The Academic Senate Executive Committee has officially proposed changing Cal Poly’s mission statement. The new mission statement was written after consultation between the administration, faculty and staff.
The new statement emphasizes Cal Poly’s polytechnic, hands-on approach to learning, as well as the importance of a well-rounded education and involvement in one’s community. Also, it asserts that Cal Poly values and respects intellectual and cultural diversity.
The old mission statement portrayed Cal Poly as an undergraduate school mainly serving California, which provided students with opportunities of “direct involvement” in their areas of study.
It also described Cal Poly as an environment in which everyone appreciates diversity and safeguards each other’s rights.
Mechanical engineering professor James LoCascio said the new mission statement is not yet official; President Baker still needs to give it a final thumbs-up before it is adopted by the university.
The Academic Senate had several reasons for revising Cal Poly’s mission statement, which has not been revised since it was written in 1994.
LoCascio said that periodical reconsideration of the mission statement is an expectation in the university’s upcoming accreditation process by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. He also noted that the existing mission statement neglects to mention Cal Poly’s educational heritage of “learn by doing,” Cal Poly’s well-known motto.
“I’m glad they decided to include ‘learn by doing,’ because that’s what Cal Poly’s all about,” liberal studies sophomore Cerra Himle said. “You learn from your classroom experiences. Other schools study theory; we get to implement it on a daily basis.”
Baker found that the old mission statement “was too long and was just not saying the right thing,” which was another reason for the change, LoCasio said.
Baker seemed pleased with the newly written statement because it puts teaching before anything else and places more emphasis on the close relationship shared between Cal Poly students and faculty. There is also a shift away from the notion that Cal Poly is a “predominantly undergraduate” school.
“You’ll notice that students come first in this new version,” LoCascio said. “It’s more in tune with how we view ourselves as a university.”