1/24/2023: New partnerships at WMU

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Tuesday, January 24, 2023

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WMU is taking steps to shore up enrollment, encourage aviation students, and get more students to finish a four-year degree. Also: KPS hopes to hire a new superintendent by this summer. And a new organization is reviving a very old idea: conversations about important subjects in Kalamazoo.

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New agreements aim to boost enrollment at WMU

Western Michigan University on Monday announced a pair of new programs that aim to boost enrollment at the school while also helping students succeed. During a pair of press conferences, university officials announced plans to make it easier for students at Kalamazoo Valley Community College to transfer to WMU and for students in the university’s aviation program to move into the workforce.

WMU wants to boost the number of students who make the leap from KVCC to WMU by making it easier to transfer credits. KVCC Provost Paige Eagan said the agreement between the schools will provide guidance for students who intend to complete a four-year degree at WMU. “[The agreement] ensures a seamless transition from Kalamazoo Valley to Western by minimizing loss of credit and need for the duplication of coursework,” she said. They are still working on program-specific agreements that will further smooth the transition for students with biomedical, engineering, brewing, and other specific majors.

Less than an hour later, WMU officials announced a new partnership between the school’s College of Aviation and regional carrier SkyWest Airlines. The partnership will help train pilots and mechanics who can then go on to work directly for the airline after graduation. Interim Dean Raymond Thompson said there is huge demand for people to fill those roles. “The demand is incredible. Even here in the U.S. over the next 20 years, they’re expecting to need 70,000 to 80,000 pilots, and you’re probably going to need about 90,000 technicians,” he said. Students who sign up for the training program agree to work for SkyWest for at least three years once they complete their degree. In return, the company offers financial support, along with mentoring and guaranteed interviews for permanent positions with the company.

More News You Need To Know

KPS to hire new superintendent by summer

The Kalamazoo Public Schools hopes to have a new superintendent in place by July 1. Board President TiAnna Harrison told MLive that requests for proposals from search firms are going out this week and the board will discuss priorities during its Thursday meeting. The district has a ticking clock. Interim Superintendent Cindy Green is only contracted through June 30. Green has already dismissed the possibility that she will apply for the job.

Green took over as the district’s top administrator last month when then-Superintendent Rita Raichoudhuri resigned. That was followed by the firing of Jim English, the district’s assistant superintendent of operations. Officials say both were involved in activities without the board’s knowledge or approval. Green said the superintendent search is getting a late start due to the turmoil. “I think when somebody leaves like this and two top people are gone, [board members] do need to take time to heal and rebuild,” she said. The board has hired a professional facilitator to help with that process. [MLive]

Bringing back Lyceum

There hasn’t been a Lyceum in Kalamazoo in over 100 years. That’s set to change when the Kalamazoo Lyceum relaunches this weekend. The Lyceum was a unique project to bring high-profile speakers and thinkers to small towns and cities across the continent. Kalamazoo’s version of the series launched in 1837, bringing such public figures as Mark Twain, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Horace Greeley to town. Discussions ranged from the topical (emancipation and women’s suffrage, for example) to the abstract (what is most conducive to the happiness of mankind?).

“The Lyceum is part of a long tradition of public learning in our city,” said Matthew Miller, the director of the Kalamazoo Lyceum. “It used to be a place where the people of Kalamazoo could get together across differences to engage in lifelong learning and deep conversation about big ideas.” Those conversations will kick off on Saturday centered around a very relevant question: how is modern media changing the way we think? The conversation will be led by the former general manager of WMUK Gordon Bolar and former MLive reporter (and occasional NowKalamazoo reporter) Linda Mah. The event begins at 2pm Saturday at the First Baptist Church building in downtown Kalamazoo. Tickets are $10 and available online.

Things To Do In Kalamazoo

ARTbreak: Look and Listen – Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
12:00PM 1/24

Kalamazoo Premier Chess Club – Urban Alliance
6:00PM 1/24

Open Mic – Sugar Bowl Bar & Grill
6:00PM 1/24

Art Hop Bootcamp for Artists (virtual) – Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo
6:00PM 1/24

Black Voices Western Michigan – Wesley Foundation of Kalamazoo
6:30PM 1/24

Distillery Tour – Green Door Distilling Co.
5:15PM 1/25

Board Game Night – Main Street Pub, W. Main St.
6:00PM 1/25

Art Hop Bootcamp for Venues (virtual) – Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo
6:00PM 1/25

Planting Native Species Using Real Ecosystems as a Guide – Kalamazoo Area Wild Ones
7:00PM 1/25

2 of a Kind (Steve Kamerling and Joe Ferguson) – Hilton Garden Inn
7:00PM 1/25

Neon & Cocktails: A 90’s Party – Crafted Copper
8:30PM 1/25

Catalyst University 2023 – Southwest Michigan First
8:00AM 1/26

Architectural Influence and Effectual Travel: An Artist Talk with Seth Green – Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
6:00PM 1/26

Pack-The-House – Green Door Distilling Co.
7:00PM 1/26

The Great Leap – Farmers Alley Theatre
7:30pm 1/26-28, 2/2-4, 2/9-11; 2pm 1/29, 2/5, 2/12

Teeny-Tiny Winter Music Fest – The Clover Room
8:00PM 1/26-28

Jessica Ivey and Brandon Fitzpatrick – The Clover Room
8:00PM 1/26

See more upcoming events here.

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