WMU "State of the University" address

Oct 4, 2013

WMU President John Dunn
Credit Mike Lanka / WMU University Relations

Western Michigan University has accomplished much over the last year. But President John Dunn says it needs to do more in the future. Dunn delivered the "State of the University" address Friday, October 4th, during the university's annual Academic Convocation in the Dalton Center Recital Hall.

The full text of the address is available at the university's web page. Here are some highlights:

The State of the University

"The traditions of Western Michigan University and the people behind those traditions--like those we've just honored--illustrate the state of our academic community. The State of Western Michigan University is strong, full of challenges that reflect the times we live in, full of opportunities that reflect the future we intend to have and firmly rooted in the traditions and innovative spirit that have made us the University we are today."

"Our job is not only to educate the students who come to us. It is also to educate the communities we serve about the importance of producing graduates who possess not just skills for a job or vocation, but also the knowledge and analytic ability to succeed personally and professionally for a lifetime. Let us be clear, this institution has a long and rich history in the humanities and social sciences and the arts. Our commitment to the centrality of those disciplines in all of our programming will remain steadfast."

"Change is the WMU tradition we don't talk about as much as we should. We do change very well--once we decide to embrace it. There is not a period of significant accomplishment in this university's history that did not involve great change--sometimes the change was painful, but more often, I think, it was an exhilarating and refreshing."

The Year Ahead

"When we gather here next year to reflect on the State of the University, Western Michigan University will be a fundamentally changed organization."

"The changes we need to make include items that will help us extend our traditions and leverage our commitment to our strategic pillars and goals."

"We must boost our online and off-campus offerings and re-examine all of our delivery options to use as we reach out to populations in this nation and around the globe who need access to the talent and expertise that exists on this campus. My interactions at home and abroad over the past months have only reinforced that priority. We are a recognized national and international university with great programs and talented faculty, but our reach—our ability to deliver—is too limited."

"We need to modify our inventory of program offerings and re-envision how some fit into our academic structure. That begins with a regular review of every program on a regularly scheduled cycle. That is simply a good practice at every level of our academic community."

"Our commitment is to build a diverse campus—an environment where all people regardless of their role or status in life know that WMU is the place where everyone counts. That must continue to be enhanced. Equally important is our commitment to sustainability. It must continue and find new avenues. In both cases, we must look at the goals of diversity and sustainability in the very broadest definition of the terms. The waste of humanity, physical structure or fiscal resources is a terrible thing!"