Five years after its creation, the Western Michigan University Signature Program is changing some of its requirements.
The signature program was launched in Fall 2016 as part of the Higher Learning Commission quality initiative. The program just completed the accreditation process through WMU.
Since the program started, over 200 students have graduated from the Signature Program. There have been over 100,000 signature credits awarded to students that have gone through the program.
“We looked at this as a great time to make sure that we’re keeping the program relevant to students,” said WMU Signature Director Evan Heiser.
The first change involves the three steps to the program: Explore, Focus and P.E.A.K. The language of the steps will be eliminated to make it less confusing for students. Even with the language being eliminated, students expected to attend events and explore campus.
“Rather than initially students going and exploring, they are going to see how that relates to the different pathways,” Heiser said. “They are going to right away see their progress in different pathways which we hope is going to find their passion area and steer them.”
The Signature Program will also focus on the final signature experience to ensure students get the recognition they deserve on their diploma for completing the program.
“We really want to make sure that all students who are having a major experience on campus to get recognition,” Heiser said.
The program has discussed creating new pathways particularly around art and one for research and creative scholarships.
“Both of these initially started with a student coming to us and proposing the idea,” Heiser said. “We’ve been working with various offices to make sure that we got experiences related to those pathways.”
Heiser said he believed these changes will positively change the organization.
“They come directly from students,” Heiser said. “We’ve gotten feedback from students and the big thing they were looking for is clarity around the program and more recognition.”