On Friday, Sept. 16, it was announced that Loras and the five other Catholic colleges in Iowa would join together to form the Iowa Catholic Collegiate Association. Loras will be joined by Clarke University, Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Mercy College of Health Sciences in Des Moines, Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, and St. Ambrose University in Davenport.
The Association was formed to offset the challenges faced by these schools, all small in size, and to pool together resources and funding to better the opportunities provided for faculty and students.
“The six Iowa Catholic College/University presidents have been meeting on a quarterly basis for the past 15 months. We are committed to doing so going forward. As such, I will be one of the six voices at the table to advance ideas as to how we might collaborate,” President Collins said.
The Association’s goal is to alleviate some of the common issues faced by Catholic colleges that are often smaller in size and population numbers than the larger public universities, therefore lacking the same amounts of funding. By coordinating on things such as study abroad programs, online courses, service trips, and other resources, the six institutions will have the opportunity to add more to each of their existing opportunities, benefiting faculty and students alike.
“The benefits are yet to be determined because we have not yet committed to any initiatives as of yet,” Collins said. “Some of the ideas that have surfaced to date include: shared professional development opportunities for faculty and staff; shared online course offerings delivered by faculty of the six institutions for students at all six colleges; new or expanded service learning opportunities for students at all six colleges; shared study-abroad experiences at a site typically offered for just one institution’s students; and expanded language or other course offerings.”
Although precise methods of action have yet to be decided upon and carried out, the leaders of the Association and these six schools are hard at work formulating the best way to execute the ideas that have already been generated.
Questions about the Association can be directed to Sue Hafkemeyer, director of Communication & Marketing.