Mount Mercy leadership presents at Higher Learning Commission conference

Melody GrahamMount Mercy University President Christopher Blake, Acting Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Melody Graham, and Vice Provost Jan Handler represented Mount Mercy at the 17th annual Conference on Quality in Higher Education, sponsored by the Higher Learning Commission.

Graham presented a session on April 1 titled “The Open Pathway Quality Initiative,” where she shared Mount Mercy’s work on the Quality Improvement initiative, Pathways to Scholarship. Mount Mercy University has been selected as one of 13 pioneer institutions by the Higher Learning Commission to pilot test a new model of accreditation, part of which involves showcasing how institutions are continuously improving in academic and scholarly pursuits.

The Pathways to Scholarship initiative focuses on promoting, celebrating and highlighting academic scholarship opportunities between faculty and staff, with a goal of increasing awareness of and participation in scholarship. Each year, the initiative culminates with a Scholarship Festival, showcasing a selection of exemplary research projects, creative works and collaborations amongst students and faculty. Other key initiatives through the Pathways project include reducing the teaching load for faculty who are engaged in scholarly pursuits and providing funding for students to be involved in faculty scholarly work.

 "Our goal is to increase faculty-student collaboration in scholarship, and to spark a deeper understanding of research endeavors," says Graham. "Research has shown that this type of collaboration is one of the high-impact practices that add value to a student's education, and Mount Mercy is dedicated to offering students research opportunities in a field of their interest.”

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