It is an exciting time at WMU! Under the leadership of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and with the support of the campus leadership, WMU is seeking to establish a new university college. The planning process for this new university college, One WMU, will seek to establish a university college at Western Michigan University. One WMU will bring together expertise from across campus to work creatively and collaboratively to design this new university college. The goal of One WMU is to provide recommendations to aid in the creation of a new university college that is intentionally centered around students. By optimizing the design of the college, students will navigate supports just-in-time to encourage timely completion of their undergraduate degree at WMU. The new university college will functionally centralize academic advising on campus and create an academic home for exploring students, and students in transition between majors. This college will serve all undergraduate students by providing academic advising to all undergraduate students and centralizing some academic support services.

Using Student-centered design to holistically meet students' needs

When considering the path of a student as they navigate support services through the university, often the path is often non-linear. Students on every campus across the United States face challenges. Whether those challenges are financial, social, academic, outside of the classroom or even process related, these challenges can hinder students from persisting in college. Without the proper support and necessary resources, many students find themselves leaving their degree program and opting out of higher education. WMU is not easy to navigate for students, especially more traditionally underrepresented students (i.e., first-generation college students, students of color, students with disabilities, low-income students, etc.). At Western Michigan University we are committed to changing that experience for students and supporting all students we admit through graduation.

A student-centered approach

Design Thinking is a human-centered problem-solving technique that encourages the creators and organizational staff to focus their efforts on the people for whom the products and services are being designed. The non-profit organization Achieving the Dream created a toolkit tailored to higher education institutions looking to redesign their student support services holistically . The student centered design framework was used to guide the planning process for One WMU.

The student-centered design approach utilized in the One WMU planning process will center the experience of WMU students, while encouraging creative problem solving in the creation of the new university college. This process will bring students voices forward and their needs, wants, and experiences will drive the intentional design of the new university college. By focusing on students’ needs holistically we will create a more consistent experience for students across campus.

Desireable, Feasible, Viable

The proposed solution should be desirable, feasible, and viable for WMU.

  • Desirable: The solution should meet the needs of WMU’s current and future students, fit their lives, appeal to them, and be something they want.
  • Feasible: Does WMU have the resources currently to make this happen? If not, is WMU willing and able to obtain the resources needed to execute the solution? Lastly, WMU will take adequate time to execute the solution.
  • Viable: Does the proposed solution align with the vision and mission of WMU and the current leadership? Is the solution cost-effective for students? What is the return on investment?


Design Team