SXU Welcomes Conference for Mercy Higher Education
Saint Xavier University (SXU) is hard at work preparing for its upcoming visit from the Conference for Mercy Higher Education (CMHE). CMHE seeks to preserve and develop the core Catholic identity and mission of Mercy higher education in accord with the spirit, mission and heritage of the Sisters of Mercy. As part of ensuring that Mercy colleges and universities around the United States continue to preserve and develop that mission, CMHE has developed an institutional peer-review mission assessment process for mission accountability, and SXU will be reviewed in April.
Saint Xavier is proud to be not only one of only 17 Mercy institutions across the country, but also the oldest. All institutions go through a process of review by CMHE every 10 years. To prepare for the visit, members of the Saint Xavier community gathered to consider the meaning of its Catholic, Mercy mission, how that mission is applied through policies, programs and practices, and how effective mission integration is at the University.
"The process of creating the self-study has been helpful in showing us where we are doing well with mission incorporation and where we need improvement. The self-study will be used to shape the future work of the Mission Integration Committee and where we turn our attention," said Jenny DeVivo, Ph.D., executive director of Mission and Heritage.
As Saint Xavier prepares for the visit, the staff and faculty community have identified priorities in becoming even more mission-focused, student-centered, performance-based and financially sustainable, with continued focus on supporting the future of the institution. Additionally important is the commitment to the common focus areas of a Mercy Catholic institution: mission, collaboration, hospitality, compassion, holistic approaches and vision.
The self-study examines key areas of strength as well as action areas for improving institutional systems, practices and policies and ensuring the institution is accountable for upholding its Covenant with CMHE, which calls forth a spirit of willingness to participate in collaborative and creative activities across the network of Mercy institutions, all in service to a further deepening of the Mercy mission in Catholic higher education.
Though Saint Xavier upholds common Catholic values, the institution is unique in its inspiration from the Sisters of Mercy, which makes for a particular way of demonstration, especially when considering the fourth vow of the Sisters – to care for the poor, the sick and the uneducated, a critical need in the United States to this day. Catholic Sisters are often thought of as prophetic, as they tend to go where the needs are and offer significant support to the under-resourced, something the Saint Xavier community is also committed to.
"The charism and history of the Sisters of Mercy mean that we have a particular way of demonstrating how we live Catholic values. In a Mercy institution of higher learning, we are deeply committed to helping our students earn college degrees and we are especially gifted at helping those students who would be less likely to succeed at earning degrees," said DeVivo. "At SXU, we will continue to educate students with the best we have to offer. We will shine a light onto the great needs of the present world and we will invite our graduates to go and meet those needs with compassion and service."
Saint Xavier is heartened by the comprehensive efforts of many across the institution who contributed to this self-study. This process revealed the shared commitment to mission integration across the University and provided a welcomed opportunity to celebrate the noble legacy of the Sisters of Mercy. SXU looks forward to welcoming and collaborating with the CMHE visiting team and strengthening mission efforts across the University community.