WMU News

KCC, WMU debut part-time elementary education program

June 12, 2000

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. -- A new partnership between Kellogg Community College in Battle Creek and Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Mich., will make it more convenient for area residents to obtain a bachelor's degree in elementary education.

The academic collaboration will allow a group of qualified KCC students to enroll in WMU's elementary education major this coming fall and complete their undergraduate degree through the Kendall Center, the University's regional center in Battle Creek.

"It's particularly important right now for institutions like WMU and KCC to work collaboratively to expand the number of people who will become teachers," says Dr. Paul Ohm, president of KCC.

"Thousands of longtime educators are starting to retire, creating a shortage of qualified teachers across the nation," Ohm explains. "Programs like our new partnership with WMU will encourage students to major in education because they make it easier for people to complete their preparation and enter teaching as a profession."

Tony DeRose, Kendall Center director, adds that the program will allow the center to better meet the educational needs of citizens in south central Michigan.

"A lot of people, especially those who work full-time, aren't in a position to commute to a four-year institution like WMU each semester," DeRose says. "Now they'll be able to start their course work at KCC and have the opportunity to complete their degree close to home at the Kendall Center."

DeRose says the elementary education program is geared toward part-time students, although full-time students also may be admitted to courses offered through the program.

To be considered for inclusion in the initial group of elementary education students, or future groups, applicants must have declared elementary education as their KCC major; have completed at least 35 credit hours of college courses, including a developmental psychology course; and successfully pass the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification.

Once those requirements are met, DeRose says it will take students about three and one-half years to finish their bachelor's degree. During this time period, they will take general and professional education courses and complete minors in elementary education, integrated creative arts, and mathematics and science.

As students in each group go through the program, they will receive priority when registering for required classes. Other benefits of the KCC-WMU partnership will result from the two institution's commitment to cooperatively provide advising assistance and financial aid as well as to share educational resources and teaching staffs.

KCC was founded in 1956 and has grown to include the Grahl Center in Coldwater, the Fehsenfeld Center in Hastings and a planned center in Albion in addition to the Regional Manufacturing Technology Center in Battle Creek's Ft. Custer Industrial Park. These facilities annually serve more than 8,500 students.

The college offers one- and two-year programs, including transferable preprofessional college/university curricula in 37 areas, associate's degrees in 32 areas, and seven certificate programs.

WMU has had a longstanding relationship with both KCC and Battle Creek. It began offering courses in the city in 1917 and opened a center there in 1974. The University relocated to the Kendall Center in downtown Battle Creek in 1993. Kendall serves about 1,800 students each year. It offers several degree and certificate programs in fields as diverse as applied liberal studies, education, counseling, holistic health care and public administration. Most of these programs are offered at the graduate level.

KCC and the Kendall Center currently offer a joint degree-completion program that leads to a bachelor's degree in occupational education studies, which allows individuals with vocational skills to return to school and obtain certification to teach at the high school or community college level. Plans are in the works for the two schools to also collaborate in offering a bachelor's degree program in manufacturing engineering.

For more information about the new elementary education program, contact KCC's office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences at (616) 965-3931 or the Kendall Center at (616) 965-5380.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, 616 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
616 387-8400