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Element A

A.1. What is the institution’s historical context?

The University of Saint Francis (USF), founded by the Sisters of Saint Francis of Perpetual Adoration, ( had its beginnings in 1890 in Lafayette, Indiana as the Saint Francis Normal School. A curriculum was designed and approved by the State of Indiana in 1923, a four year degree adopted in 1937, and laywomen accepted as students in 1939. In 1940, Saint Francis College was chartered by the State of Indiana and in 1944 moved to its present location in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The school became co-educational in 1959 and added graduate programs in 1960. Following the acquisition of Lutheran College in May 1998 and with the growth in enrollment and increase in number of academic and athletic programs, the school’s name was changed from Saint Francis College to the University of Saint Francis.
The College was first accredited in 1957 by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and presently holds memberships in the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, Independent Colleges of Indiana, the Indiana Conference for Higher Education, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and the Council of Independent Colleges. The University joined the Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) of the Higher Learning Commission in 2004. That same year a new academic structure was implemented with the integration of 14 academic departments into 5 Schools: the Keith Busse School of Business and Entrepreneurial Leadership, School of Arts and Sciences, School of Creative Arts, School of Health Sciences, and the School of Professional Studies. By 2007, the first Provost was appointed and the President’s leadership team was revised to include deans from the five schools (USF Administrative Chart). Also, in 2007, USF implemented a new General Education curriculum designed to strengthen the liberal arts foundation of baccalaureate programs and increase the integration of Franciscan Values into the university experience.

A.2. What is the institution’s mission?

Rooted in the Catholic and Franciscan Traditions of Faith and Reason, the University of Saint Francis engages a diverse community in learning, leadership and service. The University holds fast to the teachings of faith of the Roman Catholic Church, the liberal arts tradition, and the virtues of the wisdom tradition inspired by Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi. The Franciscan Values encourage all campus constituents to: Reverence the unique dignity of each person; Encourage a trustful, prayerful community of learners; Serve one another, society, and the Church; and Respect Creation.
The university has identified its core competency in the statement, “Build dynamic relationships to transform lives.” This concept provides an organizing framework that guides all institutional decisions. The statement calls upon all members of the university community to extend themselves to build relationships with others.

A.3. What are the institution’s characteristics?

Serving over 2000 students, the University of Saint Francis (USF) is a private, not-for-profit, Catholic university offering 56 undergraduate degrees, 13 graduate degrees and four certificate programs. As a teaching university, the USF blends rigorous, high-quality academic programs with a compassionate learner-centered approach. USF is located in a residential area of Fort Wayne with an additional site in Crown Point, Indiana. While the distinctive religious tradition of the university is Catholic, students and employees of all faiths are welcome. The 106-acre campus with abundant green space surrounds Mirror Lake. Major academic facilities include the Pope-John Paul II Center that houses the Vann Library. Other facilities include four residence halls, the Doermer Family Center for Health Science Education, the Mimi and Ian Rolland Art and Visual Communication Center, the Achatz Hall of Science, and the North Campus facility, which provides additional classrooms, offices, a gymnasium, art gallery, and a 500-seat auditorium. In the center of campus are Saint Clare Convent, Trinity Hall, the Campus Ministry Center, and a student center. The Bass Mansion, which formerly housed the university library, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is currently undergoing extensive restoration and renovation to expand usable space while preserving its architectural and historical integrity.