Dean’s Message


New year’s greetings from the Graduate College! As I reflect on the six months that I’ve been serving as Acting Dean of the Graduate College, I feel so much gratitude for the many people who have helped me in this position. It is such a privilege for me to work with the staff of the Graduate College. Each is an expert in her/his particular area of the graduate enterprise. You may have heard that we have had some changes in staff recently. First and foremost, Dr. Susan Stapleton is serving as Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, which is why I am in the acting dean role. Angie Phelps, our former budget analyst, has moved down south to Florida to escape the Michigan winters. Virginia Bryan, our program manager of graduate appointments, retired from WMU after 36 years (!) at the university. Linda Comrie, Executive Assistant to the Dean, will be retiring at the end of this month, and while I can’t imagine the office without her cheerful attitude, professionalism, extremely capable skills, and caring nature, she deserves some rest after 19 years of service to the Graduate College.

As sad as it is to lose our respected colleagues and friends, this is an opportunity to welcome some new faces in the office. Elena Wood is our new budget analyst and Joanne Beverage is our new program manager, graduate appointments. Both bring years of valuable WMU experience and many key skills to the Graduate College. We are currently performing a search for a new executive assistant, and I am confident we will find an amazing new colleague.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2018.

Dr. Christine Byrd-Jacobs
Acting Dean

A photo of Dr. Christine Byrd-Jacobs, Acting Dean of the Graduate College.  Dr Byrd-Jacobs has long light brown hair and is wearing a blue suit.

WMU Alumna Accepts Faculty Position at University of Texas Tech Health Sciences Center

This is a photo of Dr. Rebecca Sametz. Dr. Sametz is wearing a charcoal blazer with a black top and a silver neclace with three chains that each have a rectangular bead in the center of each chain. She has long reddish brown hair that passes a couple inches past her shoulders. She is wearing dark rimmed glasses and has a welcoming smile
Dr. Rebecca Sametz, who earned two advanced degrees from WMU, completed her doctorate at Michigan State University in 2017 and has accepted an assistant professorship at University of Texas Tech Health Sciences Center in Lubbock, Texas. Sametz received an M.A. in both vision rehabilitation therapy and rehabilitation counseling and teaching in 2014. She will teach graduate-level courses and provide clinical supervision for students in the clinical rehabilitation counseling program. Her work includes teaching, research, advising graduate students, and developing curriculum.

UTTHS serves students and their clients who live in the mostly rural areas of Texas, so Sametz will primarily teach online courses. Her dissertation, Development of a Work-Based Learning Model for Youth with Disabilities from the Perspective of Employers, addresses rehabilitation models to assist disabled youth in becoming productive workers and helps health care professionals and vocational rehabilitation counselors serve their clients.

While at WMU, Sametz served as vice-chair of the Graduate Student Advisory Committee, now Graduate Student Association, from 2012 to 2014. This role led to increased engagement with the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students (NAGPS) where she was elected to a board position in January 2014. As director of relations, she promoted the organization by communicating with other student organizations about fundraising sources and techniques.

Throughout her career Sametz has been elected to positions in numerous professional organizations, including the Michigan Rehabilitation Association, National Rehabilitation Association, Michigan Job Placement and Development Division, Michigan Rehabilitation Counselors and Educators, and National Rehabilitation Association Job Placement and Development Division (NRAJPDD), of which she was elected president for the 2017 term.

Sametz has a manuscript in review with the Journal of Rehabilitation and has numerous credentials, including Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC), Licensed Professional Counselor (LLPC) in Michigan, and Employment Training Specialist (ETS). She has won two awards from the NRAJPDD. She credits her experiences at WMU with helping her to grow as a professional by providing opportunities and mentorship. According to Sametz, “WMU has a great student, faculty, and staff population who are there to support you and help you grow by opening doors… it is up to the student to step through those doors and make the most of each opportunity.”

