Leadership Programs

Mount Mercy offers students incredible opportunities to learn, develop, and grow through a variety of programs. Of particular benefit is the STEPS program, Striving Towards Engaged and Purposeful Servant-Leadership, which offers students the chance to develop their skills of leadership, communication and awareness of community need.

Students in the STEPS program are interested in learning how to utilize their strengths and abilities in order to contribute effectively and efficiently to the communities where they live and work. As a leadership program we empower students to develop skills that will aid them in their college experience and life after graduation. Students who participate in the STEPS program gain a deeper understanding of leadership by participating in workshops and volunteering with local service organizations.

The STEPS Program

Freshman Year: Once accepted, students in the STEPS program begin meeting in January. Each monthly meeting includes time for book discussion and leadership activities. Service opportunities will be available through partnering non-profit agencies in Cedar Rapids and Hiawatha. Our focus for first-year participants is on understanding servant leadership and the traits individuals possess that call them to lead. We'll mark the end of the first year with a certificate noting your accomplishments.

Sophomore Year: Monthly meetings continue and you'll read The Case for Servant Leadership by Dr. Kent Keith. Our experience together will include a service trip followed by a group presentation. After completing a second year in STEPS, you will be invited to the end of the year banquet and presented with a certificate. 

Junior Year: Monthly meetings with your leadership cohorts and readings from the Journal of Servant Leadership. Our common experience this year will be a wilderness weekend - an incredible experience that will allow you to grow as a leader and a person. You will again be invited to the end of the year banquet and recieve a certificate of completion for your third year in STEPS.

Senior Year: This year will allow you to assess your growth as a leader. We'll utilize the book Strengthsfinder to identify and increase your innate skills. In your senior year we'll travel to Ireland to connect servant-leadership to the works of Catherine McAuley, the foundress of the Sisters of Mercy. You'll synthesize your adventure in a campus presentation. The completion of four years in STEPS will culminate in your 'graduation' from the program and will be identified on your official transcript.

To Apply

If you're interested, you should apply the first semester of your first year. Applications are reviewed by the Leadership Advisory Committee. After review, the Committee will send you notification on whether you have been accepted into the program. Freshman and transfer students with less than 30 credit hours are encouraged to apply to STEPS.

J. Heim
Coordinator of Leadership and Involvement
University Center 240Z 
319-363-1323 ext. 1599 

J. Heim has leadership experience in a number of areas from residence life to visual and performing arts to leadership and education resources. He received his Bachelor of Arts in sociology with minors in history and psychology from Mount Mercy University and his Masters of Education in higher and postsecondary education from Arizona State University. His professional work experience includes assessment initiatives within residential areas, planning and implementation of fall/spring semester training for student staff, student summer registration enhancement and leadership development initiatives.


  • Time Management
  • Effective Communication
  • Stress Management
  • Academic Success
  • Leadership Skills
  • Goal Setting