School:University of Detroit Mercy

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The University of Detroit (founded in 1877) and Mercy College of Detroit (founded in 1941) consolidated in 1990 to form the University of Detroit Mercy, Michigan's largest and most comprehensive Catholic university. UDM has a vital and diverse student population of approximately 5,600 students, of which 59 percent are female and 41 percent are male. About 24 percent are minority students. The average age of our students is 26, including graduate and professional enrollment. 70 percent are full-time, 30 percent part-time. UDM has 328 full-time faculty members, 87 percent of whom hold doctorate degrees or the highest degrees available in their fields. The student/faculty ratio is 14 to 1 which ensures one-on-one interaction between faculty and students.

UDM offers More than 100 academic degrees and programs of study through 7 schools and colleges: School of Architecture, College of Business Administration, School of Dentistry, College of Engineering and Science,  College of Health Professions, McAuley School of Nursing,  School of Law, College of Liberal Arts and Education.

Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship

UDM does not offer a major in innovation or entrepreneurship however there is an innovation minor available through the engineering school. The engineering school is also trying to introduce more I&E geared classes to the program. There are many classes such as senior design courses, marketing, and organization leadership that all have qualities of I&E presented, but not directly as an I&E course.

In the engineering building on campus, the “Annex” is a large space with materials and equipment available to all students to use for individual projects which is surprisingly unknown to many students. The engineering building also features a 3D printing lab for prototyping for any student projects. Found in these locations are a number of clubs at UDM that focus on innovative design such as the Concrete Canoe Team or the Shell Eco-Marathon Team.

Students in the engineering and business programs also have the opportunity to join the DTX Launch Detroit Program, a summer program incubator.

Encouraging faculty innovation and entrepreneurship

OSPRA, the Office for Sponsored Programs and Research Activities, exists to support the research and developments of UDM faculty and staff, as well as students. The mission of OSPRA is to facilitate the procurement of external support through research grants, contracts, and technical assistance agreements, to administer internal support for research, and to document and publicize the scholarly achievements of members of the UDM community. The Research@UDM newsletter features these scholarly achievements and is published once per semester.

Facilitating University-Industry Collaboration

The bridge for students between school and industry is the Co-op education program. Co-ops are available to all undergraduate and graduate students, and are required as part of the Architecture, Engineering, Physician Assistant and 5-Year Business/MBA curriculum. UDM has connections with more than 200 corporate employers each year, so internships and co-op assignments are available in a wide variety of career fields. Located near downtown Detroit, students have many opportunities to interact with companies fairly close to the school.

Engaging with regional and local economic development efforts

The best example of engaging with local economic development efforts is the DCDC, or the Detroit Collaborative Design Center.

“The DCDC is a multi-disciplinary, non profit architecture and urban design firm at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture dedicated to creating sustainable spaces and communities through quality design and the collaborative process.

Since 1994, the DCDC has worked with over 80 Detroit nonprofit organizations, community groups, and consists of seven full-time urban design, architecture, and landscape architecture professionals, and one to three student interns.

The DCDC works with community-based development organizations, local governments, residents and stakeholders, private developers, students, and local design professionals to enhance local leadership capacity and to promote quality design. Utilizing broad-based community participation in conjunction with design technologies, the DCDC produces projects that respond to locally defined concerns while empowering residents and stakeholders to facilitate their own process of community planning, development, and building design. The DCDC uses its nationally recognized Neighborhood Engagement Workshop (NEW) process which empowers stakeholders to renew their communities through collaboration and coalition building.”

Learn more about the DCDC and its projects at

Related Links

University of Detroit, Mercy

University of Detroit, Mercy Student Priorities

University Innovation Fellows

Spring 2016:

Sarah Mauser

Related links