WMU honors innovative teaching at Spring Convocation

contact: Deanne Puca
| WMU News

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Two Western Michigan University faculty members will be honored for innovative teaching during the University’s first Spring Convocation ceremony held at 3:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 5, in the Fetzer Center. 

Sponsored by Extended University Programs, the Innovative Teaching Award will be presented to the team of Marian Tripplett and Dr. Dee Ann Sherwood, both of the School of Social Work. The Innovative Teaching Award is presented to individuals or teams who have developed or applied a teaching strategy, approach, technique or tool that is used, or used in a new way, to produce a quantifiable gain for learner outcomes or the learner experience.

Convocation events

"Spring Convocation: Recognition of Discovery, Diversity and Global Engagement" events will take place Thursday and Friday, Feb. 4-5. Thursday will feature "Share the Story: Scholar Talks" from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Fetzer Center. Friday activities will start at 9 a.m. in the Fetzer Center and include events from Extended University Programs, Haenicke Institute for Global Education, Office of Diversity and Inclusion and Office of Vice President for Research. They include professional development workshops, Distinguished and Emerging Scholar talks, a recognition luncheon, Research and Dessert, and convocation and awards, followed by a Friday with Friends mixer.

Along with the Innovative Teaching Award, Diversity and Inclusion will recognize honorees for two Excellence in Diversity Awards, a Trailblazers for Diversity Award and a Rising Star in Diversity Award.

Photo of Marian Tripplett.


Marian Tripplett

Tripplett joined WMU in fall 2011 as a faculty specialist/professional specialist in the College of Health and Human Services’ School of Social Work. In her role as program coordinator, Tripplett provides administrative and instructional oversight for social work degree programs at WMU’s Southwest Regional location in Benton Harbor.

She was originally hired to oversee the master of social work extended-study program, and the program has grown under her leadership. She initiated the process to bring the Bachelor of Social Work Extended-study program to the degree opportunities offered at WMU Southwest.

Tripplett teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in social welfare policy, human behavior, culture/ethnicity and intercultural social work, medical and healthcare social work, field education and clinical counseling practices. She is experienced in working with individuals, families, communities and organizations, with an emphasis on advocacy and social and economic justice, lifespan transitions, individual-organizational-community capacity building, and program, leadership and organizational development and administration.

Her service and research interests include empowerment strategies and leadership development in communities with complex challenges; intercultural experiential learning; recruitment, retention and graduation in post-secondary education; and diversity experiences in higher education; as well as self-help strategies for middle, high school and college students.

In addition to her work with WMU, she is the owner of Cultural Conversations, a community consulting firm, and founder of Diamonds in the Rough United, a non-profit organization.

Photo of Dee Ann Sherwood.


Dee Ann Sherwood

Sherwood is coordinator of WMU’s Master of Social Work program in Grand Rapids. She joined the University in 2012 after 12 years of leadership in nonprofit, public sector and academic positions.

She teaches graduate courses in social work field education, leadership, research, groups and organizations, medical social work, and intercultural social work.

In her previous roles with universities in the region, she served as director of Intercultural Training and Denison Scholar. Sherwood has worked with clients from around the world including with Burundi, Burmese, East Indian, Iraqi, Somali, South African and Zimbabwean expatriates and refugees. She also has worked with an American Indian nation in the Great Lakes region on the impact of residential boarding schools.

Over the past decade, she has served as a consultant for companies such as the Frey Foundation, Sutter Health System and Shepell FGI. She has presented professionally at numerous conferences, developed continuing education seminars and authored numerous publications.

For more information about the schedule, visit wmich.edu/research.

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