Profile of Western Michigan University
One of the top-100 public universities in the United States, Western Michigan University is committed to being learner centered, discovery driven and globally engaged.
Founded in 1903, what was once Western Michigan College became Michigan's fourth public university in 1957. Since then, WMU has undergone dramatic growth in size and stature.
Today, the University offers more than 240 academic programs to students pursuing degrees through the doctoral level. More than 20 percent of its 25,000 students are enrolled in graduate course work, studying in disciplines ranging from atomic physics and graph theory to medieval literature and blind rehabilitation. Of 101 graduate offerings available, 30 lead to a doctoral degree.
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has classified WMU as one of only 139 public institutions it considers research universities. In addition, U.S. News & World Report has recognized it as one of the nation’s best universities for the past 21 years, and for the past 14 years, has listed it among the top-100 public universities in the United States.
Home to a thriving undergraduate honors college, WMU is one of four public universities in Michigan to be granted its own chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest and most widely recognized academic honor society in the nation. Fewer than 100 public universities in the country have been selected to shelter a chapter. Also enriching the quality of campus life are nearly 300 registered student organizations and a full array of NCAA Division I-A intercollegiate athletic teams.
The University has garnered such success by encouraging an emphasis on both teaching and research. Many of WMU’s more than 915 full-time faculty members are engaged in cutting-edge research, helping to enhance the body of knowledge and, at the same time, ensuring their students have access to the most current information.
Engagement with the communities it serves, innovation and outreach to enhance economic development have become the University’s hallmarks in recent years. WMU plays an integral part in efforts to diversify the state’s economy and has partnered locally with two world-class teaching hospitals to launch a new medical school in 2014.
In recent years, the University also has focused on access to technology for both faculty and students, becoming one of the first major universities in the nation to offer campuswide wireless computing.
Both the faculty and the student body reflect WMU’s reputation in the world and its commitment to diversity. The University attracts students from across the nation and from some 90 other countries. Minority students comprise nearly 18 percent of the student population, while international students make up an additional 5 percent. WMU’s faculty members have been trained at some of the world’s finest institutions, and they bring to the campus a global perspective that enhances the learning environment.
WMU’s campuses encompass more than 1,200 acres and 151 buildings, featuring some of the finest facilities in the Midwest. The main campus, located near downtown Kalamazoo, is able to house nearly 5,500 students. It includes a large, well-equipped student recreation center and state-of-the-art facilities for business, chemistry, science research, health and human services, and visual and performing arts.
The University’s highly rated engineering college and thriving Business Technology and Research Park are based three miles away at the Parkview Campus, while its nationally recognized aviation college is based at the W.K. Kellogg Airport in Battle Creek, Mich. Both the aviation campus and BTR Park are components of Michigan economic development SmartZones.
WMU extends its reach well beyond its main campuses in Kalamazoo. Extended University Programs offers quality academic programs close to home through its online and lifelong education units, as well as sites around the state. Nearly three dozen complete degree programs are offered to people in 30 communities through WMU regional locations in Battle Creek, Benton Harbor-St. Joseph, Metro Detroit, Grand Rapids, Lansing, Muskegon and Traverse City. The University also sponsors study abroad programs in China, France, Germany, Mexico, Russia and Spain and has exchange agreements with institutions around the globe.