Albion College Launches New School for Public Purpose and Professional Advancement
Innovative school for experiential education provides hands-on learning in real-world settings, complements new academic programs
April 28, 2021
Albion College, one of the top 50 innovative liberal arts colleges in the country, announced today their new School for Public Purpose and Professional Advancement. Anchored in the idea that colleges and universities have a responsibility to cultivate a commitment to public purpose in their graduates, the School will offer students new opportunities in experiential and professional learning. Albion College President Dr. Mathew Johnson made the announcement.
The School for Public Purpose and Professional Advancement is supported by a seed gift from a generous donor and will house current and future institutes and centers. The School will become a national model for a new engaged and experiential approach to the liberal arts. Students will prepare for a life of purpose, career success, and graduate or professional school through stackable professional credentials like project management and human resources certifications; internships and community engagement; continuing professional and executive education; and real-world learning environments, including a student-run consulting firm and a social innovation incubator.
The School will offer a new academic credential for undergraduates, the experiential certificate – an integrated blend of coursework, experiential learning, and professional training focused on a topic or field a student is passionate about. Students will design experiential certificates with intensive advising and peer mentoring through the School’s institutes and centers.
“At Albion, we are creating with courage – investing boldly in our people, our programs, our campus, and our community. We know students need a vibrant set of learning and doing opportunities relevant to the world we live in today to prepare them for the world they will shape tomorrow,” said Dr. Johnson. “Our students become changemakers and leaders as they live the liberal arts through these experiential opportunities. That transformation happens as they map the purposeful pathway that begins their first day at Albion and continues for the rest of their lives.”
Albion’s School for Public Purpose and Professional Advancement will include existing centers and institutes such as the Carl A. Gerstacker Institute for Business and Management, the Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service, the Lisa and James Wilson Institute for Medicine, and the Center for Sustainability and the Environment. Albion will be launching a new Institute on Race and Belonging this year, with plans to add new institutes for Climate Change and Arts in Public in the future.
Albion’s School for Public Purpose and Professional Advancement also includes the Albion College Community Collaborative (AC3). Students in AC3 connect with and advise clients, build and refine strategies ranging from operations to marketing and gain valuable experience and professional preparation. AC3 will play a long-term and significant role in helping students identify and tackle real-world challenges presented by nonprofits, businesses and government agencies.
The Albion College Social Innovation Incubator, a business and social enterprise incubator, will also be part of the School for Public Purpose and Professional Advancement, as well as the Office of Community Engagement, which houses the Build Albion Fellows, AmeriCorps program, and the Student Volunteer Bureau.
The announcement of Albion’s new School for Public Purpose and Professional Advancement marks the culmination of a year of curricular innovation. The Lisa and James Wilson Institute for Medicine is offering a new, unique post-baccalaureate certificate in pre-medical studies, a new public health concentration and a new 8-year educational program in partnership with Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine (WMed). The Department of Economics and Management added two new pathways for students to gain their graduate degrees in accounting. The Mathematics and Computer Science Department introduced a new data science major, and the Communication Studies Department added new health communication and sport communication minors. Students also have the opportunity to pursue fast-tracked graduate degrees in political science and comparative religion through a new partnership with Western Michigan University.
“Albion College is proud to be an innovator both in academics and in improving access to a liberal arts education,” said Interim Provost Ron Mourad. The Albion College Promise covers 100% of tuition for Michigan students whose families make under $65,000 annually, and at least $92,000 in scholarships over the course of 4 years for Michigan students whose families make over $65,000 annually, ensuring that new academic programs are accessible to Michigan families in the wake of COVID-19.
Albion College is a private liberal arts college of approximately 1,500 students and is nationally recognized for its academic excellence in the liberal arts tradition, a learning-centered commitment and a future-oriented perspective. The College is a leader in preparing students to anticipate, solve and prevent problems in order to improve the human and global condition. Albion immerses students in the creation and processing of knowledge and graduates skilled architects of societal change, active citizens and future leaders. The College is dedicated to the highest quality in undergraduate education and is committed to diversity as a core institutional value.
Albion, Michigan is a culturally diverse community in the south-central part of the state. The College recognizes the value of community, both on- and off-campus and has invested resources in supporting the revitalization of the greater Albion community. This work offers an increasingly vibrant city around the campus that provides students with a fuller experience as they prepare to become engaged citizens in their own communities. For more information, visit albion.edu.