Damon Chambers, immediate past president of Western Michigan University Graduate Student Association elected president of the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students

This is a photo of Damon Chambers standing outside of Walwood Hall where the Graduate College and the Graduate Student Association offices are located at W M U. Mr. Chambers is wearing a dark brown courderoy sport coat and dress shirt.  He has short black hair and is wearing dark rimmed glasses and has a welcoming smile
As newly elected president of the National Association of Graduate-Professional School Students (NAGPS), Damon Chambers begins his term in a climate of uncertainty for higher education. NAGPS was formed in 1987 to fight efforts by Congress to tax graduate student stipends. New threats have emerged to graduate student funding and NAGPS is still the only student-run national non-profit organization representing graduate and professional students at the local, state, and national level.

In November, student leaders from across the country gathered at the 2017 NAGPS National Conference at Syracuse University. During discussions and workshops members focused on how the current political climate will affect graduate funding, interest rates for student loans, and student visas. They also voted on the 2018 governing body. Chambers’ platform was inspired by Western Michigan University’s Three Pillars; he campaigned for an advocacy-centered, leadership-engaged, research-driven, financially secure, and multi-culturally aware organization.

Chambers has been an active NAGPS leader as 2015 director of outreach and 2017 director of finance and chief financial officer. He was instrumental in bringing the 2013 national conference to WMU and has encouraged WMU Graduate Student Association executive board members to serve in leadership positions with NAGPS. He received a Masters of Art degree in blindness and low vision studies in 2014 and an MA in school counseling in 2015. He is expected to receive his doctorate in counselor education at WMU in 2019. In addition to serving as president of GSA from 2013 to 2016, Chambers currently holds the position of director of advocacy and legislative affairs for 2017-18.

From his home country Jamaica, where he earned a BS at the Mico University College, to Western Michigan University’s Board of Trustees, where he holds a graduate associateship, Chambers has made a global impact. Under his leadership the graduate student body changed its name from the Graduate Student Advisory Committee (GSAC) to the Graduate Student Association. He was instrumental in expanding GSA’s executive board to include 18 members, giving more graduate students a chance to engage in participatory governance. Additionally, his administration implemented Grad Talks, giving graduate students opportunities to present their research in a public forum. For more information on GSA, please visit their webpage at

Graduate Students in Geography Program Map a Promising Future

In November, several second year Master of Science students in the Department of Geography shared their research interests and career plans with the Graduate College. Graduate students can choose one of three concentrations: community development and planning; environmental and resource analysis, and geographic information science. Many students choose to combine these concentrations for an interdisciplinary approach.

Students in the program have widely divergent career goals but they have one thing in common: geo-spatial imaging has given them the tools to work in almost any field they choose. Geo-spatial imaging is the science of analyzing imagery from high and low-tech sources, including satellites, remotely piloted vehicles (drones), photographs, and maps, to examine issues such as water quality, health disparities, transportation decisions and business initiatives.

This photo of Trenton Benedict shows him standing in Welborn hall in front of a large sepia-toned landscape photo.  Trenton has short brown hair and is wearing glasses and a plaid shirt with a large brown and tan pattern on it.
Trenton Benedict wants to avoid a desk job and get out in the field. He found a program in environmental and resource analysis where he can literally get out into the field. His research takes him to Saginaw farm fields, where he uses high technology spectral imaging to track the life cycle of Phragmites, an invasive grass species. Phragmites threatens native cattail species, so Benedict’s research focuses on identifying the best time for eradication by disrupting the reproductive cycle of the weed.

This photo of Sam Roodbar shows him staining inside of wellborn hall in front of a wall that has a large number of geography related photos.  Sam has very short dark black hair as well as a short black beard and nicely trimmed mustache.  He is wearing a blue shirt and a friendly smile.
WMU graduate students are using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) imaging and analysis to prepare for research and teaching careers once they have completed a doctoral program. Sam Roodbar’s GIS and human geography specialization led him to research the persistence of locally owned and operated food markets in Dearborn, Michigan. He found that even while global retailers such as Walmart and Costco moved in nearby, small grocery stores stayed in business because they catered to their mostly Muslim customers’ need for halal food. Roodbar won Council Award for Outstanding Graduate Student Paper award at the Association of American Geographers East Lakes Division Conference on October 13. He also recently placed second in the Three Minute Thesis competition at WMU, co-sponsored by the Graduate College and the Graduate Student Association.

