Does the Academy Need a New Mission?

By Stephen Barnett, Donald L. Sparks and Lee Vickers.

Published by Journal of the World Universities Forum

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Several studies conclude that the entire U.S. educational system, pre-kindergarten to postgraduate (typically referred to as P-20) is a system where “. . . too many Americans just aren’t getting the education they need – and that they deserve” (Spellings 2006). This paper argues that senior university administrators are best equipped and positioned to bring together the “triple-helix” of government, industry and education and provide the entrepreneurial leadership needed to make changes in the P-20 system. A sound mission statement for higher education is an essential first step in this change process. Successful mission statements are succinct and clearly conceptualize the purpose of the organization or institution; they form critical guidelines for those making strategic decisions. A macro level mission statement, created by the leadership in higher education, would act as a model for individual universities or colleges as they create their particular missions and develop strategic triple-helix collaborations to change the P-20 system. The research addresses the question: “does the Academy’s historical mission of teaching, research, and service provide an adequate conceptual model that a diverse set of decision makers can employ as they address the changes needed in a complex and dynamic educational system?”
The research question was then subdivided to investigate three issues:
• What insights can we gain about the Academy and the trilateral mission ideas (TMI) of teaching, research, and service from the history of higher education and the evolution of the American university?
• Assuming that the TMI are somewhat universally accepted by the American university, what do these concepts really mean when applied to higher education?
• Are the TMI ideas robust and flexible enough to guide the leadership of our higher education system as they face increasing complexity in the triple helix system of education, enterprise and government?

Keywords: Leadership, Entrepreneurial, University Mission, Teaching, Research, Service, Simulation Teaching versus Research

Journal of the World Universities Forum, Volume 3, Issue 5, pp.1-12. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 640.052KB).

Dr. Stephen Barnett

Director of Student International Advancement, Office of Vice President for Global Engagement, Arizona State University, Tempe, USA

Stephen T Barnett, Ph.D. (Georgia State University) is the Director of Student International Advancement in the Office of the Vice President for Global Engagement. He is Professor of Marketing Emeritus at Stetson University where he served as the Dennis M. McNamara Chair in Marketing and as the Director of the Stetson Business Summer School Abroad, Innsbruck, Austria. He has presented and published papers with a number associations and academic journals including: Southern Marketing Association, Academy of Business Education, The African Studies Association of Australia and the Pacific, African Studies Association, Marketing Education Review, Journal of Education for Business, Journal of Family Business, Retail Education Today, Advising Quarterly, The International Journal of Business Disciplines, and E-Business Review. Dr. Barnett’s past experience includes: President and CEO of Henson Furniture (a 22-store chain), Director of The Executive Education Programs at Emory University, Principal of Furniture Brokers Inc., and extensive blue-water sailing. Dr. Barnett’s current charge is to support the spirit and process of creative risk-taking of entrepreneurial faculty members, academic departments, and ASU Schools & Colleges as they seek to create and/or implement innovative degree and non-degree educational programs for international students.

Prof. Donald L. Sparks

Professor of International Economics, Business School, The Citadel, USA

Dr Donald Sparks is Professor of International Economics at the Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina where he has been named outstanding MBA professor of the year three times. For the past nine years he has been a Visiting Professor at Stetson University's Summer Business Program in Innsbruck, Austria. He served as a Staff Assistant to Senator Ernest F Hollings in Washington, DC and as an International Economist with the US Department of State. Dr Sparks was a Fulbright Professor of Economics at the University of Maribor, in Slovenia during the spring semester of 2005. In 2000-2001 he was Visiting Professor and Chairman of the Department of Economics at the American University in Cairo, and in 1996-97 he was Fulbright Professor of Economics at the University of Swaziland and in 2003 he was a Fulbright Senior Specialist there. Dr Sparks received his BA from the George Washington University and his MA and PhD from the School of Oriental & African Studies, London. He has written two economic textbooks and numerous articles. Dr Sparks has lectured widely in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, Europe and North America. His current research interests are on monetary integration in Southern Africa, public-private partnerships and economic development.

Dr. Lee Vickers

President Emeritus, Dickinson State University, Phoenix, USA

Lee A. Vickers, Ph.D. (University of Wyoming) is President-Emeritus (1999-2008) of Dickinson State University. Dr. Vickers also served as President of Francis Marion University (1994-1999) and President of Lewis-Clark State College (1978-1994). As president he implemented innovative initiatives at his various institutions in the areas of access, diversity, internationalization, undergraduate research, excellence in teaching and service, assessment and community outreach. He is currently serving as a consultant on international education, as well as higher education outreach in rural communities. He serves on the Board of Directors for the RUPRI Center for Rural Entrepreneurship. Dr. Vickers has served in a number of leadership roles in the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) including the Presidential Steering Committee for the Global Access Project sponsored by the United States Department of State, the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), the Idaho District Export Council, the North Dakota Higher Education Commission on Centers of Excellence, the ND System CONNECTND and the North Dakota P-16 Task Force. Dr. Vickers has spearheaded a number of education missions to foreign countries including Japan, China, Taiwan, Switzerland, Russia and Ukraine.

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