A rewarding journey

Davenport’s 10-year focus on providing a quality education earns national recognition with ACE/Fidelity Transformational Award

It has been said that the key to realizing a dream is to focus not on success, but rather on significance. Meaning, that every small step on your journey has an impact on the greater purpose.

This concept aligns with the incredible journey Davenport embarked on nearly a decade ago when it set its sights on measuring and improving the quality of education students receive.  At that time, the university decided to institute the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence, a framework to improve Davenport’s performance and achieve sustainable outcomes.

It sets its sights on:

  • Improving student performance including retention and graduation rates
  • Aligning its approach to hiring to ensure its staff and faculty reflected the diversity of its student population
  • Ensuring its program and services offered students an excellent experience and improved graduate satisfaction

This measured approach to its work and services has resulted in the university seeing continued and significant improvements in student persistence and student retention, with fall‐to‐fall retention improving by nearly 30% in 2021. The satisfaction of Davenport graduates has reached all-time highs, with 2020 graduate satisfaction at 95%. The institution’s student graduation rates saw an astonishing leap of 174%, aligning Davenport’s performance with other top state universities.

In 2020, Davenport became the first university in history to earn the Michigan Performance Excellence State Baldrige Award from the Michigan Performance Excellence (MIPEx). The MIPEx award is the highest honor given to Michigan organizations that demonstrate outstanding performance, leadership, and operational excellence based on the national Baldrige Criteria for performance excellence.

This hard work has now earned national recognition. In June 2021, Davenport University became the first university in Michigan to earn the prestigious ACE/Fidelity Transformation Award. This honor is only awarded to two universities each year across the entire United States. This year’s other winner was the University of California – San Diego.

“To receive the American Council on Education and Fidelity Investments Award for Institutional Transformation, which represents recognition by one of the most respected organizations in the country is very humbling for our institution,” said Dr. Richard J. Pappas, president of Davenport University. “These achievements wouldn’t be possible without the support of Davenport’s board of trustees and our incredibly talented faculty and staff who bring our mission, vision, and values to life. But more than that, this recognition is tangible proof of our commitment to achieve the highest level of education and business outcomes for our students.”

In an article featured in Corp! Magazine, Dr. Pappas indicated that the university doesn’t have any plans of slowing down, saying “We intend to change the dynamics of higher education by supporting our students not just through graduation but by ensuring that they have high-paying, future-focused careers that make a difference for employers and our state.

Learn more about Davenport’s vision for the future, in this article written by Dr. Pappas entitled, Vision 2025 – Changing the dynamics of higher education.


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