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From the President

Dr. Andrew P. RothAs alumni and friends of Notre Dame College, this spring brings a number of reasons to be proud of and excited about your alma mater’s ongoing renewal. In addition to sending another outstanding group of graduates into the world, the College has also experienced a very important validation of its work. To be considered a credible institution of higher learning, every college and university must undergo a periodic process of accreditation. Accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission is the gold standard upon which a college or university stakes its reputation.

In March, Notre Dame College was visited by a team of administrators and faculty from five private colleges from across the Midwest representing the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Their comprehensive evaluation of the College would determine whether Notre Dame would qualify for re-accreditation.

A visit from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) involves more than just opening our doors and inviting an inspection team to roam the campus. For two years prior to their visit, guided by a Self-Study Steering Committee led by Nancy Baird, Ph.D., Louise Prochaska, Ph.D. ’64, and Sr. Jeanne Moenk, SND, Ph.D. ’68, the College underwent an extensive self-appraisal, examining Notre Dame’s operating policies, processes and procedures, and effectiveness in serving its constituencies. Evidence was gathered and a full report was written to provide the visiting team with an accurate and honest assessment of Notre Dame College. The result of this self-examination was eye-opening not just for the visiting team, but also for those of us closely affiliated with the College.

The 226-page report* details Notre Dame College’s strengths and weaknesses and chronicles how the College is making strides toward becoming one of the finest small colleges in the region. The most impressive and thought-provoking section of this volume is chapter six which describes how the College engages and interacts with its constituencies. In this chapter, the reader re-discovers an age-old truth: students are truly the heart of a college. It is only through the students that the College manifests its mission: to prepare them for personal, professional and global responsibility.

In addition to their academic work, many Notre Dame students are developing a keen understanding of the concept of social justice. They feel empowered to literally change the world by serving at community agencies such as the Cleveland Food Bank, the West Side Catholic Center, and St. Julie Billiart School. They are spending their spring breaks building and repairing homes through Habitat for Humanity projects outside Ohio, and have undertaken fundraising projects and clothing drives for women’s shelters and schools such as St. Adalbert’s in Cleveland’s Fairfax neighborhood.

Moreover, they are a part of a campus culture made distinctive by a level of diversity which has earned Notre Dame recognition by U.S. News & World Report as the most diverse comprehensive college in Ohio. The students explore and celebrate this diversity through special events such as our annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration and Open Mic Nites.

When the HLC visiting team finished their campus visit, they informed the Notre Dame community that, based on their findings, they would recommend re-accreditation for the maximum ten-year period. This is the best possible result that the College could receive and an endorsement from peers in the realm of academia that Notre Dame College is on the right course.

Everyone at the College contributed to the success of the self-study and reaccreditation visit, but special thanks for a Herculean effort needs to be extended to Nancy Baird, Louise Prochaska, Sr. Jeanne Moenk, SND, Pat Harding, Stuart Smith and a host of others for their exceptional work. Of course, the entire College community can be proud of this very important affirmation of the fine work done as the College seeks “to change the world one student at a time”!

Andrew P. Roth, Ph.D.
President