This photo of Alyson Mabie shows her standing in Welborn hall in front of a very large map.  She has long light brown hair and is wearing a black and white striped sweater over a mostly black shirt with a thin white plaid pattern.
Alyson Mabie, whose degree concentration is community development and planning, also has her sights on a Ph.D. so she can obtain a university teaching and research position. One of her research project analyzes how the 2013 designation of “Beer City, USA” expanded the cultural boundaries of Grand Rapids, Michigan. She used mapping and GIS to analyze how breweries outside the central city were affected by the designation. Mabie won the Best Graduate Level Presentation at the Association of American Geographers East Lakes Division Conference. Before she graduates in Spring 2018 she will complete a master’s thesis using GIS to analyze the geospatial distribution of graffiti within the city.

This photo of Alex LaPorte shows him standing outside of wellborn hall infront of a green pine tree and a red bush.  Alex has short light brown hair and is wearing a blue and sliver Detroit zip-up jacket over a lighter blue t-shirt.
Many students will focus on city or county government planning, like Alex LaPorte, whose concentration is environmental resource and analysis and GIS. Alex is a member of the Kalamazoo County Transportation Authority, a nine-member Board that works to plan, promote, finance and operate public transportation in Kalamazoo County. He plans to work with the state in transportation planning and has focused his research on car-deer collisions in Kalamazoo County. By examining the data on how these collisions correlate with location, land cover, land use, weather, road and traffic information, he is working on reducing car-deer crashes.

This photo of Rowan Cole shows him standing in Wellborn hall in front of a large sepia-toned landscape photo. Rowan has short brown hair and is clean shaven, he is wearing a blue plaid shirt and a welcoming smile.
Rowan Cole’s career goals involve international travel. His undergraduate major in Russian Studies and experience as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps, along with his specialties in Geographic Environmental Analysis, human geography, and economic geography have served him as he assesses the effectiveness of Russian environmental policies. His research looks at changes in deforestation in the Russian Far East through high resolution imagery, then correlates these changes with climate, precipitation and economic data. He then compares his findings with data from a study published in 2000 to see if forest management policies were effective in bringing positive environmental change.

This photo of Danielle Molenaar shows her standing inside of Wellborn hall in front of a wall that has two framed maps displayed.  Danielle has long wavy light brown hair and is wearing a maroon shirt and a silver necklace with a coin-shaped pendant.
Environmental concerns are foremost for Danielle Molenaar as well; her Environmental Analysis concentration focuses on water use patterns in the City of Kalamazoo over the past ten years. She has used census data for household income and educational levels cross-referenced with weather and climate data to analyze spatial patterns of water use by homes in the city. Her expertise in analyzing local water use patterns will help her move into a career in urban water management, flood risk management or local governmental water authority.

Students with advanced degrees in geography have excellent employment prospects. Jobs are particularly plentiful in the western United States, where governmental and commercial operations have headquarters and the infrastructure is well-developed. Many obtain private sector employment as consultants. About thirty percent of graduates go on to doctoral programs.

Most graduate students in the geography department have the opportunity to work as teaching assistants because the department houses so many undergraduate level courses. Majors in aviation, anthropology, biological sciences, chemistry, economics, history, political science, public administration, health sciences, engineering, statistics, and business, among others, find that knowledge of GIS gives them a definite edge on the job market. Business is booming and Western Michigan University’s Department of Geography is meeting the needs of today’s graduates and their employers.

