WMU and Florida Southwestern State College announce alliance

by Cheryl Roland
| WMU News
Photo of John M. Dunn and Jeff Allbritten.

Dunn and Allbritten

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Officials from Western Michigan University and Florida Southwestern State College gathered Tuesday, Oct. 18, to announce an alliance that will allow WMU to offer several high-profile academic programs at FSW's Charlotte County, Florida, campus.

The alliance will provide integrated programs based on the community's need and impact on Charlotte County’s economic development. During the event, WMU President John M. Dunn and FSW President Jeff Allbritten spoke about the importance of the alliance for each school. Additional speakers included Denis Wright, FSW regional vice president for economic development, and Bill Truex, chairman of the Charlotte County Board of Commissioners.

An economic and cultural force

"Florida is home to the highest number of WMU alumni outside of the Midwest and presents great opportunity for new research, development and partnerships," Dunn says. "Our alumni and University supporters are thrilled that WMU is partnering with FSW to become an economic and cultural force in the area."

Earlier this year, Florida's Commission for Independent Education approved two provisional licenses for the University to offer academic programs in Florida. Final approval for WMU program offerings must come from the Higher Learning Commission, which is the University's accreditation body. Once such approvals are obtained, WMU and FSW will be able to release details regarding various degree programs that will be offered.

"Western Michigan University's particular areas of nationally recognized academic expertise match significantly with the needs of our community," Allbritten says. "We are excited to collaborate, establish a long-lasting partnership and welcome WMU to Florida."

Customized educational offerings

WMU, which is known for providing academic programs in aviation, wellness, business and environmental studies, also works with industries and businesses to customize educational offerings and credentialing certifications.

"It is important for Charlotte County to have a partner willing help create access to higher education programs," Truex says. "By FSW and WMU coming together we now have an engine in place to keep talent here in the region while at the same time being able to customize educational programs needed right here in Florida's West Coast."

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