Mount Mercy University and Kirkwood Community College celebrate a 15-year collaborative partnership that has connected nearly 1,300 hard-working adults with bachelor’s degrees.
"The accelerated degree partnership between the two schools is not only convenient and fast, it manages to maintain the highest degree of academic quality, while providing individual support for students as they transition between the two schools," states Tom Castle, associate provost at Mount Mercy University. "The impact these graduates have on our community is immeasurable."
The accelerated adult learning program gives nontraditional students the opportunity to achieve a bachelor’s degree through evening classes, in blocks of time convenient for those balancing careers and families. Students start their journey at Kirkwood, earning their general education and early electives equivalent to the first two years of a bachelor's degree. Students then transfer those credits to Mount Mercy to complete their four-year degrees.
"Kirkwood and Mount Mercy have identical schedules, which allows our students to finish a class at Kirkwood one week and start at Mount Mercy the next without losing any time," says Kay Bone, program manager for Kirkwood's adult accelerated learning formats. "Plus, we offer joint advising. Students meet with both a Mount Mercy and a Kirkwood advisor at the same time to plan for a seamless transition between schools. It saves the student a great deal of time and ensures that everyone is on the same page."
Dr. Norm Nielsen was the president at Kirkwood Community College when the accelerated learning partnership was formed. Today, as the interim president at Mount Mercy University, Dr. Nielsen reflects on the life-changing impact of collegiate cooperation, “Fifteen years ago, when Kirkwood and Mount Mercy partnered to offer an accelerated form of programming geared toward working adults, we knew this collaboration was the difference between wishing for a bachelor’s degree and achieving a bachelor’s degree,” states Dr. Nielsen. “The result is 1,300 lives improved, and that’s truly outstanding.”