Agenda for Distinction (2010-2020)
Developed in 2011, the Agenda for Distinction served both as a strategic aspiration for Merrimack College and as the framework for accreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
Five Strategic Priorities
It was through the accreditation process that the five goals of the Agenda for Distinction emerged and became the framework of the success the College enjoys today.
The Agenda for Distinction’s five strategic priorities were:
- Create a modern academic enterprise grounded in innovative teaching, learning and scholarship
- Develop a contemporary Catholic mission
- Create an intellectually vibrant, socially engaged, entrepreneurial student experience
- Inspire and engage our people, culture and community
- Strengthen our value proposition and competitive position
From this aspirational vision came a strategic focus on the growth of our undergraduate and graduate student populations, supported by key investments in faculty, market-focused academic degrees, innovative student success programs and an expanded physical campus.
As the plan matured through the 10-year period (2010–2020), the ambition of the College to be ranked regionally among the top 10 bachelor’s comprehensive colleges in the Northeast, and eventually among the top 50 regional universities in the North, added focus to the strategic planning agenda and enabled the institution to crystallize its thinking about the priorities that it had to achieve to meet its ambitions.
A Decade of Accomplishments
- Doubled applications and enrollments at the undergraduate level
- Achieved strong growth in online and campus-based graduate education
- Launched the new School of Health Science and a new Center for Excellence in Teaching & Learning
- Improved the undergraduate student graduation rate (66% to 75%) from 2010–2020
Awards and Recognition
- Achieved Carnegie institutional classification of Master’s Colleges & Universities: Larger Programs
- Increased our ranking (US News) from No. 174 (Liberal Arts) to No. 45 (NE Reg. Comp. Univ.)
- Recognized as a top 10 Most Innovative College (US News)
- Became an NCAA Division I institution (transitioned from an NCAA Division II in 2019)
- Selected as an Apple Distinguished University and recognized with the Carnegie Community Engagement classification
- Expanded the campus to seed growth and institutional change, and to meet the needs of a growing academic enterprise, as well as provide student experience spaces such as new housing, student entertainment and spaces for athletics. All told, the College added approximately 1,400,000 square feet of new and renovated spaces on the campus.
- Connected our Augustinian Catholic mission to our local community through programs such as Hands to Help, Pioneer Scholars and Abbott Lawrence Early College Program
- Enhanced our Augustinian values through programs such as Austin Scholars, faculty mission retreats and Mack Gives Back events
- Executed the largest fundraising campaign in the College’s history of $63.5 million