The reason for this transition is preparing WMU for a changing landscape of higher education. The primary driver for this timing is the adoption of the university's new budget model (SRM), under which Extended University Programs will become a service unit as WMUx. This effort is aligned and coordinated with the Think Big strategic initiative begun by stakeholders in 2018.
Frequently Asked Questions
On this website and in recent communications to the campus community, we have addressed some of the most common questions about WMUx, but if you have a different question or need further clarification on an answer, please let us know through our contact form.
Why is this change happening now?
When will this become effective?
The transformation of EUP into WMUx will happen over several months, integrating insights from faculty and other key stakeholders. The "listening tour" phase will be completed by finals week this Spring (2020). WMUx will incorporate feedback and input from stakeholders to launch its full range of services over the summer, with the full transition in place by October 1, 2020. The financial transitions associated with tuition revenue and instructional costs from online and regional courses will be implemented with the start of the SRM budget model on July 1, 2021.
When will the name change become effective?
The name will be rolled out over time to all affected tools and teams, but you can feel free to begin using the name now. The full visual identity and name will be introduced everywhere by October 1, 2020.
How will WMUx be funded going forward?
As part of the transition to the new budgetary model (SRM), WMUx will be a centrally-funded service unit, no longer collecting or distributing tuition revenue. However, the unit will remain entrepreneurial and strategic in mission and behavior, continuing to identify and reach new markets while diversifying revenue streams to the university.
Will there be any changes to the space and location of WMUx?
As WMUx, the unit will remain headquartered in Ellsworth Hall, while continuing to operate WMU regional locations. As part of the effort to unify instructional support for the university, the Faculty Technology Center and the Office of Faculty Development will now become part of WMUx, but will remain in the same location in the University Computing Center. As part of our listening tour and ongoing design process, we will explore the possibility of designing and building new spaces to support transformative learning experiences.
Why the focus on human-centered design? What are the implications of that term?
We are adopting this mindset in order to more effectively support the needs of learners and instructors. By starting with user needs, we can design and develop new ideas in collaboration with faculty and other stakeholders. Human-centered design relies on empathy, ideation, and experimentation, all three of which will be integrated into the approach and methods of WMUx.
Will there be any personnel reductions or additions?
Our major personnel changes were announced last fall, and were detailed in the Provost's message to campus on November 15, 2019. We carried out these changes to realign strategy and resources, investing in areas where we needed to grow capacity. We are now in the process of hiring some new positions, and will continue to add others based on the input we gather from the listening tour and our internal design process. There are no plans for any other major restructuring, nor for any further reductions in force for WMUx.
Will this impact any presence or activity outside Kalamazoo? What about classes?
WMUx will retain operational and budgetary responsibility for all WMU regional locations. While the number of regional locations has continued to decline over the past few years, this trend is a reflection of market demand for face-to-face programs, not reductions in budget or the shift to the new budget model (SRM). WMUx will continue to staff and support regional locations, ensuring safety and security for students, faculty, and staff, while providing front-line resources to our academic partners.
How will faculty be included in the transition?
The perspective and input of faculty are critical to the mission and future of WMUx. Accordingly, we will carry out a "listening tour" — a series of faculty events where participants can learn more about the transition, ask questions, share comments, and collaborate in shaping the new unit. These events were designed with the same human-centered approach as the strategic planning employed by EUP leaders, and will be held from mid-February through mid-April, prior to Spring Finals.
How will this impact resident faculty and staff at regional locations?
Faculty and staff at regional locations will see no change in the day-to-day support provided by WMUx regional staff for teaching, learning, security, and operations. Responsibilities for marketing, promotion, and recruitment will be transitioned over time to academic colleges, departments, and other service units, such as the graduate college and enrollment management.
What happens to the faculty lines being funded by EUP? How will costs be structured?
As part of the transition to the new budgetary model (SRM), WMUx will be a service unit, no longer collecting or distributing tuition revenue. EUP has been working with the colleges to plan for the transfer of those faculty lines to the academic units. However, until the new budget model goes into effect in July 2021, WMUx will continue to honor contracts and agreements made with colleges and departments to fund faculty lines and cover instructional costs for online and regional courses.
When will we begin to see investment into initiatives for the core academic mission? What are some of those initiatives?
The investment is already underway. Last fall, EUP assumed operational and financial responsibility for the Faculty Technology Center (FTC), and immediately committed resources to upgrade the space and staff the office. We are now assuming operational and financial responsibility for the Office of Faculty Development, and have reallocated resources to fully fund a full-time Director position. As we continue to merge those two units, WMUx expects to realize additional efficiencies and savings in areas such as equipment and supplies that can then be reinvested into learning-focused activities and spaces. During the listening tour, a key goal is to learn from our faculty and other instructors and academic leaders what types of resources and support they need from WMUx. These insights will inform our design process and the strategic investments that we will make in the years ahead.