Columbia College President Scott Dalrymple unveiled the school’s new mission, vision and values statements to a crowded house of faculty and staff at Launer Auditorium on Feb. 13.

The school’s new set of guiding principles, which were last updated in 2009, are the fruits of a process that took nearly two years to run its course.

Dalrymple said that it is standard operating procedure for institutions of higher education to evaluate their mission, vision and values statements about once every 10 years, to see whether they still resonate for the college. So, when Dalrymple set out to take a look at Columbia College’s statements, he wanted to do it the right way.

In the fall of 2016, he convened a 13-member task force with representatives from five key constituencies: faculty, staff, trustees, current students and alumni. The group pored over mission, vision and values statements from numerous other institutions for reference and, the following spring, sent out a survey to all college employees — as well as some alumni and community members — to get a sense of the values people associated with Columbia College, as well as the values they wanted to see expressed more fully.

After processing that feedback, the task force discussed its findings with the board of trustees and then the faculty, which approved the statements in the fall. Then, at the board’s most recent meeting in January, the trustees gave the go-ahead.

“You’ll notice some of the key words come from our previous mission, vision and values statements,” Dalrymple said. “Certain principles are core to Columbia College over time.”

Columbia College’s new mission, vision and values statements are as follows:

Mission: Columbia College improves lives by providing quality education to both traditional and nontraditional students, helping them achieve their true potential.

“It’s very difficult to come up with a succinct mission statement, but we felt that this captured the spirit of what we do,” Dalrymple said. “We’re in the ‘life improvement’ business. That’s what we do. The rest is details.”

Vision: Columbia College will be a highly innovative institution of higher education, dedicated to excellence in both its traditional and nontraditional programs nationwide.

Dalrymple said the college has earned a reputation for innovation, from its founding as a women’s college in 1851, to its early adoption of online education in 2000, and beyond.

Values: We believe all students deserve access to affordable, quality education. We believe higher learning should be individualized, innovative and flexible. We believe a liberal arts core curriculum produces globally engaged citizens who are creative, curious and ethical. We believe people of all beliefs and backgrounds should engage in civil discourse and discovery.

Dalrymple said the school continues to strive to provide the best educational experience for its traditional students on the Day Campus as well as its “nontraditional” students taking courses online or at the college’s network of Nationwide locations.

“We say in our vision statement that we are committed to both traditional and nontraditional education,” Dalrymple said. “We do both very, very well.”