Thursday, September 1, 2011

Mercyhurst Students, Faculty, Alums, Friends: IAI? Or IIS? Help Us Decide!

It is shaping up to be a heckuva year for intelligence studies at Mercyhurst.  This fall we are welcoming our largest freshman class ever (we now have over 400 students in the program!), next summer we will be celebrating our 20th anniversary and 12 months from September 1, we should be moving into a new building.

One other major development that could also occur impacts more than just our little slice of heaven, though -- Mercyhurst College could become Mercyhurst University (though the timeline for this is much more variable, obviously).

With all this happening, it occurred to several of the faculty that we ought to re-examine our name.  It started with the genuine naming problem presented by having an "MU" to deal with but expanded into a fairly deep (for us, that is) discussion of who and what we are.

With that in mind, I decided to see what our students, faculty, alumni and friends might think of our two current top choices.  Using the wonderful Swayable tool, I put it to you:  Which do you prefer, the more traditional "The Institute for Intelligence Studies at Mercyhurst University"? Or the alternative, "The Institute for Applied Intelligence at Mercyhurst University"?  Cast your vote below!

If you don't like either one, leave a comment below!


Anonymous said...

A) Applied intelligence is not exactly an exciting name.
B) Please quit changing the name.
C) Please let those of us who graduated under R/IAP know what we can put on our resumes without looking like we're claiming a degree that didn't exist at the time or taking up three lines with a "formerly known as" explanation. An official Mercyhurst written statement along these lines so we have something to back up our resumes would be fantastic.
D) If you do change the name, let those who graduated under the intel studies name know what they can put, too.

Kristan J. Wheaton said...


Thanks for taking the time to post. While I may have treated the naming issue lightly in the post, I recognize that it is an issue that has a very serious side to it.

Our current degrees are a Bachelors in Intelligence Studies and a Masters in Applied Intelligence. We consider ourselves an "applied" program (in much the same way that engineering and architecture are applied programs and in much the way political science is not...).

I don't think our degrees will change regardless of the potential of University status or a name change in the Institute.

I think your point about R/IAP is a very good one and I recommend you raise this issue and any recommended solutions with the Dept. Chair (I will forward this note to him as well).

As we grow as an institution and as a discipline, I think change of some sort is inevitable. Part of the purpose of this post is to solicit exactly the kind of input you provided. Thank you!


Lesley (Creator) & Max (Vice Creator) said...

IIS-MU is much better. IIS implies - properly - that students are learning and using advanced critical thinking skills, while IAI (with that dreaded "applied" in the name) makes it sound as if they're brainless automatons plugging data into formulas. When I hear the word applied used in an academic sense, it makes me think of "applied science," as opposed to original research in science. Although I understand that "applied intelligence" has a different meaning than "applied science," I don't think MCIIS should run the risk of giving the program such a negative connotation. And, as Anonymous said, it's NOT exciting.

It is a bit difficult to list the old R/IAP on a resume - the new grads are MCIIS majors, but we were history majors with R/IAP concentrations, which is significantly different. I account for this by listing my degree as "BA: History, Research / Intelligence Analyst Program (currently Mercyhurst College Institute for Intelligence Studies)" to make the distinction clear. (Potential employers tend to be impressed that I was among the original graduates of the program, and aren't daunted by the History degree.) The most difficult part of the name change may be remembering to use "MCIIS" in conversation, as the number of people who know what "R/IAP" means are dwindling. Overall, I'm immensely pleased that R/IAP has become MCIIS. It's great that it's no longer a concentration, and "Institute for Intelligence Studies" is a much more impressive (exciting?) sounding name. :-)

Anonymous said...

Leslie, you said it much better than I did about why "applied" just doesn't give the right impression, even though it's accurate (this is the same Anonymous as the first post).

Just as an FYI, though, I did contact various people in records (for transcripts), the dean's office, and the department a few years ago. I admit that I didn't follow up much, but I didn't get a response from the dean's office and the records folks had no idea what to tell me.