Siena Heights University (SHU) is a private, Catholic university located in Adrian, Michigan. The school was founded as St. Joseph’s College for Women in 1919 by the Adrian Dominican Sisters. The university opened to men in 1969 as it expanded its program offerings.
Today, the main campus of 14 buildings sits on 55 acres in Adrian. There are also satellite campuses in Ann Arbor, Southfield, Benton Harbor, Monroe, Battle Creek, Lansing, Jackson, Metro Detroit, and Port Huron.
The student to faculty ratio at SHU is an intimate 15:1.There are 45 academic programs at SHU under the auspices of five academic divisions: Business and Management; Computing, Mathematics and the Sciences; Humanities, Social, and Behavioral Science; Visual and Performing Arts; and Arts and Teacher Education. In addition to the undergraduate programs, SHU also has a Graduate College and a College for Professional Studies.
Students at the Benton Harbor campus can study Accounting, Business Administration, Community Services, Health Care Management, and Multidisciplinary Studies. Available class offerings at the other satellite campuses are very similar, with mild variations: the Battle Creek campus offers a Pre-Law concentration; the Monroe campus offers Psychology; etc.
Slightly unusual for a small, private university, SHU runs a thriving distance learning program. Degrees available online include the Bachelor of Applied Science, Bachelor of Arts in Multidisciplinary Studies, and Bachelor of Business Administration. Students can also earn minors in Health Care Management, Management, Marketing, and Technology Management completely online. SHU also offers a large number of blended classes for adult students. In blended classes, student occasionally visit or meet together on one of the SHU campuses, but complete the majority of their coursework online.
The SHU Program in Theological Studies is a certificate program. Students take 12 courses, often over the course of a single year. The program can function as a major for an enrolled undergraduate student or a stand-alone certificate program for a religious professional. Many lay chaplains in the Roman Catholic church participate in this program, bringing their unique perspectives and experiences to the campus.
Academics for High School Students
SHU works with area high schools through their College Opportunity for Students (COPS) program. Students enrolled through COPS can begin earning transferable college credit as early as their junior year of high school. Interested students must have a GPA of at least 3.0.
The Graduate College at most of the branch campuses offer master’s degrees in Homeland Security and Nuclear Power Administration, among more traditional offerings. The Homeland Security program is certified by the Naval Postgraduate School. It is the only one of its kind in Michigan and one of 20 in the entire country. It is geared toward people who already have at least five years of professional experience in law enforcement or criminal justice, such as employees of the FBI, CIA, Homeland Security, or Immigration and Customs. The Nuclear Power Administration program is geared towards individuals who already work for nuclear power plants and wish to grow their professional knowledge and resources.
Most Popular Fields of Study
SHU has campus abroad exchange programs with a number of colleges and universities around the world, including American University in Dubai, Centro Boliviano Americano and Universidad Privada de Santa Cruz de la Siera in Bolivia, Yanshan University in China, University of Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania, Leeds Trinity All Saints College in England, and Garden City University College in Ghana.
The university also sponsors partnerships with high schools around the world; students from these schools often attend SHU, enriching the international segment of the student body. Partnered high schools include Danii Boru School in Ethiopia, Anglo American College in Bolivia, American International School of Bolivia, Colegio Saint George in Bolivia, Maris Stella School in Kenya, and Santiago College in Chile.
Admissions to SHU are competitive. Applicants are expected to have a GPA of at least 2.5 and an ACT score of 18 or higher. The admissions office has an extensive program for welcoming international students, including information to help prepare them for the Michigan climate, which comes as a shock to people from milder climates (in other words, most people).
Total annual costs in 2011-2012, including room and board, averaged about $28,000. In addition to the standard array of state and financial aid, SHU administrates several dozen of their own need- and merit-based scholarships. Roughly 90% of undergraduate students receive financial aid.
In a normal year, there are about 2,000 undergraduate students and 300 graduate students enrolled at SHU. Approximately 55% of students are male and 45% are female. 98% of first-year students attend full-time. About 4% of the student body is comprised of international students.
