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Pathways to Excellence: Reaffirmation 2016-17

University of Detroit Mercy's 2016 Assurance Argument

Please review the University of Detroit Mercy 2016 Assurance Argument (PDF) that was submitted to the Higher Learning Commission in June 2016.  The report reflects the work of Detroit Mercy staff, administrators and faculty over the last nine years as related to the criteria set forth by the Higher Learning Commission.

View the Assurance Argument (PDF)    

HLC Site Visit – September 26 & September 27, 2016 

During the site visit, peer reviewers (i.e., faculty and administrators from other universities and/or colleges) visited all three campuses (McNichols, Dental, Law) to meet with various members of the University community, to observe, and to learn more about what we do at University of Detroit Mercy as part of the reaffirmation process.

Accreditation History

University of Detroit Mercy is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), an independent organization that accredits higher education institutions. The University has a long history of institutional accreditation. The University of Detroit received initial accreditation in 1931, Mercy College was initially granted accreditation in 1951, and University of Detroit Mercy achieved initial accreditation in 1991, and is currently accredited through 2017. 

Institutional Accreditation Process and Criteria 

The reaccreditation process is a comprehensive evaluation that is required every four to 10 years to maintain accredited status.  For the current reaffirmation (i.e., reaccreditation) process, University of Detroit Mercy pursued the Standard Pathway, which consists of meeting specific standards in five major areas:

  • Mission.
  • Ethical and Responsible Conduct.
  • Teaching & Learning: Quality, Resources, and Support.
  • Teaching & Learning: Evaluation and Improvement.
  • Resources, Planning and Institutional Effectiveness.

View the standard pathway criteria here.

Academic Program Accreditation

In addition to the University's institutional accreditation, a large number of academic programs are accredited.  Accredited academic programs consist of undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree programs across the University.  For the most recent, complete list of accredited academic programs and accreditation status, please see the summary provided below.  The list of accredited programs can still also be found on the Office of Academic Affairs website. In addition, more detailed information about academic program accreditation can be found on the academic program websites, as applicable.   

Academic Program Accreditation Summary (PDF)


    Highlights of Significant Institutional Improvements Since 2007

    • Implemented new enterprise-level system (i.e., Banner).
    • Implemented new customer relationship system (i.e., Slate) to more efficiently track applications and promote improved communication with applicants 
    • Implemented new, comprehensive student advising and retention software (i.e., MapWorks).
    • Expanded technological learning tools and technology-focused faculty training (e.g., Wimba).
    • Established the Institutional Research Fund to support faculty research. 
    • Implemented institution-wide forums to highlight faculty and student research (e.g., Celebration of Scholars).
    • Expanded formalized forums for faculty and staff development (i.e., Second Wednesday Series).
    • Appointed new director of the Office of Sponsored Projects and Research Activities (OSPRA) and expanded the Office's activities.
    • Fully cemented the academic program review process and began second full cycle of reviews.
    • Designed and implemented the 2012-2017 Strategic Plan.
    • Established the Office of Mission & Identity.
    • Implemented the Junior-Senior Faculty Mentoring program.
    • Introduced academic minors.
    • Implemented academic program assessment activities across the institution.
    • Introduced several new and responsive academic programs (i.e., Architectural Engineering).  
    • Entered the final phase of development of a new core curriculum.
    • Expanded the role of shared governance.
    • Completed several major building renovations including renovations to the Law School, Chemistry building, Architecture, Titan Dining Room, and dorms.
    • Completed building of the Fitness Center, the first new building on main campus in years.
    • Added new tennis courts and outdoor track.
    • Expanded athletics to include Lacrosse.
    • Expanded Wellness Center's mission and scope of student services.
    • Implemented Transfer Team to effectively support student transfers.
    • Implemented new dashboard of financial outcomes for enhanced board oversight.

