WMU Examples

College of Arts and Sciences

PADM 4000—Seminar in Nonprofit Leadership with Professor Jan Maatman

This class is an advanced seminar in nonprofit leadership. The overarching themes addressed in this course include nonprofit management, human resource development, nonprofit board development and relations, and professional financial literacy. Skills practiced include consensus decision-making, grant-making decisions, and research and performance of best practices in key areas (e.g., community impact measures). Students taking this seminar have an opportunity to study community-identified needs in Kalamazoo County and to feel the impact of their work.

The process is as follows: Students solicit grant proposals from appropriate nonprofit agencies; each student completes at least 15 hours learning about an agency that submitted a proposal. As a class, students review proposals and determine which agencies will receive funds. Students then plan a community event at which applicants learn who has been awarded grant funds. This culminating event is a celebration with, and sharing of, gratitude among all participating stakeholders.

SPAN 4400—Internship or Service with Spanish with Dr. Michael Millar

This course for advanced language students, offered by the Department of Spanish, promotes ongoing collaboration between Western Michigan University students, faculty, and community organizations such as Kalamazoo Public Schools, the Hispanic American Council, and Communities in Schools of Kalamazoo. Students enrolled in Spanish 4400 serve as tutors and mentors for all grades and levels of the curriculum, and help coordinate after-school bilingual club activities. The primary language of instruction and mentorship is Spanish, allowing students to improve their acquired language skills through interaction with the local Hispanic community, while also putting their abilities to work for the community. In addition to work with individual KPS students, WMU students also participate in parent outreach efforts and serve as interpreters for parent-teacher conferences. These students create and deliver presentations for KPS and the greater community on the topic of culture, including their experiences during their study abroad.

Fort St. Joseph Archaeological Project, Department of Anthropology, with Dr. Michael Nassaney

The Fort St. Joseph Archaeological Project was initiated at the request of local citizens to identify, investigate, and interpret the physical remains of Fort St. Joseph, one of the most important Colonial outposts in the western Great Lakes. Western Michigan University conducts its annual archaeological field school at the site, in partnership with the city of Niles, the Fort St. Joseph Museum, and Support the Fort, a nonprofit organization focused on preserving the fort's history. The project has netted more than 100,000 artifacts and animal bones associated with the French and English occupation of the fort from the 1680s to the early-18th century.

This project gives students an opportunity to receive instruction in the classroom and gain hands-on experience at the dig site, and to work with the Fort St. Joseph Museum to create a wide range of programs to teach the public about the post's history. Each field season, WMU field school students host three summer camps—one for young adults, another for continuing education adults, and one for elementary and high school teachers. Student-led public education and outreach programs also allow the public to view ongoing excavations and to interact with the student archaeologists. At the close of the field season, students host “Community Days,” a two-day public open house to interpret and share the archaeology and history of the fort. This event attracts approximately 2,000 visitors annually and includes lectures, an outdoor museum, site tours, historical reenactments and demonstrations, period music, and food.

College of Education and Human Development

Literacy Studies 3790 with Dr. Deanna Roland

Western Michigan University students enrolled in Literacy III work with children from kindergarten to sixth grade, at Western Michigan University's McGinnis Reading Center and Clinic, an institution that provides numerous clinical, research, and diagnostic services to a diverse population of children, university students, and adults in the local Kalamazoo and surrounding communities. For this service-learning initiative, WMU students conduct weekly individualized instruction sessions, based on information from the assessments and interviews that are administered to the elementary students to learn about their interests and literate abilities. WMU students also develop and host presentations for families at the conclusion of the sessions, which affords WMU students the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and application of the teaching strategies that they acquire throughout the semester. In addition, some literacy studies students continue their work, partnering with the Kalamazoo County Juvenile Home, during the summer semesters. Graduate students in literacy studies work with kindergarten through eighth grade students in the summer as well.

College of Engineering and Applied Sciences

ENGR 1001—Introduction to Engineering Design, Safe Routes to School

First-year civil and construction engineering students at Western Michigan University who are enrolled in Engineering 1001 have an opportunity to work on a service-learning project called “Safe Routes to School.‟ Safe Routes to School is a federal program intended to make it safe, convenient, and fun for children to bicycle or walk to school, and to get the regular physical activity children need for good health. This initiative also helps ease traffic jams and air pollution, unites neighborhoods, and contributes to students' readiness to learn in school.

The project is a collaboration among the WMU College of Engineering, Michigan Department of Transportation, and local public schools. Each fall a partner school is identified, and WMU students learn and apply transportation engineering principles as they identify barriers to safe travel. WMU students complete a walking tour of the surrounding neighborhood and interview children and their families, as well as school teachers and administrators. Upon completion of the assessment, WMU students present a remediation plan to city engineers and other city and county officials, as well as to school administrators, members of the school board, and to the general public.

College of Fine Arts

Artist as Citizen Program, administered by professional advisors in the major

An initiative of Western Michigan University's College of Fine Arts, the Artist as Citizen Program seeks to foster the civic engagement of student artists through community-based service projects, enabling them to utilize their skills and talents to serve the Kalamazoo and southwest Michigan communities. Select advanced undergraduate and graduate students participate in one of two project areas throughout a semester, arts administration or skill-based service.

The arts administration project emphasizes learning and service related to planning and development of exhibitions, arts programs, cultural activities, marketing, and fundraising, among other operational aspects. The skill-based service project engages artists to directly apply their skills for the benefit of the community. This may include design and execution of artistic workshops in community-based settings; theater students working with youth to express themselves through the arts; direct use of talents in collaboration with community partners to revitalize neighborhoods through art; and to engage the public through the arts.

Haworth College of Business

MGMT 4010—Project Leadership with Dr. Timothy Palmer

Management 4010 provides Western Michigan University students with professional leadership experience by giving them an opportunity to gain important insights into themselves as leaders, their leadership strengths, and opportunities for personal and professional development. Over the course of the semester, students work with a business or nonprofit to explore the agency’s views on leadership in modern organizations. Simultaneously, students conduct feasibility studies for these organizations’ business ideas. Students determine the plausibility of the proposal by researching their client’s strengths and weakness, soliciting stakeholder input, creating a marketing plan, among other aspects of the new venture. This offers students practical application of the course objectives by showing them motivational frameworks available to leaders as well as the characteristics of successful leadership and programming in today’s environment. Throughout the semester, students are required to provide self-reflections and evaluations of their experience. At semester’s end, teams give presentations to their clients to explain whether the proposed business idea is feasible, provide their team research to clients, and recommend future action.

College of Health and Human Services

Southwest Michigan Children’s Trauma Assessment Center

The Southwest Michigan Children’s Trauma Assessment Center is an interdisciplinary service team of professionals and students from Kalamazoo's Center for Behavioral Pediatrics; Michigan State University's College of Human Medicine; and Western Michigan University's Bronson School of Nursing, School of Social Work, physician assistant program, and departments of Occupational Therapy, Speech Pathology and Audiology. Recognizing that exposure to traumatic events affects child functioning, and that symptoms can subsequently be manifested (e.g., hypervigilance, withdrawal, sleeping difficulties, depression, and significant mood swings), the center offers assessment for early detection of deficits in order to minimize cognitive, psychological, and physiological impact on these children. The end product is an interdisciplinary care plan, tailored to the individual child.

The center's target population is children, ages 3 months to 17 years, entering foster care due to experiences of child abuse or neglect or following exposure to a traumatic event. The assessments address several developmental domains including cognitive/academic, physical, speech/language, social/familial, emotional, and behavioral and are administered through interdisciplinary team collaboration, including student learners from the departments listed above.