Free college-level humanities courses offered to select local residents

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KALAMAZOO—Low- to moderate-income residents in the Kalamazoo area who want to study history, literature, philosophy, art history and writing need look no further than Western Michigan University.

WMU's Humanities for Everybody program offers non-credit college-level classes free of charge, giving local nontraditional students access to rigorous university-level education in the humanities. Students are being continuously enrolled for the 10-week fall term that began Sept. 10 and 15-week spring term that begins Jan. 14. Classes are held every Monday and Thursday from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the Cooper Apartments, 611 W. Lovell St., Kalamazoo.

Michelle, a Humanities for Everybody student, says she gained self-confidence and new insights by taking advantage of the program. TiAnna, another student, found the program similarly empowering. "As a result of believing in myself and surrounding myself with positive and productive people who have a vested interest in my success, I am preparing myself to apply for a women's education grant so that I can obtain a degree from WMU," she says.

Program courses are taught by experienced WMU professors, and students selected to participate receive free books, tuition and supplies. Courses scheduled for the 2012-13 academic year cover the following modules:

  • History of American Slavery, Sept. 10 to Oct. 11
  • Shakespeare, Oct. 22 to Nov. 26
  • Freedom and Empowerment, Jan. 14 to Feb. 14
  • The Black Experience: From 1866 to the Present, Feb. 25 to March 28
  • Philosophy of Justice, April 1 to May 2

Humanities for Everybody students not only grasp the full potential of education to transform their lives, but also obtain tools and opportunities to re-engage in their communities. Graduates of the program receive high-quality letters of recommendation based on class performance. These letters can be used as a referral for needed community-support resources, including jobs, housing and other educational opportunities.

The program, which graduated its first class of students in 2012, is sponsored by the University Center for Humanities of Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo Neighborhood Housing Services and Open Doors Kalamazoo.

Visit humanitiesforeverybody.com for a full roster of courses and to access a Humanities for Everybody application. For more information, contact Rondel Yardbrough with Kalamazoo Neighborhood Housing Services at (269) 364-2532 or LaTasha Chafin at WMU at Latasha.y.chaffin@wmich.edu.