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DePaul's new mission statement

St. Vincent Circle
(DePaul University/Jeff Carrion)
After 35 years, DePaul has fully revised its mission statement. Through a 10-month participatory, historically grounded, yet forward-thinking process, the university gathered feedback from more than 600 community members. The updated statement is relevant and reflects the DePaul we know and the DePaul of which we dream.

On March 4, the Board of Trustees unanimously approved the revised statement and its supporting document. The process went faster than expected, which I believe demonstrates the participatory nature of the review process worked as we hoped. It proves the value of shared governance in helping us to define a mutual understanding of who we are and how we want to live out our common mission in this historic moment.

The review process was a beautiful, concrete expression of communal discernment. Our approach of inclusive reflection and community articulation of common dreams and values is very much in the spirit of Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac. This process both captured and embodied the Vincentian spirit so valued at DePaul.

Invitations to review the statement went out in Newsline and on social media throughout the fall quarter. Colleges, departments, student groups, administrative offices, as well as our governing councils, invited the community to participate as well. We listened to voices at more than 70 dialogues. Many were impassioned and advocated for mission-related ideas.

I can say with confidence great care was given to revising the statement, down to negotiating the meaning and inclusion of individual words. For instance, we included “environmental" justice for students and others fiercely dedicated to sustainability. We also discussed the wording “with special attention to" as all are served and have agency. Yet, we must recognize our Vincentian legacy of reaching out to those most in need who are not well-served. It is my belief every word of the statement has deep meaning and illustrates the common themes of DePaul's mission that emerged from the audiences we relied upon for input.

DePaul stakeholders agreed we are Catholic, Vincentian and anchored in Chicago, and our university educates the whole person in a variety of ways that uphold human dignity. Participants insisted DePaul commit to addressing the great societal challenges of our day, as both an educational institution connected to local and global communities, as well as through our graduates, whom we hope will be change agents for greater good and successful professionals.

The umbrellas of Vincentian personalism and professionalism express the culture and approach at DePaul many feel differentiate us from other institutions. As we served an immigrant population in the late 1800s, we continue to educate underserved and underrepresented communities today.

We summarized other values that emerged through the review process in the statement's supporting document, “Distinguishing Characteristics, Core Values, and Commitments." I hope this document will be included in every online presentation of the new DePaul Mission Statement, and I encourage you to read it. 

The review process itself was an education for the DePaul community. Before preparing for a dialogue or taking our survey, many of the participants had never read the full four-page mission statement. Many had never discussed with colleagues or peers what DePaul's mission meant to them or how they believed it must be communicated to remain relevant and compelling. A nearly universal desire became apparent for a new concise mission statement that could be fully known, embraced and integrated into life at DePaul. This was also recommended to the university during the last Higher Learning Commission accreditation process.

In many ways the statement review process seems completed. But the work of the new mission statement has just begun.

It is time to share the statement broadly on websites, in syllabi and on signage. Departments need it within reflect on their own internal mission and vision statements, as well as on their website and marketing language. We must integrate the language and ideas of the new statement and “Distinguishing Characteristics, Core Values, and Commitments" into our work. We must attend to the ideals of the statement as more than just words on paper, but as a mission for which we gather and provides a central focus for what we do.

Thank you to all who participated in the review process. Thanks to all who will be enlivened by the new statement, making decisions in using it as a guide, holding DePaul accountable for living it, and celebrating our common Vincentian spirit. Together, We Are DePaul.

New mission statement
Watch the video on the review of DePaul's Mission Statement. Read more about the new statement in the Mission Monday reflection for March 29, Where do you find yourself in our mission?