Thursday, January 26, 2012

Mercyhurst College Is Now Mercyhurst University (WOOT!)

For the last several years Mercyhurst has been going through the administrative process of changing our status from a "College" to a "University".  Yesterday, we received notice from the State of Pennsylvania that our application had been approved
(Note:  I am going to talk about what I think this means and some of the new things that are likely to emerge as a result but I am also interested in what you have to say. so please leave a comment if you have one!)
This process actually began even before the first piece of paperwork went in.  We changed our Carnegie Classification a number of years ago to better represent the courses, degree programs and research opportunities we offered.

Now that the status issue is resolved, we are all dealing with the inevitable administrative details that result from  such a change, the first of which is our name.  The Mercyhurst College Institute for Intelligence Studies (MCIIS) is likely to change to the overwhelmingly favored Institute for Intelligence Studies at Mercyhurst University (IIS-MU) at some point.  The institute's website ( will likely get an upgrade at about the same time.

More interesting than the administrative details are some of our longer range initiatives.  The University (going to take me awhile to get used to writing that...) intends to pursue doctorate programs in some of our majors, for example.  Our hope is to be one of the first.  I don't think we want to pursue a PhD type program, however, as there are already a number of PhD programs that would allow a student to focus on the academic aspects of studying intelligence.

Rather, I think we should, like MDs and JDs, offer a professional doctorate (DI? ID? InD?).  The focus of  such a degree, if I had my way, would be on application -- the actual doing of intelligence analysis -- rather than just talking about it.  Specifically, I would like us to provide our doctoral students a chance to become better leaders and managers in addition to gaining increased skills as analysts.

We are obviously some distance from this objective but the conversation about the future direction of the intelligence studies program is starting.  Now is the time to chime in!


Diane Chido said...

This is a really exciting time for the whole community and, like you, Kris, I see it as a chance to offer the first DI - and for obvious reasons, I prefer that spelling!

Anonymous said...

I think its great Mercyhurst is now a University. However, what types of changes are required of the Intelligence studies department as a whole to meet the University status requirements? Is there a requirement for more students? Is there going to be more of a differentiation between the undergraduates and the masters program? Also, is there a requirement to hire more PHD holding faculty? Being a current undergraduate student, I am worried that the program is going to stray from applied and become overly academic focused (if there are more professors hired from academia as opposed to the intel workforce background)

Bela said...

I agree with Diane on the spelling of the potential program. This is great not only for the program but for the university as well.

Kristan J. Wheaton said...


I don't think that University status changes the intel program that much in the short/medium term. I don't ever see us moving away from the focus on application over theory. That is why I think we will pursue a professional doctorate rather than a PHD program.

I am also certain that we will continue to attract and hire well qualified professors who have both an appropriate level of academic and real-world experience.

I think it is likely the program will get larger but I can't say by how much. At some point we will likely have to cap the program but I don't think we are there yet.