The Diether H. Haenicke Institute for Global Education, established by the Board of Trustees in 1998, creates and sustains an environment which facilitates the global engagement of the WMU community.

The institute is comprised of professional staff and faculty led by an associate provost who reports directly to the University provost. Institute staff work closely with the International Education Council of the WMU Faculty Senate, as well as with international education committees and projects within and across colleges.

WMU has a long history of international involvement, dating back to 1911, when the University granted its first degree to an international student. The University’s first study abroad program was launched in 1945 and the establishment of exchange relationships with international institutions began in 1961. WMU opened its first transnational education—or twinning—program in 1987.

Fast facts

  • All University degree programs include an international general education requirement. WMU was the first American university to require all students to include study of the non-Western world.
  • The institute administers more than 100 official partnerships between WMU and educational institutions around the world, and assists University faculty and staff in maintaining and developing partnerships for research, faculty and student exchange, and other types of collaboration.
  • WMU currently enrolls more than 1,800 international students (spring 2020) representing more than 100 countries. The top-five countries (alpha order) typically sending international students to WMU are: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, India, People’s Republic of China, Dominican Republic and Iraq. Review current enrollment by geographic region in Institutional Research's Enrollment Map.
  • The institute is responsible for international student recruitment and retention, marketing, and international student admissions for all undergraduate and graduate programs in collaboration with academic departments. The institute provides support services for international students, including counseling and orientation programs.
  • The institute offers comprehensive immigration counseling and services to visiting students, scholars, foreign-national faculty and staff, and their WMU hosting or sponsoring departments through a professionally staffed immigration services office. The director of immigration services serves as both the Responsible Officer for the WMU Exchange Visitor Program designated by the U.S. Department of State, and as the Principal Designated School Official for WMU, a university certified by the U.S. Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) to enroll international students. The director of immigration services recommends travel policy and procedures for WMU international students, scholars and faculty. Immigration staff conduct optional practical training and employment regulation information sessions throughout the academic year. Potential health and security issues for WMU students, faculty and staff traveling abroad are reviewed, as needed, by the WMU Study Abroad Security and Health Review Council chaired by the institute associate provost.
  • WMU founded one of the largest and oldest transnational education programs (formerly called ‘twinning’) in the U.S. From WMU’s collaboration with Sunway University College, which began in 1987 to develop their educational programs in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, transnational education at the University has grown to include not only twinning programs, but international articulation programs and dual degrees. WMU undergraduate transnational education programs currently operate in Malaysia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, China, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the Dominican Republic.
  • Nearly 600 students participate each academic year in WMU study abroad programs through the institute to more than 30 countries. Programs are available for undergraduates and graduates in a broad spectrum of disciplines for an academic year, one semester, or summer terms. WMU offers more than 30 short-term, faculty-led study abroad courses, allowing students to earn major or minor credit with a WMU faculty member in an overseas location. More than 10 percent of WMU undergraduate students study abroad annually before graduation according to Open Doors, a report on international student mobility. Language-intensive study abroad programs are offered in Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, French, German and Spanish. Additionally, the institute provides students with opportunities to undertake international internships, conduct international field study, perform international service, and study abroad for academic credit. In 2014-15, students studying abroad through WMU received more than $428,000 scholarships. Most scholarship awards are about 30 percent of student financial need for the academic term. 
  • The Center for English Language and Culture for International Students prepares international students in intensive English as a Second Language instruction for admission to undergraduate and graduate programs. CELCIS was founded in 1975 and is fully accredited. Its 14 faculty specialists and master faculty specialists hold advanced training in ESL and applied linguistics. CELCIS is one of two Michigan-based ESL programs accredited by the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation and is a member of the American Association of Intensive English Programs and University and College Intensive English Programs. CELCIS enrolls more than 100 students per term. 
  • WMU hosts Fulbright Fellows, Scholars, and Foreign Language Teaching Assistants through the Haenicke Institute. The WMU Fulbright advisor works with WMU faculty interested in becoming Fulbright Scholars and with U.S. students wishing to apply for Fulbright awards. The advisor also coordinates the Fulbright Foreign Student, Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) and Scholar programs. 
  • The institute facilitates regular and ongoing international activities on campus, including an annual study abroad fair, an international festival, which draws about 4,000 campus and community members, and a week-long celebration of International Education Week in November. A comprehensive orientation program for international students is offered for incoming students just before the fall, spring and summer semesters commence.
  • The institute works with the International Education Council of the WMU Faculty Senate towards the internationalization of the WMU learning experience. The institute and the IEC work with the Internationalization Collaborative of the American Council on Education and the National Association of Land Grant Universities and Colleges. In addition, the institute works closely with internationalization committees in the following colleges: Haworth College of Business, College of Education and Human Development, College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, College of Health and Human Services and the College of Arts and Sciences.
  • The WMU faculty includes more than 200 scholars with academic or research experience outside the United States, who engage actively in collaborative inquiry with scholars, professionals and specialists spanning the globe.
  • With joint funding from the provost’s office, the institute administers the International Education Faculty Development Fund, which supports international travel for faculty to conduct research, undertake creative activities, or present at international conferences.
  • The institute is the beneficiary of $7.5 million in endowments used to advance the internationalization of the University mainly through student scholarships. The institute actively seeks funding for international programming and is the recipient of private, federal, and state funding for international education. It also provides funding to support full-time faculty in leading study abroad programs, teaching at institutions abroad, participating in international conferences, conducting research abroad, and to internationalize their courses. Many WMU faculty have been recipients of Fulbright research grants.
  • The institute facilitated WMU's participation in an American Council on Education Internationalization Collaborative project from 2008-2010.
  • As a partner of the WMU Campus Climate for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Tactical Action Community, the institute supports campus-wide efforts towards welcoming diversity and promoting inclusion.
  • The institute is intended to become a resource and information center on globalization and internationalization for schools, public agencies, and citizen groups, a partner with public and private sector organizations with global involvement seeking collaboration with the University, and a focus for inter-institutional partnerships in global and international academic initiatives.

Research centers and institutes within the Haenicke Institute

  • Established in fall 2010, the Timothy Light Center for Chinese Studies was created to enhance the work of faculty and graduate researchers at Western Michigan University who have expertise in some field of Sinology and their continuing pedagogical and research interests in China.
  • The Michitoshi Soga Japan Center was founded in 2006 and is dedicated to promoting research to advance knowledge about Japan for students, scholars, government and community and corporate leaders, and the general public. The Soga Center works with an extensive alumni network in Japan and benefits from the Japan Friends of WMU endowment.

(Updated February 2022)