Welcome from the President-Rector

Rev. Mark A. Latcovich, Ph.D.
LatcovichGradSince its beginnings in 1848 Saint Mary Seminary and Graduate School of Theology has prepared men for the Roman Catholic priesthood in the Diocese of Cleveland and has served as a center for graduate-level theological education for ecclesial service. The mission of the Seminary continues the call of Jesus, invites the generous response of disciples, and sends forth men and women with the urgent task of the New Evangelization in contemporary society. This Gospel foundation of mission shapes the Seminary’s programs, structures, and plans as surely as it formed the first apostolic community (cf. Program of Priestly Formation, #8). 

The 168-year legacy of Saint Mary Seminary has been formed in great measure by the countless individuals who have been stewards of its mission. Their accountability for the programs and resources has helped define the unique role that Saint Mary Seminary serves today in the local Church of the Diocese of Cleveland. The dedicated faculty, generous benefactors, and all who study here are charged with that same stewardship and accountability for the quality of its mission and programs. 

One particular expression of this accountability is the Seminary’s accreditation status. For nearly 50 years Saint Mary Seminary and Graduate School of Theology has been authorized by the Ohio Board of Regents to grant theological degrees, and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC), and the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). 

As part of its regular 10-year reaffirmation cycle, the Seminary community has recently engaged in a comprehensive self-study based on the standards and criteria of its accreditors. The self-study reports and on-site visits in Fall 2015 help the Seminary to assess its institutional strengths and look critically at areas where improvement and growth are possible. 

Quality assurance is evident in rigorous academic degree programs and the institution’s resources, such as a well-trained, talented faculty, access to information technology, a library with appropriate bibliographic materials, sustainable financial capacity and strategic planning, as well as a physical infrastructure to support teaching and learning. However, the critical question in education today concerns how effectively an institution is deploying resources to ensure that students master the stipulated/desired learning outcomes of the curriculum. As suggested by Msgr. Jeremiah McCarthy, a longtime staff member of ATS, “assessment has become important due to a shift in the way academic institutions are accredited. Instead of evaluating resources, assessment agencies ask that we now evaluate outcomes. Accreditation is a peer-driven process of quality assurance to the publics served by the educational community.”  

For the past three years, the faculty, students, and Board of Trustees have prepared the self-study reports. To the best of our ability, we have answered the questions and provided the evidence that verifies the Seminary’s compliance with the standards and criteria set by the accreditors. The Seminary stands ready to learn what these commissions see as strengths to be maintained and recommendations to move our mission forward. 

As President-Rector, I sincerely thank the Seminary community and so many others who have worked so hard in completing this important endeavor. I am reminded of the words of gratitude written by Saint Paul in his letter to the Philippians: “I give thanks to my God every time I think of you –which is constantly, in every prayer I utter –rejoicing, as I plead on your behalf, at the way you have all continually helped promote the gospel from the very first day” (Phil 1:3-5).

Rev. Mark A. Latcovich, Ph.D.