Six colleges and universities form Iowa Catholic Collegiate Association

The six Catholic colleges in Iowa have formed the Iowa Catholic Collegiate Association to collaborate and find innovative ways to address the ever-changing issues facing private colleges and universities.

Presidents of Briar Cliff University, Sioux City; Clarke University, Dubuque; Loras College, Dubuque; Mercy College of Health Sciences, Des Moines; Mount Mercy University, Cedar Rapids; and St. Ambrose University, Davenport; share a common vision and steadfast commitment to the sustainability and enhancement of Catholic Higher Education in Iowa, according to the statement of purpose drafted by the group.

“Mount Mercy is proud of its Catholic and Mercy heritage and is enthused about the opportunity to work together with other Iowa Catholic institutions to further our shared goal of providing the highest quality education for every student,” said Laurie Hamen, president of Mount Mercy University.

The move comes as both public and private higher education institutions face escalating costs, changing demographics, decreased funding and a change in public perception about its value. This is particularly the case for smaller independent colleges and universities that lack the economies of scale and scope to influence and negotiate a challenging environment.

“This innovative approach will lay a foundation for the contemporary strategies that our students and parents expect,” Hamen said. “Working collectively we enhance our unique position even as we face challenging times in higher education. I am honored to coordinate with my Catholic colleagues around the state on this important initiative.”

To face those challenges, together the schools will explore possible joint ventures, administrative and programmatic, to contain costs, enhance effectiveness and improve competitiveness with the goal of sustaining and enhancing Catholic higher education in Iowa.

Postsecondary education in Iowa began at Loras College in 1839, and Catholic colleges and universities have continued to play a significant role in Iowa higher education in the intervening decades. United in their Catholic identity, Iowa’s Catholic colleges and universities have a shared desire to ensure Catholic higher education continues to provide students with collegiate experiences that promote the integration of faith and reason.

ICCA Statement of Purpose

The challenges facing institutions of higher education grow more complex and pronounced each year.  Escalating costs, changing demographics, decreased funding and public uncertainty about their value demand institutions adopt a more intentional and strategic orientation toward cooperative alliances.  Rather than “going it alone,” institutions working in collective groups can significantly enhance their capacity to effectively confront their uncertain and dynamic industry and operating environments.  This is particularly the case for smaller independent colleges and universities that lack the economies of scale and scope to influence and negotiate their tumultuous contexts.

Recognizing the potential benefit of collective action for their individual sustainability, the six Catholic colleges and universities in the state of Iowa – Briar Cliff University, Clarke University, Loras College, Mercy College of Health Sciences, Mount Mercy University, and St Ambrose University –  are formally and intentionally exploring possible joint ventures, administrative and programmatic, to contain costs, enhance effectiveness and improve competitiveness with the goal of sustaining and enhancing Catholic higher education in Iowa.  Informal conversations began a year ago and are moving to a more formal phase with the assistance of external facilitation and consultation. 

Postsecondary education in Iowa began at Loras College in 1839, and Catholic colleges and universities have continued to play a significant role in Iowa higher education in the intervening decades.  United in their Catholic identity, Iowa’s Catholic colleges and universities have a shared desire to ensure Catholic higher education continues to provide students with collegiate experiences that promote the integration of faith and reason.   

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