WMU now offering a bachelor’s degree in event management; accepting students this fall

Contact: Deborah Droppers

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—After much anticipation, Western Michigan University is now offering a bachelor’s degree in event management beginning fall 2023. Housed in the College of Education and Human Development, this 51-credit hour interdisciplinary program is made up of a unique set of courses representing 12 departments from four colleges on campus.  

"The WMU Event Management curriculum is different than a hospitality major that focuses on how to support an event within your facility. Students in this program will learn how to produce an event that could be hosted anywhere there is a facility or outdoor venue. Events are back and they are focused on customer experience and engagement. We are teaching event innovation and design based on the outcomes created by the Certified Meeting Planner certificate," explains Deb Droppers, faculty and program coordinator.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, demand for job positions in this industry is expected to grow by 18% from 2021 to 2031, which is significantly faster than the average occupational growth.   

“The timing of this program couldn’t be better. Kalamazoo County is in the process of opening up several new event venues and is working on a long-term strategy surrounding the Kalamazoo Event Center. Events are critical to the sustainability of downtown and our many cities and villages that host events to build community. One of the reasons why this major was created was to fill the demand of our corporations and nonprofits looking for event producers who can do their internships here and hopefully fall in love with Kalamazoo and stay here making our towns vibrant,” says Droppers.

The core of WMU’s program will focus on event ideation, program design, technology, execution management, budgeting and community engagement and is experientially based with both in-class and off-campus learning. Beyond the program core, students are encouraged to build their own pathway with options such as conventions, music festivals, non-profit or weddings. Additionally, students will interact with professionals in the fields of event management, utilizing service learning and getting class credit while working in the field. This includes the planning and execution of local events such as popups, catering, conventions and exposition management. 

“We are thrilled about the launch of the event management major! Event management combines courses from the Department of Human Performance and Health Education, the School of Communication, and the Haworth College of Business into a major that allows prospective students to use their creativity, communication, and organizational skills. It provides a tremendous opportunity for WMU students to prepare for jobs in a growing field,” says Dr. Kristal Ehrhardt, interim dean of the College of Education and Human Development.  

Learn more about the event management major

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