KALAMAZOO, Mich.— Starting with the spring 2015 semester that begins in January, Western Michigan University will make college attendance more accessible to one important group of students by offering courses that are tailored specifically to the unit training weekend schedules of Air National Guard members assigned to Battle Creek's Kellogg Air National Guard Base.
Blended learning model
"We've been working on a delivery model to best serve the needs of members of the Air National Guard," says WMU Provost Timothy Greene, vice president for academic affairs. "With two locations in Battle Creek—one near the guard base—we feel we are perfectly positioned to offer courses tailored to the schedules and needs of ANG members."
Courses offered will feature the convenience of online learning blended with face-to-face meetings periodically throughout the semester. For courses designed specifically for ANG members, those face-to-face meetings will be offered on unit training weekends at WMU's College of Aviation, located just across the airfield from the Air National Guard base.
"We find that a blended model is ideal for those who need the convenience of online learning but still want the traditional personal interaction with the professor teaching the course," says Dr. Dawn Gaymer, associate provost for Extended University Programs. "The model is perfect for guardsmen who live across the region and travel to Battle Creek for weekend drills. This will allow them to maximize the use of their weekends on base."
The University offers academic programs at regional locations across the state, including 10 graduate and undergraduate programs in Battle Creek and 15 academic programs through Online Education, any of which would be available to members of the ANG. Tailoring the delivery format for such courses to make them more accessible to veterans and active military personnel in Battle Creek, says Gaymer, is consistent with WMU's reputation as one of the top military-friendly colleges and universities in the nation.
The first course tailored specifically for Battle Creek ANG members will be an English class that fills credit requirements toward an associate or bachelor's degree. A number of academic units and support staff from WMU will be on the Kellogg Air National Guard Base during the Nov. 22-23 training weekend to enroll students in that class for the spring semester as well as discuss additional course possibilities and assess the education needs of the guardsmen.
WMU's academic programs are open to anyone in the community. For more information, contact Luann Harden, regional director for WMU-Battle Creek, at (269) 965-5380.
Western Michigan University in Battle Creek
WMU has a long, rich history in Battle Creek, first offering classes there in 1913 and establishing a regional location in 1974. After outgrowing its location in Kalamazoo, WMU’s College of Aviation moved to Battle Creek in 1997 in cooperation with the city of Battle Creek, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the federal government. In Battle Creek, the University currently operates from the Kendall Center in the downtown area and the College of Aviation, which is at home on the eastern edge of W. K. Kellogg Airport in a facility that includes the airport's original terminal and control tower as well as a number of other buildings adapted for the needs of the college.
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