College move to McNichols Campus is ‘hallmark’ for University’s future
To Dean Suzanne Mellon, the College of Health Professions’ move to the University of Detroit Mercy McNichols Campus next fall is a “marquee” event.
“It’s not just a move and a renovation. It’s a hallmark for the future of the University,” she says. “It has a lot of excitement and opportunity attached to it.”
The decision to move the College from the Outer Drive Campus came from the University’s Prioritization initiative, the institution’s most comprehensive strategic planning process since the merger of the University of Detroit and Mercy College of Detroit. Key Prioritization recommendations included maximizing the McNichols Campus to create a more dynamic environment for students, encourage more interdisciplinary opportunities among UDM colleges and schools, and eliminate duplication of services.
As a result, most of the University’s undergraduate and graduate programs will move to the McNichols Campus. Although the School of Dentistry will remain in its current location, the University has not yet determined the future use of the Outer Drive Campus.
Moving the College of Health Professions to the McNichols Campus makes great sense to Mary Kelly, R.S.M, Health Services Administration chair.
“It recognizes that we don’t teach the way we used to. Because of the Internet, we use half the classrooms we once did. The way we deliver courses is different. We don’t need the same materials and tools as before,” she says. “This move will allow us to convert the fixed assets we need less of to those we need more of to better meet the needs of our students. It’s making the best use of University resources.”
The College’s new home will be the Ford Life Sciences Building, which will undergo extensive renovations before the move. Laboratories, classrooms, offices and conference spaces are being thoughtfully planned, as is the more explicit presence the Mercy tradition will have on the McNichols campus.
“Certainly, Mercy is already there, but this move will make it a more physically visible presence on campus, and we’re looking carefully at how we want to convey who we are,” says Mellon.
Under consideration for the building are a reflection room and “Heritage Hall” that would chronicle the College’s history and accomplishments. The College also may bring a number of special artifacts from the Outer Drive Campus.
Mellon is quick to point out however, that the College’s spirit and identity go far beyond the bricks and mortar that house it.
“We carry the Mercy tradition and heritage with us, wherever we are,” she says.
Kelly agrees. “The Mercy tradition is defined by having a heart that is moved by the suffering of people in need, and then doing something about it. Not just having feelings, but responding to the need,” says Kelly. “When we look at our graduates, the thing they have in common is responding to need. That keeps the Mercy spirit alive more than any symbols or buildings.”