Accelerator U


Western Michigan University is the only place that accelerates the preparation of learners for 21st century jobs—some of which jobs didn’t exist when they started college.


Modeling itself after startup accelerators, WMU would become an incubator for talented students to be coached by faculty and other renowned educators and business, research, and industry leaders—in a sustainable growth ecosystem.

WMU would develop a cross-campus and cross-community pilot exemplar that would draw upon a wide range of resources in our academic and local communities and outside of our communities. The pilot would be use-tested locally and nationally to generate revenue streams to “prime the pump” for scaling up and rolling out the Accelerator U. The pilot would be expanded as numerous WMU schools and departments engage in participation. Each successive proof of concept iteration would advance WMU toward becoming the Accelerator U on the world stage.

While successive pilots are being scaled up, tested, and refined, a program would be designed and built to leverage WMU strengths and integrate cross-campus academics. Over time, the program would expand to become the differentiator for which Western is known. One could think of this as a supercharged self-directed learning ecosystem.

Note: The pilot I’m envisioning is the perceptual browser (metadata search engine) that I’ve invented, and would be a good fit with Thinking Big. It could be a catalyst for actualizing any number of the Big Ideas already submitted. In recent years I’ve discussed my browser with a number of departments and schools at WMU and in the community. My next step is securing seed funding to develop my browser at Western through designated contributions to the WMU Foundation. I’ve written proposals (based on Western and community feedback) to scale up development of my browser in three progressively expansive proofs of concept (community, state, national) to sell to Google. The metadata search engine would be a companion product for Google’s word search, but monetized by channel and network infrastructures, instead of the current altogether unsustainable internet ad model that monetizes word search. (Metadata search would be a disruptive marketing/tech industry innovation.) Revenue streams from Google would fund the development and rollout of the Accelerator U, and position WMU on the world stage by powering the next generation of jobs worldwide; and by the way, advancing humankind understanding.

Philip Kunze—Designer, storyteller, and inventor; retired from worldwide marketing at The Upjohn Company and from adjunct appointment in the WMU Frostic School of Art; and Kalamazoo resident for 50 years.


  • All stakeholders will benefit from attracting talented students, resources, investment, and recognition.
  • The accelerator would be funded by revenue streams from a successful, marketable, and sustainable incubator model.