Jul 20, 2024  
2022 Siena Heights University Catalog 
2022 Siena Heights University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

General Information


Siena Heights University is a Catholic, coeducational, liberal arts university offering associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees. The University was founded in 1919 by the Adrian Dominican Congregation. In addition to the main campus in Adrian, Siena Heights operates degree completion programs across southern Michigan in Battle Creek, Benton Harbor, Dearborn, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Monroe, and Metro Detroit as well as a Totally Online program. The university offers graduate programs in Adrian, Battle Creek, Lansing, Metro Detroit and also totally online Leadership degrees.

This University Catalog contains information pertaining to academic programs leading to associates, bachelors (baccalaureate), and master’s degrees.

History of Siena Heights University

A Catholic liberal arts institution founded in 1919 by the Adrian Dominican Sisters, Siena Heights was originally named St. Joseph College, and enrolled many of the graduates of neighboring St. Joseph Academy, founded some years earlier by the Adrian Dominicans. In 1939, St. Joseph College was renamed Siena Heights College, in honor of Catherine of Siena, a 14th century Italian Dominican who dedicated her life to a quest for truth and social responsibility, and in recognition of the College’s location on the highest land in the surrounding area. In 1997, the Board of Trustees voted to change the institution’s name again, effective July 1, 1998; Siena Heights University was chosen as a more accurate reflection of the kind of institution Siena Heights is today.

Throughout its history, Siena Heights has built a proud tradition of innovative response to changing social needs. Originally a college for women who intended to become teachers, Siena Heights broadened its offerings over the years and by the 1950s was recognized as one of the nation’s ten best liberal arts colleges for women.

In 1957, in addition to undergraduate studies, Siena Heights University initiated a Division of Graduate Studies, which was approved by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools in 1963. During the late 1960s, Siena Heights became coeducational and expanded its curriculum to include programs in business and human services. In the 1970s Siena Heights took a leading role in providing opportunities for adult students by offering evening and weekend classes and opening degree-completion centers in Southfield, Michigan, and Toledo, Ohio.

In 2000, Siena Heights established three colleges to deliver its academic programs: the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), the College for Professional Studies (CPS), and the Graduate College.

Today Siena Heights continues its long tradition of integrating liberal arts and career education. The student’s total development as an intellectually, socially, and spiritually responsible human being is the basis of Siena Heights University’s educational philosophy. The University provides an education that will help students create meaning in their lives and inspire others by their aspirations and achievements. Siena Heights believes that caring people are the key to creating peace and justice in the world.


Siena Heights is a private, post-secondary institution which seeks to identify and respond to the educational needs of people at varying stages of their lives. The University believes that education in contemporary society should be based upon clearly defined goals.

Since Siena Heights has developed within the framework of Catholicism as lived out in the Adrian Dominican tradition, it believes that individual educational goals should grow out of an encounter with the values which are a part of this tradition. Specifically, these are the values of the reflective life, the free exploration of ultimate questions, the imperative to witness one’s values to the world, the concern for justice in human relationships, and participation in communal celebration. Inherent in these values is the acceptance of the authenticity of other traditions and their experiences of God. The University is also committed to the idea that goals must develop in light of career possibilities and the realities of society.

Mission Statement

The mission of Siena Heights, a Catholic university founded and sponsored by the Adrian Dominican Sisters, is to assist people to become more competent, purposeful, and ethical through a teaching and learning environment which respects the dignity of all.

Student Goals

In light of its mission statement, Siena Heights has devised a set of specific educational goals. The University:

  1. Provides for the development of skills necessary for individual survival and success in postindustrial society. These are the skills of conflict resolution, forecasting, systemic thinking, creative management, information usage, problem solving, decision-making, group facilitation, leadership, and independent learning.
  2. Commits itself to challenge each of its students to expand his or her abilities in the primary realms of communication (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) and in the computational area.
  3. Provides encounters in which its students will be asked to examine the assumptions upon which they are basing their lives.
  4. Maintains a process through which students will explore career options and clarify their own career expectations.
  5. Provides encounters with moral dilemmas for its students in the hope that these may lead to greater ethical sensitivity.
  6. Believes that each graduate should have mastered a variety of challenges which require the use of skills gained in his or her educational program.
  7. Endeavors to provide in-depth educational programs in selected disciplines and professions. The University believes that each in-depth program should be characterized by statements of outcomes which should characterize a graduate of that particular program.
  8. Believes in the education of the total person and will adjust its curriculum to provide for the developmental needs of its students.

Institutional Goals

In light of its Mission Statement, Siena Heights has devised a set of specific institutional goals. In order to maintain institutional viability, the University:

  1. Places emphasis on quality instruction and maintains a standard of excellence. The University commits itself to utilizing periodic program and faculty evaluation in developing high quality instruction.
  2. Strives to locate highly qualified faculty or staff members for each position as it becomes available.
  3. Intends to be an experimenting institution. It seeks continually to deliver education more effectively through the creative employment of new teaching styles and learning environments.
  4. Identifies the personnel needs of local and regional communities and prepares the professionals and paraprofessionals needed in these areas.
  5. Seeks to gain national attention for its educational approaches so that it might make an institutional impact upon the continuing national debate about the nature and purposes of contemporary post-secondary education.
  6. Epitomizes in its own structure and practices a society in which each individual involved may have maximum opportunities both for personal growth and for participation in the life of the University community.
  7. Is an “enabling” institution which seeks to develop cooperative arrangements with a wide variety of individuals and institutions in the interest of creating effective learning encounters and environments.

