Madonna University News


Madonna College of Education Earns Seven-year Accreditation

January 11, 2017

LIVONIA, Mich. – Madonna University’s College of Education recently was granted an initial seven-year accreditation, the longest possible, by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). 

The Council determined that Madonna’s undergraduate and graduate teacher education degree programs met all five standards for accreditation, with no areas for improvement. “This is a wonderful testament to the dedication and hard work of the faculty and staff in our College of Education,” said Madonna University President Michael Grandillo. “The dean, professors and staff, in the College, all share a true passion for education and they pass that on to their students as they prepare them to teach the next generation of learners.” 

The next accreditation visit to Madonna University by CAEP will be Fall 2023. 

About Madonna:  In 1954, Madonna received approval from the Michigan Board of Education for teacher certification. The College of Education has been continuously accredited since 1972, when it was first accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). More than 6,800 educators across the country call Madonna University their alma mater. The Michigan Department of Education consistently gives Madonna’s teacher education programs exemplary status. The two-newest graduate programs – Education Specialist and Higher Education and Student Affairs – will help meet the needs of working teachers by enhancing their teaching skills or preparing them for leadership and administrative roles. Follow this link for more information about Madonna University’s teacher education programs

About CAEP: The Council advances excellence in educator preparation through evidence-based accreditation that assures quality and supports continuous improvement to strengthen P-12 student learning.

Previously, Madonna University was accredited by NCATE through 2016. In 2013, CAEP became the single national accreditor for educator preparation and adopted a new generation of educator preparation standards that moved beyond inputs.


Pen Pal

Pen pal activity unites Madonna and elementary school students

December 15, 2016

LIVONIA, Mich. — Madonna University students and elementary school students in southwest Detroit are friends on paper as well as real life.

For the past three years, groups of Madonna students in the University 1010 (UNV1010) course, have been writing to elementary school students in southwest Detroit as part of the service-learning hours required for the course. In return, the grade schoolers get to practice their writing skills, learn more about the possibility of attending college, and spend time with their pen pal during several in-person visits.

Nicole Nagy, director of Madonna University’s First-Year Experience program, said the pen pal initiative has grown in the past few years from one class section of Madonna students corresponding with students in one elementary classroom, to multiple Madonna classes writing to children in a number of elementary schools. Altogether, there are about 400 students in second through fifth grade who write to Madonna students over the course of fall semester, with each pair of pen pals writing two or three times and each Madonna student writing to several younger students.

Madonna students and elementary school students visited each other’s schools over the course of the semester. At Madonna, they played holiday-themed word games, explored campus, and got to know each other a bit better. “Our Madonna students are excited to hang out with their pen pals,” said Nagy.

While the students may not know what to write at first, Nagy says she’s noticed letters get more personal and friendly as the semester progresses. For many of the elementary students, English isn’t their first language, and they all enjoy talking about their favorite sport or Pokemon character, or the upcoming holidays.

In addition to gaining practice in reading and writing, the elementary students’ teachers agreed that the program had many benefits. Some of the elementary students had good questions for the college students. According to Thomas Cieslik, who teaches fourth-grade math, they discussed things they might not have known about previously, such as taking night classes. “College is part of the conversation,” he said.

Kaity Nicastri, a social worker and community school site coordinator who works with elementary schools through the nonprofit Southwest Solutions, said it’s good for children to see young adults attending college; often, the only college grads they know are their teachers and older people. “They don’t meet college students or grads that often,” she said.

The pen pal activity is a fun service-learning project for the Madonna students, and serving others is a major focus of the mission of Madonna University. “Living our mission is the reason students take part in service-learning projects in their UNV1010 class,” Nagy said. “We are creating a love for service during their first semester, so they want to continue to do it.”


National Solar Power Project

Felician Sisters Launch National Solar Power Project

December 14, 2016

BEAVER FALLS, Pa.– The Felician Sisters of North America’s recent solar installation of 1,032 solar panels in Livonia, Michigan will independently power two Felician-sponsored ministries in Livonia—Madonna University and the Montessori Center of Our Lady. The installations are part of the Felician Sisters of North America’s nationwide solar power project that will see a series of such solar installations take place in the coming months at six Felician Sisters’ sites across the country.

A ground-mounted array, consisting of 600 solar panels situated on the Felician Sisters’ campus adjacent to Newburgh Road, is expected to generate nearly 98 percent of the electric power at the Montessori Center of Our Lady.

The top of the Franciscan Center at Madonna University features a roof array of 432 solar panels, directly supplying to the University a portion of the campus’s total electric power. Madonna University plans to incorporate the solar array into the University's larger sustainability program, offering students first-hand insight into the practical application of sustainable solutions.

