Western Michigan University​

Western Michigan University

Western Michigan University (WMICH) is a public institution that was founded in 1903. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 17,760, located in Kalamazoo, and the campus size is 1,200 acres. It utilizes a semester-based academic calendar. The enrolled student population at WMICH is 72% White, 12% Black, 5% Hispanic/Latino, 4% International, 3% Multiracial, 2% Asian, and 1% Race Unknown. There are about 51% identified female students and 49% identified male students. 74% of students are from Michigan.

Engagement Summary

Western Michigan University (WMICH) prioritized mental health campus-wide through many different initiatives. These included the creation of the Early Intervention Team (EIT) and the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services with its increase of staff.

WMich became a JED Campus, they added mental health outreach and training as a goal, increased the availability of the Suicide Prevention Program, prioritized student athletes’ communication with the student counseling center, the EIT, Health Promotion and Education, and monthly meetings were scheduled with professionals within the athletic department to review student athlete needs in regards to mental health and substance use.

The professionals consulted were Team Physicians, Counselors, Academics, Strength, and Conditioning. WMich increased the diversity of the student body, established University Diversity Councils and the Diversity Steering Committee, provided implicit bias training, racial healing training, and provided training to the African American/Africana Studies programs to help improve campus climate for students of color. They created a diverse search team, they posted and advertised open positions in publications, websites and professional organizations targeted to professionals of color, and they provided training to search committees and interview teams on unconscious bias.

To further improve the environment for the mental well-being of students of color on campus, it was recommended that WMich promote mental health of students of color as a campus-wide priority.

The second recommendation was for the university to actively recruit, train, and retain a diverse faculty and culturally competent faculty and staff.

The third recommendation was to establish dedicated roles to support the well-being and success of students of color.

Midterm Evaluation Progress-to-Goal Snapshot

WMICH had a goal to create a wellness space for Black student groups to gather, to conduct a campus climate study in Fall of 2019, which would involve questions relating to the mental health of students of color, to launch the EVERFI virtual diversity and inclusion training for faculty and staff, and the ODI was set to collaborate with internal and external constituents to develop a comprehensive educational program for the entire campus community, for the Mental Health Outreach Coordinator to include specifically issues, concerns, and mental health needs of students of color in gatekeeper training, and for the Vice President of the ODI to review current employment of the division of multicultural affairs and to arrange resources to focus on supporting students of color. 

Highlights include:

  • A graduate assistant is developing wellness programming with students of color.
  • Two new student groups were established: X-Hale and Minority Student Psychology.
  • A campus climate survey through viewfinder was conducted to create questions for employees.
  • Jan went to WMich in February for training, and she gave the keynote speech  at the Mental Health Summit where she introduced EMHF for students, faculty and staff.
  • The EVERFI online program took place, and two initiatives were established for the College of Arts and Sciences. These initiatives were to recruit women faculty in STEM, and to create a recruitment package for faculty and staff of color.
  • A separate position with the purpose of prevention and education for mental health was developed. Several outreach modules were established to start in the Spring of 2019 specifically with marginalized populations in mind. To acquire resources, the NASPA Strategies conference was attended.
  • Grants for migrant students, students from inner city areas, and tutoring for first year students were developed.
"Western Michigan University’s involvement in the Equity in Mental Health Framework Pilot Project has provided an excellent opportunity to explore matters related to the mental health and well-being of students of color on our campus. WMU’s efforts have been an excellent collaboration across Academic Affairs, Student Affairs and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. This multi-area collaboration challenges the silos often apparent on college and university campuses, and underlines the shared responsibilities of the entire campus to address equity issues in mental health."
Western Michigan University