Jun 18, 2024  
Graduate Catalog 2014-15 
Graduate Catalog 2014-15 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

University Overview (as extracted from the University Strategic Plan)



Resolute in our pledge to ensure the continued excellence of Western Michigan University, the faculty, staff, and students join together in the work of strategically forging the University’s future through this plan. We reaffirm the commitment of our community to the values of shared governance, transparent and timely communication, and accountable and responsible behavior within an ethical, compassionate, diverse, and respectful environment.

WMU strategic plan reflects the insight of WMU’s many and valued constituents, and respects the clear and thoughtful strategic plans that have been developed by those across campus. This overarching university strategic plan builds upon the self‐study prepared for the Higher Learning Commission and, in so doing, prepares WMU to distinguish itself in the years to come.

Recognizing both the historical strength of WMU and the external constraints and opportunities, we commit to the five goals identified to ensure the distinction and health of this extraordinary University in the coming years. As we pursue these goals, we must be cognizant of current needs and mindful of future opportunities.

We must ensure that resources are carefully managed and thoughtfully applied to pursue the strategic goals identified herein. The University’s budget, this plan, and the divisions’ plans must be carefully integrated if we are to be successful in our mission. We must make certain that our plans are innovative, relevant, energized, united, and realistic. We must be leaders, clear in our purpose and inspiring to those around us–we must be a university community willing to move boldly into the future.

The University’s strategic plan is designed to encompass the comprehensive nature of the University and to be the guiding principle for every unit plan. The outcomes of this plan will be monitored annually by the President’s Senior Leadership Team and the appropriate Faculty Senate body, using suggested
indicators. Significant reviews and revisions will be conducted on a schedule of every three years. Upon formal adoption of the strategic plan, each vice presidential area and its units will review and revise existing strategic plans and budgets to ensure alignment with the University plan and identify specific
indicators by which their plan will be measured. University resources must be budgeted in accordance with the goals identified in this strategic plan.

WMU Mission

Western Michigan University is a learner‐centered, research university, building intellectual inquiry and discovery into undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs in a way that fosters knowledge and innovation, and transforms wisdom into action. As a public university, WMU provides leadership in teaching, research, learning, and service, and is committed to enhancing the future of our global citizenry.

WMU Vision

Nationally and internationally recognized, the University aspires to distinguish itself as learner centered, discovery driven, and globally engaged.

Learner centered.
Western Michigan University is a university where every member of our community is responsive to and responsible for the education of our students. We challenge and engage all members of our community with a university experience that creates skilled, life‐long learners.

Discovery driven.
Western Michigan University offers experiences that enable discovery, and promote creativity and research. We are committed to pursuing inquiry, disseminating knowledge, and fostering critical thinking that encourages life‐long learning. Our scholarship creates new knowledge, forms a basis for
innovative solutions, leads to economic development, and makes substantial contributions to society.

Globally engaged.
Western Michigan University impacts the globe positively. We are a community of learners committed to human dignity, sustainability, social responsibility, and justice. Our campus embraces a diverse population of students, faculty and staff who develop learners and leaders who are locally oriented and
globally competent, culturally aware and ready to contribute to world knowledge and discovery.

The synergy of these three pillars enables WMU to be a premier and distinctive university of choice. Western Michigan University offers all students a learning community designed for and dedicated to their success. We are committed to access and affordability, and sustaining an environment in which
every student can meet the world head‐on and triumph.

To operationalize our mission and vision, we set forward this planning framework to be pursued over the next three years.

WMU Strategic Plan Goals

Goal #1: Ensure a distinctive learning experience and foster the success of students  

WMU fosters learners who are critical thinkers, knowledge expanders, and solution providers. WMU students engage in broad learning experiences through which they apply knowledge in a practical context. These include curricular and co‐curricular opportunities that encourage engagement. WMU
prepares profession‐ready lifelong learners who remain engaged with the University and contribute to the social development and economic vitality of their communities.


1.1 Ensure distinctive local and global learning experiences for all learners.

a. Engage entering students in a required, appropriate orientation focused on facilitating selfdirection
b. Integrate curricular and co‐curricular learning experiences that include, but are not limited to, the arts, sports, recreation, student organizations, mentorship, service learning, and global awareness
c. Offer opportunities for the application of knowledge through internships, research, cooperative education, and global experiences
d. Require an interdisciplinary learning experience of students
e. Cultivate cultural awareness through engagement with the arts and humanities

1.2 Provide tools to foster the success of our students.

a. Enhance career preparation services and professional engagement
b. Identify the barriers to retention and graduation, and create services to meet the needs of our students
c. Require each student to create a professional portfolio by the end of his/her first year at WMU and continue its development through to graduation

Goal #2: Promote innovative learning, discovery, and service  

WMU continually pursues approaches to learning, discovery, and service. We embrace collaborative engagement and leverage our resources to produce knowledge, contribute to technological and economic advancement, and elevate the human condition.


