CLAE community looks back and ahead as new name, era awaits

The College of Liberal Arts & Education (CLAE) will officially rename itself the College of Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences (CHASS) in Fall 2024. While the College’s offerings will remain the same, this year’s graduation ceremony, scheduled for May 11, will mark the final commencement for the College under its current name. 

Founded in 1877, CLAE has been a part of the University of Detroit Mercy since its origin. The change from CLAE to CHASS is a historic event for not only the College, but for the University community.  

CHASS promises a bright future for the College by approaching teaching and learning in transformative ways. A CHASS education highlights community engagement, diversity, equity and inclusivity in an interdisciplinary manner.  

The goal for CHASS, as stated on the College’s website, is that it ultimately “fosters a synergy between career and life success so all may thrive in and care for an ever-changing world.”  

A new mission and vision for the College can help meet the needs of contemporary students, whilst maintaining its integral liberal arts and Jesuit and Mercy traditions. 

As the campus awaits the name change from CLAE to CHASS, faculty, staff and students took the time to look back and look ahead.  

Jocelyn Boryczka, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Education 

“We are very excited for the new era of the College of Liberal Arts & Education (CLAE). Our new name – the College of Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences (CHASS) – goes into effect for Fall 2024. This transition marks a historic moment. We maintain our legacy as the original College of the University of Detroit established in 1877 while moving into a vibrant future filled with new projects such as the Black Box Theater, and leading-edge learning experiences that connect campus to community.” 

Lezly Pruitt, Administrative Assistant, CLAE Main Office 

“I will miss CLAE. I came to CLAE in 2010. Fourteen years of interacting and learning about the academic side, and I’m still learning. I miss the faculty I have met along the way that are no longer with us, some administrators I worked with that has passed, and great relationships I have established with alumni students that have graduated that I keep in contact with. I’m excited for CHASS. New name. New Day. New adventure. Here’s to moving up and onward!” 

Mason Modzelewski, Senior student, Theatre major 

“My time in CLAE has been exploratory. I have had the opportunity to take classes in many different departments. From English to Political Science, I have felt welcomed in the classroom by the professors I have had.” 

Andrew Papa, Professor and Chair, Department of Performing Arts 

“I’ve been teaching with CLAE since 2015, so going on nine years. In that time, there have been so many changes. The structure of the Dean’s Office is totally different. We have a new President, and there is a lot more interdisciplinary work happening within CLAE and among the other colleges at the university, which is wonderful. I think if I had to isolate a “favorite” CLAE memory, it might be when we did a TheatreLab production of ‘The Thanksgiving Play’ in the old Grounds Coffeehouse in the basement of the Student Union. There were so many students that showed up to see the staged reading, we ran out of chairs—it became standing room only! Interestingly enough, this is now going to be the site of the new Black Box Theatre on campus, so hopefully this is a sign of great things to come when our new theatre becomes available at the genesis of the new College of Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences.” 

 Mary-Catherine Harrison, Professor and Chair, Department of English 

“CLAE has been my academic home for my entire career. I will miss it, but I am ready to call CHASS our new stomping grounds.” 

Imanol Lozano, Senior student, Psychology and Religious Studies major 

“I will miss being a student at CLAE, but I’m excited for what CHASS has to offer! My favorite CLAE memory was all the events that students and faculty would throw.” 

David Koukal, Professor, Philosophy Department 

“I will have many fond memories of CLAE, but am so looking forward to CHASS, under the leadership of Dean Boryczka.” 

Haley Gavigan, Sophomore student, Communication Studies and History major 

“Something that I’ll miss from the College of Liberal Arts and Education (CLAE) is the name itself. Even though they have changed to the College of Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences (CHASS), one should never forget to embrace the freedom of thought that the Liberal Arts promotes.” 

Hisham Almadani, Sophomore student, Communication Studies Major 

“Although I was only part of CLAE for a single year, I had the firsthand privilege of working with wonderful professors and witnessing all that the college had to offer – from its complex camera to its rewarding writing sectors. I especially enjoyed taking courses within the CST department, such as Video Production and The Varsity News. I believe in the next steps and in the rebranding to the College of Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences, and I’m certain that this will only improve the all-around quality of the college and come about for the common good of students and staff alike, and I look forward to being part of the next chapter!”