Charting Our Course will guide Mercy College of Health Sciences to an inspiring and purposeful future. We are invigorated by both our changing world and our immutable values.
Mercy College of Health Sciences will be a locally and regionally recognized leader, transforming students into healthcare professionals who live out and extend our ministry of healing.
Mercy College of Health Sciences prepares graduates for service and leadership in the healthcare community by integrating its core values with a professional and liberal arts and sciences education.
On behalf of the Mercy College of Health Sciences Board of Directors, we are pleased to present Charting Our Course, the new Mercy College of Health Sciences five-year strategic plan. We’ll utilize this touchstone document as a guide over the next five years, as the College realizes its need for a bold new vision: to become a locally and regionally recognized leader, transforming students into healthcare professionals who live out and extend our ministry of healing.
For over 120 years, Mercy College has persisted on a singular path: providing high-quality healthcare education to students in central Iowa. To meet the growing demands for professionally trained nurses, the College was founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1899 with an inaugural class of seven nursing students. From that modest beginning, and with a Catholic legacy established by the Sisters of Mercy, the College has grown and flourished. It is rare to find an Iowan who has not encountered a Mercy College-educated healthcare professional, or been impacted by the College’s ministry and legacy in some way.
Today, the College offers four bachelor’s degrees, six associate degrees, three certificate programs, and provides continuing education opportunities to thousands of Iowans each year. Mercy College PLUS, launched this year, continues our legacy, confronting and resolving barriers through online education. Through radical innovation, MercyPLUS reaches students who may have thought a Mercy College degree was unattainable due to geographic, financial, or other obstacles. We think Sister Catherine McAuley, who founded the Sisters of Mercy, would approve!
We are energized by our legacy and the strategic plan’s four pillars: Learning, Caring, Connecting, and Thriving. Through the execution of this plan, Mercy College of Health Sciences will set the standard of healthcare education for the 21st century. We know the College will meet challenges and enjoy opportunities we cannot yet envision. In a time of economic, demographic, technological, and political change and uncertainty, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed how we teach, learn, and minister to one another. Our planning process and the pandemic has revealed that we must reinforce our commitment to equity and access to meet our students’ needs. Reading through this plan and listening to the many people who contributed to it assures us that our historical strengths and our call to minister to those in need are timeless and timely. The College is prepared to meet and respond critically to those challenges.
A heartfelt thank you to the Strategic Planning Committee and the College’s dedicated faculty, staff, students, administrators, and Board of Directors. Your thoughtful input has been invaluable to this plan and our success. Together, we continue to chart our course for Mercy College of Health Sciences and all it seeks to serve.
Charting Our Course,
Thomas Leahy, JD
The Strategic Planning Committee is proud to present Charting Our Course to the Mercy College Board of Directors, our faculty and staff colleagues, and our students and alumni. When we accepted President Douglas J. Fiore’s invitation to serve on this committee, we did not envision 19 months of work, a pandemic that saw us meeting virtually from our home workspaces, nor the challenges of distilling hundreds of comments and ideas into four overarching themes — our four pillars — that will chart the College’s future.
We became an even more collaborative team, thinking quickly and creatively about the College’s role in society, anchoring our efforts in the values and heritage of the Sisters of Mercy that have guided the College for more than 120 years.
Charting Our Course will guide Mercy College of Health Sciences to an inspiring and purposeful future. We are invigorated by both our changing world and our immutable values. We are confident that the College will minister to a rapidly changing world with reverence and innovation, with excellence and equity, with compassion and integrity, with knowledge and discernment.
The culmination of our work called for a bold new vision to turn the aspirations expressed in this plan into realities. As we realize this plan, we commit to becoming a locally and regionally recognized leader, transforming students into healthcare professionals who live out and extend our ministry of healing. We look forward to engaging with each of you to create a bright future for the College, in extension of our healthcare ministry.
Charting Our Course,
Joe Brookover, MPA
Senior Director, Financial Aid
Strategic Planning Committee Co-chair
2019-20 Staff Council Chair
Stacy Smith, MS
Program Chair, Medical Assisting
Strategic Planning Committee Co-chair
Mercy College of Health Sciences will provide high-quality educational experiences to a diverse community of students, faculty, administration, and staff, offering opportunities to achieve learning and employment outcomes.
Goal A: Engage all students’ capacity to succeed.
Goal B: Catalyze a vibrant 21st-century learning experience for all students.
Goal C: Recruit and retain high-quality faculty and staff who are deeply invested in student development
Mercy College will instill a sense of connectedness with the College and others in each college community member, reflecting the College values of compassion and reverence.
