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The Western College Program was created in 1974 when the Western College for Women merged with Miami University. The Western College Program consists of an interdisciplinary living/learning community with small class sizes and student-designed focuses. Majors include Interdisciplinary Studies, Environmental Science, and Environmental Studies. Academics are divided into three core areas: Creativity and Culture, Social Systems, and Natural Systems. Westward travelers from Mount Holyoke College were instrumental in the founding of the Western College for Women in Oxford, Ohio

Western, also known as the School of Interdisciplinary Studies, was cited as a primary reason why Miami University was identified as one of the ``Public Ivies in Richard Moll's landmark 1988 book. It has historic significance as well. The campus, when it was the Western College for Women, was the staging ground for Freedom Summer, the voter registration drive in Mississippi in the 1960s.

In March 2006, Miami University Provost Jeffrey Herbst, a former professor on the faculty of the Political Science department at Princeton University, recommended to Miami University President Dr. James C. Garland to phase out the current Western College Program in lieu of expanding Miami's Honors Program. The proposal calls for the creation of the Western Honors College. There are some questions about the review process involved with these recommendations and current students have organized relevant information at the Western Wiki.

On June 23, 2006, The Board of Trustees of Miami University voted to eliminate the School of Interdisciplinary Studies in lieu of a "Western Honors College" in an attempt to expand the honors program at Miami.

On October 24, 2006, deliberations on the persistence of the program (even without the school classification) in Miami's University Senate began. It is likely that the many aspects of the program will continue.

In January 2007 it was decided that the Western College Program will become a program in the College of Arts and Sciences. Rather than having a department of permanent faculty it will have one central faculty member with the students taking classes from faculty that are in several different departments. Students will receive a B.A. or B.S. instead of the B. Phil its graduates have been awarded since the program began. Critics say the program may provide diverse courses with faculty from different backgrounds but the student-faculty bond which was a strongly beneficial attribute of Western's previous incarncation may suffer.

The campus

Located directly east of the main campus of Miami University, Western College is characterized by winding pathways through forest and stone bridges over creeks. Peabody Hall, currently a coed dormitory, is said to be haunted by its namesake Helen Peabody. Other buildings on Western Campus include McKee Hall, Mary Lyon Hall, Kumler Chapel, Western Lodge, Ernst Theater, Western Tower, Ice House, Summer House, Sawyer (Defunct Gymnasium, Heating plant, Pool and dining hall), Boyd Hall, Hoyt Hall, the Art Museum, and non-WCP buildings, Clawson Hall, Alexander Dining Hall, Presser Hall, Langstroth Cottage, Havighurst Hall, and Thomson Hall.

Notable Graduates:

  • Chris Jennings, senior health care adviser for President Bill Clinton
  • Bill McMahon, managing director of Goldman Sachs
  • Steve Ricchetti, White House Deputy Chief of Staff for President Bill Clinton
  • Ryan Donmoyer, congressional and White House correspondent for Bloomberg News
  • Jeffrey Horst, Atlanta Lawyer
  • Tim Race, Business Editor, The New York Times
  • Jan Montgomery, Assistant General Counsel for Homeland Security & Justice, US GAO
  • Leslie Greene Bowman, President of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation
  • Ken Weil, Deputy Chief of Staff for Colorado Governor Bill Ritter
  • Shelia Curran, author

External links

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