Dean’s Welcome

As many of you know, Dean Stapleton has been tapped for the role of Interim Provost for the transitional first year of Dr. Edward Montgomery’s presidency. Contrary to popular belief, she actually cannot be in two places at once, so I have stepped up to fill the role of Acting Dean of the Graduate College at Western Michigan University for a one-year term. My dedication to graduate education started well before I became Associate Dean of the Graduate College in 2014. I came to WMU in 1996 as Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences and progressed through the ranks to Full Professor. Throughout my career, I have focused on mentoring students and have supervised the research projects of 5 doctoral, 9 masters, and 74 undergraduate students. From 2010 to 2014 I served as graduate advisor for the Department of Biological Sciences. My experience teaching a professional development course for graduate students in the sciences led to the creation of the new Plan It 4-Ward Individualized Development Plan now available for all graduate students. WMU now participates in the worldwide Three Minute Thesis competition, which challenges graduate students to explain their work in 180 seconds; for the last two years, our University-wide winners have gone to the regional competitions. I also oversee the university-wide Interdisciplinary Studies Doctorate. At this time, eight students have enrolled in this program, with inquiries coming in daily from prospective students. I have also worked closely with Epigeum (now with Oxford University Press) on their “Advising Doctoral Students” tutorial for faculty and am working on additional mentoring resources to assist faculty in becoming great advisors. Since becoming Associate Dean I have continued to mentor students in my lab as well as serve faculty, students, and staff as a resource regarding university policies and procedures related to graduate education. As Acting Dean of the Graduate College, I look forward to continuing our positive working relationship with the amazing faculty, staff and students of Western Michigan University.
A photo of Dr. Christine Byrd-Jacobs, Acting Dean of the Graduate College

A Valuable Degree

A PhD from Western Michigan University pays big dividends, as these recent graduates prove. Out of over 120 doctoral graduates from Fall 2016 and Spring 2017, we chose several who have exciting opportunities after graduation. Three have post-doctoral research offers at prestigious institutions around the country, several have faculty positions at universities here and abroad, and some are working in their fields. Their experiences reinforce research which shows that a doctoral degree is a worthwhile investment.

This photo is a collage of several alumni of Western Michigan University.  Featured most promenenently is Lindsay Jeffers, her photo was picked to be the background of the collage because she is wearing her graduation cap and gown.  Lindsay has blond hair and a large smile, we suspect because she just graduated.  In the middle of the photo is a big gold W, which is the brand mark for Western Michigan University.  To the left are the photos of seven other alumni members, a colum of three to the far left includes from top to bottom are Erica Taylor, Tiantian Zhang, and Neil Deochand. To their right, and sort of in the middle are four alumni in a collum, but slightly smaller photos because there are more of them.  They are: Andrew Hale, Justin Moore, Elizabeth MacQuillan, and James Atkinson.  Everyone is smiling except for James Atkinson, because this photo was taken while he was teaching, and he looks rather stern, but he's really a nice guy, it just doesn't show very well in this photo.

James Atkinson, who recently completed his doctoral degree in Chemical and Paper Engineering, has obtained a job as a pre-press operator at LTi Printing in Sturgis, Michigan. LTi Printing is a locally owned and operated printing company that employs 100 people and focuses on packaging, pressure sensitive labels, and commercial and digital printing. In a technology-driven industry, hiring employees who are experts in their field is key to meeting strategic goals. Atkinson’s dissertation analyzes the ‘Fate of Conductive Ink Pigments During Recycling and Landfill Deposition of Paper-Based Printed Electronics.” He focused on recovering metallic inks so they do not enter the water table and contaminate groundwater, with an added economic bonus of reusing the metallic inks. With his committee composed of Drs. Andro Mondala, Paul Fleming, Jan Pekarovic and Jorge Rodriguez, Atkinson has positioned himself to rise in the rapidly evolving printing industry.

As a newly appointed Assistant Professor at the University of Cincinnati, Neil Deochand’s 2017 doctoral degree from WMU has paid off handsomely. His research indicates that using real-time audio and video feedback correlates with better workouts and improved athletic performance compared to a standard workout. With Dr. Wayne Fuqua of WMU’s Department of Psychology as chair of his committee, Deochand worked with Drs. Ron Van Houten, Anthony DeFulio, and Derek Reed to refine his research into a dissertation titled ‘Assessing a Punching Bag Feedback Performance Device’. Dr. Deochand and his wife, Michelle, are now living in Cincinnati, Ohio where a new baby will soon join their son Scion as heir to the family brains.

