WMUx is the new name of WMU’s transformed Extended University Programs unit. On the surface, the “x” maintains a connection to the unit’s origin in “extended” programming, but on a deeper level, the name represents a redefined role and purpose for the unit.
Acting as a multiplier for the university
The core function of WMUx is to act as a resource and partner for the university. This means that rather than taking over or superseding existing innovation efforts throughout the institution, WMUx will work collaboratively with faculty and other stakeholders to inform, support, augment, and help execute their efforts. The goal of this unit will be to multiply the creative capacity of different departments and stakeholders so that design thinking practices won’t just be used by WMUx, they will be shared and adopted throughout the entire university.
A key variable in catalyzing change
The methods and approach of WMUx are significantly different from the typical methods and approaches used in academia. Human-centered design, collaboration & inclusion, and translation of meaning and understanding will serve as the core pillars of a different way to solve problems. Like a chemical catalyst, these competencies will allow WMUx to act as a key ingredient that accelerates the process of innovation by breaking down barriers between silos and introducing new ways of thinking.
A foundation for growth and evolution
Among the many lengthy labels used by academic units and teams, WMUx stands out by design. Much like the ideas and insights that will be produced by this unit’s efforts, this name signals in an important way that WMUx will support a different vision for the university. In a straightforward way, the name simply represents that this unit is working on whatever “next” means for WMU. By expressing a simple, but profound purpose, the name can allow the unit to grow and change without losing sight of that focus.