Strengthening our Foundation and Securing our Future: A Strategic Plan for Mount Mercy

Mount Mercy’s 2013-2016 strategic plan – Strengthening our Foundation and Securing our Future – was reviewed and approved during the November 2013 Board Meeting.

As with the University’s previous strategic plan, this plan builds upon Mount Mercy’s mission, values and vision as a Catholic institution of higher learning, founded by the Sisters of Mercy, and providing a high quality student-focused education at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

This strategic plan reflects the inputs of many faculty, staff, students and administrators. A dedicated committee, The Strategic Innovation Committee, guided the planning process and worked to identify strategies which will move the university toward a more complete realization of its mission. Mount Mercy’s foundation has been enhanced through recent significant institutional accomplishments. This plan will continue to strengthen our foundation while being mindful of the future. The themes and goals outlined in the plan will provide institutional direction and a framework for prioritizing our energies and resources in the coming years.

These themes and the goals established to support them are listed below. The strategic report can also be reviewed in its entirety online at

The strategic plan will be monitored in its progress by the Strategic Innovation Committee and the Senior Leadership Team. The monitoring will include providing regular feedback to the Board of Trustees on the implementation, development and progress of the plan.

Theme #1: Working in New Ways to Fulfill our Mission

Mount Mercy is committed to maintaining and enriching our reputation as a desirable place to work within the community. Through intentional valuing of the whole person, support of professional development, strategic investment in human resources, and a commitment to diversity, Mount Mercy recognizes the importance of its greatest asset: its people.

Goal #1
Support a robust staff development program.
Implementation of professional development programming, in accordance with national standards for excellence in higher education, will help Mount Mercy to attract and retain qualified employees.

Goal #2
Implement an active health and wellness program for all employees.
Develop and implement programming for the physical well-being of our employees in support of our value of the whole person.

Goal #3
Foster a community of tolerance and inclusiveness where diversity among faculty, staff and students is supported.
Based on the Mercy values of acceptance and hospitality, the Mount Mercy mission, and the Catholic intellectual tradition, we will actively work to increase the diversity and the cultural aptitude of faculty, staff and students.

Theme #2: Growing Our Presence and Impact

In order to meet our enrollment goals, we will develop new core programs, academic and co-curricular, that will strengthen Mount Mercy’s position as a preferred choice in higher education within the region. Strong, self-sustaining academic programs operating in partnership with student life offerings provide the foundation for growth. Innovative programming and a commitment to affordability will contribute to securing our regional presence.

Goal #1
Analyze academic offerings to strategically support majors and launch selected new programs.
A strategic analysis of current undergraduate offerings can help determine what majors will provide the most value for prospective students. Addition of new, market-driven majors will help us meet enrollment goals and solidify our presence in the region.

Goal #2
Develop innovative programming to expand our presence in the community.
Developing new master’s degree programs, designing corporate training partnerships, offering community-based learning opportunities, and exploring doctoral degrees in practitioner fields are among the options that will help establish Mount Mercy as a leading provider of adult education in the community. Programs of this type will take full advantage of the new CRST International Graduate Center and other campus facilities.

Goal #3
Support new co-curricular activities that encourage planned and purposeful involvement.
Experiential learning opportunities, such as new student clubs and organizations, new performance-based activities, and new service learning experiences will help us attain enrollment goals. Purposeful campus-life experiences help build a strong institutional affinity and lifelong connection to Mount Mercy.

Goal #4
Explore best practices supporting our commitment to accessibility and affordability of education for students from a variety of life situations.
Through such actions as continual review of the efficiency of internal processes, cost-effective operational and environmental solutions, and optimal positioning in the marketplace, Mount Mercy will strive to meet students’ need for affordability.

Theme #3: Building a Strong Campus Community

Mount Mercy believes the physical and technological environments in which we learn and work should enhance communication, engagement and reflection. To that end, Mount Mercy recognizes the need for continued improvement in current facilities, the necessity for physical expansion, and the importance of updating technology used in serving the campus community.

Goal #1
Improve information technology capabilities across campus.
We will systematically work to improve the network infrastructure, streamline business processes using technology and strengthen data management.

Goal #2
Develop the Mount Mercy Outdoor Athletic Complex to support and enhance athletic programming, including the addition of a new athletic program.
The Outdoor Athletic Complex will support our intercollegiate teams, accommodate better practice schedules for student athletes, assist in student retention and recruitment, provide tangible outlets for alumni engagement, improve our ability to mentor young people, and provide opportunities to partner with the community’s recreational sports programs.

Goal #3
Renovate chemistry laboratories to strengthen pre-professional programming.
Updated lab space will increase the scope and quality of hands-on research and experimentation, and provide a safe and technologically current environment for learning.

Theme #4: Preparing Students for Success

We believe education is a continuum. As such, we see higher education as an important phase in that continuum, bridging the educational aspirations of young adults with the world of work and responsible adulthood. At the same time, higher education offers important enrichment opportunities to those who strive to complete their undergraduate or graduate degrees at a later stage in life. Therefore, we will more effectively transition new students into campus life while preparing current students for success through and beyond graduation.

Goal #1
Expand transition programs to provide increased support to new students, particularly in traditional or adult undergraduate programs.
Helping students develop early, meaningful connections with peers, faculty and staff will help ensure their transition to Mount Mercy is successful. Robust transition programs also contribute to retention and success by prompting new students to understand the Mercy values, our mission and the supportive services available to them.

Goal #2
For majors and programs, increase the richness and variety of service learning and other experiential learning opportunities provided.
In keeping with our Mercy values, development of rich, diverse experiential and service learning opportunities supports long-term community partnerships, civic engagement and our mission to serve the common good.

Goal #3
Encourage student-centered pedagogies geared toward today’s learners.
Commitment to improvement in teaching and learning is essential to achieving the University’s mission and goals. Strategies will be developed to encourage and support adopters of innovative teaching approaches, helping them share their techniques and results.

Goal #4
Develop “life after college” programming for students to help them plan for a successful future.
Programming will be developed to engage students in ‘high impact’ practices and support their career decision making and planning. Intentional, systematic preparation for ‘life after college’ will help articulate the value of their education, including knowledge and skills they have gained both inside and outside the classroom.