“The mission of Istanbul Technical University (ITU) as a research university competing in the international arena without being constrained by the national boundaries, is to continue teaching, education and R&D activities as well as contributing to the international knowledge by reaching the advanced knowledge rather than only improving the quality of teaching and research activities.”
The University of Istanbul is located Turkey’s post populous city, with a city population totaling 14.2 million people. The university is spread across five campuses with 76,000 undergraduate and 12,000 graduate students. As highlighted by ITU’s emphasis on “competing in the international arena without being constrained by national boundaries” and “contributing to international knowledge”, the university’s mission statement largely focuses on its and its students’ place in the world at large. Given that there are not many universities in Turkey delivering education to non-native Turkish students or conducting intercultural higher education, ITU’s mission statement shows the university’s confidence in its diversity and in its global reach. The mission statement may also indicate that the university wants to be considered elite among other nations’ universities. In addition, this focus on global competitiveness may suggest that the university places a high priority in placing its students in jobs across the world after they graduate.
“The primary purpose of the University of Wisconsin–Madison is to provide a learning environment in which faculty, staff and students can discover, examine critically, preserve and transmit the knowledge, wisdom and values that will help ensure the survival of this and future generations and improve the quality of life for all. The university seeks to help students to develop an understanding and appreciation for the complex cultural and physical worlds in which they live and to realize their highest potential of intellectual, physical and human development.”
Madison, WI USA
UW-Madison is located in Madison, Wisconsin, the state capital with a population of over 240,000. The campus includes nearly 30,000 undergraduate and nearly 12,000 graduate students. UW-Madison’s mission statement states its aim to “improve the quality of life for all” and then cites sustainability (to “ensure the survival of … future generations). This shows a commitment to the environment and peace. It also suggests that the time one spends in higher education does not only affect those years but also can influence or improve our future by getting involved within one’s local and/or global community. This mission statement also highlights a desire to build cultural diversity (“appreciation for the complex cultural … worlds”). For example, having students from all around the world helps others see new opportunities as well as new perspectives that would otherwise would not have been considered, and these can help inspire new ideas. In the rest of the mission the main idea is underlying still for the quality of life for all.
Are the mission statements similar? Different?
While the locations and size of the universities’ home cities and the size their student populations differ, the universities share some similarities across their mission statements. Istanbul Technical University’s and UW-Madison’s mission statements are similar in the way that they both have international goals and appear focused on how their university and its students interact in, and engage with, the outside world. However, for Istanbul Technical University this international feels more competitive to achieve the university’s goals. Meanwhile, UW-Madison already has a diverse student body with a moderate number of students from all around the world, and instead of focusing on competing with other university’s and nation’s there is instead a forward-looking focus on increasing understanding and on managing the bond between students and their communities.