Another recent graduate of the doctoral program in Psychology, Andrew Hale, is nearing completion on his pre-doctoral clinical internship at the Veteran’s Administration Ann Arbor, MI Healthcare System. Upon completion, he will begin a two-year post-doctoral research fellowship at the VA Center for Clinical Management Research, a Health Services Research and Development Center of Innovation located in Ann Arbor. Here he will continue his work with veterans reflected in his dissertation, ‘Predictors of change in Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) for veterans in a residential Post Traumatic Stress Disorder treatment program.’ Hale’s committee chair Dr. Richard Spates joined with Drs. Scott Gaynor, Amy Damasheck and Jessica Rodriguez to mentor Hale through the process of obtaining a doctoral degree. We wish him the best as he continues through his post-doc to a career helping veterans recover from trauma.

Lindsay Jeffers has just accepted a visiting faculty position at Grand Valley State University in the Department of Writing. Her dissertation focuses on the challenges of student teachers and those who mentor them in ‘Preparing Teachers in English Language Arts: Mentor Teachers Speak.’ With Dr. Jonathan Bush as chair and Drs. Karen Vocke, Allen Webb and Leah Zuidema as members of her dissertation committee, Jeffers received her doctoral degree in the English Education program in the Department of English at Western Michigan University. Along with her work instructing future English teachers, she currently blogs on . Here teachers of English to elementary and secondary school students share the joys and challenges of developing budding writers.

Another PhD recipient who will be working at GVSU is Elizabeth MacQuillan. She received her degree from WMU in Interdisciplinary Health Sciences program under Drs. Amy Curtis, Kathleen Baker and Rajib Paul. Dr. MacQuillan was offered a faculty position in the new Masters of Science in the new Clinical Dietetics program at Grand Valley State University. MacQuillan has been busy since defending her dissertation, titled ‘Birth Record Analysis of Gestational Diabetes: Applications for Intervention Planning.” This study aims to assess Michigan-wide rates of gestational diabetes using a combination of statistical and spatial analyses. What makes her study truly interdisciplinary and groundbreaking is her use of statistical analysis and Geographic InformationSystems (GIS) to identify where services are most needed in Michigan and what type of content those services would most beneficially deliver. She recently presented her research at the Society for Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiologic Research conference in Seattle, WA and in July had an article published in the Michigan Journal of Public Health.

Justin Moore, PhD in Clinical Psychology, conducted several months of study at a local alternative high school, instructing students on mindfulness practices and assessing the effectiveness of their use. Moore used a computer-based strategy to teach the adolescents mindfulness strategies and score participants throughout the study to determine their levels of psychological distress using the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale. Moore’s research found that two interventions, breath-counting and self-compassion, had mixed results. He determined that while computer based interventions did not produce reliably positive results on overall mental health, as demonstrated by the DAS Scale, the practices did show some promise in promoting the acquisition and practice of mindfulness in teens. A successful defense of his dissertation, “Examination of the Effects of Computer Assisted Mindfulness Strategies with Adolescents in an Alternative High School Setting” took place on May 11, 2017. His committee, comprised of Drs. Scott Gaynor, Amy Naugle, C. Richard Spates and Helen Pratt, was proud to recommend Dr. Moore for his next step: a pediatric psychology post-doctoral position at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital.

Another WMU graduate has attained a post-doctoral position with a famous organization. Tiantian Zhang, of the Deparment of Biological Sciences/Biomedical Sciences, has begun his work in Dr. Larry Kwak’s laboratory in the City of Hope Cancer Center in Los Angeles, CA. Dr. Kwak was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2010, and Dr. Zhang will join Dr. Kwak’s lab working toward a cure for cancer. His dissertation, “Oncolytic Tanapoxvirus for Melanoma Therapy” demonstrates how oncolytic viruses, which infect cancer cells with anti-tumor immune responsivity, may emerge into a potentially effective therapy against melanoma, a deadly form of human cancer. Working with Drs. Karim Essani, Bruce Bejcek, Robert Eversole, and Christopher Fisher, Dr. Zhang was also an active member of the Graduate Student Association and was one of the first Graduate Ambassadors appointed by Dean Susan Stapleton when she launched the Graduate Ambassador Program in 2013.

