Educational Community Credit Union provides funding to launch the Western Michigan University Education Forum

KALAMAZOO, MI (March 31, 2015) — Educational Community Credit Union (ECCU) is the proud sponsor for the Western Michigan University (WMU) Education Forum. Started in November 2014, the forum is hosted by the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) with the goal to bring students and educators together to share real life experiences and create greater learning opportunities. The panel-style sessions offer experts in various fields, pertinent to the forum’s topic while providing an open format conducive to the exchange of ideas. Following the presentation is an in-depth question and answer session where ideas continue to flow freely.
According to WMU CEHD dean, Dr. Ming Li, “These forums bring expertise of education professionals and policymakers to the greater Kalamazoo education community, and provide opportunities for local teachers and administrators to engage WMU faculty, alumni, and friends of the college in discussion of commonly concerned current issues, topics, trends, and research pertinent to K-12 education.”
“We wanted to find a way to bring students and teachers from our community together, sharing mutual topics of interest,” adds Dr. Regena F. Nelson, WMU Professor and Chair, Department of Teaching, Learning and Educational Studies. “Often, students find themselves caught in the middle between what they’re learning as a student on campus to being a teacher in the actual classroom. Like any field, invariably there is a discrepancy between what you learn from the textbooks and then experience professionally.” The goal is to bring educators to the forum to share their experiences with students and to bridge this gap. With funding provided by ECCU, WMU CEHD plans to hold four sessions annually: two sessions in the fall semester and two in the spring. Each will present a unique educational topic recommended by WMU professors or community partners including area teachers and schools. 
The most recent session entitled, ‘Teaching Reading and Literacy,’ was held on February 24, 2015. It featured a panel of literacy professionals from rural, urban, and suburban school districts, and WMU’s Literacy Studies. The forum presented effective and differentiated literacy practices and their impact on student achievement. “With about 120 participants, it was our best-attended session yet,” says Nelson. She’s been excited to see the forum’s progression in just three months. “Our goal is to fill the auditorium to its capacity of 200, divided equally between students and educators. We feel there is much we can learn on both sides.”
The Next Session, ‘Technology in the Classroom,’ will be on April 14, 2015, 3-7 pm, at 1730 Sangren Hall.
It will feature a one-hour, hands-on educational session on how digital content is creating new teaching and learning opportunities. The session will begin with an introduction by Apple’s Education Team followed by a 35-minute hands-on session led by an Apple educator. Attendees will experience a variety of digital content including apps, multi-touch textbooks, and learning resources. Participants will also see how these resources impact and support emerging trends in education.
Apple will provide iPads for attendees to use at the event. Because of its interactive nature, space is available to just 20 participants per time slot, and participants are asked to reserve their seat in advance. The schedule is as follows:
3-4pm Current Junior and Senior CEHD students from WMU
4-5pm Current Faculty and Grad Assistants at CEHD from WMU
5-6pm Current K12 Teachers
6-7pm Current K12 Teachers
Individuals who would like to learn more about the forum should contact Dr. Ming Li at the College of Education and Human Development, 269.387.2960. To RSVP, attendees can call 269.387.8700 or visit
Bonus: Educators Earn CEUs When Attending Two Forums
Current educators have the added benefit of receiving Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for participating in the forums. “This makes it even more important for our current educators to attend and share their ideas,” continues Nelson. To qualify, participants simply need to attend two forums and pay a small fee of $15 to WMU. Educators can clock their MDE State hours here.
“We’re excited to be the sponsor of the Education Forum and look forward to continuing our support next year,” adds ECCU Business Development Officer Susie Martin. “We attend the sessions as well and offer membership information to interested participants. More importantly, we want educators and students to know we’re behind them and here to help with their future success.”
With seven convenient locations, ECCU is a full-service financial institution serving anyone who lives or works in a 21-county area in West Michigan. For details on credit union membership, visit
About ECCU
Established in 1935, ECCU has grown from serving only Kalamazoo school employees, to serving the greater educational community, to now providing a full range of financial products and services to anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in any of our 21 Michigan counties. The credit union exceeds $419 million in assets and serves more than 37,000 members. Visit to learn more about membership and why ECCU just feels right, and our members feel right at home.

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