- Welcome to a new year and a new semester
Welcome to the start of the spring 2013 semester. I always find the beginning of each new year and new semester to be exciting and full of promise for the future. This year is no exception. I hope you had a restful and refreshing winter recess, because the coming semester is already shaping up to be a busy and productive one.
- ‘Best for Vets’ again
Our University begins 2013 with its third consecutive designation as one of the nation’s best institutions for military veterans pursuing higher education.
For the third time in as many years, Military Times Edge magazine has placed WMU on its “Best for Vets” list of colleges and universities. The magazine is a national publication that serves all branches of the armed forces. With a ranking of No. 48 among the 650 schools rated, WMU is the only four-year Michigan school on the publication's list of the top 68 schools in the United States.
In addition, we’ve just learned that Military Advanced Education’s December issue once again lists WMU as among the military-friendly schools it endorsees. We are proud of these designations and acknowledge the help of our faculty and staff in making WMU a veteran friendly campus!
- New website reflects institutional effectiveness measures
We're a year into our strategic plan implementation, and we continue to refine our goals and look at measures of success. A new website posted over winter recess outlines performance measures we think best illustrate our existing strengths and goals. The measures include information on student outcomes, our campus profile, institutional outreach, research and finances. You'll find this a valuable resource for describing our University and marking our progress.
I urge you to familiarize yourself with the site, bookmark it and reference it when you want to verify critical information.
- Pay raises for many reflected in January paychecks
Your 2013 paychecks will reflect a number of changes we’ve been outlining in various campus communications. For many on campus, January also marks implementation of a new pay rate. The 1 percent raise that was part of some collective bargaining agreements also was extended to non-bargaining personnel. I was pleased that we were able to do that, as I am always mindful of the extraordinary work being done on our campus by all employees, even as our staffing levels remain very low.
Our future ability to offer such raises hinges on the work each and every one of us does in the coming months. We need to preserve and enhance the limited revenue streams we have that are generated by enrollment and retention and research innovation, as well as that coming to us from the Legislature. We need to focus all of our attention and make every decision in our individual roles to ensure our enrollment grows. This is best accomplished by a focus on service to our students such that we will retain them as Broncos through graduation and even beyond.
- Major campus events—just a few examples
The spring semester offers an exciting lineup of activities for every member of our campus community.
- This month, we’ll hold our annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration and enjoy a rich offering of lectures and presentations that mark the 50th anniversary of that leader's 1963 appearance on our campus.
- The humanities center’s “Power and Publics” lecture series continues Jan. 24 with Stanford University’s Dr. Harry J. Elam Jr. who will discuss the “The Power and Politics of Performing Race.” On Feb. 29, French Islamic scholar Dr. Jocelyne Cesari, will discuss “Islam and Democratization: Lessons Learned from the Arab Spring.”
- This week—Jan. 9—a 14-part series of lectures on climate change will begin. Each week’s event, sponsored by the Lee Honors College, will feature one or more of our own outstanding faculty researchers.
- And finally, later this month, the final shows in Miller Auditorium’s PNC Broadway in West Michigan Series will begin. Top-flight productions of “Les Miserables,” “Hair” and “Wicked” are on tap.
- April Commencement
One of those events, the April 24-May 5 run of “Wicked,” will mean April commencement will be held in University Arena.
Planning is already under way to transform that facility in a way that is commensurate with the importance and formality of that event.
We’ve made that transformation in recent years—the first time for spring commencement in 2006 and then to welcome President Obama for Kalamazoo Central’s 2010 commencement.
We’ll be tapping the experience and staging skills of many to make this a spectacular event.
- Recent student achievements
Finally, please join me in congratulating the students involved in two major achievements:
- WMU graduate student Traci D. Brimhall is one of 40 people nationwide to be awarded a 2013 National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship. More than 1,100 people applied for the $25,000 fellowship, which Traci will use to pursue her creative writing specialty in poetry.
- A team of nine Western Michigan University advertising and promotion students has placed first in the EdVenture Partners’ Jobs for America’s Graduates Scholastic Achievement Award Challenge in Washington, D.C.
The students, advised by Dr. JoAnne Atkin, participated in the competition as part of their fall 2012 capstone work for the Integrated Marketing Communications Campaigns course.
WMU has participated in the EdVenture Partners National Case Study Competitions since 2005, placing in the top 10 nationally each year.
We’re ready for a semester that brings even more student achievement and opportunity. Thank you for all you do. With your talent, energy and commitment, I am confident that 2013 will be a spectacular year. Thank you for your continuing support!
John M. Dunn