Like many students in the Educational Leadership, Research and Technology department, Ericka Taylor came to WMU already functioning as a leader in an educational setting. By earning her doctorate, Taylor has positioned herself not only to shine in her current role as Early Childhood Coordinator for Saginaw Public Schools, but also to continue to rise in the ranks of her profession. Taylor worked with Drs. Walter Burt, Sue Poppink, and Kelley Peatross on her dissertation, titled “Are the Leadership Behaviors of K-12 Leaders in Mid-Western Urban School Districts Influenced by Their Beliefs and Attitudes Regarding Spirituality?” Dr. Taylor’s project concluded with several recommendations for improving professional development and support for individuals working in this high stress environment. These strategies include holding spiritual values, utilizing meditation or prayer, and employing practices which develop and maintain a strong sense of purpose and a collective sense of mission for all employees.

Laura Alicia Pacheco del Castillo worked with Drs. Joseph Morris, Mary Zoyer Anderson, and C. Dennis Simpson to attain her doctorate in Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology. Having returned to the Dominican Republic, she is now an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra. Her dissertation, titled “Dominican College Students’ Experiences of Distress, Help-Seeking and Stigma” looks at how Dominican students handle feelings of psychological distress through seeking psychological help. Pacheco found that about 71% of traditional-aged undergraduate college students report moderate levels of distress and also hold neutral attitudes about help-seeking, while about 67% hold moderate help seeking intentions. Over three-quarters report they themselves feel moderate stigma for seeking help and the same number report moderate levels of social stigma about psychological services. Her study, one of the first to examine college students in the Dominican Republic, contributes valuable data on mental health and help-seeking within this population and has implications for improved practice and research.

Interdisciplinary Studies Doctorate Program

In response to a need expressed by students and faculty, Western Michigan University created a new university-wide Interdisciplinary Studies Doctorate in which students combine research and coursework from two or more disciplines. This program is housed in the Graduate College, and allows for cross-disciplinary work that spans every college. The Interdisciplinary Studies Doctoral degree offers flexibility to students with interests outside existing academic boundaries and established programs. Since 2000, national reports calling for increasing interdisciplinary graduate education and encouraging an interdisciplinary approach to research and education have risen sharply, as reported by the Council of Graduate Schools, the national organization dedicated to advancement of graduate education [Council of Graduate Schools (2012) Interdisciplinary Graduate Education: Role of the Graduate School. Washington, DC: Council of Graduate Schools]. At the eighth annual Global Summit on Graduate Education in 2014, leaders of graduate institutions from 14 countries supported interdisciplinary learning in graduate education and challenged graduate institutions to prepare students to collaborate across academic disciplines.

Given the emerging interest crossing traditional disciplinary boundaries, we created the Interdisciplinary Studies Doctorate at WMU. In addition, there are several other interdisciplinary degrees on campus: the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences PhD, the Interdisciplinary PhD in Evaluation, and interdisciplinary PhDs in Education and Human Development and Engineering and Applied Sciences. The Interdisciplinary Studies Doctorate is designed to span all disciplines at the university and allow additional flexibility in meeting the needs of students whose research interests are not currently met in a traditional program. WMU is now better positioned to more effectively serve future students as interdisciplinary approaches in research continue to expand.

Currently there are eight students in the program, with two applications under review for fall 2017. These students have established creative combinations of disciplines, including anthropology/sociology, economics/philosophy, social work/psychology, computer science/English/library sciences, and special education/educational leadership. Some of the projects are groundbreaking in their scope or focus, including a social history of the mobilization of the gay community in Tijuana, Mexico since the early 1980s in the context of human rights activism. Another project focusing on the Latino community analyzes healthcare construction and stresses the development of culturally and linguistically appropriate healthcare policy. Another student has devised a collaboration between special education and educational leadership to create a Special Education support center in Saudi Arabia.

The individually designed interdisciplinary degree relies heavily on its unique combination of specific disciplines and the particular expertise of each faculty member involved. Students in the WMU program craft a distinctive experience that supports the learner-centered, discovery-driven, and globally engaged mission of WMU. It meets individual student needs, promotes academic collaboration across the university, and produces scholars with a global approach to solving problems.

