Photo of Dr. Jamal Scott
Dr. Jamal Scott, Vice President of Strategy and Community Development

When you use your favorite product or service, what is the feeling you get? Do you know the mission of the company that created it? Do you know why that company or organization exists? When an organization updates its mission statement, the details of what goes behind those changes are often left out. Suddenly, you notice that the product you have always used has changed its logo or packaging one day. No notice is given, and sometimes not even a reason is provided externally. If you really want to know, you must search for it.

The Waubonsee Community College mission statement is of utmost importance to us because it tells us why we exist. Our mission statement reflects what is important to us and the things that we prioritize and focus on to serve the various stakeholders in our diverse community. Our mission statement was last reviewed some time ago, and while the former mission statement was strong and served its purpose, we felt the time was right to review it for effectiveness today. 

As it has for most organizations, the pandemic further accelerated our need for change. Coupled with the time since our last review, it made a mission statement evaluation and revision perfect for this year.

As a comprehensive community college that serves multiple stakeholders in various pockets of our district and our community, it was important for us to dig deep and reevaluate who we are serving, why, and what makes us the great college we are. Allow me to share how we arrived at creating this new mission statement at this moment in time.


Selecting a team for the mission statement committee was the first part of the process, and that selection was careful and intentional. Having a cross-functional, diverse group of internal stakeholders was necessary to represent the wide-ranging views of our communities. We wanted diversity not just racially but also geographically, in gender, discipline, function, and thought. The committee was outstanding in their support of me as I led this process for the college.

The first step for the committee was to hear from Dr. Christine Sobek, President of Waubonsee College, about what she thought was important and her expectations for us in this process. Our ultimate deliverable was to provide a mission statement to her that she could recommend to our Board of Trustees. She started our committee meeting sharing the history of the college and why this process was so important. She took the time to hear about what we wanted in the statement. We began to research mission statements. We each looked at mission statements that were important to us. And then, we went to the community with multiple rounds of surveys.

We surveyed members of the college, residents in the community, businesses, and other non-profit organizations; we talked to our chambers of commerce, municipal partners, and counties. We spoke to over 500 people as we researched what everyone thought our mission is as a comprehensive community college. I was so happy to get the rich, qualitative feedback that we could use to incorporate into this process. We looked at mission statements from other higher education institutions, companies, and any statements that we liked and thought fit the mold in accurately depicting who we are as an institution. We put all of that together and produced some sample statements that we went back out to test. 

Having integrity with the data was critical, and we made sure to reflect elements of the preferred statement into the final rendition following the responses from our last outreach. We took out things that our research said were not essential and added things that were important to our internal and external stakeholders. We can all be proud of the final product, and hopefully can all see ourselves as we continue to humbly serve the Waubonsee Community College district:

“Waubonsee Community College provides exceptional learning through accessible, equitable, and innovative education. We are committed to enriching the lives of our students, employees, and community by working together to create opportunities to discover new passions, share knowledge, and embrace diversity.”

We needed to develop a mission statement that accurately reflected who we were throughout this process. We did not want to overpromise in a mission statement and say things that we did not feel we could deliver on. We were not creating something that we were not. The committee became one body, one voice, and came together in agreement. It was a defining moment of truth, unity, and affirmation as the committee reviewed internal and external survey responses and unanimously attested, "Yes! This is who we are.” I personally enjoyed the process very much.

As an employee, a resident of our district, and a parent, I was really struck by the part of the new mission statement that articulates and demonstrates how Waubonsee creates opportunities. We have various people in our district from diverse backgrounds who have had different journeys to our community, those who have taken different paths to our college and have different things that are meaningful to them. So having the ability to create opportunities to help people discover what is important to them, what they are passionate about, and to help share their knowledge and information about their background is one of the beauties of diversity and inclusion. It is that everyone brings a unique perspective to the table. We help our community do that by sharing knowledge with us; that is hugely important. The ability to embrace diversity creates something special and puts us in a position to serve others in a meaningful and purposeful way.

I want to see us continue to live this mission statement. We talked about this a lot in the process. We spoke about genuinely creating a mission statement that reflects who we are, not overpromising, and talking about things we could not live.

At Waubonsee, you can expect that you will have the opportunity to discover who you are, create, explore, innovate, and be free to be you. You will have the chance to share knowledge and things that are important to you. You will have the opportunity to discover and have your entire being and person embraced. We think it is essential to come as you are and be respected and fully supported. Regardless of who you are in our district, where you come from, or your background, you will be welcomed at Waubonsee Community College. Here, you will find opportunities to discover new passions, share knowledge, and embrace diversity.

Thank you for learning a little bit more about how the new mission statement was formulated. It is important for you to read it, think about what parts resonate with you and why they are important to you. Please take time to reflect on how Waubonsee may be able to help you in reaching your goals, whatever they may be. We are here to serve you; we are your community college.

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