The mission of Utah State University is to be one of the nation's premier student-centered land-grant and space-grant universities by fostering the principle that academics come first, by cultivating diversity of thought and culture, and by serving the public through learning, discovery, and engagement.
Interpretation of Mission Fulfillment
As a land-grant and space-grant university, the core themes of learning, discovery and engagement individually manifest the essential elements of the mission of Utah State University, and collectively represent its fulfillment. Together they are the essence of what makes Utah State University special.
The Utah State Board of Regents charges the university with specific responsibilities with regard to learning, embodying both undergraduate and graduate education. Beyond this mandate, learning is at core of USU’s history, work and mission. "This corps of loyal and devoted instructors," wrote historian Joel E. Ricks on the eve of the institution's semi-centennial, "sought to give the students the mental stimulus that would encourage them to face life unafraid." Ricks' declaration rings as true today as it did in 1938. The University’s mission statement affirms that “academics come first” and its vision statement aspires that USU will be “internationally recognized for its exceptional learning opportunities.”
Research and discovery are distinguishing characteristics of the University. Research is a focus dating back to the start of Utah Agricultural Experiment Station operations in 1890. Under the Carnegie classification scheme, USU is designated a Doctoral Research University—High Research. Hands-on learning opportunities for students are plentiful because of the scope of USU’s research activity.
A core characteristic of USU is engagement with communities and people in economic development, improvements to quality of life, and human capital. This is perhaps most evident with the Utah Cooperative Extension Service, founded in 1914, which disseminates information and provides education through offices located throughout the state. But the scope of USU’s off-campus engagement is much greater. Through the practical application of knowledge, the University and its faculty engage and share expertise with the state, nation, and world, preserving the historical land-grant tradition of partnering with communities to address critical societal issues in the interest of the public good.