About the MLK Academy

 

Like all successful programs, the Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Academy, named in honor of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., has the distinction of being the forerunner of similar programs in colleges and universities throughout the United States. In 1968, a group of young Black students known as the Black Action Movement (BAM) raised their voices against discriminatory practices at Western Michigan University and were heard. BAM sought for increased minority student and faculty representation on campus. Out of that movement, the first Academy then known as Project 73 was born. With a grant from the Kellogg Foundation, a six-week summer bridge program that provided academic services and scholarship to 60 African American first-year students from high schools across the southwestern Michigan region was established. In 1993, the program changed its format to a 21-day intensive emersion program that took place off campus. During this concentrated time, students received seven hours of academic credit while participating in group building, leadership, and learning techniques. Recently, the program was restructured to include four-tier levels that would provide academic services to students from their first-year to graduation.

Four-Tier Structure

In 2009, a pilot program was set in motion to service second-year students. The success of this pilot became the catalyst for the expansion of services to include junior and senior years. As a four-tier structure, the MLK Academy provides students with a variety of programs and services that support and enhance their learning experiences and progression toward graduation. While all students are assigned to work with a professional staff person and are coached by an upper-level student, each tier is designed to address developmental milestones associated with that phase of the student’s matriculation.

Through regularly scheduled meetings with professional staff and academy peer leaders, students are introduced to an environment that promotes strong academic achievement and leadership opportunities as well as encourages participation in events that advance diversity on campus.

Four-Tier Level Components

First Year Experience
Integration into Campus Life
Academic Course Review and Coaching
Academic Progress Review
Diversity and Cultural Programs

Sophomore Year Experience
Major Declaration
Career and Internship Exposure
Study Abroad Exploration
Services and Community Learning

Junior Year Experience
Graduate School Exploration
Senior Project Preparation
Internship and Study Abroad Experience
Research Opportunities

Senior Year Experience
Graduation Preparation
     Audit Application
     Graduate School Application
Entrance to Profession

Snapshot

3-Year Enrollment, Retention, and Ethnic Distinction

Year

Enrolled

Retained

Ave. GPA

AA

W

H

AI

AP

M

U

2010

85

81%

2.80

51

22

4

1

2

4

1

2009

99

89%

2.73

68

20

8

1

3

0

0

2008

110

85%

2.77

52

30

14

3

5

0

4

AA=African American, W=White, H=Hispanic, AI=American Indian, AP=Asian Pacific, M=Multiracial, U=Unidentified

Retention Rate Comparison for 2010

First-Year Student Enrollment

MLK Academy

University*

Fall Enrollment

85

3,354

Retention Rate

69

2,494

Percentage

81.2%

74.4%

*Retrieved from the Office of Institutional Research Retention Reports

MLK Academy Participants

First-year, sophomore, junior, and senior students awarded the Multicultural Leadership Scholarship (MLS).

MLK Academy Staff 2011

  • 3 full-time assistant directors
  • 1 outreach, program, and events planner
  • 8 student employees

MLK Academy's Advantages

  • Professional Guidance – Participants work with professional staff to develop and implement an academic plan of success that will support their academic, career, and personal/social development.
  • Academy Leaders Participants are coached by upper-level students who serve as positive role models and guide them toward academic and social success.
  • Academic Support – Participants receive free, individualized tutoring throughout their academic career at WMU.
  • Academic Review – Participants meet regularly with academy leaders to receive feedback on their academic progress and review mid-term grade reports provided by their instructors.
  • Social Engagement – Participants engage in a variety of programs and events that enhance their social, cultural, and holistic development.

MLK Academy Partnerships

  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • College of Aviation
  • College of Business
  • College of Engineering and Applied Sciences
  • College of Fine Arts
  • College of Health and Human Services
  • Exploratory Advising
  • Division of Multicultural Affairs
  • Center for Academic Support Programs
  • University Counseling and Testing Center
  • Office of Student Activities and Leadership Programs
  • Office of Admissions
  • Office of the Registrar
  • Financial Aid Office

 

 

Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Academy
2260 Ellsworth Hall
Kalamazoo
MI 49008-5233
Phone: (269) 387-3317
Fax: (269) 387-3390

Student Spotlight

Hernandez Student Spotlight

 


 

Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Academy

Division of Multicultural Affairs

2260 Ellsworth Hall
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5233 USA
Phone: (269) 387-3317 | Fax: (269) 387-3390