand growing? How do changing demographics impact mission attainment?
  • What market factors and local/regional/national/international trends support or hinder our mission?
  • How do we become “market smart” yet remain mission centered?  How do we use market factors to benefit our mission?
  • What external partners can help support our mission? How are we positioned to work with them?
  • What is our competition? What advantage(s) do competitors offer in accessibility, price and/or program features and quality?
  • How are we positioned to address external threats to our mission or our ability to support the mission?
  • Are we perceived as a leader among partners, governments and employers? Why or why not?
  • What do our accreditation processes (and other external reviews) tell us about our mission? Are accreditation criteria aligned with our mission?
  • Is our mission aligned with the priorities of the state?
  • Do the multiple expectations of higher education—including education, workforce development, and social service—confuse our mission?
  • Does our mission still adequately reflect our environment?
  • How will our mission respond to new models of credentialing and learning pedagogies and pathways?
  • Do we have the nimbleness required to respond to the changing environment?


  • Is there a shared understanding of mission across campus?
  • Are the mission and goals clearly stated and communicated across the organization? To external constituents?
  • How can we better communicate/market our mission and value? Do external stakeholders connect to our mission?
  • Does our “brand” adequately and appropriately communicate our mission?


  • How does our culture reflect and support our mission?
  • What is the role of research in our mission? Does it compete with or complement our instructional and service missions?
  • How do we measure the value of our research mission?
  • Are athletics part of our mission? How do athletics serve our mission?
  • How do nonacademic programs and services support the mission?
  • How do we assure that our business and academic models align with each other and with our mission?
  • Does our strategic plan align with our mission, and are both broadly shared, understood and implemented? Are unit goals linked to institutional mission and plan?

Thinking Forward

  • How have we adapted our mission to change and disruption?
  • Of all of our initiatives, which is likely to have the greatest positive impact?  Given limited resources, which is most critical to accomplish in the next 12 months?
  • What opportunities does our mission create for innovation?
  • Are there more currently relevant ways to manifest the mission?
  • Is our mission relevant and meaningful over the long term?
  • Does our mission create a lifelong relationship with our students?
Download Mission Questions