Education

Western Michigan University's College of Engineering - file photo by Andrew Robins, WMUK
Andrew Robins / WMUK

Encouraging underrepresented groups to consider going into STEM fields, an incubator to help teachers develop ideas for science teaching and studying tipping points and reversibility of catastrophic events. The ideas from Western Michigan University are three of the 33 entries in the National Science Foundation’s 2026 Idea Machine.


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After an internal competition at Western Michigan University, the best ideas were sent on to the National Science Foundation. WMU has three of the 33 nationwide entries in the NSF’s 2026 Idea Machine.

Those ideas include #WhyNotMe: Stem Diversity Drivers from Western’s Vice President for Research, Terry Goss Kinzy, who is also Professor of Biological Sciences, and the Director of Research at WMU’s Evaluation Center Lori Wingate. The STEM Teaching and Learning Incubator from Western Geography and Science Education Professor Todd Ellis. Reversibility: Future of Life on Earth comes from Billinda Straight, Professor of Anthropology and Gender and Women’s Studies at WMU.


Western Michigan University's BTR Park - file photo by WMUK
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Michelle Miller-Adams says when local communities are struggling economically, leaders look to attract an employer that will bring lots of jobs. But the Senior Researcher for the Kalamazoo-based Upjohn Institute for Employment Research says “that is a very low percentage strategy.” The Upjohn Institute launched a project last year on how communities can attract and keep good jobs. Miller-Adams and Upjohn Institute Senior Economist Tim Bartik are two of the co-authors of a report called Building Shared Prosperity: How Communities Can Create Good Jobs For All.  Note: This interview was originally broadcast in April.


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Tim Bartik says employers should go beyond thinking of job training as a one-time program. The Senior Economist for the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research says if workers can stay on the job, companies won’t have to take on as many costs that come with job turnover. Bartik and Senior Researcher Michelle Miller-Adams are two of the authors of the Upjohn Institute’s report called Building Shared Prosperity: How Communities Can Create Good Jobs for All. 

Bartik says job coaches can help find resources for workers to address problems like child care and transportation. Miller-Adams says large employers have their own people to do that, but she says employer resource networks can help spread out those costs for small and medium sized businesses. Note: This interview was originally presented in March


Gordon Evans / WMUK

Asked to name what he is most proud of as Kalamazoo Public Schools Superintendent, Michael Rice says “I don’t know that I have a most proud, I have a lot of prouds.” Rice will soon become the state Superintendent of Public Instruction.


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