Goal A: Inspire Mercy College students, faculty, and staff to manifest the College’s heritage and values in their personal and professional lives.
Goal B: Foster a culture of human flourishing that integrates wellness, balance, and development in the lives of our students, faculty, and staff, in accordance with the College’s mission and Catholic heritage.
Mercy College will increase its internal, local, regional, and national connections to empower and promote the healthcare workforce in Iowa and the United States.
Goal A: Further the College’s reach and increase its impact with Mercy College healthcare affiliates.
Goal B: Bolster internal and external relationships.
Mercy College will engage stakeholders in building capacity and scale of College operations, increasing College visibility and promoting growth and expansion.
Goal A: Develop and scale all campus operations to prepare for future needs and opportunities.
Goal B: Strenthen the College’s presence, visibility, and reputation.
Goal C: Maximize enrollment and revenue through ambitious, entrepreneurial initiatives.
The ability to instill in our college community a thirst to study continually, observe, and investigate the world for facts and ideas that can improve the health and well-being of humankind, as well as create a love for learning.
Profound spirit of awe and respect for all creation, shaping relationships to self, to one another, and to God, as well as acknowledging that we hold in trust all that has been given to us.
Moral wholeness, soundness, uprightness, honesty, and sincerity as the basis of trustworthiness.
Feeling with others, being one with others in their sorrows and joy, rooted in the sense of solidarity as members of the human community.
Outstanding achievement, merit, and virtue; continuously surpassing standards to achieve and maintain quality.
Mercy College of Health Sciences’ strategic plan, Charting Our Course, is the product of more than a year of collaborative efforts by the Mercy College community. In response to a charge from Mercy College President Douglas J. Fiore, this comprehensive process launched in June 2019. The planning process brought together the Board of Directors and the College community as they considered the College’s strengths and envisioned its future. In five retreats during the summer of 2019, the 16-member Strategic Planning Committee explored College operations through presentations by senior College leaders, conducted environmental scans of the healthcare field and health sciences education, examined challenges, and assessed the impact of existing and emerging education providers and trends. In the fall of 2019, the Committee facilitated listening sessions with the Mercy College Board of T Directors, faculty, staff, and students. The Committee distilled the results into six domains and three themes, then further condensed these into four pillars. In the spring of 2020, work began to expand these pillars and define accompanying goals and strategies.
In response to a global pandemic, our College operations changed at a speed we once would have thought impossible. As a result, the Committee took a hiatus as the College made the critical transition to online instruction. The College’s thoughtful pandemic response emboldened and energized the Committee, who felt the new world in which we found ourselves mandated the Committee’s continued work on the plan.
Strategic planning resumed late in the spring of 2020, relying on virtual platforms that had become central to our daily work. The Committee aligned the emerging plan structure with their earlier analyses, prioritized strategies in conjunction with the College President and Cabinet, and presented a draft of the emerging plan to the Board of Directors in July 2020. The Committee developed metrics to track the plan’s execution, a glossary of terms used in the plan and metrics, and, in conjunction with the President and Cabinet, assigned responsibilities for implementation. In the waning weeks of the fall 2020 semester, the Committee worked with the Executive Vice President who finalized the plan’s format and prepared for publication. The fully developed plan was shared with Mercy College faculty and staff in February 2021, and the Mercy College of Health Sciences Board of Directors approved the plan in March 2021.
Charting Our Course provides a roadmap for the next five years, building upon principles fundamental to our ministry and propelling us forward to meet new challenges. To effectively chart our course, the Committee recognized the need for a bold new College vision statement to guide us forward: To be a locally and regionally recognized leader, transforming students into healthcare professionals who live out and extend our ministry of healing. After 19 months of work that included more than 24 in-person and 35 virtual meetings, we produced more than 55 drafts constructed from our hundreds of hours of discussion and input. The culmination of this work leaves us ready to chart our course.
Sister Catherine McAuley, Letter to de Sales White, February 28, 1841
Charting Our Course, The Mercy College of Health Sciences' Strategic Plan 2021-2026, is available for download in PDF format.
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Mercy College of Health Sciences has been transforming students into healthcare professionals since 1899. Located in downtown Des Moines, Iowa, we offer master's degrees, bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, certificate programs, and continuing education courses.
Mercy College is the only private Catholic college in central Iowa and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), in addition to numerous programmatic accreditors.
Mercy College is a Catholic, accredited, nonprofit institution of higher learning.