The Office of Service Learning
The mission of WMU Service Learning is to engage regional communities, the university and our student body in a mutually beneficial and innovative learning and service enterprise for the purpose of mobilizing our knowledge, talents and energies to benefit the greater community.
We strive to accomplish the following:
• Serve as a campus resource to facilitate the implementation of service-learning and community-based activities (co-curricular learning).
• Effectively match academic and professional development with needs identified by community stakeholders for the purpose of transitioning classroom learning into practical, professional experience.
• Advocate for the incorporation of service-learning toward the advancement of student competencies, such as effective writing and communication, the university’s goal to achieve the mandate of universal service-learning and regional constituencies such as public schools and non-profit agencies.
• Coordinate activities between, and build community among, WMU service learning stakeholders, while seeking to enlarge this pool.
• Provide students with opportunities to engage with for-profit sites to stimulate experiential learning and workforce development.
• Create reflection structures that provide a contextual framework to challenge and interrogate theoretical, stereotypical, and preconceived definitions as students experience their community.
• Capture participation of alumni, community members and fellow students in order to exchange and enhance scholarship.
- Cultivates the next generation of talent within Southwest Michigan’s region, and continues to grow Western Michigan University as a relevant research-one institution.
- Builds human capital by expanding and strengthening student experience.
- Enhances the reputation of the University as an engaged campus, committed to regional support, student growth, and economic development.
- Builds a reputation for our students as innovative, engaged learners from a full spectrum of disciplines.
- Meets the University’s mission to provide high-quality education, including a strong focus on experiential education.
- Provides opportunities for strong partnerships with stakeholders throughout the region.
- Prepares high-quality graduates who are better prepared to enter the workforce, which serves to entice potential students, both domestic and abroad.
- Engages the community in mutually supportive endeavors.
WMU received the Carnegie Classification on Community Engagement, which is an elective classification which evaluates the degree of “collaboration and partnership between themselves and their broader communities (local, regional, state and global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources.” WMU was one of 115 institutions that successfully attained this distinction in 2010. Calvin College, Eastern Michigan University, Hope College, Madonna University, Michigan State University, University of Detroit-Mercy, University of Michigan, University of Michigan-Flint and Western Michigan University are the Michigan Institutions that have successfully attained this classification since its creation in 2006. For more information on this story, please see:
http://www.carnegiefoundation.org/newsroom/press-releases/carnegie-selects-colleges-and-universities-2010-community-engagement-classification and http://www.wmich.edu/wmu/news/.