According to Webster’s Dictionary, a mission statement is a formal summary of the aims and values of a company, organization or individual. It is essential to have a strong mission statement that serves as the guiding force for your department. At Iowa State University, the department of campus recreation is currently in the process of reevaluating its mission statement.
Michael Giles, the director of campus recreation at Iowa State University, explained that over the past few years diversity and inclusion have become increasingly important values to the department. They are constantly working to make the recreation center a place that is welcoming and inclusive to all, and they wanted that to be reflected in the mission statement.
“For us we realize that over the past few years our mission statement has changed,” said Giles. “Diversity and inclusion have become a very strong value of ours. So we recognize that we needed to actually put it in our statement.”
Giles tasked a team of four to five staff members to develop the new and improved mission statement. “They will be charged with evaluating our current mission statement, looking at inclusion and how to best incorporate that in,” he said. “They will research other mission and vision statements and look at how to keep some of the main themes that we have in there already — especially around empowerment, health and wellness. It will then go through a review process and all staff will have an opportunity to provide input on it. “
While developing a mission statement is essential for any organization, it is also crucial to keep evaluating it. Is your mission statement up-to-date? Does it progress with your goals and expectations? Does it reflect your culture?
“Primarily our mission drives what we do,” added Giles. “Every year we set goals for the year. Our goals need to align with what our mission and vision statements are. Everything we try to do is around the empowerment of students through engagement. How are we engaging our students within our programs and services? How we serve our students has to draw back to our primary mission and vision.”
With this thought, does your mission statement reflect the current culture of your department? Or is it in need of a re-vamp? “As you are establishing your goals for the year, or as you are establishing a change in direction, you need to go back and ask if it is reflected in your mission statement,” suggested Giles. “What is your purpose and what is your intention about how you intend to serve your constituents? It has to be directly tied to your annual goals and your annual objectives — it all must reflect back to your overall mission. Plus does it align with your university mission and vision? It is not singularly about your department, but it is also about how it relates to the overall university mission and are you aligned with that?”