Student Development Philosophy

In support of its Mission Statement, educational goals, and institutional goals, Siena Heights strives to develop and enhance the following skills throughout each student’s curricular and co-curricular experiences:

Build Intellect

  • Nurture an on-going curiosity and foster a commitment to life-long learning
  • Seek truth through strategic, purposeful and thoughtful analysis
  • Discover and succeed in your academic field of study
    • Enrichment of the Liberal Arts
    • Graduate from Siena Heights University

Explore Identity

  • Explore personal spirituality within an inclusive Dominican community
    • Explore each individual’s spirituality
    • Develop self-confidence and self-respect
  • Establish effective interpersonal communication
    • Build healthy relationships
  • Prepare for a career reflecting one’s unique place in the world
  • Find and value personal passions
    • Curricular and co-curricular interests
    • Apply diverse interests in finding your career path

Discover Creativity

  • Contribute to the ongoing expansion of culture and knowledge
  • Develop and apply critical thinking skills to create innovative solutions
  • Discover unique modes of personal expression
  • Develop solution building skills for their professional and private lives

Develop Leadership

  • Develop a personal code of ethics and values
  • Learn to lead with confidence, conviction and by example
  • Realize the courage to take responsibility of one’s actions
  • Mentor and model positive personal behaviors for others

Nurture Citizenship

  • Become aware of civic and social issues and the impact they have on individuals, groups, communities and cultures
  • Understand your position of privilege and champion the rights and dignity of all
  • Advance a sustainable community based on environmental , technological and economic factors


Siena Heights University holds membership in the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU), the Michigan Independent Colleges and Universities (MICU), the Michigan Colleges Alliance (MCA), the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC), the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE), the Association of Governing Boards (AGB), the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), Directors and Representatives of Teacher Education Preparation (DARTEP), the Michigan Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (MACTE), the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), and the Wolverine Hoosier Athletic Association (WHAC), the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN).


Siena Heights University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC) at 230 S. LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500, Chicago, Illinois, 60604-1441, www.ncahlc.org, the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC)/Council of the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Additionally, the Michigan Board of Nursing has approved the Siena Heights University Nursing Programs.

Siena Heights University is authorized to prepare students for teacher certification in Michigan and other states. Upon request, students may review University accreditation at the office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs, Sacred Heart Hall, Room 202, on the Adrian Campus.

Siena Heights University offers online degree completion to students across the United States. Each state has specific “state authorization” policies to follow in order to offer online learning to state residents. Siena Heights University monitors individual state authorization policies, and obtains appropriate approvals, as defined by those policies. In most states with a few exceptions, Siena Heights University is currently authorized, licensed, registered, exempt or not subject to approval. Students can view Siena Heights University’s current authorization status by state at https://www.sienaheights.edu/shu-global/online-learning-program/state-authorization/

It is the policy of Siena Heights University not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, religion or sexual orientation.

Catalog Policy

Undergraduate students are obligated to fulfill the requirements of the catalog that was in force at the time of their first registration. Undergraduate readmitted students who return after a period of one session or more must complete the degree requirements listed in the current catalog at the time of readmission. The readmitted student may not be entitled to complete a program that is no longer offered by the University. Failure to read this catalog does not excuse students from the requirements and regulations described herein.

Graduate students are expected to be familiar with, and to follow, the program requirements and policies described in this catalog. Graduate students are obligated to fulfill the requirements of the catalog that was in force at the time of their first registration. However, readmitted students who return after a period of two years or more must complete the degree requirements listed in the current catalog at the time of readmission. Students who have been reinstated following suspension must complete the degree requirements listed in the current catalog at the time of readmission. The readmitted student may not be entitled to complete a program that is no longer offered by the university. Failure to read this catalog does not excuse students from the requirements and regulations described herein.

The provisions of this catalog are to be considered directive in character and not as an irrevocable contract between the student and the university. The university reserves the right to make changes that seem necessary or desirable, including course and program cancellations.

Access to Student Records (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.

FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children’s education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. Students to whom the rights have transferred are “eligible students.”

Note: Because these rights are transferred to eligible students, Siena Heights University allows students to complete a FERPA Release of Information form which permits parents access to their records. The following points are direct quotes from the legislation.

  • Parents or eligible students have the right to inspect and review the student’s education records maintained by the school. Schools are not required to provide copies of records unless, for reasons such as great distance, it is impossible for parents or eligible students to review the records. Schools may charge a fee for copies.
  • Parents or eligible students have the right to request that a school correct records which they believe to be inaccurate or misleading. If the school decides not to amend the record, the parent or eligible student then has the right to a formal hearing. After the hearing, if the school still decides not to amend the record, the parent or eligible student has the right to place a statement with the record setting forth his or her view about the contested information.
  • Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student in order to release any information from a student’s education record. However, FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions (34 CFR § 99.31):

School officials with legitimate educational interest;
Other schools to which a student is transferring;
Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes;
Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student;
Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school;
Accrediting organizations;
To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;
Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies; and
State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law.

Schools may disclose, without consent, “directory” information as per below. However, schools must tell parents and eligible students about directory information and allow parents and eligible students a reasonable amount of time to request that the school not disclose directory information about them. Schools must notify parents and eligible students annually of their rights under FERPA. The actual means of notification (special letter, inclusion in a PTA bulletin, student handbook, or newspaper article) is left to the discretion of each school.

Directory information is defined by FERPA as the following: Student’s Name, address, telephone number, student e-mail address, date and place of birth, major fields of study, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of athletic team members, photograph, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, most recent educational institution attended, and other similar information as defined by the University which would not generally be considered harmful to the student, or an invasion of privacy if disclosed.

For additional information, you may call 1-800-USA-LEARN (1-800-872-5327) (voice). Individuals who use TDD may use the Federal Relay Service.

Family Policy Compliance Office: U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, D.C. 20202-8520

This policy may be found in its entirety at: http://www.sienaheights.edu/academics/registrars-office/