2019 Year in Review: WMU College of Arts and Sciences news

Contact: Kathleen Refior

This year, Western Michigan University’s College of Arts and Sciences has experienced another year of excitement and change. New programs were launched, research into opioid addiction was developed, drones were used to study environmental effects and much more.

Read more about the college’s, students, faculty and alumni accomplishments throughout the year. 


Participants of Giving Day 2019

Participants of WMU's 2019 Giving Day.

The College of Arts and Sciences participated in WMU's 2019 Giving Day. Nearly $34,000 were raised in 24 hours | READ MORE

Six new 4+1 graduate programs were created in partnership with Kalamazoo College, Aquinas College and Grand Valley State University | READ MORE

The College of Arts and Sciences launched a new student shop. Proceeds go directly to student scholarships | READ MORE

The annual State of the College of the Arts and Sciences celebrated faculty, student and staff accomplishments, and discussed the current state of the college | READ MORE

The College of Arts and Sciences released its third annual WMU Arts and Sciences Magazine | READ MORE

Researchers from the Michigan Geological Survey at WMU are studying bluff failures along the lakeshore and creating detailed maps | READ MORE

An art and science project highlights importance of not blowing off STEAM | READ MORE

Another year of excitement and change took place at the Kalamazoo Autism Center | READ MORE

Beginning spring 2020, Dunbar Hall will be fully renovated to accommodate students and campus. Renovations will be completed by Fall 2022 | READ MORE

WMU joined national alliance aimed at developing more inclusive and diverse STEM faculty | READ MORE

Students with drone outside

Students flying a drone during WMU Department of Geography's UAV graduate certificate program.

WMU program promotes support to young adults with autism in securing gainful employment | READ MORE

WMU launched new efforts to advance climate commitment, by exploring ways to reduce its carbon footprint | READ MORE

WMU’s Department of Spanish faculty and graduate students created an altar to celebrate and remember those during Day of the Dead | READ MORE

WMU’s Department of Geography, in coordination with WMU’s Aviation Sciences and Extended University Programs, launched two new unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) graduate certificate programs | READ MORE

WMU’s study abroad program brought Japanese religion and culture to career | READ MORE

WMU will soon be home to a new outdoor education center featuring a new prehistoric park | READ MORE

Beloved WMU religion and society professor, Dr. Rudolf Siebert, retired after a more than five-decade career | READ MORE

WMU part of $2.3 million program to boost diversity in economics | READ MORE

Dr. Nic Witschi, professor of English, was named the new acting associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences | READ MORE

Work by WMU may reduce US dependency on China for critical minerals | READ MORE

The Michigan Geological Survey, part of WMU’s Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, noted Michigan has minerals America needs | READ MORE

Dr. Schoffer with students in chem lab

Dr. Eike Schoffer working with students in chemistry lab.

Five staff members from the College of Arts and Sciences earned semi-annual Make a Difference Awards | READ MORE

The organizational psychology master's degree program, a part of WMU's Department of Psychology, was ranked 18th in the nation | READ MORE

Three ideas from Arts and Sciences faculty were selected in second phase of the National Science Foundation Big Idea competition | READ MORE

WMU was among recipients of nearly $1 M NSF grant to boost women in STEM fields | READ MORE

Dr. James Cousins was named an American Council on Education Fellow for the 2019-20 academic year | READ MORE

WMU Department of Geography received the 2019 M.S./M.A. Program Excellence Award from the American Association of Geographers | READ MORE 

WMU’s School of Communication was ranked a top master’s degree-granting program based on faculty research | READ MORE

WMU’s Communication and Social Robotics Lab recently launched the Human-Machine Communication Journal | READ MORE

A dozen faculty and staff were honored during the College of Arts and Sciences 2019 Faculty and Staff Achievement Awards | READ MORE


Lauren LaLonde skydiving in Queenstown, New Zealand

LaLonde skydiving in Queenstown, New Zealand.

Nights at the museum: WMU history student, Tre Goodman, helped design sleepover programs for the Smithsonian | READ MORE

Emily Szymanski, community and regional planning grad student, surveyed the sidewalks of Coldwater, MI, checking each one for safety and handicap accessibility | READ MORE

Lauren LaLonde traveled far and wide, participating in numerous study abroad programs | READ MORE

Twenty-two freshmen were inducted into the elite Medallion Scholars program at WMU. Nearly a quarter are from the College of Arts and Sciences | READ MORE

Three WMU students, including English student Cate Troost, were among students worldwide who have been named University Innovation Fellows by Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design | READ MORE

Sustainable brewing student Ellie Maddelein was honored with The Kalamazoo Beer Exchange Jonathan Granfeldt Scholarship | READ MORE

Claire Gilbert saw a bird’s eye view of Michigan’s interdunal wetlands at Ludington State Park | READ MORE

Arts and Sciences students, Hassan Alsaeed and Callahan DeCillis, received top honors from the Michigan Public Relations Society of America | READ MORE

Two Arts and Sciences majors, Greyson LaLonde and On’trell McKenzie, were awarded the prestigious Gilman scholarship | READ MORE

Anthropology students and researchers dug deeper into the history of Fort St. Joseph | READ MORE


Mine Dogan with drone

Dogan with the VLF electromagnetic field measurement probe.

