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Mission and Vision

Mission and Vision

Mission Statement

Building on its foundation as a Christ-inspired community of grace and open inquiry, Ottawa University prepares professional and liberal arts graduates for lifetimes of personal significance, vocational fulfillment, and service to God and humanity.

Vision Statement

Ottawa University will elevate student learning and deliver exceptional outcomes for our graduates as we embrace innovation and foster a community of collaboration and belonging.

The Ottawa University Statement of Strategic Intent

  • To honor mission and vision by serving traditional age residential and commuter students, adult learners, international students, and corporate sponsored learners in ways that help them to achieve personal and career outcomes.
  • To offer our services and programs at pricing levels that are seen as an extraordinary value in the competitive marketplace of higher education with a special view to ensuring access by traditionally underserved student populations. 
  • To accomplish these objectives, the university will organize its offerings through a carefully orchestrated suite of educational platforms including our traditional residential campus model, well developed adult centers, and a robust online program. 
  • To partner selectively with other organizations and institutions and its alumni and friends where such partnerships satisfy one or more of the following criteria: enhance growth; augment offerings; strengthen quality and student satisfaction; reduce costs; speed entry to new markets.

The rationale for this strategic intent can be summarized as follows:

  • Strategy must inherently derive from Mission and Vision and be consistent with the institution’s core values.
  • Ottawa has a long history of serving the underserved and has built much of its current successes on serving these audiences.
  • There is little room in the educational marketplace for “me too” positioning.
  • The University operates in an increasingly boundary less environment in which few institutions can afford a “go it alone” strategy.
  • Cost and perceived value from the perspective of the “consumer” (students, parents, sponsors) are already a critical decision dimension. It will become more so in the years ahead.
  • Much lower cost models will emerge and will challenge the higher educational status quo.
  • The University employs a management team that can deliver on this position.
  • This statement of intent has the potential of mobilizing faculty in appropriate ways—a critical aspect of our future success.
  • This statement of strategic intent is largely consistent (with a few exceptions) with the institution’s culture and norms.
  • Open markets include those with substantial funding support; e.g., health care, not just those that are traditionally underserved or those with limited funding.

The Ottawa University Guiding Principles

The “Guiding Principles” are intended to be just that—principles that are to guide our behavior and decision-making in pursuit of our mission and vision. Some might call these elements of a creed, but in any case, these were articulated initially to set the tone for how we want to operate within the institution. They are as relevant and fresh today as when they were first shared in 2008 when Vision 2020 was first developed.

  • Steadfastly Christian. Proudly American Baptist. Positively open and inclusive.
  • Service first. Every student. Every day. Every way.
  • Excellence everywhere.
  • Make our institutional decisions first, then implement them as humanely as possible.
  • Respect our past. Be objective about the present. Remain unfailingly optimistic about our future.
  • Never sacrifice the quality of our decisions just to make someone feel better for the moment.
  • All feedback is treated as good feedback, even if it stings.
  • Continuous development of our human resources is a prerequisite for continuous performance improvement.
  • Outcomes are more important than effort.
  • Capital will be deployed based on mission-centricity and potential returns.

The Ottawa University Hallmarks of Distinction

“Hallmarks of Distinction” expand our understanding of how we know whether we are achieving our mission and vision and serve as target strategic linkages to our actions to move the University forward. These hallmarks are set forth below:

  • The excellence of our liberal arts and professional education offerings.
  • The degree to which our students value all facets of their University experience.
  • The extent to which our graduates are broadly educated, think critically and holistically and use their capabilities to make a difference in the world.
  • The extent to which Ottawa University alumni are prized by the organizations, churches and communities they serve.
  • The vibrancy of an intellectual climate which celebrates the liberal arts, values the power and importance of ideas and encourages innovative teaching.
  • Our success at helping students to discern matters of faith, personal values and ultimate purpose.
  • Our ability to reach out globally to traditionally underserved student populations.
  • Our ability to tailor the educational experience to the individual needs of each student in order to increase student success, retain and graduate students for lives of significance.
  • The degree to which our culture and quality of work life enable faculty and staff to flourish.
  • Our track record in attracting and retaining top talent.
  • Our reputation for unwavering ethical conduct.
  • Our ability to demonstrate continuous improvement of teaching and learning through rigorous assessment and program review processes.
  • Rates of growth in enrollments, revenues and net assets which far exceed our peers.
  • Our strategic planning capabilities, data-driven culture and use of institutional effectiveness and process improvement resources leading to soundness in all operational and fiscal affairs.

