By Kim Manahan

Whetstone staff writer

After 17 years, Wesley College has a new mission statement.

But it isn’t the exact one that the faculty Mission Statement Task Force proposed.

“We came up with more of a catchy language,” said Dr. Jeffery Mask.

The statement proposed by the task force was approved by a majority faculty vote.

The first line of the proposed statement was, “At Wesley College, we teach and learn.”

The statement adopted by the Board of Trustees begins, “Wesley College is a United Methodist institution on higher education that seeks to be among the finest student-centered learning communities in the liberal arts tradition.”

The faculty’s emphasis was on teaching and learning, Mask said.

“I had originally proposed ‘liberal’ education,” he said. “I had to throw ‘arts’ in there so Republicans wouldn’t get upset.”
A liberal education liberates the educated person, Mask said.

“The previous statement was created in the early 1990s,” said Dr. William Johnston, president of the college. “The Board of Trustees was encouraged through the Middle States visit in March 2009 to revisit the statement.”

The Board of Trustees has ultimate authority for the mission of the college, Johnston said.

It took more than a year for the new one to be created, he said.

Members included Mask, Dr. Mika Shipley, Dr. Kathleen Curran, Connie Strickland, and Dr. Bob Contino.

“It was not specifically designed to appeal to any specific group,” Johnston said. “It is an effort to articulate what the college is and wants to be.”

Which one would you chose?

Faculty proposed one:

“At Wesley College, we teach and learn. In the great tradition of liberal arts education, we strive to impart the knowledge and dispositions that will liberate and empower our graduates to find meaningful places of service in the world. Consistent with the principles of our Methodist heritage, Wesley College finds the meaning and purpose of life in an open community of justice and reconciliation that upholds truth and makes a place at the table for everyone.

Approved one:

“Wesley College is a United Methodist institution of higher education that seeks to be among the finest student-centered learning communities in the liberal arts tradition. Consistent with our Methodist heritage, the College affirms meaning and purpose in life through justice, compassion, inclusion and social responsibility that enhance community life and respect for the environment. Wesley College exists to liberate and empower its students with the knowledge, skills, ethical attitudes and capacity for critical thinking needed to achieve personal and professional goals and to contribute to the local and global society.”