Distinguished professor, Dr. Chansheng He, was named a 2019 AAAS Fellow | READ MORE

Dr. Linda Borish, associate professor of history as well as women and gender studies, discussed changes on the horizon of equal pay among female sports | READ MORE

Drs Whitney and Elise DeCamp  researched court cases in a Mississippi district over two decades and found a pattern of prosecutors removing African Americans from jury pools | READ MORE

The Michigan Council of Teachers of English named Dr. Jonathan Bush the 2019 recipient of the Charles Carpenter Fries Award | READ MORE

Dr. Kathleen Baker helps local organizations and community foundations make conservation and public health decisions through spatial data and analysis | READ MORE

Dr. Mine Dogan brought a low frequency electromagnetic sensor system to WMU to map plumes and define flow paths and possible geologic features that affect ground water movement | READ MORE

Dr. Angela Moe and Sunny, the therapy dog, provided healing comfort to survivors, families and friends of victims coping with reliving the details of crime | READ MORE

Dr. Anthony DeFulio is leading the research into opioid addiction and recovery using smartphone applications | READ MORE

Dr. Carla Koretsky and team will share a nearly $1 million National Science Foundation grant to find ways to encourage more women to teach in the STEM fields | READ MORE

Dr. Elena Litvinova, associate professor of physics, was awarded the WMU Emerging Scholar Award | READ MORE

Drs. Matthew Mingus and Leah Omilion-Hodges were honored as recipients of WMU’s 2019 Distinguished Teaching Awards | READ MORE

Dr. Brian Wilson, professor of comparative religion, received WMU’s 2019 Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award | READ MORE

Dr. Wei-Chiao Huang, department chair and professor of economics, was awarded WMU’s 2019 Distinguished Service Award | READ MORE

The Royal Society of Canada—also known as the Academies of Arts, Humanities and Sciences of Canada—recently awarded the honor of life membership to Dr. Lewis Pyenson, professor of history | READ MORE

Dr. Christine Byrd-Jacobs was appointed interim dean of WMU's Graduate college | READ MORE

Crain’s Detroit Business recognized Dr. Carla Koretsky and Dr. Terri Goss Kinzy as 2019 Notable Women in STEM | READ MORE

A WMU faculty member and a recent grad of the University received Core Fulbright Scholar Program awards to conduct research or work abroad during the 2018-19 academic year. Dr. Michael Famiano, associate professor of physics, was selected to travel to Japan and Kelsey Dovico, a 2015 WMU alumna from Royal Oak, earned a trip to Spain | READ MORE

Fritz Allhoff, professor in the Department of Philosophy, discussed  how AI could be used in extreme far-Northern environments, in places like Alaska, Iceland & Northern Canada | READ MORE


Roger Steininger holding gold coin

Steininger holds a gold coin made from one of his most significant discoveries, the 20-million-ounce Pipeline deposit. It is one of the largest gold deposits in the state of Nevada.

Having been appointed United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking, WMU alumna Bella Hounakey is on the frontlines of combatting human trafficking nationwide | READ MORE

Jeri Meola was inducted into Minnesota Women Business Owners Hall of Fame | READ MORE

More than two dozen alumni were honored during the College of Arts and Sciences 2019 Alumni Achievement Awards and three with the inaugural Pillar Award | READ MORE

Roger Steininger was honored as a distinguished alumni during WMU’s 2019 Night of Excellence | READ MORE

Kara Wood joined WMU as its new associate vice president for community partnerships | READ MORE

WMU alumna, Stephanie Hampton, was named 2019 English teacher of the year | READ MORE

WMU alumni, Roger Steininger, unearthed some of the world’s most significant golf and mineral discoveries | READ MORE

Cara Lougheed was appointed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to the Governor’s Educator Advisory Council of Michigan | READ MORE

Sam Reese brought craft beer to the U.P. as a production manager for Upper Hand Brewery | READ MORE

WMU alumni, Jeremy Goldman, Neena Marion and Ann Feldmeier, created educational opportunities for Kalamazoo refugees at the Kalamazoo Refugee Resource Collaborative | READ MORE

Senior budget analyst Monica Orsolini was nominated as a WMU Unsung Hero | READ MORE

The Michigan Department of Education named Cara Lougheed as the 2019-20 Teacher of the Year | READ MORE