The Felician Sisters’ nationwide initiative includes additional solar installations at Felician convents and Felician-sponsored ministries in Buffalo, New York; Lodi, New Jersey; Chicago, Illinois; Coraopolis, Pennsylvania; and the Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania-based Provincial House of the Felician Sisters, the administrative and canonical center for the nearly 600 Felician Sisters across North America.

Total power generation from all combined sites will produce an estimated 3.3 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity in the first year of operation. The nationwide project is expected to avoid more than 110 million pounds of CO2 emissions over its 35-year operating life—the equivalent CO2 emissions from burning more than 3 million pounds of coal every year for 35 years.

Care for the earth, a cornerstone of the Felician Sisters’ core values and central to the centuries-old Felician Franciscan tradition, propelled this project more than two years in the making.

“The Felician Sisters serve as prophetic witness to a world in need of healing—the poor and marginalized of our society as well as the very earth which sustains us,” said Sister Mary Christopher Moore, CSSF, provincial minister, Our Lady of Hope Province. “Our Holy Father depicts an increasingly impoverished environment in his encyclical, Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home saying,  ‘… the earth herself burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of the poor … We have forgotten that we are ourselves dust of the earth; our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters.’”

Sister Christopher noted, “Our solar project is a highly visible witness of our commitment to be responsible stewards of creation. This project not only embodies Catholic social teaching, it also embodies our moral obligation to care for the earth now as well as for our common future.”

Felician Provincial Sustainability Coordinator Sister Mary Jean Sliwinski, CSSF, added that the Sisters have historically been committed to environmental justice and are actively making an effort to lessen their dependence on fossil fuels by integrating new sources of sustainable energy. She cited currently existing projects such as the Sisters’ installation of solar panels for water heating in convents in Pennsylvania, Illinois, and New Mexico, the creation of a LEED-certified convent and high school in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, the installation of geo-thermal heating in Buffalo, New York, and the preservation of green space on their properties.

“This solar power project represents the next chapter in our ongoing efforts to care for and repair the earth,” Sister Jean said. “The vast scope of this project represents a new level of commitment by the Sisters, enabling us to sustainably generate a significant amount of electricity. An initiative that helps protect the environment, it is also a wonderful opportunity to educate the larger community about renewable energy.”

Reverend Charles Morris, Madonna University associate professor of religious studies and Sustainability Task Force chair, concurred saying, “By using renewable energy we not only are strengthening our relationship with the Earth, we also are educating our neighbors. Through this unprecedented solar power installation, we are demonstrating how natural resources such as the sun with which God has blessed us, are in turn blessing others—now and for generations to come.”


Brandon Ash

Madonna Graduate Student Wins Award at State Conference

November 9, 2016

LIVONIA, Mich. – Madonna University graduate student Brandon Ash took home a student award from a professional conference he attended earlier this month. 

Ash, 29, a graduate student in Madonna’s Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) program, was named co-winner of the Fall 2016 American College Personnel Association-Michigan (ACPA MI) Graduate Student Case Study Competition. Students and student affairs professionals from across the state of Michigan attended the annual conference to gain new ideas that could improve learning opportunities for college students outside the classroom. Ash was among the Madonna University team of HESA graduate students and students affairs staff and administrators who attended. 

According to Ash, the case study competition was open to any graduate student in a higher education program, or in the field of higher education and/or student affairs who attended the conference. He was partnered with Breeanna Cannon of Eastern Michigan University, and they were charged with creating a solution for a hypothetical situation that could occur at a college or university. 

In less than 24 hours -- between 4 p.m. the first day of the conference until noon the second day – the pair came up with a five-minute presentation on how and why they would discipline residence hall assistants who had thrown a party involving alcohol. Using skills and knowledge gained in their respective programs, they determined that the assistants should be fired not only to uphold school policy, but also to set precedent for other resident assistants and students. “The judges were pleased with how we presented our argument,” Ash said. “I definitely enjoyed it.” 

In addition to the case study competition, the conference gave students a chance to learn more about the field of student affairs and to network with higher education professionals. In addition to attending sessions on retention and student success, Ash went to a session on building a campus life community -- “something I want to help build at the institution where I pursue my career,” he said. Eventually he would like to work in academic or career advising. 

Ash, who completed his undergraduate degree at Southern University in Baton Rouge, works for the residence hall at Madonna University which sponsored his attendance at the conference. Originally from Louisiana, he chose Madonna University for its graduate HESA program and because he has family living in the area. 

About ACPA-Michigan

A state division of the American College Personnel Association, ACPA-MI provides comprehensive professional development for college student educators, including networking, research and publishing. Members represent a wide array of student and academic affairs functions, including academic advising, residence life, career services student activities and multicultural services. They hail from more than 40 different colleges across the state; including two- and four-year, as well as private and public schools.