Dunn answers White House summit invitation, travels to D.C.

Contact: Cheryl Roland
Photo of WMU President John M. Dunn.


KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Western Michigan University President John M. Dunn heads to Washington, D.C., this week, answering an invitation from the White House to take part in a Thursday, Dec. 4, event that will focus on expanding access to college for low-income and disadvantaged students.

College Opportunity Day of Action

Dunn will take part in the daylong set of discussions and panel presentations at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden will speak at the event, which is called a College Opportunity Day of Action. The summit will end with participants at the White House for the annual Christmas tree-lighting ceremony.

The day's activities will focus on building networks of colleges around such topics as promoting completion, investing in high school counselors as part of the First Lady's Reach Higher initiative, creating K-16 partnerships around college readiness, and increasing the number of college graduates in STEM fields.

Groundbreaking course work

WMU's Dunn will be a panelist for one session that focuses on innovation in Michigan aimed at better preparing high school counselors to help students prepare and apply for college. He will talk specifically about groundbreaking required course work that WMU has developed and made an integral part of its counselor preparation program.

School Counseling for Postsecondary and Career Readiness is a new course offered through WMU's Department of Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology. The course, which made its debut this fall, was recognized during a College Opportunity Agenda event held earlier this fall at Harvard. The WMU course was developed through a grant from the Michigan College Access Network and the groundbreaking course content is intended to be shared with other colleges and universities.

Dunn was invited to Washington to share details of the effort with other college presidents and school district superintendents. The invitation came from Cecilia Muñoz who is director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, "on behalf of President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama."

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