Core Revision at UDM: Undisputed Facts

1.  The University of Detroit Mercy (UDM) represents itself as a Catholic university in the Jesuit and Mercy traditions. No one has disputed this fact.

2.  Catholic colleges and universities, especially those in the Jesuit tradition, have deemed certain disciplines worthy of deeper study: the disciplines of the liberal arts and sciences in general, and the study of philosophy and religion in particular. No one has disputed this fact.

3.  As a consequence of a decision made by the majorities of the McNichols Faculty Assembly Executive Committee (MFAEC) and the Core Curriculum Reconciliation Committee (CCRC), which was announced on December 4, 2014, the university’s new core will have fewer requirements in the sciences, philosophy, and religious studies. No one has disputed this fact.

4.  The majority of MFAEC/CCRC has attempted to justify this decision by claiming that the final report of the Core Curriculum Task Force (CCTF) established a structure that set a one-to-one equivalency between learning outcomes and courses. A careful review of this document shows that it sets no such equivalency. The majority of MFAEC/CCRC has also pointed to a single set of CCTF minutes as supporting its decision, where a reduction of philosophy and religious studies requirements was briefly discussed but never put to a vote. No one has disputed these facts.

5.  By way of contrast, the final report of the Core Curriculum Implementation Committee (CCIC) recommended that the current level of exposure to philosophy, religious studies, the natural sciences, and the social sciences be retained in the new core. This recommendation was the product of discussion, debate, and a proper vote by the CCIC, an ad hoc committee of the MFA. On October 16, 2014, the MFA voted to approve the CCIC report with this recommendation. No one has disputed these facts.

6. The departments of philosophy and religious studies have both claimed that this decision will harm the vitality of their programs. No one has disputed these claims.

7.  In addition, the director of the Catholic studies program and the department chairs of chemistry and biochemistry, communication studies, computer and information systems, counseling and addiction studies, economics, education, English, history, performing arts, political science, psychology, sociology and social work, as well as nineteen members of the university’s religious sponsors, have all registered their mission, programmatic, and/or procedural concerns in response to this decision. No one has disputed this fact.

8.  If this decision stands, it would put UDM at the bottom in terms of required exposure to both philosophy and religious studies in comparison to other Jesuit institutions, according to a recent survey by the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. It would also mean that UDM students would have a below-average exposure to the natural and social sciences, in comparison to other Jesuit institutions deemed similar to UDM. No one has disputed these facts.

9.  This would mean that, in very important ways, future students would not be receiving the kind of education promised to them by the University of Detroit Mercy. No one has disputed this fact.

For more detail and documentation, click here.

Originally posted March 30, 2015
Last updated April 22, 2015