The Legacy Scholarship

The Legacy Scholarship recognizes the loyalty of multi-generational Bronco families through a program established by the WMU Alumni Association. The Legacy Scholarship has been offered competitively since 1990 to freshmen from Michigan who are family members of a WMU alumna or alumnus. Now we can proudly report that this prestigious award is available to graduate students for the first time. For fall 2017, eight incoming graduate students have been awarded a $1000 Legacy Scholarship. The following individuals have been named as Legacy Scholars for 2017. Taylor Berry, from Battle Creek, MI, is entering the Master of Arts program in Educational Leadership, Research and Technology. Sarah Bradtke is beginning the Master of Arts in Psychology: Behavior Analysis. She is from Paw Paw, MI. Daniel Buehler, from Delton MI, has been admitted to the Physician Assistant program for a Master of Science in Medicine degree. Another student in the Physician Assistant program, Colin Knue, is from Kalamazoo and will receive his Master of Science in Medicine upon completion. Another Michigan native, Nathan Pastrick, is beginning his Master of Arts in Psychology: Industrial Organizational Behavior Management. John Pruelx of South Pasadena, CA has been accepted into the Music Performance program for a Master’s of Music degree. Alicia Risk, another resident of Delton, is beginning her degree in Public History leading to a Master of Arts. The final awardee is an international student, Rona Vitancol, from Imus Cavite, Phillipines. She begins work on a Master’s of Science in Statistics. Join us in welcoming all these talented graduate students to Western Michigan University this fall. We expect great things from them since they are carrying on the legacy of proud Bronco families

DID YOU KNOW? – Responsible Conduct of Research Requirement for All New Graduate Students

With a goal of aligning our graduate students with national expectations for higher education and post-graduate careers, the Graduate College at Western Michigan University requires that all new master’s and doctoral students complete ethics training in their first semester. Partnered with the Office of the Vice President for Research, a Responsible Conduct of Research online course was modified for students in all disciplines.

Ensuring that all graduate students at WMU are working to the highest possible standards of integrity, the RCR course provides advice on planning, conducting, and reporting research. All new graduate students must complete the course in their first semester. This aligns with our strategic goal of graduating accomplished and ethical scholars, researchers, and professionals. Students are registered automatically in their first term of admission; the course will appear in their e-learning course list. The course is free and carries no credit; GPA is not affected. For those working with human or animal subjects, this is not an alternative to CITI training but a supplement to that training.

Dean’s Message


It was an exciting Fall 2016 semester that started with the Graduate College moving to our newly designed space on the first floor of Walwood Hall. We recycled much of the office furniture and cubicle framework left by the Office of Development and Alumni Relations, turning it into our exciting new home. We unofficially opened our space to the public during Homecoming weekend and were pleased to welcome back many alumni and friends who stopped by to see our new space.

During the Homecoming weekend, we were excited to learn that the Alumni Association Board of Directors voted to include an opportunity for first time enrolled graduate students to apply for the Legacy Scholarship. Previously, the Legacy Scholarship was only available for undergraduate students. We are thankful to the Alumni Association Board of Directors for this exciting opportunity for our graduate students. Details about the application process for new graduate students will be forthcoming.

This fall, we also welcomed graduate students into the newly refreshed Stadium Drive apartments. Working with our colleagues in Student Affairs we were able for the first time to reserve on-campus housing for graduate students. Our thanks go out to the Vice President for Student Affairs and the staff of Residence Life for making this a reality.

The fall semester ended on a high note at graduation as over 27% of participants received graduate degrees. Forty of these new graduates were doctoral degree recipients. The scholarly work of these graduates along with their faculty mentors are advancing our understanding and knowledge in several areas: evaluating the training of student affairs professionals in community colleges; setting and evaluating expectations of mentors; understanding the impact of visual impairment on daily tasks; assessing the economics of child labor and education, and determining ancillary treatments for depression. We are incredibly proud of all our graduates and the contributions they have made to their fields of study and to the global Western community.

We are looking forward to an exciting 2017.

Susan R. Stapleton, Ph.D.

Dean, Graduate College

A photo of Dr. Susan Stapleton, Dean of the Graduate College