Chief of the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety, Jeff Hadley, came to WMU on Monday March 12 to meet the students of Dr. Michael Millar’s Spanish with Internship and Service Learning course (Spanish 4400).
Hadley talked with Spanish Service Learning students about current issues of community and public safety relations, racial profiling studies, the clear separation between local public safety and federal immigration enforcement, the need for more bilingual staff in public safety and possible career paths for bilingual graduates of WMU. Dr. Millar’s students spent more than an hour with Chief Hadley discussing course materials that relate to his experience in law enforcement and public safety to gain a clearer understanding of multiple perspectives on these contemporary issues.
Hadley is one of several speakers from the Kalamazoo Community who have agreed to meet with Dr. Millar’s Spanish students. Other participants include: Thomas Thornburg, Managing Attorney with Farmworker Legal Services; MonaLisa Watson, Manager of Diversity and Inclusion at Bronson Hospital; Lori Mercedes, Interim Director of the Hispanic American Council; Kelly Alvarez, Principal of El Sol Elementary School; and Manuel Brenes, Coordinator of Bilingual and ESL programs for Kalamazoo Public Schools. Each of these guest speakers have offered Spanish service learning students valuable and experienced insight on a variety of course themes as well as the opportunity to converse about professional opportunities and expectations for bilingual graduates of WMU.
Millar recently was recognized with the 2012 WMU Excellence in Service-Learning Award for faculty instruction.
Millar started the Spanish 4400 the fall of 2008. Since that time, participants in the course have earned credits toward their Spanish major, while gaining valuable hands on experience in a variety of educational, professional and community settings. Spanish majors have collaborated with professor Millar to win grant funding from a variety of sources to support their course projects and have established many lasting professional relationships.
Currently, students of Spanish with Internship or Service Learning are working with Kalamazoo Public Schools, KCIS, KRESA, the Hispanic American Council, Farmworker Legal Services, Bronson Hospital and the WMU Division of Multicultural Affairs. The Department of Spanish offers this course for advanced Spanish majors each Spring semester.