A New Mission Statement for the University of Jena

A mission statement describes the self-image of an organization and unites the values that its members base their actions on. It thus provides internal orientation and shows the common principles, values and goals to the outside world. In everyday life a mission statement can help to make decisions or master change.

What does the University of Jena stand for?

At the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena, we are also guided by certain values that provide a framework for all our activities, strategic goals and measures. These principles are also derived from the past of our university. "In the more than 460 years of its eventful history, the University of Jena has shaped literary epochs, established new fields of research, inspired industries and survived political appropriation", explains University President Prof. Dr Walter Rosenthal. 

It is well known that there were not only highlights but also darker chapters in the moving history of the university, which is associated with great names in all disciplines. "This means a great responsibility, of which we are well aware," says Rosenthal. The university is therefore not only committed to research and teaching, but also to an open and democratic society of which it is a part. "The world around us is changing rapidly. It is therefore important to pause and question ourselves from time to time. Can we still identify with traditional values, or do we perhaps need to readjust? What does our university stand for and what should it stand for in the future?"

Senate task force develops mission statement draft

For this reason, the President has initiated a process to develop a new mission statement. In a first step, a Senate task force was established in June 2020, in which all areas of the university are represented. In addition to the President and the Chancellor, eleven other people belong to the task force, including technical and administrative staff, academic staff, lecturers and students. The University Council also provides one member, and the representatives for Equal Opportunities and Diversity are also appointed. As permanent guests, the first deputy of the Disabled Persons Office and the head of the University Communications and Marketing Department accompany the process.

Since June, the task force has met several times and jointly developed a draft mission statement. The basis for the work was a collection of important texts from the university. This includes, for example, the constitution and the appointment procedure regulations of the University of Jena, excerpts from the Thuringian Higher Education Act and strategy texts on research and teaching at the University of Jena. All source texts can also be found on the website of the university.

The draft mission statement now available is based on the three profile lines of the Friedrich Schiller University: Light, Life, Liberty. "For us as a task force, it was important that we draw up a mission statement that is specifically related to our university," says Prof. Dr Dr Ralf Koerrenz, member of the Senate task force, explaining the initial situation. "From this triad, which describes the specific research profile of our university, we have derived three values: Gaining and spreading light, preserving and promoting life, and protecting and shaping freedom," Koerrenz further describes the process. "We then translated these values in turn into orientations that are intended to provide a framework for the university's actions."

Presentation in online event

A mission statement should not only convey the values of an organization to the outside world, but also have an internal effect. "In the mission statement, we as a university community agree on what constitutes the identity of the University of Jena as a modern university," explains Equal Opportunities Officer and member of the Senate task force Prof. Dr. Bärbel Kracke. The task force is committed to ensuring that the future mission statement is supported by the people at the university, she stresses.

Therefore, on Monday, 16 November, from 2 to 4 pm, there will be a mission statement dialogue, which will be streamed live and recorded as an online event. The Senate task force will present the complete draft to the university public. All employees, lecturers and students of the University of Jena are cordially invited to participate and to get an idea of the process so far. Further details on the mission statement dialogue will be announced soon on the website of the University of Jena.

After the university public event, the draft is also presented to the University Council and the staff meeting. It is expected that the new mission statement of the University of Jena will be approved by the Senate in early 2021.

Join in!

Can you already think of something that should not be left out of the new mission statement? Then please let us know via our contact form or with a comment here on this blog.