The Ottawa University Statement of Educational Purposes

Approved June 8, 2002

Since its inception in 1865, Ottawa University has sought to live out its mission in direct ways. It began with the collaboration between two American Baptist missionaries, Jotham and Eleanor Meeker, and the Ottawa Indians of Kansas to promote education and peace in a changing world. Out of this relationship, Ottawa University was born. Ever mindful of its original commitments, Ottawa University is now a comprehensive, not-for-profit, educational institution, which serves students of traditional age and adult learners worldwide. Grounded by its mission, Ottawa University carries out its educational purposes through its liberal arts and professional studies programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Ottawa University guides learners to integrate faith, learning, and life, to gain the abilities they need to succeed and prosper, and to do so with an increased sense of the knowledge, compassion, respect, and service our world requires.

Ottawa University intends that:

  • a general education program of liberal arts studies enables its faculty and students to investigate the World broadly and freely in order that its students develop and express their life philosophies and Values with awareness of and concern for others;
  • study in undergraduate, graduate and other professional development programs enable students to gain the specific expertise they need to enter professions they can contribute to; and
  • programs, teaching and learning continuously improve through assessment and sensitive responses to community needs.

Ottawa University’s educational purposes require it to provide at all its locations:

  • diverse faculty who support the mission, purposes and general welfare of the University;
  • caring faculty who are dedicated to teaching undergraduates in both discipline and liberal arts courses and who are sensitive to a heterogeneous body of students as persons seeking to grow spiritually, morally, and civically as well as intellectually;
  • faculty who bring the same sensitivities and dedication to educating graduate and postgraduate students;
  • multiple approaches to teaching which assure comprehensive and varied responses to students’ learning patterns;
  • appropriate academic support, environment and technology to enhance teaching, learning,
  • research, and communication;
  • sensitivity to different ethnicities and political configurations of the global community; and
  • commitment to social responsibility which asserts that the University’s education is of the heart and hand as well as the intellect.

The Ottawa University Code of Conduct and Ethics

Approved February 2008

All members of the Ottawa University community are responsible for sustaining the highest ethical standards of the University, and of the broader communities in which it functions. The University values honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility and strives to integrate these values into its teaching, research and business practices.

It is the intent of the Code of Conduct and Ethics to protect academic freedom, a collegial atmosphere, teaching and scholarship; to advance the mission of the University; and to help preserve the highest standard of business dealings.

The Ottawa University Diversity Statement

Diversity is defined as that incredible and beautiful variety of personal identities, experiences, values and world views that result from differences of origin, culture and circumstance. Ottawa University defines and appreciates diversity in all of its forms including age, ability or disability, ethnicity, national origin, race, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, and family and marital status.

Ottawa University celebrates and prizes the diversity of its students, faculty staff and Board of Trustees. In keeping with its mission statement, the University is called to actively foster an environment of awareness, appreciation, and intentional inclusivity. We hold this as essential in an institution which declares that it will conduct its affairs in a caring, Christ-centered community of grace.

We believe we must embrace diversity because to do so is just, powerful, personally enriching and intelligent and because we believe Christ has called us to do so through His teachings and His example.

In committing to and honoring our Diversity Statement, members of our community will:


  • Encouraging and empowering all to build an especially open and welcoming community.
  • Valuing and respecting ourselves and all others.
  • Developing a passion for diversity by deepening our cultural awareness and extending our intercultural experiences beyond mere study.
  • Creating a culture on all of our campuses in which all persons are seen as unique and all individuals know they are prized and valued.
  • Behaving as open and inclusive people through our actions and voice in all settings in which we conduct our lives, including in our:
    • Classrooms
    • Residence halls
    • Other University buildings and public spaces
    • Athletic endeavors
    • Student, faculty, staff and board organizations.
    • Social engagements
    • The general workplace
    • Our places of worship
    • In the surrounding communities in which we live and work
    • With our families, friends and associates.


Fostering personal growth by actively exploring and better understanding the origins of our assumptions, judgments, and points of view and constantly challenging ourselves to refrain from prejudice or unexamined points of view.

Promoting and nurturing a learning environment in which students, faculty and staff are encouraged to understand the challenges, accomplishments, heritage and perspectives of all peoples in order to gain a fuller and more mature understanding who we are as well as others.

Teaching ourselves and others to engage in constructive dialogue as a way to reach out to those who may think or act differently than we do.


Questioning the status quo, seeking to understand competing perspectives, and encouraging one another to move from our comfort zones to experience and celebrate the richness of a diverse society.

Sponsoring initiatives to continuously stretch the University community to expand its view of diversity and to reach out to other communities to advance a greater understanding and respect for diversity.

Using the diverse talents, skills and perspectives of each member of our community in powerful ways to reach our educational and organizational objectives.

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