WASHINGTON DC, AUGUST 4, 2021 — Mercy College of Health Sciences was selected as one of 66 institutions to participate in the Association of American Colleges and Universities’ (AAC&U) 2021-2022 Institute on Open Educational Resources. The inaugural institute began with a two-day virtual kickoff event on July 26.

Open Educational Resources (OER) include lesson plans, quizzes, syllabi, instructional modules, simulations, videos, textbooks, and more, and are freely available for use, reuse, adaptation, and sharing among faculty and students. OERs have shown to be a cost-effective strategy in higher education for both students and institutions.

“Mercy College’s strategic plan emphasizes redressing potential barriers to student success, and OER is one way to do just that. We hope this begins a process to integrate OER more fully into our academic programs. Every term, the cost of course materials is a barrier to access for some students,” stated Jennie Ver Steeg, MA, MLS, Director of Library and Media Services, and Mercy College’s OER Committee Chair. “OERs give educators an opportunity to customize course content while ensuring students equitable access. Equity provides opportunity and the ability to seize that opportunity. Access to learning materials from day one of a course, at no cost, levels the playing field for all students,” stated Ver Steeg.

Five Mercy College faculty and staff members are part of the AAC&U institute team. They are also members of Mercy College’s OER Task Force, which was formed in 2020, with Ver Steeg heading the committee.

 “The AAC&U Institute on Open Educational Resources provides those leading campus OER efforts with an unparalleled opportunity for sustained support and collaboration,” stated AAC&U President, Lynn Pasquerella. We look forward to partnering with each of the participating institutions over the coming year.”

About AAC&U
AAC&U is the leading national association dedicated to advancing the vitality and public standing of liberal education by making quality and equity the foundations for excellence in undergraduate education in service to democracy. Its members are committed to extending the advantages of a liberal education to all students, regardless of academic specialization or intended career. Founded in 1915, AAC&U now comprises more than 1,000 member institutions—including accredited public and private colleges, community colleges, research universities, and comprehensive universities of every type and size. AAC&U functions as a catalyst and facilitator, forging links among presidents, administrators, faculty, and staff engaged in institutional and curricular planning. Through a broad range of activities, AAC&U reinforces the collective commitment to liberal education at the national, local, and global levels. Its high-quality programs, publications, research, meetings, institutes, public outreach efforts, and campus-based projects help individual institutions ensure that the quality of student learning is central to their work as they evolve to meet new economic and social challenges.

About Mercy College of Health Sciences
Mercy College of Health Sciences is the only private Catholic college in central Iowa and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Located in downtown Des Moines, Mercy College prepares graduates for service and leadership in the healthcare community with a wide range of bachelor, associate, and certificate programs. Mercy College’s liberal arts and sciences education develops compassionate caregivers and leaders. Visit www.mchs.edu or call (515) 643-3180 to learn more.