Community college pact extends WMU presence in metro Detroit

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Photo of Wayne County Community College District's University Center.

Wayne County Community College District's University Center

KALAMAZOO—A collaboration agreement between Western Michigan University and Wayne County Community College District will expand WMU's growing presence in southeast Michigan.

WMU President John M. Dunn and WCCCD Chancellor Curtis L. Ivery met Feb. 6 at WCCCD offices in Detroit to sign an agreement that will allow WMU to offer advanced classes at WCCCD's University Center in Harper Woods as early as May.

Seamless transfer process

The initial WMU offerings will be courses that lead to a bachelor's degree in university studies as part of a "two-plus-two" arrangement. The program will see WCCCD students complete their associate degree and then transfer seamlessly to WMU for the final two years of study. The WMU courses will be a combination of online and face-to-face courses.

In addition, the agreement also provides WMU with a space to offer classes at WCCCD's Northwest campus, located on West Outer Drive in Detroit, as well as a space for advising students enrolled in other WMU online offerings.

"We have a long history of serving students in southeast Michigan, and nearly a third of our student population is from the region," says WMU's Dunn. "This is a way to meet the needs of even more area students, and we're delighted to collaborate with WCCCD to make our goal a reality."

The agreement must be approved by the state; the Higher Learning Commission, which is the accrediting body for both schools; and by WMU's faculty. Online courses would then begin in May, and face-to-face instruction would start in September.

"We’re excited to be partnering with Western Michigan University on offering new roads to higher education and rewarding careers," says Ivery. "Our mission has always been to provide pathways to a better life through higher education. Partnering with an institution of the caliber of WMU only enhances that mission."

Dr. Dawn Gaymer, WMU's vice provost for extended university programs, says the University plans to reach out to nontraditional students with its initial offering. She notes that the new degree offering will be a cost-effective way for local students to earn an important credential.

"This agreement with WCCCD will better allow us to meet the needs of nontraditional students who will be able to earn a WMU degree without leaving the area," says Gaymer. "It is a continuation of our commitment to having an expanded presence in southeast Michigan and metro Detroit."

Future plans call for even more opportunities for traditional and nontraditional students to enroll in WMU degree programs at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. WMU opened a regional location in Royal Oak in 2010 to serve as a base of operations for its Detroit-area activities.

Wayne County Community College District

Wayne County Community College District has five campuses and was established in 1967 to serve some 2.3 million people who live within the college's service district. WCCCD's University Center in Harper Woods is located at 19305 Vernier Road. Other universities offering classes at the Center include the University of Michigan-Flint, Ferris State University, and the University of Detroit Mercy. The center also has partnerships with Walsh College and Michigan State University.