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Public forum examines the Western Edge

Oct. 30, 2007

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University's top leadership, a state senator and a community college administrator will examine the potential impact of a new WMU initiative called the Western Edge in a public forum set for Thursday, Nov. 8

The event, which will be held at 3 p.m. in the Fetzer Center, is titled "Sharpening the Edge, WMU's Strategy for the Future." It will feature a panel that includes Kenneth Miller, vice chair of the WMU Board of Trustees; WMU President John M. Dunn; and Dr. Andrew Bowne, executive director of college advancement for Grand Rapids Community College, WMU's third largest source of transfer students.

The free public forum is sponsored by WMU's Emeriti Council and the Western Association of Retired Faculty. Ample parking is available adjacent to the Fetzer Center.

The Western Edge, which was announced in July, is a strategic plan that promotes student success and includes an opportunity for students to enter into a graduation compact with the University that will lead to degree completion in the shortest time a program allows. Other elements include a retention scholarship for qualifying second-year students, enhanced advising and a freeze in room-and-board costs for up to four years for students who live in campus residence halls.

During the forum, WMU President Dunn will elaborate on how the University is crafting a more effective contract with students, while Miller is expected to discuss the significance of the initiative from the board's perspective. Bowne will comment on what it will mean to students who move from a community college into the University setting in pursuit of a four-year degree. Other topics to be covered include changes to faculty and student interaction, and the changing public expectations of public universities.

According to Dr. Peter Kobrak, WMU professor emeritus of public administration, the purpose of the event is to provide more information on what he and his colleagues see as a significant repositioning for the University. It also is designed to take a look into the future at what the initiative will mean to significant groups served by WMU. The panel discussion will allow ample opportunity for questions from those in attendance.

"The Western Association of Retired Faculty and the Emeriti Council have sponsored several forums," says Kobrak, "The purpose of each is to stimulate a dialogue on large issues involving the University among students, faculty and staff and the Kalamazoo community. We anticipate a lively discussion, particularly in light of controversy now as to what the appropriate role of a university should be in coming years."

For more information about the event, contact Dr. Peter Kobrak at peter.kobrak@wmich.edu or (269) 343-1825.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

WMU News
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