New programs open doors of opportunity for career goals

It’s been an exciting spring of academic growth for graduate and undergraduate programming at Mount Mercy. Two new graduate degrees, a new graduate area of emphasis, two accelerated undergraduate programs in healthcare and a new traditional undergraduate major in actuarial science are creating new career possibilities for students during the 2014-15 academic year.

Master of Strategic Leadership (MSL)

Launched in Spring 2014, the Master of Strategic Leadership degree offers leadership and communication development training. Students will acquire a systems-wide approach to managing organizations; learn to develop and apply organizational leadership skills through community-based, hands-on projects; optimize human resource potential within an organization; evaluate organizational culture; and develop effective communication skills.

“This is a great addition to Mount Mercy University’s academic- portfolio,” said Associate Provost Tom Castle. “It’s unique in that the cost of tuition is priced lower than most programs with similar offerings in the area, and classes are offered in a five-week, accelerated block format.”

Twenty-three graduate students from a variety of professional backgrounds are currently enrolled in the MSL program.

Master of Arts in Education, Teacher Leadership Emphasis

The state of Iowa is placing greater focus on the importance of teacher leaders in the classroom. Earlier this year, the Iowa Department of Education announced 39 school districts were selected to implement teacher leadership systems next school year. Cedar Rapids, Linn-Mar and Benton were just a few of the area districts included in the department’s selections.

Whether through mentorship, classroom support, or the many other ways teachers can embrace leadership roles, the teacher leadership emphasis within the Master of Arts in Education will help those interested in the education field hone the skills needed to be trailblazers within their professions.

“This is an exciting year in education, particularly for teacher leaders,” said Michael Lown, recruitment coordinator for accelerated and graduate programs. “Teacher leadership is a growing area of need within the state of Iowa, and we at Mount Mercy University are committed to be part of that teacher leadership training. MMU has an established reputation within the community—our graduates ARE teacher leaders!”

The teacher leadership emphasis will launch Fall 2014.

Master of Arts in Criminal Justice (MACJ)

In May, the university announced the addition of a sixth master’s degree: Master of Arts in Criminal Justice. Students in the program will work to achieve fair, ethical and responsible justice with a focus on community. This graduate degree will produce leaders and visionaries who strive to advance the cause of social justice.

With coursework in areas like homeland security, women and crime, community partnerships for public safety, and civil liability law, pieces of the curriculum will intrigue learners from across criminal justice professions.

“Our Master of Arts in Criminal Justice will complement the valuable real-world experience professionals have gained in their field,” said Amanda Humphrey, associate professor of criminal justice at Mount Mercy. “We’re excited to launch this career-boosting graduate degree program and look forward to broadening the horizons of criminal justice professionals.”

The MACJ program is slated to start Fall 2014.

Healthcare Administration and Healthcare Leadership Accelerated Programs

Undergraduate programs will welcome the addition of two new accelerated areas, healthcare administration and healthcare leadership this fall. Accelerated classes are offered during evening hours to accommodate the busy schedules of working professionals.

The healthcare administration program prepares students for management positions in the care facilities, hospitals and other health-focused organizations. The program meshes business courses like principles of management with healthcare administration courses such as healthcare law, and offers internship opportunities as well.

Healthcare leadership is designed for students who have obtained an associate of applied science degree in allied health professions and will hone the leadership, strategic planning, and management skills needed for students to become successful leaders in the healthcare field.

“Whether students plan on building occupations within health insurance, medical offices, or will continue to graduate school, Mount Mercy’s healthcare administration and healthcare leadership degree programs will help them reach their ultimate goals,” stated Colette Atkins, assistant provost.

Actuarial Science Undergraduate Major

A new opportunity for undergraduates with a passion for finance and mathematics will present itself through the actuarial science major. This major under the Department of Business will prepare students for careers as actuaries, assessing financial risk for a wide variety of companies such as insurance and investments.

The major will help students acquire the skills necessary to pass the Actuarial Science Probability Exam and the Actuarial Science Financial Mathematics Exam.

The program starts Fall 2014.


Written by Sara Baughman