Clubs and Organizations
There are many student clubs and organizations to meet a variety of professional aspirations and personal interests. Some of the most popular include the Student Programming Assocation, Visual Artists Society and Math Association for Siena Scholars (MASS). The school newspaper is called Spectra. There is also a bi-annual literary magazine, Eclipse.
There are two residence halls and one apartment village on campus. Most of the residents are first- or second-year students. There are about 400 students living in residence halls on campus. Residence halls contain social lounges, game rooms, study areas, meeting areas, TV lounges, laundry facilities, and community kitchens.
Campus Village at Siena is an apartment complex that houses 154 students. It features private bedrooms and bathrooms for each resident, wireless internet, and full kitchens. There is parking for every resident, central air conditioning, free tanning, a pool table, a lounge with plasma TV, a computer lab, and complimentary DirecTV.
There is also a modest Greek system on campus.
The Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program encourages the pursuit of graduate studies for students who are either from a group underrepresented in graduate education or who are both low-income and the first in their family to go to college. McNair Scholars are paired with faculty mentors who coach them through graduate school visits, funded research projects, professional conferences, and presentations of their research.
The Counseling Center on campus offers short-term individual counseling, group counseling, academic consultations, and crisis intervention.
First Year Experience
First-year students are welcomed to the university with the First Year Experience (FYE). They meet in small groups with different departments and facilities of the university as an introduction to the workings of the institution and to help them learn who to turn to with questions and how best to solve problems.
Students and the Arts
SHU has a very active theater program, with several productions a year in the Francoeur Theatre in the Performing Arts Center. SHU is unique in that their theater productions very frequently include area children through the Child Drama Children’s Theatre program. Both students and faculty take an active role in teaching children about theatre and helping them improvise plays through workshops throughout the school year and in summer camps.
Student artists show their work at Studio Angelico. Community and faculty artists, as well as visiting artists, frequently display their work at the studio as well.
Dining on Campus
The main dining hall on campus is Benincasa, a traditional all-you-can-eat buffet. There is also Sage Café, a sandwich and salad-serving café in the student union.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
The athletics department at SHU is known as the Saints. The Saints compete in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC). Competitive sports include baseball, men’s basketball, men’s golf, men’s soccer, men’s track and field, men’s cross country, men’s volleyball, men’s lacrosse, men’s bowling, football, women’s lacrosse, women’s basketball, women’s cross country, women’s golf, women’s soccer, softball, women’s track and field, women’s volleyball, and women’s bowling.
There is a Campus Minister for Athletics who provides personal and spiritual support for student athletes. Athletes normally pray together during practice and before and after games.
Adrian is a city of about 21,000 in extreme Southern Michigan. It is 30 miles southwest of Ann Arbor, a large and vibrant college town with a huge array of cultural, culinary, and recreational opportunities.
Additional School Information
The Adrian Dominican sisters who began SHU are still deeply involved in running the institution. Sister Peg Albert is the current president. Campus Ministry is very active on the campus. There is a Mass at 9 PM every Sunday in St. Dominic Chapel on campus and occasionally services during weekdays.
The Adrian Dominican Sisters are an international group of nuns who minister in over 30 states and several countries around the world. Their Motherhouse is in Adrian. In addition to SHU, the Sisterhood runs the Weber Retreat and Conference Center and the Dominican Life Center, which is a multi-level senior care facility for Roman Catholics. SHU also has close associations with Montessori Children’s House and the St. Joseph Academy.
Athletics. Siena Heights University. Web. 25 May. 2011.
FAQs. Siena Heights University. Web. 25 May. 2011.
Fiske, Edward B. Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011. Chicago: Sourcebooks, 2010. Print.
Pope, Loren. Looking Beyond the Ivy League: Finding the College That’s Right for You. New York: Penguin. 2007. Print.
Residential Life. Siena Heights University. Web. 25 May. 2011.
Elisabeth Bailey is a freelance writer and editor with particular interests in academics, food,and sustainability . She is also the author of A Taste of the Maritimes: Local, Seasonal Recipes the Whole Year Round and writes regularly for Canadian Farmers’ Almanac and the National Wildlife Federation. Elisabeth and her family live and enjoy great local food in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.