Welcome back to campus and the start of the spring 2018 semester. I hope your winter recess was restful and that you had time to recharge, reflect, and get ready for a productive new year. This semester is shaping up to be a time of great promise, positive momentum, and real change. Given the strides taken in the fall semester, I hope you share my eagerness for the start of this new semester and new year. We have much to look back on with pride and I know that working together we can take WMU to new heights.
New leaders in two critical positions
We begin the semester with two new campus leaders joining us in important roles. I hope you'll go out of your way to congratulate and welcome them.
Dr. Terri Goss Kinzy
Dr. Terri Goss Kinzy joins us today as our new vice president for research. She brings with her an impressive set of credentials as a distinguished researcher and teacher, deep experience in senior leadership roles in research administration at Rutgers University and a proven track record of building bridges between a medical school and university.
Dr. Satish Deshpande
Dr. Satish Deshpande was selected to become the new dean of our Haworth College of Business. He's already established a record of accomplishment as a faculty member here at WMU as well as through his service as associate dean and interim dean. Working with the faculty, staff, students and alumni, he will build, I'm sure, on the successes of our business college.
Provost search will be spring focus
A major area of focus for us this spring will be the search for a new provost. The search committee, led by Dr. John Jellies, is in place and already collecting ideas from the campus community about the qualities our next provost will need to succeed. Be sure to share your views at wmich.edu/provostsearch or plan to attend campus listening sessions set for Thursday and Friday, Jan. 11-12. We'll keep you posted on times and locations.
I promised a January announcement of the proposals winning support through our new Transformational Initiative Fund. In the next few days I'll let you know which of the many good ideas submitted will secure funding in this first round of submissions. This University is brimming with wonderful ideas, and more than 60 surfaced in the very short timeframe set aside for the initial round. It was wonderful to see the range of ideas and the depth of thought that went into them. Thank you. But don't stop now. We will need your wisdom, energy, and talents to implement these ideas and for the next rounds of transformational proposals.
Celebrating our students' success
We're beginning the semester with a new report that offers great detail about our students' postgraduation success. The basic findings include the fact that 91 percent of our grads are working or in graduate school within three months of graduation, and 77 percent have jobs right here in Michigan. There's so much more you'll want to know about. I suggest you read the executive summary and then check on the stats for the bachelor's and graduate degrees with which you're most connected. You'll find median salaries, job titles and names of employers for recent grads as well as a sample of what graduate schools they chose to attend.
Dr. Ewa Urban in Career and Student Employment Services oversaw this, our eighth, compilation of data on 5,025 students who graduated during 2016-17. The response rate on the annual survey is a whopping 77 percent.
A number of events have been the subject of some intense planning by our colleagues around the campus and in the community. I hope you'll mark them on your calendars and be ready to attend.
- The Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration 2018 will feature activities from Jan. 10-24, as well as on April 14. Jan. 15 events will include a teach-in, Communitywide Day of Service, convocation, luncheon, commemorative walk and community celebration.
- Our Spring Convocation: Recognition of Discovery, Diversity and Global Engagement is set for Friday, Feb. 23. It will include discovery symposia, professional development workshops, a recognition luncheon, awards ceremony and a Gold Gathering reception.
- Just for the fun of it, be sure to take note of the fact that WMU's College of Engineering and Applied Sciences will host this year's statewide concrete canoe and steel bridge competition April 6-8. The event, sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers, will attract engineering students from across Michigan, It marks the first time in 10 years that WMU will be the site of this showcase of student engineering skill.
- Our community that will enjoy the energy and beauty of the Gilmore Keyboard Festival 2018. The Gilmore—April 25-May 12—will once again bring the attention of the music world to our city, our community and our campus. This biennial event has become internationally recognized as America's most prestigious piano music festival and is one of the wonderful benefits we enjoy as part of the Kalamazoo community.
Finally, a variety of lecture series, theatrical and musical presentations, a webinar series on hot legal issues in education and a series of ethics center book clubs—all can be found on the calendar throughout the semester. Be sure to take advantage of these and other opportunities to explore and support and engage with students, community members and colleagues.
I am sure we are all looking forward to a semester that will bring new achievements by our great students as well as pathbreaking accomplishments from our faculty and staff. Thank you for all you do to make WMU the university of choice. With your talent, energy and commitment, I am confident that 2018 will be a spectacular year.
Ed Montgomery, president