Class of 2019

The first year in the Gussin Spiritan Division begins with a concentrated five-week summer semester.

Gussin Spiritan Division

An Invitational Freshman Year Course of University Studies

The Division enrolls students who:2019 Student of the Year Candidates and Winners

  • Are selected from applicants for admission to Duquesne.

  • Have high school academic achievements that indicate the potential for college success.

  • Have credentials similar to recent graduates of the University.

  • Are willing to work with the Division to assure academic and personal success.

  • Are academically competitive with other Duquesne freshmen.


The mission of the Robert and Patricia Gussin Spiritan Division of Academic Programs is teaching, caring and building futures through a community of excellence. The Division uses intellectual potential as the overriding criterion for University admission and makes available to students a comprehensive network of programs and services to help them develop the academic and social skills required in higher education to be successful learners within their chosen programs of study.

Goals and Objectives


  • Foster a student-centered environment

  • Provide a holistic approach to learning by addressing both the affective and cognitive needs of Division students

  • Offer undergraduates individualized advising, counseling, tutoring, and instruction that promote successful completion of the Division's core curriculum as well as courses external to   the division's offerings leading to eventual declaration of majors in various degree programs within schools of the university.

  • Provide scholarly and cultural knowledge to effect successful transitions of first-year students into the life of the university.

  • Facilitate student transitions to university programs of study.


  • Teach students the required skills to take responsibility for their own learning.

  • Expand the use of active learning pedagogies.

  • Maintain relationships with area school districts.

  • Identify students' strengths and weaknesses in order to design individual programs which enable them to realize their full potential as members of the academic community.

  • Enhance the academic skills development and self-confidence of students.

  • Lend support to academic achievement.

  • Implement a comprehensive approach to student advising.

  • Assist students in their total intellectual and professional development.

  • Stress the value of academic excellence to all students.

  • Encourage a love of learning and service so as to promote the philosophy of life-long education and civic responsibility.

  • Encourage student participation in cultural enrichment courses, programs, and activities.

  • Create coherent and intentional student pathways toward transition.

  • Improve retention/graduation rates and other success milestones among students with achievement gaps.

  • Support cultural competency, awareness and skills.

  • Increase programs that encourage interactions with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures.

  • Seek input from students, employees, and other stakeholders in the evaluation and improvement of Division operations.

  • Create operational processes that reflect the University's priorities and values.

  • Leverage alliances with school systems, community local corporations, and foundations to expand service populations.

  • Offer summer bridge programs to transfer and incoming freshmen.

  • Expand endowment funding.

  • Expand grant funding.