This past week McDaniel President Roger Casey sat down with various faculty members to discuss the crafting of a mission statement for McDaniel College.
At the meeting an issue arose.
The words ‘liberal arts’ were omitted from the draft of the new McDaniel mission statement— a cause for much concern with faculty.
One concerned McDaniel faculty member wondered, “Are we offering a true liberal arts education… how important is it?”
As of now the liberal arts identity is one that McDaniel College holds true to. The mission reads, “Our mission is you (the student)… Centered in the liberal arts and sciences, McDaniel education teaches you to think and act critically, creatively, and humanely.”
Robert Kachur, English Chair and one of five faculty members selected to be on the ‘strategic thinking board’ who head the crafting of the new mission statement said, “many teachers were alarmed at the fact that we left out the words ‘liberal arts,’ but it is just a draft at this point and we will take their concerns into consideration at the next meeting.”
The mission statement is under close review by the Middle States Association of Colleges—an organization that internally reviews public appearance of its institution (one of which being McDaniel) via peer evaluation.
Becky Carpenter, English Professor at McDaniel, said she found the absence of the “liberal arts” phrase troubling.
“We professors think liberal arts is a good method of teaching, thinking and learning, so why not advertise what we do in our mission statement,” said Carpenter.
Carpenter emphasized that there is no reason to be stealthy about the fact that McDaniel is a liberal arts college, and that incoming students need to know what type of education they will be getting here on The Hill.
Once of the reasons that McDaniel professors and the administration are taking this issue so seriously is that our mission statement is vital in representing what our institution has to offer, “We are working toward a more concise mission statement that really embodies McDaniel,” said Kachur.
Both Kachur and Carpenter weighed in on the implications behind the controversy causing phrase ‘liberal arts’ explaining that McDaniel has both humanity and professional means of education, but that the more professionally directed classes tended to be for graduate students and that the liberal arts and sciences education is directed more towards undergraduate students.
Kachur justified the extremely close consideration that the board is taking over this issue saying, “this mission statement really has the power to completely change the direction of our school.”
I'm troubled by the lack of student input into a mission statement.