The institution has a clearly defined, comprehensive, and published mission statement that is specific to the institution and appropriate for higher education. The mission addresses teaching and learning and, here applicable, research and public service. (Institutional mission)
X In compliance Partially compliant Non-compliant
The following narrative introduces Francis Marion University’s mission statement that emphasizes higher education through its liberal arts and professional degree programs, which is published both on the university website and in the annual university catalog. The University addresses teaching and learning in its mission statement by emphasizing personalized interactions with students and the rewarding of excellent teaching, reflects the University’s support for research by making professional development funds available to faculty and providing grants to students, and addresses the institution’s public service through various outreach programs. Finally, Francis Marion University’s mission statement conveys a unique institutional identity grounded in an environment that serves a largely regional student body with 95% of students hailing from South Carolina.
Francis Marion publishes its mission statement on the University website  and in the Catalog 2016-2017 , which is distributed during each fall semester to faculty and available to students in the Admissions Office of the Stokes Administration Building and online. The five-paragraph mission statement reads as follows:
Francis Marion University is a four-year public institution established by the state of South Carolina. It is located in the northeastern part of the state near the city of Florence and has more than 4,000 students. Its purpose is threefold: to provide students with an excellent education, stimulate inquiry and research, and serve the Pee Dee region and the state of South Carolina.
Francis Marion University adheres to the primary purpose of its establishment as a college in 1970: to make available excellent educational programs for the people of the region and the state. The University offers bachelor’s degrees in a wide range of liberal arts disciplines, as well as in the health sciences, education, and business. The University also offers professional degrees at the baccalaureate, master’s, and specialist levels. While maintaining high standards, we serve students with a broad range of preparation and ability. We seek a wide variety of students, primarily from the Pee Dee region, but also from the entire state, other states, and foreign countries. We believe that a student body diverse in age, racial and ethnic background, and country of origin enriches the education of all students. To achieve its educational goals, the University has outstanding faculty members distinguished by high achievement and diverse academic backgrounds. We provide traditional and, when appropriate, non-traditional instruction, access to an excellent library as well as electronic resources, and staff members committed to student learning and success. A low student-faculty ratio and faculty concern for the individual student help us to achieve our goals. The University recognizes the importance of the out-of-the-classroom experience and offers opportunities for students to engage in activities that promote personal growth. In addition, the University provides students with special learning opportunities, such as an honors program, internships, study abroad destinations, and cooperative degree programs.
Since our highest priority is excellence in teaching and learning, we believe that intellectual inquiry and analysis by students and faculty members are essential. We encourage all scholarly pursuits, including student research for courses and faculty research for presentation and publication and for use in the classroom. The University provides faculty members with support for professional development through resources for innovative teaching, scholarship, and service. Our goal of an academic experience built on inquiry and research as well as the transmission of information allows students to develop their ability to think and communicate, to gain knowledge and skills, to pursue a career or further study, to appreciate the creativeness of the human mind, to be aware of the human and natural environment of the world, and to have the capacity to pursue a life of learning and understanding.
The University also serves the needs of Florence and the surrounding area in ways beyond formal education. Numerous artistic and cultural activities, athletic programs, health initiatives, and outreach efforts benefit not only our students, but also the community. To foster the economic development of the region, we offer consulting services to business, industry, and government. Academic and practical assistance to area schools is basic to our endeavors. Faculty and staff members participate in and contribute to a wide range of community activities.
Francis Marion emphasizes liberal arts education while offering new academic programs and innovative technology. It is small enough to provide attention to each student, but large enough to offer a variety of academic and cultural resources. It thus combines the advantages of a liberal arts college with the resources and programs of a public university.
Mission Statement Connection to Higher Education
The mission statement is appropriate to an institution of higher education. As described in the mission statement, “Francis Marion University offers bachelor’s degrees in a wide range of liberal arts disciplines, as well as in the health sciences, education, and business. The University also offers professional degrees at the baccalaureate, master’s, and specialist levels.”
Mission Statement Connection to Teaching and Learning
The mission statement addresses teaching and learning explicitly by the assertion that the University’s “highest priority is excellence in teaching and learning.” One way the University responds to this priority is by emphasizing an individualized approach to education through low student-faculty ratios and personalized attention to academic advising and career development. In addition, faculty are encouraged to attend conferences that support their professional development as teachers and annual funding is offered on an application basis to support their attendance. Faculty are also rewarded for their excellence in teaching through an annual, competitive teaching award.
Mission Statement Connection to Research
The mission statement also addresses student and faculty research, which is encouraged by the University and necessary to support the primary mission of excellence in teaching and learning. As indicated in the mission statement, Francis Marion encourages “all scholarly pursuits, including student research for courses and faculty research for presentation and publication and for use in the classroom.” To that end, the University supports faculty research through the availability of professional development funds and student research through these same funds as well as QEP grants by way of the university’s Ready to Experience Applied Learning (REAL) program .
Mission Statement Connection to Public Service
Service is also an integral component of Francis Marion University’s mission. The mission statement emphasizes the importance of serving students within the State and the region. The goal of the University is to provide opportunities for academic training, educational support, and enrichment services for current students as well as the community. One way Francis Marion does this is through its continuing education opportunities, an example of which is offered by the Department of Psychology . Furthermore, the University offers “numerous artistic and cultural activities, athletic programs, health initiatives, and outreach efforts [that] benefit not only our students, but also the community.” Examples of these types of public service activities at the University include concerts, plays, and discussion forums that are open to the public . Services are also offered to small businesses in the community, through the Kelley Center for Enterprise and Innovation ; to local schools and teachers through the School of Education’s Center of Excellence to Prepare Teachers of Children of Poverty ; and to local organizations through the faculty’s service on boards of directors . In addition, the University offers cultural resources to its students and surrounding community through the Francis Marion University Performing Arts Center located in downtown Florence, SC .
Mission Statement Distinction
Francis Marion is distinct in its vision and values. As specified in the mission statement, the University seeks “to serve the residents of the Pee Dee region and the state of South Carolina.” The current student population reflects these values, with 95% of students coming from the state of South Carolina .
- FMU Website, Mission Statement
- Catalog 2016-2017, Purpose-Mission Statement, p. 9
- REAL Program
- FMU Website, Continuing Education
- Pee Dee Fiction and Poetry Festival Website
- FMU Website, Kelley Center to Host Small Business Training
- Center of Excellence to Prepare Teachers of Children of Poverty Website
- South Carolina Council of Teachers of English Website, Executive Board
- Performing Arts Center Website
- FMU Website, The University