WMU fashion program recognized as one of the top in the nation

Contact: Chris Hybels

A student uses a sewing machine in the design lab located in Kohrman Hall.

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Western Michigan University's bachelor’s degree in fashion merchandising and design (FMD) became one of six programs in the nation to be accredited by the Textile and Apparel Programs Accreditation Commission (TAPAC). TAPAC is the only accrediting body for collegiate programs in textiles and apparel areas, ensuring quality standards and educational experience that prepares students for professional growth.  

“Accrediting bodies typically evaluate educational institutions and programs regularly to ensure that they continue to meet these standards,” says Dr. Zee-Sun Yun, associate professor of FMD in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences. “This accreditation means that students can trust that they are receiving an education that is up to par with industry standards.”

Accreditation is not only an achievement for the department, as students will also see the impact on their education and future careers in the industry.

“Students can expect several benefits from being part of an accredited program, including enhanced career prospects, a comprehensive education that meets industry standards, and the assurance that they are receiving a high-quality education,” says Zee-Sun Yun. 

Accreditation selection is based on peer review of programs, resources and student outcomes. Faculty spent over one year preparing the accreditation report and site visit from TAPAC. This included collecting student work samples to demonstrate their competencies and documenting required accreditation elements. 

“This work is ongoing, but the accreditation was a massive undertaking that required long-term cooperation and collaboration within the FMD program as well as with myself and other administrators to collate the necessary evidence,” says Dr. Suzan Smith-Ayers, chair of Western’s Department of Family and Consumer Sciences.

Notification of the accreditation was received March 27, and Western will be formally recognized as a TAPAC Accredited Program at the TAPAC Assembly of Delegates meeting in fall 2023.


The fashion merchandising and fashion design and development majors prepare students for careers in the dynamic, fast-paced fashion industry. Students gain knowledge about industrial processes and products and focus their studies on merchandising or design and development to achieve specific career goals. Courses are designed to be stimulating and challenging, with opportunities to develop creative, communication, leadership and professional skills. Experiential and study abroad opportunities supplement a strong curriculum to assure that graduates can succeed in a culturally diverse and global industry. For more information, visit the fashion merchandising and design program page.

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