Just Plain Rhetoric? An Analysis of Mission Statements of Canadian Universities Identifying Their Verbal Commitments to Facilitating and Promoting Lifelong Learning
AbstractOver the past decade, many government and policy documents have highlighted with greater urgency the need for lifelong learning. What do present mission statements of Canadian universities have to say regarding lifelong learning? In researching this question we analyzed the institutional mission statements of 58 Canadian universities to identify the extent to which these expressed commitments to facilitating and promoting lifelong learning. While mission statements cannot serve as proof of institutions actually enacting the goals and ideals by which they choose to portray themselves to the public, they still yield insight into the values institutions recognize as important. This article first proposes a model of conceptualizing lifelong learning in higher education. It distinguishes three dimensions of lifelong learning (the adaptive, the personal, and the democratic) and two aspects (lifelong learning as a goal and life-long learning as a process). From this three by two matrix we derive six categories of lifelong learning in or through higher education. We then use these six categories as a priori codes for our deductive anal- ysis of mission statements. We present and discuss the outcomes of our study, note differences with regards to institutional type, and make some suggestions for future research.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).