2.1 Invigorate curricula and teaching methods to improve learning outcomes.

a. Increase flexibility within the curriculum development process to respond to a rapidly changing world
b. Support faculty and staff development to enhance teaching, scholarship, research, global awareness, and creative activity
c. Align effective assessment with campus‐wide continuous improvement
d. Integrate teaching with research and service
e. Promote academic excellence through strategic investment in human capital, facilities, technology, and operations

2.2 Support and promote innovative discovery and development across campus.

a. Focus on generating new resources to promote learning and discovery
b. Market and communicate our innovations and achievements
c. Embrace emerging technology

2.3 Support and promote engagement and service to the University, community, and professional disciplines.

a. Enhance community service learning and research opportunities for faculty, staff, and students
b. Foster faculty, staff, and student involvement in shared governance
c. Support and recognize faculty and staff engagement in their professional disciplines

Goal #3 Advance WMU as a major research university  

WMU is flexible and responsive to the ever‐changing demands of our world, ensuring that WMU creates new knowledge and drives economic development. To do so, WMU investigates, develops, and offers new professional programs, as well as expands our research endeavors and intellectual inquiries to meet
the needs of society.


3.1 Refine WMU’s portfolio of mission‐appropriate programs.

a. Establish a public‐private partnership‐based school of medicine
b. Develop a process for implementing new mission‐based programs

3.2 Increase WMU research and creative activity that impacts the State, nation, and world through partnerships with communities, industries, governments, institutions, and foundations.

a. Invest in mission‐appropriate targeted research and creative initiatives that improve the human condition and lead to economic development
b. Invest and expand financial resources for graduate students and institutionalized programs to position WMU as leader in graduate education

Goal #4 Ensure a diverse, inclusive, and healthy community  

WMU cultivates a healthy and diverse university community that recognizes the value of each individual and helps ensure the safety, civility, and respect for all people. In so doing, WMU embraces a diverse community in which all learners are prepared to understand the complexity of issues and perspectives
needed to offer solutions to our world’s challenges.


4.1 Enhance diversity and promote a campus climate of inclusion.

a. Promote student, staff, and faculty pride in the strengths of the University to both internal and external constituents
b. Review, improve, and develop policies, procedures, and practices to promote access and remove barriers for the recruitment, retention, and participation of diverse groups and individuals
c. Enact specific strategies and provide needed resources to improve campus diversity
d. Support training, resources, and curricula changes such that the entire WMU community embraces global understanding and cross‐cultural sensitivity

4.2 Enhance the health and wellness of the community.

a. Support training, resources, and curricula changes to improve health and wellness of the campus community
b. Explore ways to achieve health and wellness savings

4.3 Foster the University’s reputation.

a. Effectively engage alumni as advocates for the University
b. Define a coherent and consistent brand identity that aligns with the University strategic plan
c. Develop and execute an external and internal communication plan that reflects the mission of the University

Goal #5 Advance social, economic, and environmental sustainability practices and policies  

WMU supports a culture of sustainability by modeling practices and policies that result in increased flexibility to respond to economic, environmental, and social challenges. Allocation of resources will be transparent and in accordance with strategic planning priorities, creating stability across funding cycles,
respecting the individual needs of students and employees, reducing our environmental footprint, and relying on assessment and accountability to ensure continuous improvement.


5.1 Advance economic sustainability.

a. Evaluate all programs, policies, and services, including academic and support programs, according to a regular, published schedule for the purpose of improvement, consolidation, and/or elimination
b. Allocate resources according to clearly defined University goals
c. Leverage multiple revenue streams to support clearly defined University goals
d. Reduce duplication of efforts

5.2 Advance environmental sustainability.

a. Reduce energy consumption and recycle, reuse, and reduce waste
b. Promote and reward conservation efforts
c. Maximize utilization of our fixed resources

5.3 Advance social sustainability.

a. Provide services and support networks to ensure social equity, inclusion, interaction, safety, and respect
b. Review, improve, and develop policies, procedures, and practices that ensure social sustainability