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Core Purpose and Values

As part of the strategic planning process we are working with a specific format based on a six-year Stanford research project by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras published in Built to Last (2002). Integral to this process is an ongoing discussion of the institution's core purpose and core values.

"Core purpose. . . is the organization's fundamental reason for being. . . When properly conceived, purpose is broad, fundamental and enduring; a good purpose should serve to guide and inspire the organization for years, perhaps a century or more" (Collins & Porras 224, 76-77).

"Core values are the organization's essential and enduring tenets - a small set of timeless guiding principles that require no external justification; they have intrinsic value and importance to those inside the organization" (Collins & Porras 222).

Using this model, we reviewed past and current mission and vision statements, core value statements, and strategic plans to ascertain our "essential and enduring. . .guiding principles" and "fundamental reason for being." From the first, the College of Charleston existed to benefit society as well as the individual. "The Charter of 1785" establishing the institution noted that "the proper education of youth is essential to the happiness and prosperity of every community."

In the centuries since our founding, the meaning of a proper education, the characteristics of the student body, and the definitions of prosperity and community have changed considerably. The curriculum has expanded from classical studies to include a wide variety of arts and sciences and professional offerings at the undergraduate and graduate level. The College has evolved from a local institution to one that encompasses people and programs from all over the globe.

As we build on the past and envision our future, we welcome your help in further refining these statements of core values and core purpose.

Core Purpose

  • To pursue and share knowledge through study, inquiry and creation in order to empower the individual and enrich society

Strategic Plan Core Values

  • EDUCATIONAL EXCELLENCE that furthers intellectual, creative, ethical and social development through a broad range of programs centered on the liberal arts and sciences
  • STUDENT-FOCUSED COMMUNITY that embraces mutual respect, collaboration and diversity for the welfare of the individual and the institution
  • THE HISTORY, TRADITIONS AND ENVIRONMENT OF CHARLESTON AND THE LOWCOUNTRY that foster distinctive opportunities and relationships that advance our public mission in the city of Charleston, state of South Carolina, and the world

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