The Mercyhurst University Board of Trustees approved the University’s 2013-2020 Strategic Plan at their September 29, 2012 meeting. The approval follows discussion by several committees at the Trustees’ May meeting as well as an in-depth review over the summer by a special board sub-committee. The plan identifies initiatives in five broad areas: academic excellence, hands-on and engaged learning, the student experience, collaboration beyond the campus and organizational effectiveness.
Read the full 2013-2020 Strategic Plan
Mercyhurst has a well established record of offering high quality academic programs that meet student demand and serve broader social and economic needs. The University will continue to introduce new programs at the associate, baccalaureate and graduate levels, with a particular focus in the areas of health and allied health, hospitality, emerging information technologies, and the environment. It will also introduce new interdisciplinary programs at all degree levels, patterned after the recently introduced concentration in Business Intelligence (which combines coursework from the Intelligence Studies and Business Management majors). All programs will reflect Mercyhurst’s unique blend of liberal arts and career-oriented coursework.
The strength of our faculty-student bonds is a central tenet of the Mercyhurst mission and represents a major element of the “value proposition” that the University presents to prospective students. Combined with excellent teaching, this distinguishing characteristic will grow in importance as the University confronts increased competition from community colleges, public universities and providers of web-based instruction.
Hands-on/engaged learning represents an important bridge between academic excellence and the student experience.
The hands-on, engaged approach to learning is consistent with the Mercyhurst mission in several ways. For one, the Sisters of Mercy sought to act upon their personal convictions by helping others to live fuller and more dignified lives. The concept of the dignity of work, derived from Catholic social teaching, also underscores the close connection between work as a cooperative act of creation and work as an expression of one’s own personal growth and development.
Hands-on /engaged learning is accomplished through such means as applied research, field work, internships, volunteer service, and study abroad. High quality experiences help students to become more actively engaged in their disciplines, to integrate what they’ve learned in extra-curricular settings with what they’ve learned in the classroom, and to acquire the types of practical knowledge and skills that these activities uniquely provide.
The Mercyhurst mission statement refers to an image of students “who’s choices, in life and work, will enable them to realize the human and spiritual values embedded in everyday realities”.
A well-rounded, liberal education serves as a foundation for this important, mission-level outcome. However, even the most effective education cannot, by itself, produce these hoped-for results. A student’s human and spiritual values are shaped through a variety of means that extend beyond the classroom to include their religious life, their interactions with fellow students, their involvement in extracurricular activities, and their experiences in work, service and other non-academic settings.
Consistent with the Mercy tradition of whole-person development, Mercyhurst will remain committed to providing students with an environment that not only supports their intellectual development, but their spiritual and social development as well. Mercyhurst will also ensure that residential, athletic and recreational facilities are safe and well-maintained, and that they properly accommodate students’ needs.
Community service is central to the Mercyhurst mission, and the University has a long tradition of community outreach, civic involvement and direct support of local agencies and organizations. One of the most prominent examples of this commitment is the founding of Mercyhurst North East, which has significantly expanded educational opportunities for Erie area residents.
With established academic programs in such fields as intelligence studies, sports medicine, nursing, public safety, education and organizational leadership, as well as recently introduced programs in allied health and public health, Mercyhurst is in a position to substantially broaden its relationships with faith-based and non-profit organizations, government agencies, and business entities.
Trustees, benefactors, alumni, staff and students, and other constituents rely on the institution’s leadership to manage its resources in ways that advance the Mercyhurst mission and accomplish important strategic and operational goals. Mercyhurst leadership will continue to provide this assurance by employing “best practice” management tools and techniques; by operating the institution in an accountable, transparent way; and by keeping constituents informed about significant institutional challenges and opportunities.
It will also develop means to appropriately measure, document and communicate key student learning and development outcomes.