The mission of a university: A case study inquiry into the relationships between student-institution fit

Frederick Bernard Tyler, Fordham University


This case study uses both qualitative and quantitative research methods to assess the match between the school's mission and the composition of its student body. The qualitative data are drawn from interviews of five senior administrators who were canvassed on their beliefs about the university's mission, its admissions criteria, and its planning and control. The university's mission statements and documents supplement the data in the personal interviews. The quantitative data included in this study are drawn from a university consultant's report, the results of university surveys, and information from the Admissions Inquiry Data System. Descriptive and logistic regression analyses were performed on the data received from university inquirers to develop and analyze comparative profiles of students who applied, were accepted, and enrolled. Gender, high school rank, grade point average, combined SAT scores, and regional variables were analyzed. Results of qualitative data indicate there is a need for mission changes and for a mission statement that is more current and specific. The findings also indicate that the admissions office concern (quantity) differed from the administrators' concern (quality) relative to student acceptances. In addition, the qualitative research results indicate a need for a form of strategic planning which is currently almost non-existent at one university examined in this case. Results of quantitative data generally indicate that prospective students at the university studied have average to slightly above average academic ability and come from the nearby or local region. There were no major differences between the number of males and females who apply. The prospective students also believe the university offers a quality education and are concerned with their careers. The results from a logistic regression analysis indicate that a New England resident was 2.6 times more likely than a non-New England resident to apply. This finding was interesting since New England had the lowest representation of applicants. The two-fold qualitative and quantitative analyses facilitate an evaluation of the relation of mission to admission practice, with special consideration of the matches or mismatches between the actual talent pool of student application and institutional assumptions about the type of student the institution would educate. This analysis is intended to assist admissions officers and academic administrators in addressing policy questions involving effective enrollment planning, recruiting, and selecting.

Subject Area

Higher education|School administration|Management

Recommended Citation

Tyler, Frederick Bernard, "The mission of a university: A case study inquiry into the relationships between student-institution fit" (1995). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9530960.