Jennifer Wendling Holm is one of the last staff members graduate students meet in the final months before they graduate. As coordinator of theses and dissertations in the Graduate College, Jennifer is responsible for reviewing and clearing these culminating works, putting on formatting workshops to help students make sure these works meet WMU guidelines, and assisting students with scheduling and announcing their oral dissertation defenses. Jennifer revises and shepherds between 30 and 45 dissertations and 25 to 35 theses through the system each graduation period.
It is a lot of reading and editing in a short period of time, so organization and time management are of the utmost importance surrounding graduation periods. She understands where the students are emotionally and academically at this final stage in the educational process and tries to make it as smooth as possible by being accessible to them, answering their questions, encouraging them and lending a sympathetic ear when needed. She finds it quite rewarding to see them through to the end. One of her goals is to make sure they leave the University on a high note, with scholarly theses and dissertations and a good feeling about WMU. In addition to reviewing theses and dissertations, Jennifer handles the graduate faculty nomination forms, committee forms, permission to elect forms, extend time to degree program forms and is the MIGS liaison officer for the University. She crafts the commencement copy for doctoral candidates, provides data regarding awards of doctoral and master’s candidates to University Relations and doctoral numbers and information to the Registrar’s Office.
Jennifer earned a bachelor’s degree in English from WMU and was hired full time as assistant to the vice president of research in 2000. In OVPR, her duties consisted of finding funding opportunities for the School of Social Work and various other disciplines, creating reports for the VP of Research for Carnegie Classification, writing correspondence and editing documents for staff, assistant editor for the WMU Research Magazine and Web author. Jennifer moved to the Graduate College as assistant to the dean in 2003. She was named to her current post in January 2005.
Prior to her employment at WMU, Jennifer enjoyed an assistant manager position at an independent bookseller, Bookbinder’s Bookstore and Café, near campus in Kalamazoo. She also spent a year traveling in Greensboro, North Carolina and Richland, Washington, visiting family and writing short stories. Jennifer takes pleasure in volunteering in the Kalamazoo area. She is a tutor for the Kalamazoo Literacy Council and will resume hosting a Senior Book Club at Wyndham West Retirement Community in winter 2013. She has been a student of yoga since 1996 and enjoys reading, writing, walking, hiking, kayaking and sailing.