WMU News

Revamped international studies program announced

Dec. 16, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- Recommendations to create a new academic unit in the College of Arts and Sciences and restructure an existing academic unit in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences were approved Dec. 13 by the Western Michigan University Board of Trustees.

The proposal to create the International Studies Program unit grew out of a two-year study that focused on ways to enhance WMU's international offerings.

The College of Arts and Sciences was a focal point of the study because its faculty teach most of the courses for the University's area studies programs, which are administered by the Diether H. Haenicke Institute for International and Area Studies in the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

"Housing such extensive programs in an institute that reports directly to the provost is unprecedented at WMU," says Dr. Daniel M. Litynski, interim WMU president.

"In the process of renovating these programs, it became clear it is necessary to reaffirm the college's custodianship of the programs as uniquely liberal arts-based contributions by that college to international education at WMU."

The College of Arts and Sciences will now administer the University's majors and minors in Asian, European and Latin American studies through the International Studies Program in collaboration with the Haenicke Institute. However, officials already are in the process of developing a proposal to merge these programs into a new undergraduate major and minor in global and international studies.

Dr. Ronald Davis, assistant provost and Haenicke Institute director, says once the new major and minor are approved, students will be able to concentrate in Asian, European and Latin American studies as well as additional specialty areas.

Those interested in Africa, may still enroll in the Africana Studies Program, which was created in 2001 when WMU combined its African Studies and Black Americana studies programs.

In other action, the WMU Board of Trustees voted to divide the Department of Construction Engineering, Materials Engineering and Industrial Design into three academic units: the Department of Civil and Construction Engineering, the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and the Department of Industrial Design.

The move recognizes that the prior department administered three unrelated program areas that represent University strengths but have widely different faculty, laboratory and equipment needs.

The restructuring will facilitate planning for future program growth as well as result in improved accountability and resource management. It also will provide greater visibility for the three program areas, especially nanotechnology and materials.

No curricular or staffing changes will result from the restructuring. The former department's chairperson will become chairperson of the Department of Civil and Construction Engineering and continue to administer the two other new departments with assistance from the current administrative and technical staff.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, 269 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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