KALAMAZOO, Mich.—In a formal motion added to its Dec. 8 meeting agenda, the Western Michigan University Board of Trustees pledged its support and endorsement for a WMU effort to assist the students of Battle Creek's Robert B. Miller College, which will close at the end of June, by helping them complete their degrees.
The University will offer a teach-out program for Miller students close to degree completion. For the past several weeks, University personnel have been in discussion about the initiative with officials at the Battle Creek school. Both WMU and Miller officials also have been in communication with the Higher Learning Commission, which is the higher education accrediting body for the 19-state region that includes Michigan.
After months of working with a recently discovered set of financial problems, the Miller College Board announced earlier on Dec. 8 that the 10-year-old Miller College will close its doors for good in June. The news was delivered to faculty and staff at a morning meeting. Students of the college were informed via an email letter.
Miller College enrolled just over 200 students this fall. About 80 percent of Miller students are pursuing a bachelor's degree part time, and some 60 percent attend school while being employed full time. Calhoun County students account for 59 percent of the student body. Miller's home is the Mawby Center, which is on the campus of Kellogg Community College.
The private, nonprofit institution opened in 2005 and was conceived as a resource for adult students who are employed to complete the last two years of their baccalaureate degrees. The college features schools that focus on business, the arts and sciences, education and nursing. A collaborative effort involving Kellogg Community College and Battle Creek-area foundations, the college is named for the late Robert B. Miller Sr., who was the publisher of the Battle Creek Enquirer. He also was the founder of the Miller Foundation.
The WMU Board of Trustees formally pledged the University's support for the foundation's decision and the path the foundation has chosen to keep its students moving toward their degree goals.
The impact of this decision on students "is the most important issue of concern for us all, and the WMU Board shares the foundation's commitment to ensuring a path to success for every student," says the WMU board resolution. "WMU has a 100-year history of serving the Battle Creek community, and we see this as an extension of that service and a way to assist our colleagues and the students of Miller College."
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