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Advocacy office fills important need

Sept. 14, 2007

KALAMAZOO--WMU's transfer students and military students and personnel now have a special resource committed to assuring smooth transitions when transferring from community colleges or departing or returning from military deployment.

The Advocacy Office for Transfer Students and Military Affairs was created in June by Interim President Diether H. Haenicke and has been endorsed by President John M. Dunn. The new unit serves as a liaison between WMU and community colleges around the state to make transitioning to the University as easy as possible.

Gerry Schma, one of the office's two university advocates, says students should always begin with the standard transfer process, which works well for most. But when the occasional complications arise, members of the campus community may use the advocacy office as a resource to quickly overcome barriers.

"We're prepared to assist when irresolvable issues occur or military entry or exit problems crop up," Schma says. "We exist as an additional service, not to replace but to support the usual procedures. Our office is a safety net designed to assure that each student receives the special service needed when unusual circumstances arise."

Besides assisting individual students, the advocacy office works closely with the presidents of community colleges to determine ways to better ease the transition to WMU. This includes examining current practices and policies that negatively impact student success or satisfaction and developing workable solutions. Similarly, it recommends procedures and policies that meet the special needs of deployed students, faculty and staff.

The Advocacy Office for Transfer Students and Military Affairs is located in 217 Bernhard Center and open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. To contact the office, send e-mail to advocacy-office@wmich.edu, visit www.wmich.edu/advocacy or call (269) 387-0740.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
(269) 387-8400