Agenda for the Future (2021-2026)
Merrimack’s decade of achievement has made it a success story among colleges and universities across the country. The College has been transformed, with unprecedented success, and the Agenda for the Future represents a community effort to further that success and seeks to expand the College’s mission, propel its vision, expand its aspirations and meet its ambitious goals to play a larger role in a changing world.
Driven by the desire to achieve “distinction” through innovation, mission and growth, Merrimack has been, in NEASC’s words in 2015, “reawakened” after a long period of silence. In this context, it is imperative that Merrimack take advantage of its new momentum and reposition itself competitively among regional colleges and universities. This is especially true as we encounter demographic headwinds and economic uncertainty over the next decade.
Although these are challenges to be taken seriously, there are also many opportunities that Merrimack College can and will take advantage of over the next five years of the Agenda for the Future (2021–2026). These opportunities will help the College not just maintain its current status but grow and thrive in the face of these demographic and economic challenges and, by the end of the current decade, be well-positioned for prosperity and success in the decades to come.
- Building upon the Agenda for Distinction, the Agenda for the Future will leverage the College’s recent strategic success.
- The Agenda for the Future will focus on nine strategic initiatives that will further enhance our enrollment, reputation and financial health through and beyond the year 2026.
- It is designed to align the College’s rising reputation and enrollment success with a desire for affordability, accessibility and opportunity in higher education.
- Improving Merrimack’s value proposition and student outcomes will be critical to its long-term sustainability, enrollments and success.
In 2020, the unexpected COVID-19 pandemic challenged us to reevaluate our priorities. Throughout this existential crisis, the College has responded pragmatically to COVID-19’s short and long-term impacts on higher education. The Agenda for the Future reflects a reset of priorities and a renewed focus on outcomes to ensure Merrimack continues to thrive in a post-pandemic world.
Growth, Mission & Impact
The Agenda for the Future is framed by three overarching strategic directions: Growth, Mission & Impact. In turn, each strategic direction has three strategic initiatives and includes multiple five-year aspirational outcomes.
Includes Strategic Initiatives
1, 2 & 3
Includes Strategic Initiatives
4, 5 & 6
Includes Strategic Initiatives
7, 8 & 9
Our mission is to enlighten minds, engage hearts and empower lives.
Our vision is to be a highly ranked Augustinian, Catholic, comprehensively focused regional institution that excels in undergraduate teaching and professionally-focused graduate education. We seek to be an institution that is recognized for innovation in extramurally and entrepreneurially funded basic and applied research and development activities while also deepening our long-standing commitment to an educational and spiritual experience that develops students who are valued, respected, and embraced by our community and made aware of their call to serve the human community in love and in the pursuit of justice.
We will continue to build a community of scholars who are welcoming and respectful of a variety of backgrounds, experiences, beliefs and perspectives. We will cultivate the intellectual, moral, spiritual, physical, and personal awareness needed to make wise choices for life, career, and service. We will strive to be a diverse, equitable, and inclusive institution across all aspects of our community, students and employees.
We shall encourage and support scholarly work that contributes to the wisdom upon which society bases its decisions. We will engage other educational institutions, industry, and agencies of social change in collaborative efforts designed to foster a just, peaceful and sustainable world.
The College will be known by students and families as a supportive, nurturing and inclusive community that is grounded by its Catholic Augustinian beliefs and transforms lives through its student-centered, community-focused, outcomes-driven values.
We will advance our aspirations, vision and mission through excellence in undergraduate teaching and graduate education making key investments in centers of excellence and clusters of faculty capacity and expertise.
The College will focus on the development of professionally-oriented graduate programs, invest in key faculty, increase sponsored research, enhance student life, expand experiential learning, compete athletically at the highest level; all based in the values of our Catholic roots and the teachings and principles of St. Augustine.
To achieve recognition as one of the top 30 U.S. News regional universities in the North and to enroll 4,200 undergraduate students and 1,800 graduate students by 2025.
Implementing our strategic plan will require resources and investments and the college will:
- partner with external partners to expand its residential campus
- raise approximately $75-100 million through a fundraising campaign
- set aside $1-2 million annually in investments for new AFF initiatives to instill innovation and growth
- invest approximately $50-75 million in capital improvements necessary to elevate Merimack’s academic, student and athletic facilities to a level that represents it ambitions
- add approximately 30 new full time faculty over the next five years to support enrollments, to fuel new program growth, to expand graduate education and to achieve our sponsored research ambitions.
The plan will be implemented using a fiscally sound approach throughout the next five years, strategically focusing on a few key investments that ensures the continuation of our growing fiscal strength. The college will share implementation efforts, planning updates, assessments, plan metrics and related news through a dedicated website (AFF.merrimack.edu).
While this plan is ambitious and bold, Merrimack’s success over the past decade has been its ability to adjust, to be nimble and to be opportunistic and responsive to changes and challenges that may arise in the normal course of the industry or in the economy, adjusting our plans if necessary.