    2016 HLC Steering Committee

    The Steering Committee is charged with leading the work of drafting the Assurance Argument (i.e., self-study) for the 2016-17 reaffirmation (i.e., reaccreditation). Because the Assurance Argument is only as effective as the evidence it provides related to compliance with accreditation standards, the Assurance Argument itself and the reaffirmation process is largely dependent on work already completed and the efforts of many individuals across the University who have contributed to that work. As a result, the role of the individuals working on the self-study Steering Committee and the self-study Sub-Committees is to collect existing evidence that reflects compliance with the various accreditation standards, and then document the evidence in the self-study report. In addition, and in the spirit of continuous quality improvement that is the foundation of accreditation, the Steering Committee is also charged with identifying any existing needs and gaps, and collaboratively working to address such needs and gaps throughout the self-study process.  

    Working under the Office of Academic Affairs and the Provost and Academic Vice President, the Steering Committee is comprised of seven faculty members and academic administrators. The Steering Committee is led by a chairperson while each of the members serve as Sub-Committee chairs.   

    Nancy Calleja, Chair
    College of Liberal Arts & Education

    • Janet Baiardi
      College of Health Professions
    • Shuvra Das
      College of Engineering & Science
    • Judith Mouch, RSM
      College of Health Professions
    • Elizabeth Roberts-Kirchhoff
      College of Engineering & Science
    • Gilbert Sunghera, S. J.
      School of Architecture
    • Kathleen Zimmerman-Oster
      College of Liberal Arts & Education

    Self-Study and Site Visit Timeline

    Winter 2014                                      

    • Appointment of Self-Study Steering Committee Chair and Steering Committee Members; Initial project organization, including Steering Committee member orientation

    Summer 2014                                     

    • Appointment of Sub-Committee Members

    Fall 2014                                             

    • Began work on the assurance argument (i.e,. self-study)

    Winter 2015                                         

    • First draft of assurance argument completed and submitted by sub-committees

    Summer 2015                                      

    • Review and return of assurance arguments to sub-committees

    Fall 2015                                             

    • Final draft of assurance argument completed and submitted by sub-committees along with supporting evidence 

    Winter 2016                                         

    • Finalize and publish assurance argument and supporting evidence

    Spring 2016                                         

    • Submit Assurance Argument

    September 26 & 27, 2016

    • Site Visit at Detroit Mercy

    2016 Self-Study Sub-Committees

    The sub-committees charged with drafting the accreditation self-study (i.e., assurance argument) are composed of faculty, administrators, and staff across the University and include representatives from each of the University's colleges and schools.   

    Criterion One Sub-Committee —

    Co-Chairs:  Kathleen Zimmermann-Oster, College of Liberal Arts & Education and Gilbert Sunghera, S.J., School of Architecture

    • Andrew Moore, School of Law
    • Fr. John Staudenmaier, Mission & Identity
    • Sr. Rita Valade, College of Liberal Arts & Education
    • Carmon Weekes, College of Health Professions

    Criterion Two Sub-Committee —
    Ethical & Responsible Conduct

    Chair:  Judith Mouch, RSM, College of Health Professions

    • Julia Belian, School of Law
    • Mary-Catherine Harrison, College of Liberal Arts & Education
    • Klaus Friedrich, College of Engineering & Science
    • Elizabeth Patterson, Marketing & Public Affairs

    Criterion Three Sub-Committee —
    Teaching & Learning: Quality, Resources, & Support

    Chair: Janet Baiardi, College of Health Professions

    • Erin Henze, College of Liberal Arts & Education
    • Beverly Matlas, Finance
    • Mitzi Saunders, College of Health Professions

    Criterion Four Sub-Committee —
    Teaching & Learning: Evaluation & Improvement

    Chair:  Elizabeth Roberts-Kirchhoff, Engineering & Science

    • Julia Eisenstein, Library
    • Elizabeth Hill, College of Liberal Arts & Education
    • Omid Sabbaghi, College of Business Administration
    • Kathi Shepherd, School of Dentistry

    Criterion Five Sub-Committee —
    Resources, Planning, & Institutional Effectiveness

    Chair:  Shuvra Das, Engineering & Science

    • Barbara Bosler, College of Health Professions
    • Cate Caldwell, Office of Sponsored Programs and Research Activities
    • Lanae Gill, Student Life
    • Edward Tracy, Information Technology

    Informational Video

    Learn more about the upcoming reaffirmation process and significant changes that have occurred at the University since the last reaccreditation visit.  The short slideshow is accompanied by music reminiscent of the University's initial accreditation in the early 1930's:

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